Thursday, 20 December 2012

True Confessions of a Shopping Mall Santa

This week I foolishly took up an offer to become ‘Santa’ in a small shopping centre somewhere out in the wilds of county Galway. To begin with I had to get into my Santa outfit. A cushion was fastened suffocatingly tight to my belly by leather straps and a rope. A large itchy beard was secured to my face by elastic bands that drew blood from the back of my ears. 

The beard partially blocked my nose, restricting my oxygen intake. The top of my head was wedged into a tight wig, the fringe of which hung over my eyes, blocking my vision. As my body temperature began to soar, I tried to drink from a bottle of water only for the contents to spill down the beard; the mouth hole being too small and blocked by tangles of white nylon.

Half blind and gasping for air and water I was then led into the store. For a moment I was alone. To either side of me were shelves stacked with tins of beans and soups and other daily fare. Overhead hot lights glared down. Then Helper Elf cried out, ‘Merry Christmas! Santa is here!’ Suddenly a throng of screaming miniature savages surrounded me. Toddlers demanded X-boxes, girls burped bubble gum burps into my face as they tried to tell me about their lists, boys grabbed at my beard causing the elastic to cut deeper into my ears. 

Above the hysteric shrieks of the children, rose the roaring of the mammies and daddies as they shoved, kicked and punched other children out of the way to ensure their little darling got right up to Santa for a happy photograph. At some point the cushion was torn from my belly and my big Santa pants fell down…

I barely survived the two-hour ordeal. Other Santa impersonators are not so lucky. They have to endure weeks of brutal inhumane treatment. So please, boys and girls, if you see a big fat fellow dressed in red and looked dazed, give him a big hug and wish him a Merry Christmas!

And of course you have to look after yourself: Here’s some articles that may be of interest:
Xmas Shopping! Is it Good for you or Bad for you?
Tips for a Happy & Healthy Christmas 

Monday, 10 December 2012

A chance to win 3,000 euro!

Want to win 3,000 euro. Drop into the wellness centre (at the back of the Hub) and buy an Irish Heart Foundation raffle ticket.

By supporting the raffle you are also supporting many of the vital services the Irish Heart Foundation provides that enable thousands of people to have a better quality of life.
The Prizes
  • 1st Prize    €3,000
  • 2nd Prize   €2,000
  • 3rd Prize      €500
This year each tickets costs only €3
Tickets are on sale until 14th December. The raffle will be drawn on 19th December. Good luck!

(PS. Feel free to pick up the Irish Heart Foundation healthy living leaflets in the Wellness Centre)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Exam de-stress - Massage

Aisling Battersby, Dip Nat ,Dip Spl, Dip Ma, Dip Ref.

Feeling tense? Massage therapy provides general relaxation within muscles, improves concentration, helps mental fatigue. Aisling offers a choice of massage styles, tailored to suit your needs and desires. Choose between Deep Tissue Swedish massage to release deeply held tension, Lymphatic drainage massage to boost the immune system, Indian Head Massage for gentle relaxation, or Sports Injury manipulation for stressed shoulders. 

Booking required.

Where: Wellness Centre at the back of the Hub
When: Every Monday, Tuesday & Thursday until 13thDecember
Price: Staff: 25 Euro / Students: 10 Euro
Booking required. Email:

Friday, 30 November 2012

Exam De-stress - Reflexology / Indian Head Massage

Reflexology / Indian Head Massage
With Helena Hennigan, Dip Reflexology, Dip Indian Head Massage

Reflexology is natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body. The benefits may include feelings of relaxation, calmness, revitalizing and rejuvenating.

Indian Head Massage is the ideal stress-busting treatment for anyone who is suffering from aching shoulders, a tight neck, tension headache, eye strain, insomnia, or poor concentration. It is a safe, simple yet effective therapy renowned for relieving symptoms of stress. It is done fully clothed and is noninvasive.

Where: Wellness Centre at the back of the Hub
When: Every Friday until 14thDecember
Price: Staff: 25 Euro / Students: 10 Euro
Booking required. Email:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Exam De-stress - Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy with Michael Mullen, MICHP, D.HP, ADV DHP, Hypnotherapist

Are you worried about exams? Do you suffer with anxiety problems or go weak with the thought of doing a presentation? Then may-be hypnosis can help you to feel more relaxed and in control. Feel more confident and allow the words to flow out as you write an essay or deliver presentations. After your treatment you will get a CD that you can use at home, to enhance the effectiveness  of the session. Booking required.

