Positive Emotions.

During my coaching training we completed modules on positive psychology. Standard psychology = broken people need fixing. Positive psychology = focusing on the positive aspects of human life and how to enhance them. The world definitely has a need for both but 2020 has highlighted to me so far that there is a special need for positive psychology in the general population at the moment. So far this year has been scary to say the least, a lot has happened, a lot IS happening and it is easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of worry and fear. 

Broaden and build theory suggests that emotions are very functional. Where negative emotions serve a purpose by limiting our thoughts and behaviours allowing us to act more decidedly in times of stress, positive emotions broaden and build our conscious awareness. When you are in a bad mood, you are very closed off & stuck in negative thought patterns. When you are in a good mood you are more curious, sociable, creative & healthier. You become better at problem solving and are able to persevere longer at tougher tasks. More importantly right now, your immune system works better!

On a personal level, we should be looking to nourish and increase positive emotions in order to get the above benefits, but also on a company level. For any business, big or small, i fully believe in the importance of looking after the mental health and overall well-being of your employees. In coaching we look at each person as a whole. We understand that in order to feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy, one must have balance in key areas of their life. If one of your team members is not performing well, instead of focusing on their current lack of achievement, have you thought about the possibility of something outside of work that might be affecting their performance? If they feel unfulfilled in life, the negative feelings and thoughts will seep through in to their work life. If they are having trouble at home, or if they are having health issues, the same thing will happen. When our lives feel balanced and fulfilled, we can increase positive emotions and in turn improve our lives even more creating an upward spiral.

A meta analysis study by Lyubomirsky, King & Diener in 2005 on positive emotions shows that positive emotions have the following results within a company – 

  • Lower turnover at work.
  • Better reports of customer service.
  • Better supervision evaluations.
  • Lower emotional exhaustion.
  • Higher job satisfaction.
  • Better organisational citizenship behaviour.
  • Fewer work absences.
  • More social club involvement.
  • More volunteerism.
  • Perceived by others as being friendlier more assertive and more confident,
  • Higher annual salaries,
  • Higher longevity.
  • Lower incidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Faster recovery from illness or injury.
  • More likely to resolve conflict through collaboration.
  • Increased motivation.
  • Better decision making efficiency.

I have just provided you 17 good reasons to work on interventions to help increase positive emotions in yourself and in your employees.

Business hats to one side though, couldn’t we all use a little more of this? I know my anxiety has started to creep up on me the past few weeks and with the current COVID-19 pandemic i know i can’t be the only one. From the fires across Australia devastating the native wildlife, to multiple deaths & tragedies, now countries going in to lock down due to the coronavirus, what a year so far. I think of myself as a very positive and open minded person and i tend not to get worried or sucked in to things that we have no control over, but even so i can’t help but feel overwhelmed at how the year has started. 

So this post is just as much for me as it is for you. Whether you apply this just to yourself, or if you are in a position where you can apply this to your company and employees, let’s look at some interventions to increase positivity and get ourselves into that upwards spiral.

We’ve all heard of ‘name 3 things your grateful for’, right? I want to take it a step further. 

Although studies show that naming 3 things your grateful for each day does in fact increase positivity, they also show that people tend not to stick to the practice after the study has ended. It just doesn’t feel worthwhile enough for people to continue long term. In coaching, we focus on creating long lasting habits so i’m going to suggest gratitude to you, but in a slightly different format. 

At the end of each day, instead of naming 3 things your grateful for, i want you to think about it in a bit more detail. Keep a journal of this and ask yourself questions that focus on the positives such as – 

  • Who supported me today?
  • What were today’s successes?
  • What did i do well today?
  • What did others do well today?
  • What was the highlight of my day?

Keep this up for at least 1 month, it should only take a few minutes each night, you will be surprised at how much you notice. Make sure to leave your journal somewhere you will see it each night so that you don’t forget. It might also be helpful to think of a trigger such as brushing your teeth before bed or getting changed in to your PJ’s, so you know when i get changed in to my PJ’s each night i will take a few minutes to write my journal. This is a great way to integrate it into your routine and form a new habit. 

