Knowledge is key to a Healthy Life

Originally published as part of the A to Z challenge on 12 April 2018

The A to Z  challenge is over:

But the value of the posts is not. My theme for the challenge was “Improve your life, Improve your mind.” Nowhere is this topic more relevant than when you’re facing a huge challenge in your life like retirement, marital problems, health problems in your family, and especially cancer!

For that reason, it’s my intention to revisit each of the posts and invite folk who didn’t read them at the time to visit them now. And if you did read them before, if you were reading at the speed I did during the month, chances are you will find new thoughts to encourage you.

Please add your comments and share the posts on social media.

The purpose of Rise and Soar with its associated blog is to inspire and encourage those in the cancer valley, whether as patients, survivors, caregivers, family or friends. Please note that it is not a health site. It is meant to encourage folk. When I tackled the A to Z challenge I reasoned that these posts should apply to everyone who cares about what is happening to their bodies, be it through age or through cancer.

I plan to post one “letter” a week only, and will commence with those who saw the least amount of attention during April. Once the official Road Trip commences I will link to that.

So for this week, let’s look at 

Knowledge, the key to a healthy life.

Here are three easy ways to gain knowledge on most topics:

read more

Is Variety Really the Spice of Life?

This post was originally written for the A to Z Blogging Challenge (April 25 2018). Because I did the challenge on this, my 2nd (niche) website, Rise and Soar, I want to keep up the momentum on the site without constantly having to come up with new posts. 

Rise and Soar

Rise and Soar is a website with a blog, that I broke away from my main website, Write to Inspire, years ago, to concentrate on inspiring and encouraging those in the cancer valley, whether as patients, survivors, caregivers, family or friends. 

However, it was never meant to be a health site. It is meant to encourage folk. When I tackled the A to Z challenge I reasoned that these posts should apply to everyone who cares about what is happening to their bodies, be it through age or through cancer. 

Now the challenge is over:

Now the challenge is over, it’s my intention to revisit each of the posts and invite folk who didn’t read them at the time to visit them now. And if you did read them before, if you were reading at the speed I did during the month, chances are you will find new thoughts to  encourage you.

Please add your comments and share the posts on social media. 

I plan to post one “letter” a week only, and will commence with those who saw the least amount of attention during April. Once the official Road Trip commences I will link to that.

For this week, I invite you to explore with me the saying, Variety is the Spice of Life. Is this true? 

When routine is broken:

Some people will try and tell you that variety is the opposite to routine, and routine is important to keep life turning over. read more

It’s Over for Another Year! A to Z 2018 Reflections.

And it’s over for another year!

I had a crazy month in April. This is my 3rd A to Z Blogging challenge. (I actually think there is one missing, which would make it the 4th, but I can’t find it.)

Great plans

I almost didn’t sign up for this year’s challenge as I knew it was going to be a busy month. However, I came across a theme that I really wanted to explore and share with others. One of my main reasons for wanting to do the A to Z challenge this year was to boost my niche website (Rise and Soar – a site to encourage and inspire those facing the Cancer Valley). So instead of posting on my main site (Write to Inspire) I chose a theme that would fit Rise and Soar without being specifically cancer-related.

I decided to write all my posts in advance and schedule them. Then all I had to do was comment on other blog posts and respond to comments on mine. I could do this!

Hah! Little did I know!

I only managed to write three posts in advance, so for the rest of the month I wrote the post the night before, and edited it early the next morning before publishing it.

I had a book deadline (for the last day of the month) for which I’d scheduled a five-day writing retreat, plus my husband and I went to visit family for the best part of a week on two occasions.

As if that wasn’t hectic enough, I added to the general chaos by forgetting to take my blood pressure medication, not once but twice on consecutive days. That ended up with a frantic drive down the mountain to the nearest hospital, half an hour away, with a scary blood pressure, and an overnight in the hospital

Fruitful Month

For all that, I kept up and really enjoyed the craziness of the month. My book is finished (Naomi ~ Beloved Mother-in-law) and will be available in print in the USA and South Africa at the end of July. (eBook will be available shortly on Amazon.) My blood pressure is finally under control. And the A to Z challenge is complete.

My theme, as some of you know, was Improve your Life, Improve your Mind.  I discovered that the one thing we should NOT do is accept symptoms as inevitable because we’re getting older. There is often a reason which can be rectified and the symptoms may be reversible. 

The challenge certainly boosted my site. In the month of April alone I saw:

Extra visitors: Over 4,000.

Comments: Almost 300.

Thank you to all who supported me and left comments on my posts.

