Football Family

My family are into football. Infact my parents actually met through going to watch the football.

For years my dad and my sister have tried to get me into football, to get me to understand it. Very often my dad will tell me something football related and truthfully it just goes over my head. I just did not get it.

My sister played football while growing up and a few years ago got back into playing it. I used to go watch her play when i was not working. Now that i don’t working i make it to a lot more games.

At the beginning I had no clue! I knew you kicmed the ball and hoped to score, that is it! Truthfully, I do not actually know much more than that now, but i have at least learned to cheer when the right team scores!

Now i might not actually know much about the game itself, but i like going to the games and watching them. I like watching the team work and support for each other. I like the encouragement and the progress and achievements. I like watching the friendships and the bonding.

Now i am not part of the actual football team. However, i have received support from some of these ladies. I have received real encouragement. After one conversation with one of the team, i went from feeling completely useless to feeling more positive that things can change. I am included in the laughs and the nights out and team celebrations. They held a minute silence in honour of my nana when she died.

And that is so very important.

These ladies are kind to each other. They work hard at improving their own game. They work hard at improving as a team. They build each other up! They support one another. They celebrate birthdays, achievements, the good times. And they are there offering support and shoulders to cry on through the tough times. They seem to get that life is tough and it can throw a lot of curveballs. But they are kind to one another. And help build each other up. They get that we are all feeling our way through life.

I hope they all continue on this way.

I hope they know the impact that their support has on other people.

Also, they finished their season today with a 6-0 win and secured themselves the 3rd position in the league table! It was a great end to their season! Look at me knowing a few football terms!

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Tai Chi Fridays

Most Fridays I attend a tai chi class with my auntie.

Tai chi is a form of low impact exercise which combines flowing movements woth breathing and relaxation. It was originally a martial art in 13th century China and is now practiced as a health benefiting exercise all over the world.

With benefits including reduced stress, improved posture, balance and mobility and increased strength in muscles, it is clear to see why it is thought of as health promoting.

The class that I attend also incorporates dance. The instructor promotes a happy armosphere, and there is always plenty of laughs.

I get great benefit from the class. Taking the physical and mental benefits out of the equation, I attend with my auntie. Which means most weeks I get to spend some quality family time with her. After class we go for a tea/coffee and catch up which I always enjoy.

I always leave the class feeling calmer after the relaxation and have a sense of accomplishment. I got up, got ready and went to an exercise class. For a person with chronic pain this is a huge achievement!

I think this class is important in my journey feeling my way through this life.

Here is a photo of myself and my auntie enjoying some granola and coffee while we had a good catch up after our tai chi class!

World Mental Health Day 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Awareness days like this are important as it starts a conversation and raises awareness. It also acts as a wee reminder of how important mental health is. However, everyday should be mental health awareness day!

Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. Days like today remind people that it’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to reach out for help.

Signs of poor mental health:

  • Confusion
  • Depression, prolonged sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Anxiety, excessive fear and worrying
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Anger
  • Delusions and/or hallucinations
  • Problems coping with daily life
  • Suicidal thoughts/ thoughts of self harm

This list is by no means complete, just a start of signs to look out for.

Remember to be kind to one another. You don’t know the struggles that people are going through as we all feel our way through life.

Starting a Pain Managment Programme

Today I started a Pain management programme. This is gling to last for 11 weeks.

I am exhausted today. I am exhausted due to the early start to get myself out to the programme. I am exhausted as a result of lack of sleep and increased pain levels after yesterday. I am exhausted due to the anxiety and tension held of attending a group setting, full of people I do not know, knowing that there was the possibility I would need to open up and I’m exhausted because I know I have over exerted myself.

Firstly, I do have to say that although I am exhausted with trying to get to the appointment on time, I am very lucky. My sister, Kaitlyn, is an angel! She had managed to arrange with her work that she would go in after dropping me off at my appointment. My appointment was in Glasgow, which is the city next to my town. Driving there myself causes me a lot of anxiety. I do everything to avoid having to drive to Glasgow. I don’t mind driving to my friends, who is in the outskirts, but actually driving in the city is a thing of nightmares! At least it is for an anxious driver. Not only that, I’d be trying to head in during rush hour which would only add extra stress. However, as I said my angel sister arranged it that she would be able to drive me in and drop me off. It would mean having to find my own way home afterwards but I would have no time limit to keep to.

The way home I completely over exerted myself though. I was worried as I am awful at directions and I have been known to get lost easily. My plan was to put on Google maps and attempt to follow that. When I was leaving, a woman from the group, that I found out lived not too far away from me was walking to the train station and said she would walk with me. I thought this was great! She knew where she was going so I wouldn’t get lost but also it would give me an opportunity to talk to her and get to know her some more so it feels less like going into a room full of strangers next week. It was a really weird chat, it turns out we know quite a few of the same people. Small world!

