The greatest wealth is health

“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”  ~ William Londen

Today is International Self-Care Day. It is really important to look after yourself. If you don’t feel great, investigate (the cause). 

You owe it to yourself to live the best life feeling good, even great. You may need only tweak your self-care by eating more healthily, drinking more water, taking a multi-vitamin, getting 15 minutes of sunshine daily while adding exercise to your routine. Or, you may need to demand to see a specialist to confirm your hunch that there’s something amiss.

The best way to get your health issues heard is to track your symptoms so you can take something concrete to a GP and discuss the next step.

FoodDiaryI use Health Storylines Food Diary and Symptom Tracker tools for that. You don’t have to suffer from a chronic illness to take advantage of this easy-to-use tracking system. It you have any food intolerance, or just generally don’t feel up to par, tracking what you eat and when may be key to shaping a new way of living that can optimise your health.

Who wants to go through life feeling unwell. By tracking your reaction to foods you consume, you will discover which products trigger symptoms (bloating, gas, nausea even constipation or diarrhoea).

It takes about two weeks of monitoring what you eat and how you feel to see a pattern. It is easy to do, just take five minutes at the end of your day to write down what you ate (via the Food Diary) and how it made you feel (Symptom Tracker). 

There’s good reason for the saying food is medicine. If you need a kick along, follow The Australian Dietary Guidelines, which has information about the types and amounts of foods, food groups and dietary patterns that aim to: promote health and wellbeing; reduce the risk of diet-related conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity.

Your GP can refer you to a dietician and exercise physiologist if you want to tackle two issues together.

For those suffering the same condition as me (NETs), this video provides a quick snapshot into avoiding food triggers.

In no time you’ll be on your way to feeling great. Happy International Self-Care Day!

Hope you join me on the fitness journey to track food and symptoms. Just click on this link to get started.

The author has used the Health Storylines since being diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours of the small intestine in 2016. After more than a year documenting her health via the app, she has become a Self-Care Ambassador as part of a pilot to encourage others to track their health.

Health benefits of drinking water

Now that we know how important water is for our health, the next burning question is how much water is really enough. It can be difficult to achieve eight glasses a day.

The Mayo Clinic suggests our fluid intake is probably adequate if we rarely feel thirsty or our urine is colourless or light yellow.

That’s an easy marker to track given we can combine drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water to achieve our daily target.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking all fluids are equal.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics provided proof of the power of “water over other drinks if we want to control weight”. ScienceDaily said researchers from the University of Illinois examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 US adults, and found the majority of participants who increased their consumption of plain water by 1 per cent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. 

That’s a great benefit for doing something so simple.

And there are even more health gains.

If you haven’t begun the Health Storylines Challenge to Drink 8 cups of water every day for 5 days, now is your chance. Click on this link. It is never too late to get started.

Return here tomorrow for the final chapter in the wonders of water.

Judy Wilkinson has used the Health Storylines app since being diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours of the small intestine in 2016. After more than a year documenting her health via the app, she has become a Self-Care Ambassador as part of a pilot to encourage others to track their health. 

Still waters run deep

Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate.  — EveryDay Health

If you’re not convinced about the health gains from drinking water, here’s some more compelling reasons to increase your intake.

Did you know it can help improve mood and energy levels? In recent studies, dehydration has been associated with increased, anger, and confusion as well as mood problems. It all comes down to the fact we need to be well hydrated for our cells to work properly.

WebMD Consumer Network’s OnHealth explains that drinking water also helps maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure. It says we need adequate fluid to produce lymph, an important bodily fluid and component of the immune system.

In 2017, Medical News Today suggested having a few glasses of warm or hot water each day might offer even more benefits. It said tea may reduce the risk of strokeheart disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease.

In February this year, it reported most of us are still not consuming enough fluids each day, even though we know keeping hydrated is crucial for our health and well-being.

So how can we fix that? Why don’t you join me in monitoring how much water you drink via the Health Storylines challenge to Drink 8 cups of water a day for 5 days.

It’s easy to do. Just use the app to take a five-day snapshot of how much water you consume. Don’t try to drink more, just track your daily water intake to find out your normal.

Click on this link to get started. If you haven’t already, add the Health Routine Builder tool under the Organisation and Reminders category.

