My take on the “One Lovely Blog Award”

Like the lovely Melinda Tognini, whose erudite thoughts you can read at Treefall Writing and who kindly nominated me, I have decided to gratefully accept and participate in the “One Lovely Blog Award” because I like the idea of supporting other bloggers. I’ve seen a similar scheme badged under “The Versatile Blogger Award” and I’m sure there are others. Of these “awards” what I have enjoyed is seeing blogger’s recommendations of other blogs that I may not have otherwise found, many of which I have ended up following.

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A nominated blogger who chooses to participate is asked to:

  • mention the person who made the nomination;
  • add the award logo to their post;
  • list seven things about him/herself; and
  • nominate other blogs for the award and let them know.

So in the spirit of fulfilling these requirements …

7 things about me (I’ve strived for things you most likely won’t know):

  1. Living the first five and a half years of my life in Kalgoorlie has conditioned me to hate going outside with bare feet – the ground was often blisteringly hot and not infrequently full of nasty prickles.
  2. I howled in confused terror the first time I saw rain – I was born during a drought and didn’t experience rain until we travelled to London to visit my grandparents when I was aged 2 ½ years. Paradoxically I am always comforted to hear rain on the roof now.
  3. I also vividly remember screaming at the colour TV when Playschool featured a tractor driving towards the camera that same holiday – I thought it was going to drive out of the screen. There was no television broadcast in Kalgoorlie so it was all new to me (indeed when TV came to Kal a couple of years later it was only in black & white).
  4. I adore silence when I’m alone – so good for the soul just to be rather than fill the void of an empty house with TV or radio.
  5. I am not sure if my love of dragonflies came from my love of art nouveau or if I was drawn initially to art nouveau because of all the dragonflies.
  6. One of the many things I love about Australia is the multicultural cuisine – yum! The palate has no excuse to be bored in this country.
  7. I have more grey hair in the latter half of my forties than my mother does in her seventies.

And the nominees are … a mixture of new and not-so-new bloggers. I will not be at all offended if those I nominate prefer not to accept the award. This is about sharing blogs I enjoy, not obligating anyone! My rationale is that to support emerging bloggers, established bloggers who post GREAT content should also be eligible. I think you’ll see my bent for writing, creativity and health with the huge overlap noted.

Because I am a list-freak (you possibly already know that from my bio’s) I need order and this may help you work out which are relevant for you:

Writing

  • Tips from Belinda Pollard at Small Blue Dog Publishing – one word = INVALUABLE
  • Natasha Lester – a veritable font of writing support
  • Elizabeth Spann Craig – great posts and a weekly list of twitterific links which are fab too.
  • Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn and Molly Greene – both share all manner of wonderful insider knowledge about writing and publishing.
  • Write to Done claims “Unmissable articles on writing” – close to the mark.
  • Writer Unboxed – varied and helpful posts and I highly recommend the WU Facebook group too.
  • If Melinda Tognini hadn’t nominated me first I’d most definitely have nominated her – Treefall Writing is newer but clearly one to follow!

Creativity

  • Because authenticity and creativity go hand in hand I have categorised Dionne Lew’s Be Your Whole Self here … but this blog truly has so much more!
  • Inspire Portal – there’s a lot here to browse so I recommend you visit the “About” page for an explanation of the tabs – The Island, The Boat, The Beach, The Temple, The Juice Bar and The Forest …

Medical

  • Fellow GP, Dr Edwin Kruys at Doctor’s Bag taught me heaps about how doctors can blog, especially the older posts on his Social Media tab.
  • For Australian GPs: FOAM4GP – A fabulous free quality online medical education blog.

A wonderful hotchpotch of the above topics and more

  • Mother, doctor and writer, Louise Allan on “Life from the Attic” – heartfelt posts and spot-on book reviews.
  • Laura Zera mostly on travel and mental health, a blog I keep coming back to.

Social Media

  • Dionne Lew – Yup, a second nomination for Dionne but a very different and useful blog.

At first I thought I’d struggle to think of 15, then found myself struggling to keep the list to 15. Apologies to those who didn’t make the short-list.

What are your thoughts on awards like these?

What great blogs have I missed?

I’d love to hear about blogs that you’d suggest are worth a visit – please share them in the comments.

