Knowledge is key to a Healthy Life

This entry is part 12 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

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

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

This entry is part 28 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

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

This entry is part 27 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

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!

Thankfulness can Improve your life, Improve your Mind #atoz

This entry is part 21 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

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.

read more

Stress and How to Improve your Life, Improve your Mind #atoz

This entry is part 20 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

We all know the image of the zebra who is busy losing his stripes. His comment is, “I think it’s stress!” How many of us  have been in that situation where we feel as if we’re losing our  stripes?

A common wish for many of us would be to live a life free of stress. and yet that would not be good at all for our bodies or our minds.

Stress  can be totally normal, like before an exam  or an important production. Sometimes it motivates us to focus on work, yet at other times, it causes us to become overwhelmed so that we  can’t concentrate on anything.

So what’s the difference between good and bad stress? There are countless articles and books written on the topic, but let’s see if we can wrap it up in a short teaching and a video.

Good stress:

  • Activates the flight or fight response which may save your life.
  • Can help you meet daily challenges
  • Motivates you to reach your goals.
  • May help you accomplish tasks more efficiently.
  • Can even boost your memory.

Bad stress over a prolonged period:

  • Weakens the immune system
  • Causes high blood pressure
  • May bring about excessive fatigue, depression and anxiety
  • May be harmful to your heart.
  • Can harm your arteries and
  • Cause problems to how their cells regenerate.

So what to do about your own stress levels?

Dr Daniel Amen has produced this short 2 minute video clip where he covers the topic far better than I ever could. Do yourself a favor and listen carefully  to it.

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

This entry is part 19 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

R is for Retirement.

Dreams of an idyllic lifestyle of relaxation and happiness suddenly evaporate unless you take certain precautions.

For me, retirement was something old people did. So when the time arrived for my husband to retire from full-time ministry, it was a challenging time for me. Although I no longer nursed, I still wrote, and I didn’t feel ready to stop that. So I have never actually retired.

After my husband retired, we moved to a retirement village in Port Elizabeth, a beautiful seaside city on the coast of South Africa. I looked forward to the time with mixed feelings. Would we now get old, because we were no longer earning an income?  How would we cope doing nothing?

Well, of course, given our personalities, that didn’t happen. We are as busy as ever. The great thing about retirement is you can say no! You are no longer under obligation to meet the demands of a busy company or boss.

Beware of these temptations: 

However, I soon realized there were certain dangers to watch out for if we  wanted to stay well physically as well as mentally.

  • There was no sense of commitment to a bigger cause. We were no longer working long hours so could lie in and become lazy and inactive.
  • The risk of living in isolation. We had never lived in Port Elizabeth. Although we had family within a few years they had all passed on (despite two of them being younger than us). So the risk of being  cut off from social interaction was real.
  • The temptation to no longer learn new things. Apart from challenges like learning to live on a pension, what else was there to learn? I have seen countless retired people fall into this trap. They sit with their newspaper, perhaps at least doing the crossword, or they take up bridge. But what are they learning?

There are so many ways to help improve your life, improve your mind, during retirement. Read more here:#atoz Click To TweetTips for a beneficial retirement:

Here are nine ways to ensure your time in retirement is beneficial and your life and mind both stay active as long as possible. Many of them have already been discussed in this series.

  1. Build a social network of friends (offline) with whom you can enjoy fellowship.  

  2. Join a church or another organization you believe in and get involved.

  3. Nourish your body through eating well including antioxidant-rich foods.

  4. Avoid regular braaiss (barbecue) or charred meat.

  5. Boost your diet with a good multivitamin/mineral and if necessary additional vitamin D and omega 3.

  6. Exercise plenty and get sufficient sleep.

  7. Allow at least 12 hours between the last meal of the day and breakfast.

  8. Keep learning. Teach yourself a new musical instrument or a new language. Learn chess or take up model building. 

  9. Have an annual checkup and ask your doctor to monitor your blood levels.

Quiet can Improve your Life, Improve your Mind

This entry is part 18 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

If you were asked to come up with one word that summed up the world today, I am sure of one thing. You would not choose the word “Quiet.” Many people will read this blog today, folk from all different parts of the world, different cultures, beliefs and customs. Yet unless you are a monk, it is unlikely your life is quiet.

Are you still wanting to improve your life, improve your mind? Q is for Quiet!

Sometimes life gets so noisy it’s tough to know what we’re meant to be doing or to concentrate on the task in hand. Yet deep within, there is often a yearning for a place of calm, somewhere we can just “chill out” and not have to work or even think about working. Being quiet, really quiet, is an important and integral part of improving our lives and our minds.  read more

Persevere if you want to Improve your Health, Improve your Mind

This entry is part 17 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

The A to Z  challenge was a crazy month,

For the month of April we experienced a never-ending cycle of blogging, reading and commenting on other blogs, and researching for the next post.  I think we were all glad when the month drew to a close. 

My theme for the challenge was “Improve your life, Improve your mind.” And I truly believe the topics need to be put out there one more time. 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 comment and share on social media.

Although the key purpose of Rise and Soar  is to inspire and encourage those in the cancer valley, whether as patients, survivors, caregivers, family or friends, this series applies to everyone. If you are interested in making the most out of your bodies and protecting your minds from the potential harm of aging, you need what they have to offer. So read on!

My life is full of unfinished projects.

How about you? Getting started is the fun bit.

I love to get started. But then I get distracted onto another equally fun challenge, and I forget about the previous one. More commonly, I don’t forget. I always plan to get back to it, but there just isn’t time to keep juggling all the balls I have in the air!

Yet, if we’re going to improve our lives and our health, we need to persevere! And that’s where we need to persevere. Persevere in eating well. Persevere with exercise. Persevere with positive attitudes. And persevere with thinking right! read more

Learn Something New to Improve your Life, Improve your Mind. #atoz

This entry is part 13 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

I always thought to improve my life and improve my mind sounded like a lot of work, and not at all fun! Then I started following this theme, and I got more and more enthusiastic. It can be a lot of fun!

By nature, I love to learn. Understand, this was not a trait when it came to school books and homework! This is a much more recent trait. But I love to face a challenge and master it. read more

Journal to Improve your Life, your Mind. #atoz

This entry is part 11 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

Lots has been written on the health benefits of regular journaling, so I don’t propose to go over them all again today. I thought it would be good to take a quick look at the specific ways we can use journaling to improve our lives and our minds.

So here we go with J is for Journaling – and how it can improve our lives and our minds. read more