If you are in a business environment, you could also do this as a team at the end of each work day. Ask your team to reflect on these questions and write them down, either individually or as a group. 

This is such a small step and will only take a few minutes each day, you have read the amazing effects of increasing positive emotions, we could all use a little boost right now i’m sure, so let’s all do this together. Let’s start today!

 

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References – 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching – Robert Biswas-Diener.

 

 

1 year Cancer free.

It has been exactly 1 year since I got the all clear and what an amazing year it has been. I completed my coaching diploma, started my yoga teacher training course and most importantly I completely transformed in so many ways.

It’s amazing how when you get a life changing diagnosis every other worry you had becomes obsolete. That person in work who annoys you. That project your behind on. Any conflict with your significant other. Money worries. Self limiting beliefs. Everything else just disappears and you suddenly realise how it wasn’t really important in the first place. Suddenly you realise that the only thing that ever mattered was your health.

This is something that has really changed my perspective on the world. In the years leading up to this I suffered with auto-immunity and arthritis so I already knew that if your suffering with a chronic condition and with chronic pain it takes over completely and can be so hard to get into the right headspace to break free from the cage of being trapped within your condition. Being diagnosed with cancer allowed me to break free from that cycle.

From the date of my first surgery, through my diagnosis, getting the all clear, getting the ‘not actually all clear’, to a second surgery and the final all clear it all happened so fast and was such a whirlwind experience. I can’t even begin to put in to words the pain and deep soul felt sobs that happened during that time. Every single second of every day I was praying to God to heal me of this and visualising the outcome that I wanted and thanking him for all of the blessings in my life so far. I realised during this time of uncertainty that the things that would usually bother me suddenly didn’t bother me any more. In work, at home, in general – if something happened that would usually cause me to get stressed out, I just accepted it and moved on, it didn’t matter.

After getting the all clear this shift in perspective really stayed with me and because of this I began a complete transformation into a happier, healthier and more free version of myself. I realised the things that truly matter and let the things go that didn’t. Of course i’m only human and slip back in to worry and anxious thoughts from time to time, don’t we all? But i’m very quick to recognise it now and bring myself back in to a more positive and uplifting mindset. This change in mindset not only helped me achieve freedom from anxiety and my self limiting beliefs, but on a physical level I feel better than I have done in years. I actually forget some days that I have an autoimmune disease at all, i’m too busy loving every minute of life and thanking God that I am healthy enough to live it. I still suffer with chronic pain but I am no longer consumed by it. I still have an autoimmune disease but the autoimmune disease no longer has me.

This past year has been amazing for me and I know that this is just the beginning. I have always wanted to help people become better versions of themselves and help them to improve their mental, physical & spiritual wellbeing. After living and breathing such a transformation myself I now know that the rest of my life will be devoted to helping others achieve the same kind of freedom in any way that they need it. I am here to serve.

What is self care and why do we need reminders?

Self care seems to be becoming a bit of a trend at the moment & this is one trend i am 100% on board with. One thing i have noticed though is that i see a lot of self care hashtags and promotion, but not a lot of information or detail explaining why self care is so important, or why some people struggle with self care.

Self care is something that has to be learned and is not an ‘automatic instinct’ like one might think. Your self care habits are often learned from adults in your family growing up and this can cause quite a lot of issues. If you are coming from an abusive household, self care will be so far down on your list of priorities that it could even be completely non existent. By abusive i don’t just mean physical abuse, i also refer to neglect, mental abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, narcissistic abuse and all other types. Some people might not even be aware that they have suffered abuse, it can be so subtle and sneaky that many adult children of abusive families will suffer without ever realising why or without ever realising that what happened to them was wrong. This can also happen as an adult in abusive / codependent relationships. When in an abusive relationship often the abused will be trying so hard to keep the other person happy or to meet their partners needs that they will completely forget about their own self care and eventually end up a broken shell of the person they once where.