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

P.S. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email (your email address will be kept private and will not be spammed). You can also follow me on Twitter (@JacquieGS), Facebook and Google+.

Disclaimer

© 2014 Jacquie Garton-Smith

The best cuppa ever

I have been reflecting on the importance of kindness recently. What strikes me is that acts of kindness can be random or intentional, big or small, but even the small ones can make a huge difference.

One stands out for me many years after it occurred.

When I was a junior doctor working at a large tertiary hospital, a number of the rotations required us to do overnight ward cover. These could be gruelling, particularly covering medical specialities where you would be the only doctor in the hospital looking after some seriously unwell people with very complex conditions on a number of different wards all over the site. You can’t plan the work to any great degree as the job is to respond to things that come up and need urgent attention. Weekend nights could be especially tough as the usual medical teams often hadn’t been in to review their patients during the day.

Sometimes I have nightmares that I am on overnight ward cover again, well over two decades later.

It was working one of these shifts on a Sunday night that I had a list of tasks longer than anything I had ever imagined. I was dashing up and down stairs (the lifts being archaically slow) trying to get at least the most urgent jobs taken care of before the next calls came in. Around 4am I headed back the Renal ward to review a patient with kidney failure who had developed a high fever and needed assessment, blood tests and treatment started asap.

I had a number of other equally unwell patients and didn’t know if I could physically get to do all the things I had been called to do over the remaining four hours of my shift. Despite being a hard worker and relatively efficient, I felt ill with the sheer pressure of the workload.

Having seen the patient, I only had moments to sit down to complete the paperwork. As I sat down, one of the ward nurses appeared with a mug of tea in her hand. I think my eyes may have become teary as she put it down in front of me and said, ‘You look like you need this.’

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It cost her only a few minutes of her time but it made all the difference. Even though it was ordinary hospital tea it tasted incredible. It did recharge me, not just from the sustenance, but from the fact that someone cared enough to both notice that I was exhausted and overwhelmed and to do something to try to alleviate how I was feeling. Even in the healthcare industry, we could do more to look out for each other.

I can still see her face but I can’t remember her name. I don’t know if she has any idea how much her kindness helped me that night.

This humbling act of thoughtfulness stems from the deeper well of kindness that, when demonstrated, helps individuals and communities. Kindness helps bring out the best in us, be it in family or friends, a co-worker or co-creative, an acquaintance in person or online, or someone you don’t know. We won’t always know that our kindness has been appreciated but it is worth doing anyway.

How has an act of kindness made a difference to you?

How can you make a difference to someone else by being kind?

Do you have a good “cuppa” story?

Can we do more? Change Day 2014 is a fantastic vehicle for change:

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Could kindness be a key theme in your Change Day Australia 2014 Pledge?

Looking after others should be core for health professionals but we don’t always look after our patients, our colleagues or ourselves as well as we could. We don’t have to be health professionals to make changes to improve health. Anyone and everyone can to something (or many things) to help the health and wellbeing of others.  Please check out the pledges  on Change Day Australia 2014 website for further inspiration.

I see a lot of kindness in the creative community as well as in the health industry. I thank you for the kindness that you have shown me.

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

P.S. Although I am confident I can attribute the benefit to the kindness rather than the chemical effects of the tea, here’s an interesting article by Jeremy Dean on Tea: 6 Brilliant Effects on the Brain.

If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email. You can also follow me on  Twitter (@JacquieGS)Facebook and Google+ .

Disclaimer

© 2013 Jacquie Garton-Smith (Change Day image thanks to changeday.com.au)

Where health and creativity intersect

Being a doctor and a writer, it’s probably no surprise that I am interested in how two of my passions overlap.

There are clear links between creativity and wellness:
• The benefits of appreciating the creativity of others, how it makes us feel and what we can learn from it – art, music, photography, film and literature for example.
• Fulfilling your own need to be creative – be it one of the more traditional creative pursuits, or cooking a new dish, planting a garden bed or writing a Facebook post or tweet.
• The role of creative activities contributing to a range of benefits including to aid in learning and sharing of ideas, to reduce isolation, to foster companionship, to promote improved health and well-being, and even to reduce medication use and assist healing.

