Category Archives: Wellness

The 6 essential guidelines on how to act on Social Media

Imagine. Social media, a place where people know how to behave. It is upsetting; this lack of manners on places such as Twitter and Facebook – isn’t it?

Part of the problem is that social media has sprung up so rapidly over the last few years – we have yet to dictate the proper manner to conduct ourselves up in there. It’s like a free for all, Wild West where everyone lets loose.

Back in my primary school years, we had a class called “Ethics”. This class covered everything from how to eat your KFC to sounding intelligent in polite conversation. Back then, there was no such thing as Facebook.  Since some of us do not have any better judgment, we need an ethics guide to social media.

The following six rules should become the standard code of conduct – when it comes to social media.

 

Rule 1:  Do NOT send private messages containing pictures of your Dick or Boobs!!!!!!

There is a place and time for everything in life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are not places for sending a picture of your private parts. Don’t believe that such things happen? My friend Hasty has recently written this post in response to such a blatant abuse of social media ethics.

I am assuming that there are sites, where such things are customary and even encouraged. Perhaps sending something like that to other members of a rated 18 XXX dating site. This may be the place to let loose your dangling man down there. Trust me, Twitter and Facebook are not places for such things.

Rule 2: Child nudity is prohibited

Facebook will censor you for posting pictures of child nudity. It may seem common sense. However, parents or relatives sometimes post innocent pictures of children. It could be a picture of them swimming or bathing.  The thing is – there are too many wackos out there. Do you really want them looking at a nude picture of your child?

Rule 3: Chatting someone up, is a no go – unless you are on a dating site

As with rule number 1, chatting someone up on Twitter or Facebook – are bad manners.  Here’s a hint dudes: It is most likely to freak a woman out. It’s probable you’ll find yourself unfollowed, unfriended and blocked.

Rule 4: Be careful with your compliments

This may seem odd, but men should know that not all women like hearing, “you are beautiful”. This is especially creepy online, where it is hard to judge someone’s intentions. Additionally, some of us find it triggering.

 

The above four rules are the worst offenses when it comes to bad social media ethics. Two more also need attention:

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Rule no 5: Don’t make yourself unemployable

How do you think your boss would feel if he sees you badmouthing him on a public forum? Slamming your boss, your employer, your clients and your other stakeholders is a big fat NO. I don’t care how much you hate them. It will do more damage to your own professional reputation than to them.

Don’t break professional confidentiality. Don’t blab about someone else’s financial situation, if you are dealing with finances. Don’t blab about someone’s health issues if you are in medical profession… Etc.

If you work for a big corporation – which has a trademark brand, posting a picture of you consuming or using a different brand may get you fired.

Telling the wide world that you have for example a drinking problem, may make you unemployable – if someone bothered to do a thorough background check.

Still many other situations deserve mentioning here. Use your common sense.

Rule no 6: Social Media can’t validate your self-worth

People often strive to have prestigious jobs, so they can feel important in life. Since the invention of the social media “like button” (favorite button or whatever it is named in different places), people strive to have numerous likes and responses to their social media posts so that they can feel a sense of self-worth.

When they don’t get the volume of response they were looking for, these people share things that should rather have stayed private. Our lives have become like a mini version of some form of the Kardashians (or whatever reality TV series is currently receiving good ratings). We share details of our life in an effort to shock and entertain our friends into liking and responding. How far are you willing to go to get a like?

There are things in this life that need to remain private. Ultimately, we need to learn how to respect ourselves to avoid this trap. When you do share things online, remember that your (future) enemy/s could possibly use this information against you. This is especially true if there is some kind of legal proceeding taking place.

Ultimately, this form of social validation is a slippery slope. Firstly, do you really think that a huge amount of likes or shares will make you important? Things die down quickly on the internet. Once you have become yesterday’s news, you have to find something else to catch the attention of the masses. In my opinion, this kind of attention is simply not worth all the anxiety it causes. All for some kind of temporary high?

Everybody needs somebody

I do admit, sometimes life can get rough. I belong to a Facebook support group for just that kind of thing.  Sometimes I simply want to let people know what is going on. This is especially true if you belong to an on-line community. (Important safety tip: Don’t put up a public post of you being out of town…)

Additionally, if the “call a friend” option, is one that you don’t like using – chat to a friend privately may be the next best thing. Occasionally, we all need to talk to someone. This may be a better way for us to feel validated or connected than trying to catch the attention of the crowds.