But lack of self care doesn’t always come from this. There are many people who come from happy households, have loving families & have never been in an abusive relationship, but they also struggle with self care. Maybe their loving parents were working long hours throughout their childhood to support them, but this left little room for support growing up and little time to observe and learn about SC. Maybe they are motivated and want to do well in work and progress their career, so they think that by focusing all of their time and energy on education and work they will improve their lives and get that job position they have always wanted. Maybe they have low self esteem and so SC is not something they actually care about.

To some people this might come so naturally that when they see ‘self care’ posts, or ‘tips on self care’ articles they might wonder, why would anyone need tips on that? But the truth is that it does not come naturally to us all & there are many different reasons why one might struggle with SC.

I myself struggled a lot with SC up until the age of 22/23 when i ended up in counselling and psychotherapy for other reasons. I genuinely didn’t know that SC was an issue for me until i’m sat in the chair face to face with my therapist and she asks me ‘what have you done for yourself this week?’. Well i didn’t know what to say or how to answer her. I didn’t even really know what she was asking me. We talked and talked and she was asking me a lot of questions like ‘when was the last time you pampered yourself, when was the last time you had a massage, when was the last time you had a hot bath and read a book, when was the last time you had your hair done, when was the last time you had a girls night or a movie night, when was the last time you cooked yourself a really nice meal, what’s your daily routine like?’ Most importantly.. and this is the one that changed my life in a massive way was she asked me ‘when was the last time you said no?’

Try this little exercise –

Step 1 – Fold an A4 piece of paper in half length ways. On the left side, make a list of all of the things you have done for others this week. Such as, giving somebody a lift, helping a colleague with a difficult task, collecting something for your partner on your way home, helping get your younger siblings ready and off to school, a few hours overtime to help out at work. Anything at all that you have done for others, add it to your list.

Step 2 – Now on the right side of the paper, i want you to make a list of all of the things you have done for yourself this week. Such as, a hot bubble bath with candles, saying no to working late because you were tired, asking for help with something if you need it, cooking your favourite meal instead of everyone else’s favourite meals, trying out a face mask and soaking your feet, reading a novel.

Step 3 – Now compare both sides of the paper. Are they even? Remember that although it is important to help others when you can & it feels nice to give and to do things for your loved ones. It is is even more important to help yourself & to ask for help if you need it. Let others do things for you sometimes, but most of all do nice things for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so ensure that your own cup is full before doing things for others so that your not left running on empty. Find a good balance between giving to others & also letting them return the favour and give/help you.

Self care doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes self care can be ‘treating yourself’ but sometimes self care can be the simple daily things that we sometimes forget to do when we are feeling down, such as washing our hair or drinking water.

See below my go to list of self care options/reminders, let me know if you have any other ideas that i can add to the list –

  • Hot bubble bath with salts & essential oils.
  • Epsom salt foot soak.
  • Clay face mask & skin care routine.
  • Say NO to things you do not want.
  • Switch your phone off and stay off social media.
  • Read a good book (not a self help book – get lost in a novel).
  • Buying fresh socks & pyjamas.
  • Have a hot chocolate with cream.
  • Cook your favourite meal.
  • Meal prep.
  • Ask for help !
  • Put some music on, sing, dance & be playful.
  • A walk in nature.
  • Go to bed early. SLEEP is the best medicine.
  • Meditate.
  • Yoga.
  • Talk to someone. A friend, a colleague, a pet, a therapist.
  • Write / journal. There’s nothing better than getting it all off your chest.
  • Floatation therapy. This one is my absolute favourite.
  • A cup of herbal tea. Drink it mindfully.
  • Watch your favourite childhood movie.
  • Pamper yourself at home.
  • Get a massage.
  • Wash your hair, cut your nails, moisturise your body.
  • Put some music on and do your chores / clean. This sounds like a weird one, but for me personally i always feel great when everything is clean and tidy and the chores are finished. However if you are already worn out and drained, the chores can wait.
  • Reassess your priorities.
  • Throw out that ‘to do list’.
  • Go to the gym or exercise at home.
  • Drink water.
  • Breathe. Take a few mindful deep breathes, practice some pranayama.
  • Get a reiki treatment, or even try taking the reiki level one course so you can give yourself reiki.
  • Watch or listen to something funny (The Ricky Gervais Podcast is my go-to).
  • Take yourself for a nice day out / meal / or weekend trip.

