"What's this all about?"

For Christmas of 2020 I received a 'Fitbit', a fitness tracker, and I created a section [here] at my website sharing some of my experiences. That wasn't the start of any "fitness journey", far from it, just a part of it. Throughout my life I've enjoyed maintaining (and trying to improve) my health and fitness.

My efforts to maintain the Fitbit section were short-lived, yet I still use the device most days every now and then, so when it came time to do something with that neglected section I had the idea of creating this new section to encompass not only "fitness", but other things too, under the heading 'Wellbeing', because that seems to be what maintaining my fitness it about... maintaining my wellbeing.

I'm sure my experiences could be helpful and encouraging to others, although I suspect it might be a challenge for me to not sound like I'm preaching (I'm no fitness expert, this is just stuff I've figured out on my journey - what works for me might not work for you), I also find that looking over my own achievements is a reminder to myself of where I've been, and that with some persistent effort, I (and you), can always achieve more.

So far: Allergies | Winter Wellbeing | 'Stoptober' | Camping | Morning Routines | Breaking-it-down | Running


Feel welcome to send me any suggestions, insights and experiences.


Things I intend to cover...


Allergies (Hayfever)...

[April 2022] Many of us suffer with hayfever. Mine developed in my childhood/early teens. I have learned a lot about it since then. Here is my advice:

Recognise the early symptoms; itchy/dry eyes is what I experience first. I respond by drinking a glass of water. Recognise those early symptoms, and respond in this way.

This might sound overly simplistic but doing so this not only hydrates but it calms the nervous system - drinking water in such a situation is very powerful in this regard.

Staying calm is of importance because an allergic reaction is a response by the body to something (or things) that are stressing it out. In the worst cases I have experienced my symptoms escalate and develop over days and weeks and have lead to breathing difficulties (I developed asthma in my childhood too). In the case of hayfever it is the presence of pollen that triggers all of this but we might ask ourselves, "Why does pollen affect me and not others?"

I have come to learn that hayfever is symptomatic of what might be defined as having "a sensitive disposition." What I mean by this is that there are possibly other things that affect the hayfever sufferer, or are having an effect prior to the arrival of the pollen season. This could be toxins in food or environment and/or other stresses of a psychological nature. These, however mild, will be having a cumulative effect; pollen is like the last straw (no pun intended!)

Reduce the toxins and stresses in your life. This comes back full circle to the point about staying calm. Avoid coffee and other stimulants and keep your environment clean. Drink plenty of water and avoid processed food. Are there things in your home life that are causing you stress? - that my hayfever developed during my school years could be a key factor (stress is stress, regardless of its form).

Avoid pollen? I began this piece with the immediate response to the symptoms (to drink water), but the ultimate advice is to avoid (or rather minimise) those other, underlying stresses, and this begins way before the pollen season. Avoiding pollen is not a solution (nor is it likely practical, except once symptoms have developed or are escalating - although this should not be done in a fearful manner, but again, calmly). One should, I believe, acclimatise oneself to the seasons; spend plenty of time outdoors all year round (ideally each and every day), indeed low Vitamin D levels following a winter indoors could be a contributing factor [See below]. Don't stay in doors throughout the winter and then suddenly spring Spring on yourself in its entirety; enjoy the developing season as it develops.


Winter Wellbeing...

Vitamin D[December 2021] I noticed as it was nearing the end of a winter a few years ago that my mood was somewhat down. I pondered this and realising there was nothing specifically bothering me at the time I considered I was suffering from "the winter blues".

This is a real experience for many, if not all people who live in an area that experiences dull and grey winter months. A/the reason for this is a lack of Vitamin D.

Our bodies produce this vital vitamin from being exposed to sunlight; I like to think of how Superman heals himself in the sun. Ideally our exposure to sunlight through the summer months is enough to tide us over through the darker ones, but it has been shown that this is not always the case (see right).

I therefore try and spend some time outside each and every day, ideally a minimum of an hour. I now consciously acknowledge when I miss a day outside (such as due to poor weather) and now use a Vitamin D supplement following those days. (You can read more about my Vitamin regime here.)

