On Monday morning, I went to my Body Pump class with Natalie Blanch at YMCA Casey RACE in Cranbourne East. Today’s class was essentially what I wanted to do last Thursday had I made it there on time. Thankfully I actually got there early so I had plenty of time to set up all of my equipment (bench, hand weights, dumbbell plates and bar, foam mat). It’s literally been months since I’ve been to one of Nat’s classes. As always, life tends to get in the way plus I know that she changes her teaching schedule now and then so it’s a bit hard to keep up with.
Today’s pump class was both fun and challenging. Today we worked through Release 85 which contains tracks like Muse – Uprising, Cascada – The Rhythm of the Night, Pink – Blow Me One Last Kiss and Brooklyn Bounce – This is How We Rock! The most difficult parts for me where definitely the lunges, weighted squats with the bar, bicep curls and the core work (leg extensions, crunches). I really surprised myself in being able to do the plyometric squat jumps over the bench as it’s something I’ve never done before.
Of course the most laughs came during the Pink track, which is Nat’s favourite artist, as we all mentally spoke the explicit lyrics of the song (Just when it can’t get worse, I’ve had a SHIT day!). Nat always manages to make Pump classes really fun and enjoyable despite how tough it is fatigue and soreness wise. As she said today, we always get through the sets with a smile on our faces, no matter how hard it gets. http://www.totallylesmills.com/site/bodypump
On Tuesday morning, I had my Employ Your Mind session at WISE Employment in Cranbourne. Today I met two new clients and two new facilitators in the group which I had mixed emotions about. In terms of their personalities, I got along with them pretty well though it did remind me too much of high school with the facilitators constantly cracking up and making jokes. On the one hand, I did need a good laugh after how depressed and socially isolated I’ve been recently. But it showed that they weren’t taking the session that seriously.
It was also clear that neither of them had the experience to run a group program nor were very computer literate. But me being polite and friendly, I cut them some slack and just focused on filling out the worksheets and doing my Thinking Gym exercises on the computer. Today’s session was about Social Cognition which includes how we think, feel and behave in a social setting, having awareness about different social situations, reading non-verbal cues, determining the mood of another person and being able to see things from a different perspective.
It’s an area I continually have to work on as I’ve struggled in social situations (groups of people in particular) my entire life. However, I found myself volunteering my answers to the group and even presenting my ideas for the project I’m working on, Becoming a Barista. I wasn’t fully confident with my answers as I’m still inexperienced when it comes to serving food and beverages and operating a coffee making machine but I still gave it a go anyway.
On Tuesday night, I attended my Body Combat class with Cinamon Guerin at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I was quite indecisive today about which class I was going to attend tonight. It also didn’t help that I spend an hour or so figuring out how to setup my new phone, a HTC One X10. I literally needed a YouTube video to help me work out how to insert the sim card. But thankfully I managed to get it up and running before leaving for Casey Arc. https://www.24life.com/seven-bodycombat-moves-to-master-before-your-first-class/
It’s been over a month since my last Combat class so naturally I was pretty rusty. I was also feeling quite sore after my Pump class yesterday so the fatigue came on fast and strong. Cinamon gave us a mixture of tracks from older releases with a lot of complex movements such as jab-crosses, roundhouse kicks, uppercuts, descend/ascends, knee strikes, esquivas, push-ups and dynamic lunges. Thankfully Cinamon always manages to make me laugh even during the workout which helps to take the pressure off how difficult the class can get. https://www.inkin.com/blog/en/Fighting-Fit–All-You-Need-To-Know-About-Body-Combat
On Thursday morning, I had an appointment with my support worker Ally Lamb at Colourfield Cafe Casey Central in Narre Warren South. Today I mostly talked about how I felt about my Employ Your Mind session on Tuesday and some work related issues I had last night. Ally is very good when it comes to giving me a different perspective to look at in order to see what else might be happening. This actually helps because it makes me less likely to take things personally and to reflect on situations with hindsight and critical thinking.
We also had a discussion around what it would be like for me to work in a cafe and becoming a barista. She suggested that perhaps I could do some work experience in a cafe as part of my Employ Your Mind assessment to get some hands on experience such as learning how to use the coffee machine, making different coffees for the customer, serving customers, cleaning duties and presentation. It could be a very good thing for me.
On Thursday afternoon, I had a foot reflexology massage with Shannon Currant at Chisholm Institute in Berwick. I was feeling pretty flustered walking into Building B as I literally didn’t have much time to spare in between my appointment with Ally, coffee date with Mum, doing shopping and errands at Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre and then driving straight to TAFE. I was clearly burning the candle at both ends as fitting everything in proved more difficult than I first thought.
So ironically this massage was very necessary for me right now. It’s the second time I’ve volunteered myself for one of Shannon’s practical assessments for her Beauty course and I had a positive experience last time, so I figured I’d help her out again. Besides some distracting conversations and giggles that were happening next door (cough cough), it was very relaxing and nourishing.