Today was really the introductory session.

There was 12 people in the group. Each person got to share how long they’ve experienced pain, if they had a formal diagnosis or not, how it is affecting their lives, medical professionals they have seen, medication they have tried and by alternative treatments they’ve tried.

It was interesting to hear everybody’s story. They are all so different yet simultaneously so similar. There is something in sitting in a group with 11 other people and finding out that they get it. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in it all. We were all just people. People there trying to find a way to cope! To live! To have a quality life, while living with our chronic pain. And that’s a powerful thing!

Weaving Workshop Thursday

In January I took part in a one off weaving workshop that was put on by an organisation that I get support through.

The weaver was a wonderfully talented woman called Amy Bond (I fully recommend checking her out at https://www.amybondtextiles.co.uk, Amy Bond Woven Textiles on Facebook or @amybondtextiles on Instagram).

By the end of the workshop I had managed to produce a small swatch. I was really proud of this (photo below). I had never done any weaving before so was a complete new concept to me. I thought it was interesting to see especially when my local town is rich with weaving history!

From then a more regular weaving workshop was set up and i was lucky enough to get a space… and I love it! I enjoyed it so much, I went and bought myself a frame loom so that I could weave at home too.

Amy is the weaver who facilitates this weekly workshop too. She is an amazing human! She’s super talented and has the patience of a saint! She creates a comforting atmosphere in the group. The group is a safe space to learn and to talk and share… and we do! We talk about everything, from the small stuff to the big stuff – from what we are currently watching on TV to mental/physical health issues to hopes and dreams. No judgements given! This social aspect to the group is important. It brings people together, it forms a wee community. It means we have people to turn to in times of need. We have people to draw wisdom and life experiences from. They are people who are empathetic to our own struggles. And, it is always comforting to know that we are all the same, whatever our background and experiences are we are all feeling our way through life!

Attending this group has done a lot for my own wellbeing. It is giving me a reason to get up, dressed and out on a Thursday morning. It gives me something to look forward to, a bit of structure. I have learned so much from all the ladies who attend. I have learned a fabulous new skill thanks to Amy sharing her skills. Amy encourages creativity and play in the group. She encourages to try different techniques and using different colours and different yarns and to play with textures. It is not every day that creativity is encouraged! There is a satisfaction in weaving you have something visual at the end of what you have worked on and you get a sense of achievement when you finish a swatch.

A sense of community, new skills, personal development and being good for your well being, what more do you need in an activity? The weaving workshop provides all this for me and has fast become very important in my life. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I didn’t have weaving in my life now. It is another, and important factor in my own journey of self management with my own health and wellbeing, but also my own journey feeling my way through life!

Sharing Skills

Just a wee short post from me today.

I went to a meeting today to get information about a singing for wellbeing group that is being started up in my local area.

It was hinted that I could be a big help due to my singing background.

As well as that, the facilitator said that the organisation is starting a skill share programme soon. She asked if I would go in and do a wee demonstration of my weaving (post about weaving to follow another time) and has asked me to join the peer support group. She said that I have a “calming” and “nice” way about me which was very nice to hear. Especially when I feel anything but calm at this moment in time.

Maybe I’m still riding the high I’ve got from yesterday’s sense of achievement at tailoring my own jumper but it is nice to hear that I am achieving things. It’s especially important for me to be reminded right now. I can do things. I am not useless!

Remode Jumper

This evening I attended a workshop called ‘Meddle and Make’ at Remode. Remode sounds like such an amazing thing. I’ve included a picture of the ‘About’ page from their leaflet.

I fully recommend checking them out!

I had a lovely evening learning new skills. I took an old jumper along with me. This jumper was way too big for me and had zero shape to it. As well as that I also had a ladder style hole in it.

The thing is though, despite this thing just hanging like a sack on me. It’s a comfy jumper and I like the colour a lot.

So after chatting to the lovely ladies about the jumper, I was advised on wee small changes I could do to make it more flattering. In theory it sounded easy enough but I have next to zero sewing skills!

First I put my jumper on inside out and got it pinned in to shape. Next I was given a small piece of material to practice on. This is the first time I’ve used a sewing machine since high school, like my second year of high school…. so around 2005! I was not convinced that I would be able to do it. Lines were drawn on the material as a guide to practice.

Then I could move on to the jumper! Which was very scary!

So I pulled in a bit on each side to give it a better shape and I fixed it so that the shoulders sit better on my body now. As well as that, I adjusted the length of the arms. That was particularly scary as I was scared I would see the arm holes closed!

I know it doesn’t look like much bit I am very proud of this! It no longer hangs like a sack and I repaired the hole! I can’t wait to keep practicing these new skills!