In no time, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of the effects it has on your insides.

Return here tomorrow to find out more about the wonders of water!

Judy Wilkinson has used the Health Storylines app since being diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours of the small intestine in 2016. After more than a year documenting her health via the app, she has become a Self-Care Ambassador as part of a pilot to encourage others to track their health. 

Face up to concrete cold facts

Woke up this morning with an ache in my head
I splashed on my clothes as I spilled out of bed
I opened the window to listen to the news
But all I heard was … Rodriguez

No matter who you are, what you do, there comes a day of reckoning. After a year escaping the every day mundane, it’s time to face up to my own concrete cold fact: the vacation is over.

So what next? Work out the next steps.

Flying back from LA to Sydney watching the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” the list for working out the next step(s) loomed large and at times overwhelmed.

That promise to strive to create something new flew by too quickly. It came and went and the reality check left in its wake poses ever more questions: return to the tried and true or continue to try more things new?

Looking back on the previous path taken only strengthens my resolve it hasn’t been for nought. What made “Tom the curious” now turned “James the weak” produced some of the best work, freed my mind from limitations I’d allowed myself to be hemmed in by and given hope that what comes next will build on skills gained over the past year.

Not everyone gets a shot at doing something different. Having the financial freedom to explore your strengths was a gift. And I was grateful for the opportunity to jump out of an old comfort zone.

When you do something for yourself, it makes you appreciate your own worth in the workforce. The PumpkinFACE™ venture didn’t pull financial strings but as a social media experiment and educational venture it hit its mark, every day. AND next year there are plans to build on what has already begun and better still publish what’s already been written!

Yet those doubts are there about those next steps. Mashing lyrics from songs on the Rodriguez Cold Fact album best sums up some concerns:

Now you sit there thinking feeling insecure / ‘Cos you got no one to listen, you got no one to call / Drifting, drowning in a purple sea of doubt / I wonder how many dreams have gone bad / I wonder how much going have you got / I wonder and worry my friend / I wonder don’t you?

After every day being a holiday it makes you reflect on what’s transpired and wonder how best to tackle what to do next. Making good decisions now could be “the recipe for my happiness” and financial success.

Getting away from the everyday mundane was about finding happiness absent from my previous job … but can that sense of freedom and accomplishment be replicated back home, or will doubts resurface and limit future decisions?

I guess only time will tell, and like “Sugar Man” perhaps success from what’s previously transpired will surface some time down the track. Better later than not at all!

Judy Wilkinson is a blogger and journalist who spent nine months in the United States visiting New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California as well as travelling to Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Next post catches up on life in South America.

Create content that connects

No matter whether you have an established presence online or not, finding your place is a personal journey only you can take in your quest to create compelling content that connects.

It’s easy to be persuaded to join the league of marketers promising something for what seems like little effort or perhaps signing over your rights to collective social media sites that want to harness your content and contacts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just depends where you’re at in your journey. And sure it is a harder road to navigate alone, but the payoff should things take off could prove to be the start of even greater things to come.

Too many brands treat social media as a one-way broadcast channel rather than a two-way dialogue through which emotional storytelling can be transferred. – Simon Mainwaring

My journey began with the idea of blogging my way through the United States and Central America to bring stories that count, unfettered by payment, not compromised by anyone’s opinion but my own. I also didn’t want to blur the line between my unpaid blog and my unpaid day job developing a website, app and e-book.

But it’s inevitable they’d collide. Two separate journeys unfolding simultaneously all with the end game of creating compelling content, one across multiple platforms. I would never have believed 12 months ago that within a couple of months I’d be researching the ins and outs of SEO, building a website while working on an app, writing an e-book while teaching English as a second language. Nor would I have entertained the idea of creating marketing content for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram and becoming addicted to the press express buttons they represent!

As a paid journalist I’ve edited content and designed pages in print and online but I’d never built a website from scratch or worked with an overseas company to develop an app. Opting out of the workforce to do something creative sounds so romantic. Friends believe what you’re doing is pure fun, and at times it is though working on a project which began in one country and led to another has been equally gruelling as juggling the ins and outs of my previous job.