Here are the topics covered:

  • Theme Reveal: About the theme: Improve your Life, Improve your Mind.
  • A for Age. Read about how you can cut back on mental deterioration as you get older.
  • B for Brains. See how you can best improve the brain you have.
  • C for Care for and love your body and brain. Where are you falling short? How can you improve?
  • D for Dopamine. What does this do for you? And how can you counteract a shortage?
  • E for Exercise and how you can use it to improve your body and your mind.
  • F for Fitbit which has certainly turned my life around!
  • G for Genetics  which can be a death sentence or a wake up call. Which do you choose?
  • H for Hearing Loss. How good is your hearing? See how you can improve your hearing, your life and your mind.
  • I for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection and how you can avoid or deal with them.
  • J for Journal and ways you can use this to improve your life and your mind. 
  • K for Knowledge about ways to improve your life and improve your mind. 
  • L for Learn Something New every day and some suggestions how you can do this.
  • M for Music and ways it can improve your life and your mind. Fascinating study!

Then moving on through the alphabet:

  • N for Nourish your life which will in turn nourish your mind.
  • O for Opportunities! Life is full of them. Look out for ways to improve your life and mind.
  • P for Persevere if you genuinely want to improve your health and mind.
  • Q for Quiet and ways to find this necessary commodity in our lives.
  • R for Retirement – coming soon to a home near you! How to get the most out of it. 
  • S for Stress and the importance of handling it right. 
  • T for Thankfulness which can give you an attitude of gratitude and improve your life and mind.
  • U for Understanding  how important it is to look for ways to improve your life and your mind.
  • V for Variety, the spice of your life, and how to add this seasoning to improve your life and mind.
  • W for Water, it’s pros, its cons, and how to get the most out of it.
  • X for Xerosis, that pesky skin disorder most of us get at some point in time, and how to deal with it.
  • Y – now say YES! to going through these again next month and selecting the ones you’re going to tackle first!
  • Z is for Zipa-dee-doo-dah It’s over! And I’ve survived. Wonderful feeling! Wonderful day!

Commencing on 23rd May, there is a Road Trip for all those who were involved in the A to Z. Sounds like fun. Join me?

Until then, keep looking after your life and your mind! Every blessing.

A to Z 2018 Blogging Challenge List of Series

Theme for the month: Improve your Life, Improve Your Mind.

 

  • Theme Reveal: About the theme, Improve your Life, Improve your Mind.
  • A for Age. Read about how you can cut back on mental deterioration as you get older.
  • B for Brains. See how you can best improve the brain you have.
  • C for Care for and love your body and brain. Where are you falling short? How can you improve?
  • D for Dopamine. What does this do for you? And how can you counteract a shortage?
  • E for Exercise and how you can use it to improve your body and your mind.
  • F for Fitbit which has certainly turned my life around!
  • G for Genetics  which can be a death sentence or a wake up call for you. Which do you choose?
  • H for Hearing Loss. How good is your hearing? See how you can improve your hearing, your life and your mind.
  • I for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection and how you can avoid or deal with them.
  • J for Journal and ways you can use this to improve your life and your mind. 
  • K for Knowledge about ways to improve your life and improve your mind. 
  • L for Learn Something New every day and some suggestions how you can do this.
  • M for Music and ways it can improve your life and your mind. Fascinating study!

Then moving on through the alphabet:

  • N for Nourish your life which will in turn nourish your mind.
  • O for Opportunities! Life is full of them. Look out for ways to improve your life and mind.
  • P for Persevere if you genuinely want to improve your health and mind.
  • Q for Quiet and ways to find this necessary commodity in our lives.
  • R for Retirement – coming soon to a home near you! How to get the most out of it. 
  • S for Stress and the importance of handling it right. 
  • T for Thankfulness which can give you an attitude of gratitude and improve your life and mind.
  • U for Understanding  how important it is to look for ways to improve your life and your mind.
  • V for Variety, the spice of your life, and how to add this seasoning to improve your life and mind.
  • W for Water, it’s pros, its cons, and how to get the most out of it.
  • X for Xerosis, that pesky skin disorder most of us get at some point in time, and how to deal with it.
  • Y – now say YES! to going through these again next month and selecting the ones you’re going to tackle first!
  • Z is for Zipa-dee-doo-dah It’s over! And I’ve survived. Wonderful feeling! Wonderful day!

Zip-a-dee-deo-dah! Let’s Improve your Life, Improve your Mind #atoz

And so we’ve come to the end of the

2018 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for the month of April has been Improve your Life, Improve your Mind. Have you enjoyed it? More importantly, have you benefited from the topics covered? I  want you to have a happy approach  to life.