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Photo by Mia Holton

There are comprehensive reviews of the literature which demonstrate the evidence, particularly those by:
• Dr Rosalia Lelchuk Staricoff (Arts in health: a review of the medical literature, Arts Council England, 2004);
• Heather L. Stuckey and Jeremy Nobel (The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. Am J Public Health.2010 February;100(2): 254–263.);
• Dr Patricia Fenner, Dr Bruce Rumbold, Dr Jean Rumbold et al (Is there compelling evidence for using the arts in health care? 19/6/2012) and
• Christine Putland (ARTS AND HEALTH – A GUIDE TO THE EVIDENCE Background document prepared for the Arts and Health Foundation Australia, September 2012).

So the science is there with more research underway.

Strangely enough the “mad artist” seems just as common a stereotype as the “mad scientist”. Perhaps this is more about the eccentricity that others perceive when someone follows their calling to the exclusion of other pursuits. Or maybe we are all a little mad?

Ironically some of the most creative people I have met have been the best adjusted and are often multi-talented.

The things that will benefit us the most are often the ones we most actively resist. If you think you are not creative, are you the one suppressing your creativity the most?

Some will struggle to get started, to even come up with a creative pursuit they would like to try. Just try. If at first you feel that you can’t, expose your creative self to the creativity of others. For example, you could check out an art gallery, the theatre or a concert or explore poetry, art or music online. If you have kids, do something crafty together. It’s okay to play with different ideas – have some fun. If you feel blocked, try something else.

Many of us will have to grapple with our internal critic, whether just starting out or well along the creative path. Doubt is normal. Tell yourself it doesn’t matter what the quality is. If you don’t try you will have nothing to show. Start something and see how it evolves over time.

We all know to be healthy, we need to exercise and eat well. But do we understand the role that creativity plays?

Being creative is healthy and it is healthy to be creative. Encourage creativity in ourselves and in others; from the cradle to grave, in our buildings and in open spaces, in students and in professionals.

It’s almost like a marriage vow: from this day forward, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health…

Does creativity matter to you?

What is your creative vow?

How you might make a change that promotes health and creativity ?

I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share your thoughts on creativity and health.

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

P.S. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email. You can also follow me on  Twitter (@JacquieGS)Facebook and Google+ .

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© 2013 Jacquie Garton-Smith  (Photo by Mia Holton)

From Books and Band-aids to Blogs

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How daunting is it writing a first blog when there are so many great blogs out there?

I feel thoroughly enriched by reading many blogs. Even when they touch on the same subject, I find each one reinforces the others, often offering a different take and building further understanding of the issue. And what a joy when you read the line that gives you an aha moment or truly resonates.

I thought looking for a good blog would be like finding a needle in a haystack, to use a cliché that is not very relevant today. But the art of blogging that I have observed is one of being efficient with words and concepts and hence valuable key messages are not hard to identify.

What also amazes and impresses me is how willing people are to share their knowledge and ideas so freely, both to write their blogs and respond to comments. In some cases, even to connect in a more meaningful way.

In the first few weeks of participating actively in social media I have been fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to have coffee with a local academic GP leader to discuss collaborative opportunities, to Skype with a GP in England who shared some visionary ideas around electronic health records and to join a national initiative that will have enormous potential to create positive change in health, Change Day Australia.

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I am hugely grateful for the time that people give for the greater good. I’m not sure these would have arisen via my usual networks, and certainly not so quickly and easily.

The collective momentum has potential beyond anything we could have dreamed of in the pre-digital era. It is also important to ensure that quality information is available, particularly when there are some dodgy sources out there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I usually have something to say. So why not say it on the most public platform of all, the internet? And join this fantastic community of individuals sharing their perspectives with anyone who cares to read it.

I hope to bring together my experiences as a doctor, a writer and a very ordinary human being, as we all are at the heart of it, to contribute to the greater good. My mum has recently reminded me that as a child all I wanted for treats were books and Band-Aids so perhaps my callings were evident from a young age!

I hope you will join me for my next blog on where health and creativity intersect. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email. You can also follow me on  Twitter (@JacquieGS)Facebook and Google+ .

How has your life been enriched by a blog?

If you blog, what has been your journey?

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

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Photo by Mia Holton

Disclaimer
© 2013 Jacquie Garton-Smith  (Photo of Jacquie by Mia Holton,Change Day image thanks to changeday.com.au )