There are so many ways to practice self care and a lot of people won’t need a list or reminders. I need them. I often get caught up in work / my career & doing things for others and forget to take time out for me. So this post is for you, whoever needs it, but also a little reminder for me so i can check back regularly and make sure i am ticking a few things off this list. Now take some time out and celebrate you, you deserve it.

 

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Ticknock – Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday we made an impromptu stop at Ticknock on our way home from Maynooth. We were away at Carton House hotel for the Easter break & on our way back home we were driving right past Ticknock & Stuey had the idea to finish off our weekend with a hike since the weather was so good. We stopped off at Chopped for a smoothie and Subway for a sandwich to refuel, then made our way over to the gorgeous forest recreation area.

The car park for the forest winds up past a little wooden cafe, all the way up and around bringing you right to the entrance of the hiking routes. We parked up and made our way to the starting point, it was very easy to find and had big wooden sign posts with maps of the area and different routes. We decided to do the green route which is 5.5km long & loops back to the starting point. We didn’t opt for the longer yellow route as we had already completed a 3km walk of Carton House grounds after breakfast, but we will definitely be back to complete the yellow route another day.

21 degrees out, not a cloud in sight & a 45-50 minute steady paced incline to start the hike was tough. Especially as this was already our second walk of the day. The route was easy enough to follow, the forest was very beautiful & the sun was beaming, it was tough going but we really enjoyed it. The first part of the trail was actually a road through the forest that leads you up to the top where the satellite towers are. When you get up to that point the view is absolutely incredible, with views right across Dublin from Howth all the way down to Dun Laoghaire. City views, sea views, mountain views & mountain air. What more could you ask for?

We got a little bit confused at this point as the sign post at the top had an arrow pointing to the right for the green route, but the way it was positioned (to the left of a path going straight on) really made us wonder if we were supposed to go straight and not right. On the other side of the sign post we could see a different coloured arrow, which pointed up the straight road, so we decided if they were both to go straight on then both arrows would be positioned the same and they weren’t. The situation was confused even further by the fact that when we turned right there was another sign (just in marker) saying walkers this way and an arrow directing all to go straight ahead instead of right. We decided to ignore the sign in marker and we took the right turn as logic suggested this was the way. The right turn took us to the end of a wide pathway and we could see a gate at the end with another signpost so then we knew we had made the right choice. Thinking back i really should have took a picture of this, but i hope i explained it well enough !

Going through the little gate you start up a narrow rocky path with the forest all along the right hand side. We had to stop under the shade of some trees here as the heat was exhausting us, this section really as tough going and we were both very tired at this point. After our little rest we kept going though and the trees to the right eventually thinned out until it was just mountain & views on either side. As soon as the cover from the trees was gone it was veryyyyy WINDY. Not just a little bit, but seriously windy. Luckily the sun was out and even with the wind it was very warm, i can imagine doing this walk on a regular day would be very cold because of the wind so if you ever try it make sure to take a windbreaker or extra layers.

We made it to the summit which is known as ‘fairy castle’ and is marked by a stone cairn. We didn’t stick around for long but just kept going following the route along. After the summit the path just gently slopes back down and around. First just through the open land at the top and then it turns right to go back down towards the forest. The walk back down was very pleasant and seemed to take no time at all. The path was a little rocky at the start of the descent but then evened out very quickly and wound back through the trees again. The trail eventually brings you back out on to the same road as the starting point, just a few meters down.

It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the entire route. We definitely took our time on the way up but we more than made up for it on the way back down with a very fast pace. This was a beautiful hike, the forest and views were amazing and it was the perfect was to finish off our Easter weekend. I’m already looking forward to going back to Ticknock and doing the longer yellow route another time.