 

I find the way people use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to be more of a non-human distraction. A time suck. An energy drain.  Don’t get me wrong they have their place. However, we need to learn to make better use of these platforms. Respect is something we need to apply to every aspect of how we behave.

 

How about you? What points do you think I missed?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

FIND HER IN ALL THESE PLACES:

Twitter:@ShiningSeeds: Facebook:  Pinterest:

Follow Shining Seeds on WordPress.com


 

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Attention all #Wordpress and Jetpack enabled #bloggers: Did you miss this vital blogging info?

November went by in kind of a  daze for me. Then suddenly in December, I discovered this piece of blogging information that had somehow slipped my radar. The nice people at Automattic should have made this much bigger news. They should have given it a big fat headline. That is after all what a company does when they re-brand one of their products or replaces it with a new one.

The Headline should have read something like this:

Freshly-pressed-replaced

Breaking News: Discover is the new Freshly Pressed

(Yea I know they made an announcement, but it did not have this headline. Many of us missed it.)

No, your eyes are not fooling you. Freshly Pressed has been retired and replaced by a new better product.

For those that don’t know – Freshly Pressed used to be “the front page” of WordPress.com.

I must say I do like the new front page “Discover”. My verdict – I like it. It truly is better than Freshly Pressed. For once the people at Automattic have gotten it right with their updates.

The comparison: What’s new – what remains the same?

What little things are new?

You can follow “Discover” in your WordPress reader – like any other blog. The label “Discover” has replaced the one in the dashboard, which used to be labeled “Freshly Pressed” – so you don’t need to follow “Discover” to discover new content on WordPress.

While is used to be a bunch of rectangle blocks with the title of the blog post and its feature picture, the look and feel of this new Freshly Pressed is more blog-y. It even has an “about page” Now, editors give their little introductory comment and the layout is much more visually appealing.

The twitter handle has changed to @WPDiscover. The twitter account itself still functions pretty much the same. New posts featured on Discover get tweeted by them as well if you’ve read an awesome blog post you can still tweet it at them and they will go check it out.

 

There are however, two new changes, which have a bigger impact on bloggers.

The big changes:

  1. You can submit your post for a recommendation

It used to be like winning the lottery. A Freshly Pressed editor somehow stumbled across your post and it was featured. Now they have provided a submission form on their “about page” where you can pitch to them why your post should be featured. This does not mean that they will actually put you on Discover… but it does at least direct them to your blog.

There is however one aspect of the new discover – which needs to be pointed out, which I think could make a huge impact for bloggers on wordrpess.org (self-hosted WordPress) and Jetpack-enabled blogs.

 

  1. This new Discover is not only for WordPress.com users!

That is huge. I have read posts in the past where a wordrpess.org user complains that they cannot have a post featured on Freshly Pressed. It used to be a WordPress.com deal only. That is no more.

Let them tell you yourself, I know this is somewhat unbelievable – but this is what it says on their about page:

“We want to promote your stories and projects: the best original content published with WordPress. We highlight different types of content — from writing to photography and art to poetry, from personal blogs to publications. All genres and styles. All word counts. All flavors of WordPress, from WordPress.com to Jetpack-enabled and self-hosted WordPress sites.

 

I know! This is totally a game changer for all the wordpress.org users. Check out their guidelines for getting featured on “Discover” here.

Head on over to the new “Discover”. What do you think about the new look and feel?

 

My 4-blogging lessons of 2015 – you had better study for 2016

Gosh, here we are again. Another year has gone by. I am so thankful for all the beautiful lessons it has brought me. I am so grateful for the personal growth. I am so thankful for blogging – which has become my personal growth tool.

I truly do love blogging, but like all things in life, it too has a dark side.

Trial, error & shut down

Like with most things, I learn via trial and error.  I used to have a different space. One I put so much effort into; yet in the end it left me feeling drained and depressed. That feeling is the sure sign you are doing something wrong – where change is the only remedy. I went to the extreme. I wiped it all out. The internet is notoriously hard to clean though – many traces of my former self still linger.