Where: Wednesdays & Thursdays in Wellness Centre until 13th December
Price: Staff: 25 Euro / Students: 10 Euro
Booking required. Email:
For more see Exam De-stressProgramme

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Exam De-stress programme - Acupuncture

Acupuncture /  Ear Acupuncture

The ancient practice of Acupuncture is a holistic approach to health care that is based on the principle that energy circulates through pathways in our body. When this energy is blocked or depleted, imbalance results in disharmony, which can cause lack of energy, pain, lowered immune system or illness.  The insertion of very fine acupuncture needles in selected points along the meridians can correct the imbalance and promote wellbeing. 
Booking required.

Ear Acupuncture is limited to the external ear area. It has been shown to release endorphins, or ‘feel good’ chemicals in our bodies, relieving stress and promoting deep relaxation.  No booking required—Drop-in.  

Acupuncture is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays until 14th December. For details on times and prices check out the online 
 Exam De-stressProgramme

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Exam Skills - Quick Tips for Better Performance

Time is running out and my brain feels like it’s going to burst!
What can I do to get the information out of my brain & onto the exam paper?
Revise actively  Think up questions about the material before you start and seek answers as you study. Turn statements into questions, and think about how the material relates to what you already know.
Reason: Real understanding comes not when we stuff information in, but when we draw it out. Exams require this same ‘drawing out’ of information. Learning occurs when new short-term memory material connects or integrates with what you already know (material in your long-term memory).

That sounds easy enough. Is there anything else that might help?
Organise Look at the subject matter in terms of facts (what do I need to learn?), principles and concepts (what do I need to know?), and applications (what must I be able to do with these facts and concepts to show that I understand them?).  
Reason: Packaging, labelling and linking information gives us a set of cues so we can more easily recognise and retrieve information from our memory store.

It’s one thing to be able to do this at home, but it’s another thing to be able to do it in the exam hall!
Rehearse the exam format. Set your own exam, based on past papers.* Similar questions tend to come up again and again. Practise answering a full exam question in the allotted time.
Reason: A memory crammed with facts, but with no idea of how to write an examination answer is doomed to failure. Practising the exam techniques will also reduce anxiety and save time in the exam hall.

How am I going to keep functioning at peak level until exams are over?
Get appropriate rest, exercise and nutrition. Get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night, eat a balanced diet and avoid alcohol or too much caffeine.
Reason: Your mind and body are connected. These things matter and will affect your performance. Just ask any athlete.

I’m still worried that the stress will get to be too much.
Prepare a mental refuge. This only takes seconds. Imagine a scene that is a safe, warm, secure and peaceful refuge, to be used as an emotional air-raid shelter when stress threatens. Imagine this scene as vividly as possible, including sounds, sensations, tastes and smells. Once you have chosen your mental refuge, remember it and practise recalling it when you are not under pressure so that you will be able to conjure it up instantly when you are.
Reason: Stress can appear in one or more forms at exam time, but you can keep it at a healthy level and survive the worst attacks if you prepare a method of dealing with it beforehand.

Only a few days to go and I have loads to do!
Avoid cramming. Start as soon as possible. Review what you know rather than trying to learn lots of new material at the last minute. And start earlier next term!
Reason: Short-term memory hasn’t enough space for all you need to know. Also, cramming stupefies long-term memory (where well-learned material lives) and can set you up for panic and “blanking.”

If you have worked all term but now have three exams in five days so only an evening to review already learned material –
v Write out a course summary. Reviewing the basic course structure will help you remember, comprehend and retain the material.
v Go over study questions, main points of notes and assignments, skim read texts, drawing out the information from your memory rather that trying to cram more in.
v Stay calm, confident and focussed. Take breaks in your studying, get 6 to 8 hours sleep, and remind yourself that working hard all term really will pay off.

If you have slacked off and are now justifiably worried –
v Gather information about what is likely to be on the exam. Find out principle themes, sub-topics and major illustrations. Memorise them!
v Use every trick you can, such as word association, rhymes, enumeration and sentences from acronyms.
v BE SELECTIVE! Memorise major themes, then decide what supporting material to concentrate on. Remember, examiners actually want you to do well. The idea that they are plotting trick questions to catch you out is nonsense. They want to give you a chance to show how good you are.
v Rehearse your mental refuge. Try to be kind to yourself. Get at least 6 hours sleep.

Make the most of your time in the exam and answer the question that you have been asked.
Reason: Poor performance can usually be put down to two things – poor time management, and not reading the question correctly.   Take note of key verbs, such as, “discuss,”  “compare,” or “explain.”  Plan out your time, leaving a little time at the end to check over your answers.

For more info see: