December 11, 2020
2020 AGM Healthy Club Officer’s report
Davitts GAA Healthy Club Officer Report 2020 – Dr Catherine Sweeney
GAA clubs reach into the heart of the communities they serve and are therefore powerful resources in promoting the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of our population at large. In recognition of this, the GAA developed The Healthy Club Project in partnership with Healthy Ireland, the HSE, the National Office for Suicide Prevention and Irish Life. This project is based on best national and international practice. It aims to create a healthy philosophy in clubs and facilitate them in supporting the holistic health of their members and the communities they serve by integrating health into their day-to-day activities making them hubs for health.
Along with 150 other clubs selected to participate in the Healthy Club Project across the 32 counties, Davitts GAA Club began their journey to becoming a Healthy Club in 2018. The executive committee valued the importance of this project and with their support and that of club members we engaged the community by hosting walking events as well as club talks on the importance of Health Eating, Physical Activity, Mental Health, Yoga and Mindfulness. We also held Cardiac Screening and CPR Training and became a Smoke Free Club. We achieved Healthy Club Status as part of the Healthy Club Project in October 2019.
Davitts GAA Club planned to continue their journey with the Healthy Club Project in 2020. However, Covid-19 changed the course of these plans. Despite this, the club was not found wanting and agreed that the safety of club members and the community at large was of paramount importance. At the onset of the pandemic, a number of steps that followed government guidelines were implemented such as education on the virus using HSE videos and posters on our Facebook page, signage on entrance to the pitch and clubhouse regarding mask use, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, placement of hand sanitisers throughout the clubhouse, guidelines for use of the gym and it’s equipment, guidelines for continuation of the club lotto and engagement with the community in partnership with Centra and Supervalu in providing groceries and prescriptions for vulnerable members of our community. The club also developed a walking track around the perimeter of the pitch as a facility for non-playing members to get some exercise and fresh air within the safe confines of the club grounds.
As 2020 draws to a close and we look to 2021 with the hope of a vaccine and a return to some semblance of normality, we as a club wish to support our members and the community in any way we can.
The following are tips in maintaining health for the remainder of the pandemic:
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, and limit convenience foods and foods high in sugar, salt, and calories as well as caffeinated and fizzy drinks.
2. Limit alcohol intake to a minimum as it is a depressant and can alter mood and emotions as a result.
3. Exercise every day, whether it is a 30-minute walk or a 10K run, get out and get some fresh air.
4. Keep a structure to the day having a loose timetable for meals, work, exercise, relaxation, and get up and go to bed at the same time each day making sure to prioritise a good night’s sleep.
5. If you are working from home, make sure to take regular breaks from your phone and computer and ensure you have time to relax and unwind in the evenings once the workday has ended.
6. Limit news consumption, taking a break from newsfeeds and social media regularly, and only seek information from trusted sources such as the HSE.
7. Get creative by taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one. Creative tasks such as painting, knitting, baking, gardening are all excellent ways of tending to our mental health needs.
8. Practice mindfulness by “staying in the moment” taking notice of your senses, feelings, and emotions.
9. Stay connected with family, friends and neighbours in a safe way through text messages, e-mails, phone calls, videocalls and social media, without forgetting the old-fashioned letters and post-cards.
10. Seek help from a healthcare professional such as your GP if it is all getting too much, where the right supports can be provided and accessed. Of note, the Samaritans are the GAA’s national mental health partner and can be contacted on 116123.
As I step down from my position as Healthy Club Officer at the end of this year, I wish to thank all committee and club members as well as members of the community and sponsors for their help and support over the last four years and wish Davitts GAA Club all the best for 2021.