The Avonmore Way / Clara

Anyone ever bought a car with the intention of ‘this means i can start walking more’?

Living so close to the Wicklow mountains but not having a car to drive in and do the trail routes was always a pain point of mine. Now that we have a car and my leg is finally healing after my surgeries we couldn’t wait to get out in to the mountains for some exercise, fresh air & views. Stuey & I set the intention to complete ALL of the hiking/trail walks in the Wicklow mountains. How long will this take? I have no idea. How many trail walks are there? I also have no idea! Regardless, we will complete them ALL, however long it takes. Of all the intentions/goals i have ever set, i think i’m most exited about this one.

We set out on Sunday to do the Vale of Clara forest walk, but we ended up doing 1/2 of the avonmore way instead. It was very difficult to find the route’s for the vale of clara.. we drove down the R755 laragh to rathdrum direction, looking for that beautiful white church and bridge in so many photos. Driving in the same direction look for Clara Lara fun park on the left hand side, keep driving past the fun park and a few minutes later you will see a small sign on the left saying Clara RC Church and a very steep slope down. Take that left and drive down to the bottom of the steep bank. You have arrived in Clara!

What a beautiful & picturesque tiny little village. The river, arched bridge, church & nature make for some really breathtaking scenery. We didn’t drive over the bridge we actually parked just in front of the big house at the bottom of the bank. We were unable to find the starting routes for the Vale of Clara walks, however looking back on maps afterwards we should have walked over the bridge and took a right up that steep road to get to the start. Instead we went in to the gates of the church, around the back of the church building, and saw a stick with a yellow man & arrow on directing us on to the starting point for ‘The Avonmore Way’ trail.

We followed the Avonmore way route up a steep woodland path through the trees. The path was very clearly marked throughout so once one the Avonmore way route it is impossible to get lost. On our way up to Clara the rain was torrential however by pure luck as soon as we started on the route the sun came out and stayed with us for the entire walk. We were blessed with that ‘after rain earth smell’ & sunshine glistening through the trees all at once, it was truly beautiful.

We were laughing and strolling along seeing how high we could throw sticks and acorns when we spotted two wild deer up ahead. It was so unexpected. We stopped to watch them as we didn’t want to frighten them but after a minute or two they caught wind of us and leapt off in to the mossy forest, it was so magical. Seeing wild deer was not what we set out to do but it was sooo very welcome.

The forest walk itself was like something out of a fairytale, we kept stopping just to take it all in or to take a few photos. The green moss across the rocks & forest floor, the tiny little streams trickling & winding their way through the flora, the sun beaming down through the foliage and highlighting the little ponds on the forest floor. It really has to be seen to be believed, the beauty of this place is something else.

After some time walking through the forest the trail made it’s way out on to a tarmac road (unlike the grassy forest road we were previously on). We walked around to the white house overlooking the mountains and the view from the road up there was so worth the trip, nature is incredible. If we continued on the yellow marked route this would have took us another 2 hours and lead us towards Rathdrum. As we had the car parked down at Clara church we couldn’t walk 2 more hours to finish this trail and then 3 hours to get back, so we turned around at this point and followed our same route back down.

At the starting point of the trail we noticed a few little signs pointing to another path saying ‘our Lady’s statue’, so on our way back down we took a little de tour up this path and we were not disappointed. If you are visiting this area i would strongly recommend visiting the statue. The statue itself was very beautiful and was overlooking the Church and river. At night time the statue must be lit up as there was flood lights underneath, i would love to go back and see her at night one day. The view from up there was also so breathtaking, i’m so glad we decided to follow that little sign and wander up. There’s a little bench behind Mary so we sat down for a few minutes and just soaked up the sunshine and fresh mountain air. So peaceful and quiet, i never wanted to leave.