Lesson 1 – Write that which you want to share

Ultimately, this would be the best lesson I could leave bloggers. If it were not something, you would share on your private Facebook account – where your mother and your (maybe) Baptist minister father will find it; then rather put it in your private journal. Cause trust me, if it is one thing, I have seen happen repeatedly – ultimately the truth will come into the light. Just ask Mandi, who very recently came out.

Lesson 2 – Share and share generously

Share your “how-to” tips. Share your blog posts over all possible Social Media outlets. Share your grandma’s secret recipe for chocolate cake – okay maybe not that one. Most importantly share the content you enjoyed – from other bloggers.

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Lesson 3 – Don’t look at your stats

Statistics, the aspect of blogging I most dislike. There is no win for me here. I’m incredibly grateful for each person who does take the time to read my Shining Seeds. I love the interaction that comes along with it – even if I only say “thank you”. I look at a post and see it only got 10 likes and my heart sinks to the bottom of my stomach. So much effort and time spent on creating content and no one is interested.

However, after almost two years of blogging it still frightens me that people read my stuff even if it is only 10 people. That are 10 people who actually paid me some attention, who thought I was worthy of their time. I could go on here; I will spare you the gory details. The thought of being the center of attention – it is simply freighting to me – although I clearly crave it.

The solution – spend very little time looking at and or thinking about any type of numbers to do with your blog. I give people the option of liking, because that is a way for them to interact with the blog post, but I do not dwindle too much on it. Stats can be misleading. Not everyone presses the like button. If I get you in my inbox – I may sometimes forget to stop by – especially when my shoddy internet connection has me reading on my phone. People get busy – it does not mean they don’t care.

Lesson 4 – Keep it real

Pretty please, with a cherry on top – do not write for the numbers. Find another reason to blog. If the numbers are supplying you with a paycheck – this is even more important. So many business shift their focus to the bottom line and end up losing that bottom line.

I recently read that Oprah was pregnant at the age of 61. It turns out these where lies created purely for a thing called page views. Do not be that blogger – because you will never see me return, nor anyone else. The only way to build a loyal readership is by keeping it real. However, remember Lesson 1.

 

Let’s take this to 2016

That is it for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good slide into 2016.

There will be some new things happening here in 2016, which practically make me as happy as a chappy who got bubble gum. Some of those are already scheduled.

You will need to keep an eye on my Facebook page  or  Twitter timeline to catch a glimpse of Little Shining Seedlings.

See you next year! (I’m sorry, just had to)

Happy 2016!

 

How to help your friend through a miscarriage in the first trimester

Sometimes life is full of dark moments. Things happen that cause us much pain and despair. Seeing a friend going through times like this can make you feel helpless. Compassion demands that we do something. But what can  be done when someone really has something bad happen to them?

A miscarriage is one of those terrible things in life for which there are really no answers. First and foremost should your friend, colleague or relative tell you that she is having a miscarriage the worst thing you can do is to point a finger of blame.

What not to do – when someone tells you they are having a miscarriage

You were doing things wrong – is a big no, no.

Don’t tell your friend – “perhaps you should have stopped going to the gym”.

Don’t tell your friend – “perhaps you were eating wrong”.

The human mind has a need to understand the question “why?” whenever something like this happens. Sometimes there is no answer to the question why. Sometimes things just are what they are. There is no reason.

According to research pregnant women are allowed to do a lot of things.

Exercise –yay or nay – during pregnancy?

If you have been going to the gym before you got pregnant and depending on your workout regime – it is actually healthy for you to continue exercising. They, whomever they may be – actually recommend a moderate to light exercise plan during pregnancy to ensure healthy delivery. Walking, cycling and swimming are recommended for those who did not go to the gym.

It is not recommended to now suddenly in pregnancy start something new and overexerting yourself.

And I like to point this out – consulting your doctor should really be a pregnant ladies first line of advice if a certain exercise regime is healthy or not during pregnancy. When I found out I’m pregnant about six weeks in (pregnancy is calculated from date of your last period – not date of conception), I asked my doctor if continuing to exercise was a healthy option. The exercise plan I follow is really not the heaviest. My doctor was quite happy I continue with my current gym.

 

So what is a pregnant lady allowed to actually eat?

According to researchers there are very few things that pregnant women should avoid from their diet. A healthy balanced meal plan is really the best option. There are really only five things pregnant women should not be eating, taking or consuming:

  • Alcohol
  • Raw foods
  • Medication not approved by the doctor.
  • Illegal drugs.