My goal was to convince you (and me) that just because we’re getting older, or we’ve been dealt a bad hand genetically, does not mean we have to give up and have a miserable life. Yes, cells degenerate and bodies grow older. Minds take in so much information over an average number of years it’s no wonder why some information falls off the edge and we  find ourselves forgetting some memories. 

But here’s the happy news!

Where we can’t prevent ourselves getting older in years, many degenerative  situations can be either avoided, or even reverted. The key is to  be sure of our diagnosis first. So your memory isn’t what it used to be? Are you sure it’s because you’re growing old?  Do  you  fear you’re getting Alzheimer’s, because after all, it runs in the family? Well, maybe there’s nothing wrong with your mind. It may be another problem, one that can be rectified.

Maybe you can’t walk without puffing and gasping for breath. Who says that’s because you’re old? Maybe you have a heart defect that can be put right,  or maybe you’re  eating the wrong foods. 

Perhaps you’ve developed a tremor and you’re terrified you have Parkinson’s. It could be that you have a shortage of dopamine or an over-active thyroid, both of which can be rectified.  Maybe you’re dizzy, have low blood pressure, and feel really ill. You know you’ve got something  terminal. Maybe. But maybe you just need to drink more water! 

Not every sign of getting old is an irreversible issue. It could be something totally treatable. Be sure of your facts before you write yourself off as old or ill. #atoz Click To Tweet

That’s all I’ve been trying  to  tell you this  month.  Get to know your body and your mind. Make the best of your life you can . . . and be happy! Sing along with this song that sums up the whole theme and  conveniently begins with Z!

Have a wonderful day, and a wonderful life.

If you’ve missed any of these posts or want to read one again, here is a full list of all of them.

Yes! Using this word to Improve your Life, Improve your Mind

We’re always being told that we need to learn to say No! Or is it just me? Certainly, coming up to the month of April it’s a word I needed to say a lot more than I did! “No! I can’t do that. I’m already over-committed!” But I didn’t. And I had a crazy month. 

But guess what? As I’ve been thinking about how to really calm my schedule down a bit, it occurred to me that I also need to learn to say “Yes!” I’m hearing the need to say “No” so often that I automatically turn down things that actually could be fun or would do me good. Things that would improve my life, improve my mind! read more

Xerosis and how to Improve your Life, Improve your Mind #atoz

X is always one of the biggest challenges in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and this year was no exception. Then I found out I had Xerosis Cutis! Problem solved, at least as far as the A to Z is concerned!

What is Xerosis Cutis?

Xerosis cutis is the medical term for abnormally dry skin. The name comes from the Greek word “xero,” which means dry. This affects the skin, the eyes, and mucous membranes.

We have probably all, at some time or other, suffered from dry skin, especially if we’re in the older category. It’s usually a minor and temporary problem, but it can be extremely uncomfortable. Your skin needs to stay moist if it’s going to be smooth. If it loses water and oils, it becomes dry and rough.

Xerosis may appear as dry, rough, flaky or scaly patches, perhaps even with skin cracks. In people with darker skin, xerosis may appear ashy in appearance.

Causes of Xerosis Cutis:

Dry skin is usually triggered by environmental factors. Here are some of the activities or conditions which may cause Xerosis.

  • Cold weather especially with cold, dry winters.
  • Living in areas of low humidity.
  • Extremely hot weather.
  • Use of central heaters at home or work.
  • Too frequent baths.
  • Using harsh soaps.
  • Scrubbing the skin.
  • Too hot water when bathing or showering.
  • Too vigorous towel-drying.
  • Dehydration from not drinking enough water. (See Water in the previous post.)
  • Over-exposure to the sun.
  • People older than 65 are more likely to develop the condition due to hormonal changes.
  • Diabetics are at risk, so older people with diabetes are very likely to develop xerosis cutis.
  • Certain medications such as diuretics can cause xerosis. Check with your pharmacist.
  • Some diseases have dry skin as part of their symptoms. e.g. Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Thyroid imbalance, and Diabetes.
Do you have Xerosis Cutis? There are many causes, and just as many ways to help avoid it. X is for Xerosis Cutis. Please RT! Thank you. #atoz Click To Tweet

Symptoms of Xerosis

  • Skin becomes dry, itchy, and scaly.
    • This is especially on the arms and legs but may be only small patches. Mine is just one patch about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide on my leg, but it drives me crazy!
  • white, flaky skin, especially in folk with darker skin.
  • red or pink irritated skin.
  • tight skin, especially after bath or shower.
  • fine cracks appear on the skin.
  • dry itchy eyes, when the glands in the conjunctiva no longer function normally.
    • This causes a loss of tears and mucous.
    • It can, strangely, also cause a wet discharge from the eyes.
  • itchy dry mucous membranes elsewhere in the body.
Some ways to try and sort out that irritating itch that's driving you crazy! X is for Xerosis Cutis. #atoz. Please RT. Thanks. Click To Tweet