We’re definitely going to go back and do the full Avonmore way route, but we will wait until the summer when the days are longer and warmer since it would be a total of 6 hours there and back. We’ll also go back and take the right turn up the road past the church and do the original Vale of Clara walks (the ones we set out to do in the first place). I found the directions / explanations of how to find the VOC routes were not clear at all and very confusing so when we do those routes i’ll make sure to be as descriptive of possible to help you all find your way.

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Life after diagnosis.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with autoimmunity (PsA), neuropathy & skin cancer.

I went through months of harsh medications that destroyed my immune system & left me weak & fatigued. I lay awake through endless nights of chronic physical & emotional pain. I watched my strength disappear, I watched my health deteriorate. I went from squatting 100kgs to being unable to hold a cup in one hand, unable to hold a pen, crying because I couldn’t hold my key properly to open the door. I’d get off the train from work and run home so I could climb in to bed and cry, my head and neck (aside from everything else) were in so much pain I couldn’t do anything else. I went on holiday weekends and spent the full time locked in the bathroom of the hotel coughing & crying.

I went from being the healthiest person I knew, to being the unhealthiest. How dare my body betray me like this? After all of the clean eating, workouts, yoga, years of no alcohol. Why me?

I stopped writing my blog… who wants to read a ‘health & fitness blog’ from a girl who can’t walk to the end of the street without feeling like she was going to collapse?

But guess what?

In 2018 I empowered myself by learning about my disease. I read books, I read peer reviewed scientific studies, I listened to podcasts, I changed my mindset. I came off my medications & started taking only herbal & natural supplements. I got my arthritis under control, I made progress with my neuropathy, and most importantly.. I beat cancer !

Whilst dealing with all this I was promoted to customer support team leader, and passed my probation with flying colours. I got back in to a regular gym routine & started practicing yoga again. I started to build my strength back up. I studied to become a personal trainer, passed my exams & got my qualifications ! I moved house.. and then I moved house again.. into a beautiful little apartment with my caring & supportive boyfriend. I didn’t just survive, I thrived.

The reason I’m sharing is not to get sympathy.. I don’t need it. The reason I’m sharing is to give others hope that there is life after diagnosis & to teach others about the battles of chronic disease. To show others that your mindset is absolutely everything.

I accomplished so much last year while simultaneously wondering if I was going to die. I believed in mind over matter anyway, but last year reinforced my beliefs beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Last year completely broke me… physically.. but nothing can break me mentally. Not anymore, that ship has sailed.

I am living proof that when life fucks you over, you CAN come back stronger.

I prayed to God every day to make me strong. Oh boy did he deliver. A few years ago he gave me panic attacks, anxiety disorder & disassociation. I overcame them all & became very mentally strong through that process. Then last year he gave me arthritis, autoimmunity, neuropathy & cancer.. I became even stronger.

This will be my first post of my ‘new but old’ blog. I want to share my journey & show that with the right mindset, YOU can do anything. I’ll share details of my health struggles, how they effect me daily, things I have tried & tested that have helped with the pain. Things that lesson my symptoms, things that make them worse. Yoga practices, workouts, recipes. Some of the old stuff, and some of the new stuff, some of the good stuff, and some of the bad stuff. Hopefully this will also be a place that will ease the suffering of others with autoimmunity by reminding them that they are not alone & allow others to come along on our journey learning more about it themselves.

2018 was a sucky year but sure as hell did I kick it’s ass. Here’s to 2019 !

 

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A blessing in disguise.

It has been such a tough year for me being unable to train for the most part due to being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (PsA), but at the same time this year has made me so much stronger. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Last year I was training because I hated the way my body looked, I was so critical of myself and so hard on myself, and even though I was shredded to death I just wasn’t happy with my physique. I was obsessed with every little detail of my diet and training, and my life was consumed by it. Don’t get me wrong, i was really enjoying it all, but i was also creating a very toxic place in my own mind from being so hard on myself and never feeling satisfied with my progress.