Shannon did a great job not only with the massage but also with the reflexology theory, determining which parts of my feet were more “crunchy” than others. Each area of the foot directly connects to another part or system within the body. So for example, my main areas of concern and improvement are the ears, sinuses and respiratory system (no surprises there to be honest). I was genuinely impressed with her knowledge and proved to be a good learning experience for me as well. https://www.natural-holistic-health.com/reflexology-massage-techniques/
On Thursday night, Mum and I attended an NDIS Information Session at Bunjil Place in Narre Warren. It’s only been about six months since I first became aware of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after being diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. So far it is very confusing and overwhelming for many of the parents, children and adults involved. The biggest problem is that it’s a lengthy process just to even apply to be a participant let alone get your first plan.
Pamela Gatos from Amaze was tonight’s presenter and she did a great job of being brutally honest about what we need to do to prepare your application, the disability requirements, what evidence to provide, the types of funding the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) provide, the ways you can manage your funding and introducing NDIS workshops. It’s a lot of information for most people to absorb and this is just scratching the surface. http://www.amaze.org.au/2017/06/are-you-ndis-ready-amazes-new-online-resource-will-guide-you/
It seems from the questions that were raised tonight that a lot of people are disappointed in the NDIA’s lack of response and ability to provide good enough answers. Whilst the scheme does look good on paper and there have been some positive cases of the plan been effectively utilised, there is still a long way to go. It hasn’t even been rolled out into our area yet (Southern Melbourne which includes Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Cardinia) which is expected to be from September 1st. https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/community-services/ndis
This information night, whilst it wasn’t accommodating in terms of place (30-40 attendees in an average sized meeting room), was helpful because it wasn’t a bullshit session about how “great” the NDIS is. The NDIA have very high expectations when it comes to providing evidence of your disability and proving how “severe” your disability is. Plus they can take months to respond to applicants and process your Access Request Form. But that’s just the reality we’re dealing with here. https://www.ndis.gov.au/people-disability/access-requirements.html
On Friday morning, Mum and I attended the Biggest Morning Tea charity function at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. This is the second time we have gone to a BMT held at Balla Balla and it’s a cause I love getting behind, not only because I love tea but it’s helps to raise funds and awareness towards people suffering from cancer. Once again, the event was hosted by Andy Reid who is the President of Balla Balla. Thankfully I found him less annoying and more entertaining this year especially with his English accent.
We had two guest speakers today, Amanda Stapleton and Heather Thorne. Amanda is the Deputy Mayor of the City of Casey as well as a Councillor. She was sharing some details about her own life story and what happiness means to her. Happiness is a choice and can lead to a healthier and more positive lifestyle. There is scientific evidence which shows the many biological and physiological impacts that happiness can have including lower levels of stress and anxiety, a stronger immune system and improved cardiovascular health. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_ways_happiness_is_good_for_your_health
The second speaker, Heather, was a primary school teacher and a singer, playing at local venues such as the Cranbourne RSL. From listening to her story, I could emotionally respect and empathise with her ongoing battles with osteoarthritis and multiple intracranial aneurysms (That’s a mouthful). She shared how powerful having a positive outlook on life has been for her with a large support system in place and the joy singing brings to her life. She also sung a couple of classic songs including “You Are My Sunshine” and “Morning Town Ride”.
All the attendees were encouraged to donate as much as they could towards Cancer Council Victoria from buying raffle tickets, auctions and playing a game involving making words of four letters or more out of the phrase “Biggest Morning Tea”. The game proved to be a lot of fun for those involved including myself as I enjoy doing puzzles in my spare time. Everyone got a plate filled with small slices, cakes and sandwiches plus we welcomed to help themselves to cups of tea and/or water. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/event/the-biggest-morning-tea/
On Saturday afternoon, I attended a workshop called Boost Your Brain Power by Carolyn King held at doTERRA Australia in Mulgrave. I have to admit that I was a little concerned about coming today a) knowing that I’ll be the only male in attendance and b) potentially getting roped into buying doTerra Essential Oils. Thankfully both of these things weren’t worth worrying about. I’m used to being in female dominated social situations like at my yoga classes and Judith, the deTerra consultant, didn’t lock the door and force anyone to sing up to be a costumer (thank goodness!). https://www.doterra.com/US/en
Today’s workshop mostly focused on how to increase creativity and productivity into your life, how stress can affect the mind and the body, the left and right brain dominance, what is Kinesiology, what are Essential Oils and Reflexology of the hands. Carolyn talks us through the different types of stress, how the brain processes stress, stress based learning vs. movement based learning and neuroplasticity. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
We all had to fill and colour in a sheet which determined which side of the eyes, ears, hands, feet and brain we are. Interestingly, most of my body parts were dominant on the right side except for the brain which showed left hemisphere dominance after I did the questionnaire. These results show that I have a dominance in logic (Profile A). https://energyconnectiontherapies.com/resources-techniques/brain-gym/brain-dominance-profile/
She also demonstrated some very helpful techniques in being able to integrate hearing, sight and our brain plus the essential oils and areas of the palm associated with these. The last part of the workshop involved doing a Brain Balance guided meditation which involved deep breathing, a body scan and something called the Emerald Green Learning Field which is similar to a “peaceful place”. https://empoweredhappiness.com/
“This is how we do it when somebody want to turn you down. You got to keep on movin’. Don’t let nobody get you hit you get you down to the ground. Hear when we say.” S.O.A.P. – This Is How We Party (1998)