That is really it. Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Illegal drugs is self-explanatory. They will hamper the development of the fetus / baby or will have bad side effects for the child.

Not all medication is safe to drink during pregnancy. Even supplements need to be approved by a doctor before consumption. That leaves raw foods.

Foods:

I’ve got a book with a whole list of things pregnant ladies should not be eating. It comes down to whether the food is properly cooked or not.

  • Egg: An egg, sunny side up with the yellow part still flowing for example is a no. However a hard-boiled egg is fine to eat.
  • Cheese: Some cheeses when they are processed the milk is not fermented first. These are usually the moldy kind of cheeses.
  • Sushi: According to my pregnancy & baby book – sushi is fine to eat as long as the fish has been frozen first.
  • Any other raw meats: Meat should be cooked properly to kill any bacteria in the meat

Other food considerations:

  • Nuts: At some point researchers where advising to avoid peanuts – now they are advising to eat them – to prevent allergy in the baby.
  • Fish: Some types of fish should also be avoided due to the level of mercury in them.
  • Coffee: Another thing to consider is the consumption of coffee. Here moderation is the key. Two cups of coffee (200mg of caffeine) is fine according to the latest research.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables need to be well washed before consumption – also to avoid bacteria.

Is this really all that important?

Mind you all of this is not a set in stone. Some woman are unaware of the egg thing and continue to eat their eggs raw – and they have an absolutely healthy baby.

Another woman such as myself is very much aware of all the dos and the don’ts. And here I am writing to you about miscarriage. My point being that when a woman has a miscarriage she will probably have run all the scenarios through her own head and wondered what it is she did wrong. Sometimes things just happen. Neither the doctor nor the specialist could give me a definitive reason why my little bean’s heart stopped beating and he stopped growing at eight weeks and a little. Miscarriage in this period is very common, because sometimes the right organs don’t develop to make the move from being nourished by the ovaries egg to being nourished by the placenta.

For doctors this was simply a speculation. The truth is, they did not really know why the little guy or girl did not go on living. Now if the doctor can’t give me a reason – I don’t think speculation about what I did wrong is going to do me any good either. And it is defiantly not helpful for some well-meaning soul to throw the what-ifs at a woman who is going through this.

Religious well-wishers and prayer:

Unless you really know the person well, telling someone, that “Jesus loves them” or that you “will pray for them” may actually cause more emotional turmoil than healing. I usually go for the “you are in my thoughts” because these words are more neutral. As a Christian it may surprise other Christians to hear that I don’t actually like hearing “Jesus loves you” at this point in time. Spirituality is a highly personal thing. A woman in the situation of having just miscarried is already feeling highly emotional. Do you really need to tell someone, that you “will pray for them” to have them have the benefit of said prayer?

Sometimes when bad things happen having Christ thrown in your face – even as a Christian – is the last thing you need at that time. Another sentiment you should avoid is “Everything happens for a reason”. When your mind can’t find a reason this just tends to let a person’s temper fly. “Everything happens for a reason” is actually a Christian miss-conception. Nowhere in the bible does it say “Everything happens for a reason.” What the bible does say is:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

There is a difference between this actual bible verse and the saying “Everything happens for a reason”. This is a point that deserves its own blog post, which I will leave for another day. My best advice is to tread lightly when someone is going through a really bad situation such as a miscarriage. Quoting the bible may not be what this person needs.

So what can you do?

Occasionally the only real thing one can do is to give the person a hug and tell them that you will be there for them. If you are half way across the globe from this person you can only offer your words of compassion.

A miscarriage is painful both physically and emotionally. Helping out with the household may be the most helpful thing you can do. Bringing the family a cooked meal could really prove beneficial if this is something they’d like.

The doctor would hopefully have prescribed some pain medication. However sometimes all the pain medication in the world is not enough to take away the pain. A warm water bottle or a bean bag which can be heated in the microwave is helpful in pain management. Additionally the woman may also need a huge supply of sanitary pads, since bleeding is quite heavy during miscarriage.

Respect the person’s need for privacy and rest. Remember that it is not only the physical loss. It is a loss of so much more. The father to-would–have-been, will be mourning the loss just as much as his partner or spouse. The family may need time to process this as a close-knit unit.