After rapid onset of my disease in July last year, and very quickly getting to a point where my arthritis was so bad I couldn’t even hold my phone, walk properly, or hold a pen, i somehow managing to pull myself around and manage the pain and come off my medications (i’ll post more about how i did this later). I am finally feeling good and I have been back training for the past 7 weeks consistently, my strength and shape are both coming back quicker than I could have imagined and this time round I am training because I LOVE my body and I am amazed at what it can do.

The gym was my whole life, i had a fitness blog for crying out loud, and God took it away from me for a very long time, but it taught me to train for the right reasons and to be so grateful to be able to exercise.

I used to squat 100k and be upset because I hit a plateau, now after not training for almost a year I’m squatting half of that , and I AM SO GRATEFUL, every 50k squat I’m like fuck yeah my body is amazing to be able to do this considering my disease. Every single rep feels like a blessing, every single workout is a tiny miracle.

I have also realized that a few days off from the gym won’t kill me, and neither will a burger or a cocktail. 1 year of not training properly and being sick, yet my shape still looks tops, am I shredded to the bone? No. But am I happy with my body ? YES ! I am looking to improve my physique again, but I am also very happy with where I am at right now. I’m happy in my own skin.

To some people having a life changing and chronic disease might seem like the end of the world. To me, this is just the beginning.

Thank you, for the lessons.

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Holistic Healing.

Last week i had my very first session of acupuncture. It’s something i had wanted to try for a really long time i had just never gotten round to it. Because of the pain in my joints the past few months and i am missing an awful lot of training i decided to finally give it a go. The meds the Dr has gave me don’t seem to be helping much and i’ve tried every herbal remedy i can think of so now it’s time to consult the holistic healing methods.

Holistic healing is characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. In other words our emotional, mental, spiritual & physical bodies are all interconnected and all effect each other, therefore if the body is sick we need to work on the spiritual/mental/emotional level in order to heal the body. Western medicine focuses solely on treating the symptoms of the body and not actually getting to the root of the problem or healing it.

I have tried a lot of other holistic methods in the past such as floatation therapy, reiki, meditation & ayahuasca, all of which have worked absolute wonders for me. No medicine or treatment i have ever been given by my Doctor can ever compare to the healing i have acquired through holistics. This is why when the meds and physio failed me with my joint pain i decided to turn to Acupuncture.

I was a little but nervous about getting it as i’m not to fond of needles and so was feeling a little queezy but by the time i walked out of that 1 hour treatment i really did feel completely different and was so glad that i decided to try it.

When i went in Lena who going to be my therapist asked me a few questions about the pain i was experiencing and what kind of symptoms i had been having / how long i had been having them that sort of thing. She then lay me down on the bed and got to work. She explained to me that even though the pain was in all of my joints she would be placing the needles in various points on my abdomen and by doing this she could treat the whole body.

Right throughout our bodies we have lines and points called meridians. These points are like pathways that allow the life force energy to flow through us. In Chinese medicine they call this energy ‘qi’,  but where i come from it is known as ‘prana’. Something that  i practice in Kundalini yoga is learning to remove blockages and balance our chakras in order to allow this life force energy to flow freely through us. Unfortunately sometimes we need a little additional help as we can get stuck and we cannot clearly see ourselves to recognize where or why we have a blockage. This is when a little extra help from a reiki healer or acupuncturist can work wonders.

By placing needles in certain points on my abdomen and rolling them about Lena was working on any blockages and unbalanced areas within my energy center in order to bring my body back to homeostasis and allow the prana to flow through freely. After placing roughly 50 needles in different points she then put a heat lamp over me and left me to heal and relax for half an hour. During that half hour i could really feel the needles working on my energy centers, my whole body felt like it was buzzing and tingling everywhere and i kept getting little jerks in certain areas (a bit like when your falling asleep and your leg jerks and wakes you). This is a feeling i am already used to from other methods of holistics i have used, so even though it felt very weird i knew it was a good sign and that it was working.

When i went in to the treatment i had terrible pain between my shoulders, in my wrist and especially in my knees. When i came out of the treatment i had not a single bit of pain anywhere in my body. Now i don’t know if it was adrenaline from having 50 needles stuck into me, if it was a placebo effect, or if it was because Lena really knew her stuff, but whichever one it was does it really matter? For the first time in months i could walk without experiencing pain in both knees, whatever it was it worked.