Care at home

  • Use an oil-based cream to hold in moisture.
  • Look for creams containing lactic acid, urea, or both.
  • A 1% hydrocortisone cream may help if the skin is very itchy. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
  • Note that water-based lotions may irritate xerosis cutis. Lotions contain less oil than cream.
  • Avoid sitting in front of heaters or using hot pads in bed.
  • Take lukewarm baths or showers.
  • Drink plenty water (see previous post).
  • Coconut oil may help hold in moisture and relieve itching.
  • Aloe Vera is not recommended as it may make the skin more sensitive.
  • Use mild cleansers that have no fragrance or alcohol.
  • Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel.
  • Apply skin moisturizer immediately after getting out of your bath or shower.
    • I was told to put the cream on while still wet, then dab dry. This really helped.
  • Avoid scratching. (Not so easy. Apply an anti-itch cream whenever necessary.)
  • If needed, use a humidifier in your home.
  • Apply sunscreen regularly when going outdoors.
  • Avoid wearing nylon. Cotton fabrics allow your skin to breath.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily unless you have a medical condition.
  • Use gloves when washing dishes.
  • Wash your clothes in a detergent without dyes or perfumes.
  • Petrolatum or petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) can be applied frequently and often brings relief.
  • Use hand cream every time you wash your hands.
  • Apply a good moisturizing cream to your face first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

When to see the doctor

  • If cracks break open, they may develop a bacterial infection.
  • You may have a fungal or bacterial infection, an allergy, or another skin condition. Excessive scratching of dry skin can also lead to an infection.
  • Your skin starts to ooze.
  • Large areas of skin start to peel.
  • You develop a ring-shaped rash.
  • Your skin doesn’t improve with your own home treatment within a few weeks.
  • If your skin gets much worse or the problem spreads despite treatment.
  • At the sign of blisters or very hard scaly patches of skin. You may be developing Eczema.
  • Any signs of infection.
  • If there’s no response after seven days of treatment (if you’ve been caring for it regularly.)

This has been more of a medical article than my usual, but I believe it is important. If you develop Xerosis cutitis it can make your life most unpleasant. It can also prevent your mind from functioning well as there’s nothing worse than an aggravating itch that won’t go away! Even if you do not have any of these problems, start to look after your skin now. It is one of these problems that will catch up with you sooner or later if you don’t take adequate precautions.

Only two more posts to go in this A to Z series, and both of them are going to be fun and encouraging. So make sure you read Y is for Yes! And Z is for Zipa-dee-doo-dah! over the next two days.

Water and how to make sure it improves your life, improves your mind

And so we’re into the countdown to the end of the 2018 A to Z Blogging Challenge Drinking water, and we’ve come to W. Today we’re looking at the topic, W for Water. How much water should we drink? Is it possible to drink too much? What are the pros of drinking water? And what are the cons? And yes, believe it or not, there are cons.

Have you ever thought of the fact that water is the only drink on the planet where we are told how much we should drink? Interesting, and that alone should tell us a good deal about its importance.

Read on to find out how to benefit most from this extremely useful drink as well as how to avoid the dangers. read more

Understanding your Goal to Improve your life, Improve your Mind

We’re into the last week of the A to Z Blogging Challenge for 2018. As we enter into the last letters, we look at U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. The most difficult letters to come up with good titles.

It’s at times like this we ask ourselves the question, Why?

Why do we set aside 26 days of our lives to write about a topic which  may or may not be of interest to others, or ultimately even to ourselves?

And so today, I’m asking myself that question. Why have I dedicated what was already a crazy month in my life to writing on this particular topic? Improve your Life, Improve Your Mind?

read more

Thankfulness can Improve your life, Improve your Mind #atoz

Today, we reach the letter T in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. In the theme, Improve your Life, Improve your Mind, I’ve chosen T for Thankfulness

There is much that can be said for thankfulness and I’m not sure any of it is bad.  So much so that I’ve set myself a year-long challenge to keep recording thanks—2018 thanks in the year 2018 in fact. In order to get to 2018, I need to record 39 thanks per Thursday under the topic, Thankful Thursday. Although this has been somewhat difficult to keep up with during the A to Z challenge, I’m still on target, although there may be some necessary catch-up over the next couple of weeks.

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