A lack of Vitamin D can not only affect the mood but can lead to poor immune health, leading us to suffer more and for longer when dealing with anything from a minor cold, the flu, or viral infection. Vitamin D is also said to assist in regulating our sleep, and not enough sleep can also lead to us being less resilient.

In addition to a natural dose of Vitamin D (the best kind), being outside provides one with fresh air and is usually combined with physical activity such as a walk. I try to maintain a Morning Routine that includes a run, and later on I like to go out on my bike for an hour or more.

If one is not used to such things then they can seem like a chore and hard work, but once a routine is achieved it all becomes that, routine, and just something that is part of your day-to-day life.

Once time outdoors in all seasons is achieved another thing can be noticed... a lack of need for excessive heating in the home; doing some daily brisk exercise opens up the blood vessels and improves circulation. I believe that a home that is too warm is not good for the health (providing you are generally physically active), can cause mould to grow (also not good for the health), and leads to a higher energy bills.


Addictions, Habits, and Routines...


[October 2021] As I wrote this piece October 2021 had just begun. When this month comes around the event known as 'Stoptober' comes to mind. This is a month-long event that is used by those with a smoking habit they want to quit. I think the month can be used for all manner of addictions and bad habits. For me my habit to curb is my 'internet addiction'; I always want to better manage my time online and use that time constructively (this is one reason why I have a website, so that I am using my time online in a creative and constructive manner).

As things have changed, 'being online' is a state that many people are pretty much always in, there is no 'going offline'; this is generally because of smartphones, which again, many people never switch off. I don't have a smartophone and my mobile phone is only on during working hours, but I do sit at my computer far too much. I therefore made a vain attempt to curb this in October. The result wasn't all that great, but I like to think I'm constantly improving; two steps forward and one step back is better than no steps forward at all.

A Tip: Replace your habit/addiction with something healthy. This might involve changing your routines; see below for my short topic on Morning Routines.




Last year (2020) I decided to spend most of the nights of the summer months sleeping in my little tent in the back garden. This year (2021) has been much the same. It's not quite the 'big outdoors' (although it's relatively quiet where I live).

I have a nice little routine where I pitch the tent before sunset and then settle in to read for a while (a Kindle Fire is great for this as you can dim the back light down to be comfortable on the eyes; no torch required). My cat often joins me, and this year I have been blessed with the sound of a family of hedgehogs snuffling round my tent. I think time spent outside is vitally important.


Morning Routines... (1, 2, 3...)

If you're struggling with 'motivation' then developing a morning routine is a great starting point.

"Start as you mean to go on."

Step 1 is to ideally wake up at a time reasonable for you. Generally this actually means going to bed at a reasonable time! (more on this later)

Step 2, for me, is to write down what dreams I remember (more on this later!)

Step 3, for me, is to make a cup of tea (not coffee) and read for a short while. For the past few years I've been working on my challenge to read 'Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia', a 10-volume set of books I've had in my possession since childhood. I typically read a section each morning.



Reading a 10-volume set of encyclopedias seems like quite a chore (although it's actually quite interesting!), but when you break such a task down into something manageable (like "62 pages each month") then it becomes doable and is a process that can be applied to other things you want to achieve (such as building and maintaining a website!)

I have tried to develop my morning routine further by incorporating more and more steps that flow together; the key here is to start off simple with a few activities that I can routinely stick to, and then build on that. This might be especially important for you if, like me, you struggle to set an entire route for your day that you can easily stick to.



Running is something I've been trying to build into my morning routine, but success has been somewhat hit-and-miss.

I've set myself the challenge of running a set number of miles in a month, but that resulted in me trying to 'make up for' missed days. I've tried to spread out those miles each day, only to miss some days and then my efforts slip. And I've tried to use my Fitbit to spur me on too.


More coming soon...

 - Reading / Books
 - Pets and Animals
 - Going to bed 'on time'
 - Dreams
 - Creativity



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