Lena also told me a few foods that i should try and avoid, bananas, dairy & coffee to name a few. She was actually the second person to tell me i should stay away from dairy as i was also advised the same at an ayahuasca ceremony a few months back. So that was it decided, i went home and drank a huge final glass of milk and then decided that was it no more dairy after this.

Almost a week later now and i’m still feeling so much better. Not 100% better but much better than i have in months and a lot less pain. I have booked in again to see Lena and have decided i’m going to keep up with the Acupuncture as well as daily energy work at home and stick to what i know best – spirit science.

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To blessed to be stressed.

If you follow my instagram & snapchat you will know already that the past few months i have been really struggling with joint pain. I don’t know where it came from but it started back in July, it came on so suddenly and very quickly spread throughout all of my joints and has continued to get worse and worse.

For the first few weeks i thought i had just very coincidentally injured both of my knees at exactly the same time. I stopped squatting & deadlifting immediately thinking that i maybe had runners knee or something like that and i just carried on with some light stretches and mobility exercises for my knees for a few weeks. I was so confused as to how i could have injured them both in the first place as my squat/deadlift form is always spot on and i couldn’t remember any incident where i might have hurt them both but if i hadn’t injured them then why could i barely walk?

A few weeks in and unable to train legs i was just focusing on my upper body exercises. I didn’t want to go crazy and over train upper body so i was just sticking to my usual exercises and one day in the gym when doing tricep dips i started getting such bad elbow pain. I stopped the exercise straight away as i know tricep dips can be quite notorious for elbow pain. I did think it was a bit weird though as i have been doing tricep dips for years with no pain. Never mind i’d just pick another exercise for a few weeks instead.

Well that was it, from that point on i was like an old woman. I can’t believe how fast something like this can spread but from the first bout of knee pain it only took about 8 weeks until all of my joints were in constant agony. I started having to get the bus in the mornings as i was unable to walk my usual 15km a day, the pain and stiffness in my knees and ankles was so unbearable. Going to the gym i was doing my best to keep the muscles firing and keep my strength but its so disheartening having to use machine weights all the time instead of being able to squat/bench/deadlift etc.

Some days it would be so bad that i couldn’t even hold my phone or a book in front of me as my wrist would be to sore to hold it. Waking up in the morning my joints would be so stiff and painful that i would have to spend 20 minutes just moving about and doing some light stretching before i could even get down the stairs.

It’s so weird because the pain seems to move around the joints and the pain doesn’t always feel the same.  Sometimes it feels like a pulling pain, sometimes it feels like burning, sometimes my hands or fingers will go completely numb, pins and needles, shooting pains, throbbing sensations. Some days is worse than others. On the days where the pain feels a little less i have been trying to get some light workouts in just to keep active and keep the muscles firing but at this stage i’m just fed up of not being able to exercise properly without being in extreme pain.

Anyway the Dr doesn’t seem to have a clue what can be going on. My blood tests came back absolutely fine. I know finding out your bloods are fine should be good news but for me i was  upset as it meant i was no further forward with finding out what is causing this. I was hoping something would come back in the bloods and the Dr would just say ok take this or do this and in a few weeks you’ll be grand. But no such luck. I’m back at the Drs tomorrow and i’m also waiting on an appointment to see a rheumatologist so i’m crossing my fingers that we get somewhere.

This post might come across as me having a bit of a moan but i promise it’s the opposite. The reason i’m writing this is because what is the point in being a blogger if your not going to be honest and share the bad times as well as the good? This past few months have been very tough on me physically, but mentally i am still in top form. I learned a long time ago that there’s no point stressing about things you have no control over. This is one of those things. It is what it is, i just have to take it on the chin and work through it whatever it may be. Luckily i have amazing friends around me who have been keeping me positive and looking after me when i need minding. To blessed to be stressed.

 

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