10 Health Blogging Lessons I Learned in 2012
Reflection is something I don’t do often enough, though I should, because I believe it offers an opportunity to learn. In fact, I began thinking that the only time I do reflect is to laugh again at something humorous that happened or to anguish and obsess over an incident that occurred too long ago to do anything more, then feel bad about it. However, this being a new year, I thought I would share some of the health-related things I learned about blogging this year. To arrive at my conclusions, I did reflect back, and enjoyed the reminiscing. Here are my thoughts:
Image: Mike Saechang via Flickr
1) Pithy titles and unique approaches are a great way to attract readers to your post. For example, Laine Griffin’s post Do you Really Need a Stronger Vagina? educated about the most effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor. While the title was a wham banger, her post was simple and informative. That and the humor made it a must read. Plus, it was really unexpected. Laine is my go-to expert for information on the technology related to blog spaces, and how to best create a presence on various social media spaces. She also has posted on her parenting experiences, which many of us identified with and appreciate. With all of that, I never ever expected her to talk about the vagina and did a double take after reading the title and then seeing that Laine was the writer. (Great job, Laine, and thanks for the insight beyond just what works best for my pelvic floor).
2) There is a place for traditional medicine and naturopathic medicine to come together to enhance wellness and minimize the impact of illness. Thanks to SunbonnetSmart and the hours of dialogue we have had, as well as the reading I have done, at her suggestion, I have learned more about alternative ways to address illness beyond the medicinal way to resolution. While I have not changed my strong belief that clinical proof is key to determining efficacy, I have opened up to exploring other options beyond the traditional treatment of disease. While Naturopathic medicine is not a magical cure, its focus on relaxation, deficiencies or excesses and how to make better use of the body's ability to cure itself is complimentary and not in opposition to traditional medicine. I am not a practitioner, but I do get asked about therapies and treatments. Having a greater understanding of options beyond traditional allows me to expand the information I provide to the person looking for relief or cure from an annoying or life altering condition.
3) Blogging can create an effective group therapy way of dealing with health issues. I look to FatCat and her exercise and weight loss blog posts almost daily to support my own personal efforts. When she is not around due to travel or the hectic aspects of being a working mom, I truly miss her, and believe my own efforts stumble. Her posts offer the realities of how difficult self-control and daily exercise can be, and how rewarding it is to follow through on the necessary actions to achieve your own weight loss goals.
4) It isn’t always necessary to be clinical and droll to support those dealing with the physical and emotional changes that menopause brings. All one has to do is read to HomeReared Chef’s menopause musings to know that the big M can be laugh-out-loud funny. By bringing humor into the mix, many women know they are not alone and that others too have the symptoms that can sometimes result in a disruption to their life. The humor not only educates it fosters a dialogue between women and a sharing of what works for them to help relieve symptoms. P.S. Her recipes are fabulous!
5) A picture is worth a thousand words. Adding visuals can truly enhance the reader’s blog post experience. KarenLynnn’s photos offer wonderful accompaniment to her stories about life and grandkids. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to wake up to her lovely sunrise and sunset photos that appear on facebook. Also, her pictures and commentary of the European cruise she took with her husband this past year, made me feel like I was there too. This year, I started Vlogging. In lieu of photos, the video introductions also offer a certain appeal. My goal this next year is to do more of those.
6) Personal experience can enhance the stories of life and death. Cindy Huber can tell a story like no one else. How I can laugh at her stories that include dying and cry at her stories of life is beyond me. The personal aspect of what she writes about brings to life universal experiences that we all can relate to. She connects because of the authenticity of her caring and her genuine emotional reactions and side commentary. Also, I think it is cool that she is a DJ!
7) Family life, whether traditional or not, is at the heart of what keeps many of us connected and grounded. Motherofnine9 shares her real-life rearing of nine great kids on a farm in northern Ontario. Her reality teaches lessons while bringing joy to the reader. She generously relates the good, bad, ugly, and scary of life with energetic and smart children. Sometimes they fall, both figuratively and literally, but they all seem to get up and support each other while they are doing it. Along with stories about the kids in wellness and in sickness come animal tales that make a life with just one dog and cat seem tame.
8) Poetry in words can bring peace, tranquility and thoughtful contemplation – all beautifully relaxing while still being though provoking. Thank you, Isabel Anders, for the peace I have experienced through your writings. I feel like my breathing slows and my body relaxes because I sometimes take the time to treat myself to your writing. Wish there was a way I could offer the feeling to others feeling the stress of a daily existence with lots of responsibilities and time constraints. When I have coffee or tea in the afternoon, I drink out of my yellow Weaving Gold cup as a reminder.
9) Joy of life is contagious and healthy. Who but the beautiful zombie lover alienbody can make me laugh with her outrageous ruminations of her daily life? A hearty laugh is bound to happen if you hang with her. I sometimes shake my head, but I am smiling the whole time. Making people laugh is a gift of a healthy moment and results in a more joyous spirit.
10) “People who need people are the happiest (and healthiest) people in the world.” I totally believe that and thank the wonderful writers who have nurtured my spirit throughout the year. For me, connections help sustain my being. I want to thank: Kraken, Darcie, isthisthemiddle, Red Dirt Kelly, JourneyofLife, and my wonderful Gina, amongst others, for opening my mind to experiences and viewpoints beyond where I was. You have helped enhance my understanding of the human spirit and brought joy and insights beyond what I had imagined. Also, to my first BlogHer meet and great friend, Karen Ballum, the book club facilitator extraordinaire, as a gift to myself, I will get back to the Book Club section regularly. Your recommendations have been great. Lastly, to Denise, who befriended me on Facebook as well as on BlogHer, you are always there to answer questions, offer insights, and to bring the realities of an issue to light. I appreciate your direct (and sometimes saucy) approach and your sense of humor. And, glad to know of your expertise in the health realm, as that aspect of your being is also greatly appreciated.Thank you also to those I find and read when I can and to those who offered a one-time experience. I appreciate you all and am glad our paths have crossed.