Nevertheless this project has been more rewarding simply because it involved so much sweat, funds and frustration, which is almost forgotten given the website is up, the e-book is written and ready to be released and the app is before iTunes for review.

Then just at the time the app was being submitted for approval, Apple’s developer site fell under “hacker” siege, delaying the project by weeks. The plan was to have the app out by August 1 to allow my co-founder and I to hit the ground running to get word out through all the mediums we’d painstakingly researched. We wanted a three-month lead time to really establish marketing for our product ahead of the annual event it targeted.

So what happened next? Nothing and everything. This forced break allowed us to regroup and rethink our strategy. It made us sit down and question what we wanted to happen. Instead of jumping head-first into our simultaneous assault on social media we were given a much-needed breather to tackle new ways to get our message out.

And that’s where the fun has begun: word of mouth. Being able to tell others what you’ve been working on. Building on the excitement to launch whether out at the bank, grocery store or when relatives drop by or kids come knocking at the door to elicit odd jobs around the house, one is ready to relay that “elevator conversation” with ease.

There’s merit in the one-man marketing band and so far the best response has been “who does that [create an app]?” … well, ordinary folk like you and me.

It started with an idea that didn’t get filed into the too hard basket. It took perseverance and a willingness never to give up. It required sheer hard work to overcome lack of technical expertise, build knowledge and skills and trust in one’s creativity to create compelling content for a website that others will want to read, follow, friend and share.

It's the treats in life that count!

It’s the treats in life that count!

Finally, it has taken unshakeable belief that your creation will be compelling enough for people to want to pay for it. Of course that will only be confirmed when it is out in the world-wide marketplace, stripped bare of the angst it has gone through to shape, its arrival celebrated by the consumption of the masses.

Judy Wilkinson is a freelance writer who is excited to be part of a simple idea that evolved to include an integrated social media approach aimed at keeping families connected at Halloween.

Just keep working it!

A game of cat and koala!

A game of cat and koala!

There are three rules for writing a novel.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

Look and you will find. Makes you think of the word seek, so those smart people from Seek Australia got the host name right. Yet there are so many online sites to search jobs, you just need to seek out the right ones. Elance is a great one for people looking to utilise their skills around the world.

It’s a brave new world online. As Elance spruiks: work differently. You have to put in a bid to be considered for the job. Which is difficult at first. I mean how much is your expertise worth when there’s others in developing countries equally as talented and prepared to go as low as it takes.

The answer is to just keep bidding for multiple jobs. Like getting your foot in the door, once you’ve snagged one the rest follow. Since leaving a full-time job I’ve spent much time perusing work-related websites. I’m a member of so many worldwide organisations in need of writers for hire that my inbox at times goes into information overload.

The real skill is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Are these real offers, or just people seeing how low they can outsource a job. One online position cancelled their ad after deciding to do the work in-house. The writing was really on the chalkboard because the employer’s bidding price guide was expressed as “unsure”!

Dream a dream for someone else!

Dream a dream for someone else!

And yet I’m fascinated with the type of jobs on offer via Elance. One woman’s ad was about sending ideas for her mummy blog. If she likes YOUR idea you can send her questions and if she likes YOUR questions you will be invited to interview her over skype and if that all goes well YOU can ghostwrite her blog. She then reads it and if she likes it YOU get to post it up on her site! Of course, she too was unsure of what price guide to provide. And given her surname was theatrical I was intrigued whether she even existed, so I looked up her blog and I guess for young, inspiring nouveau riche mums living in exotic locations it has some value for certain readers.
If only the content was original.

Another “unsure on price” employer needed someone to turn his ebook dream into a reality. He’d written the plot outline, he just wanted someone “with excellent English” to expand it by 60,000-65,000 words. Mmmmmm. I’m not sure I’d want to put the hard yards in unless the ebook ran with both our names.

All this just makes one think about the unreal expectations some people have in life. Take the easy road. I guess if you can, why not. For me there’s nothing more rewarding than putting in the time, whatever it takes, to reap the rewards of coming up with an original idea, expressing your own thought and producing your own content. Yes, I’m old school but at least I’m trying to navigate the new school way of working online!

Judy Wilkinson is a former print journalist turned online freelance writer and ESL volunteer teacher while creating original content for a web and app soon to be launched in 2013.