Your Health: Online Help

No matter what your health goals are, there are probably people out there who are going through the same thing. Whether it’s losing weight, starting an exercise program, eating better, or dealing with a particular disease or ailment, rest assured that you’re not alone. As a result, there will be websites to help you in your journey. In a previous post, I listed several sites to help you find a doctor, optometrist or dentist. If you don’t have a doctor yet, I urge you to start with that, before tackling any specific goals or self-diagnosing.

For overall medical information, my favorite site is WebMD. I can search by symptoms, or get general information, home treatments, and tips on when to call my doctor. While it’s not a replacement for actually seeing a doctor, it can be a helpful tool when you have a quick question or want to find out what that symptom might mean. The Mayo Clinic also has helpful information and research tools that can help you. When I was pregnant and had a newborn, I also found The Bump to be a helpful site. Not only do they have articles in which they answer questions, but there are also a variety of forums on the site to help anyone who is trying to conceive, who is pregnant, or who has a child. These sites, however, are certainly not the only ones out there.

Specific Diseases
If you’re looking for information on a particular disease or ailment, your best bet would likely be to do an internet search. There are simply too many categories for me to list on here! Just visit your favorite search engine, and type in the disease or ailment you’re looking for information on. If you’re trying to find a support group or forum, search for “forum: disease or ailment,” filling in “disease or ailment” with the actual disease or ailment you’re looking for information on, of course!

Losing Weight, Getting Healthy
When it comes to losing weight, starting a fitness regime, or eating healthier, the material out there tends to overlap. Therefore the sites below cover multiple categories, despite the names. And some sites will also offer forums, making them a valuable resource to discuss your goals and progress with others. Keep in mind that these are just a tiny sampling of the helpful sites that are out there.

Also keep in mind that some weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, also offer online components to their programs, which can be valuable tools as well if you find yourself needing extra help in your goals.

Beyond the Internet
Websites are not the only tools out there to help you succeed in your goals. If you have a smart phone or tablet, search for health apps. From calorie counters to pedometers to personal trainers, there’s an app for it. You can find yoga positions, healthy recipes, relaxing sounds, and more. There are even apps to help you quit smoking, train for a marathon, or learn emergency first aid. These apps can offer valuable information or an added boost to keep you motivated. Just be sure to check out review to find the best ones!

Your Relationships: Meeting Your Match

If you’re ready to be in a romantic relationship, you’ll need to put yourself out there and meet people. It can be a scary idea, and there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with quality options. But I’ve come up with a list of suggestions of where to look to get you started. Just remember to be yourself! Pretending to be someone you’re not won’t lead you to “happily ever after.” And confidence will get you far: show you’re comfortable in your own skin, and you’ll appeal to that perfect person.

Online
Online dating sites are definitely growing in popularity. And the possibilities continue to grow. You’ve got paid services, like Match.com and eHarmoney.com, that promise to connect you with your life’s mate. You’ve got free services, like PlentyofFish (POF.com) and Singlesnet.com, that offer budget-conscious people a way to connect (but without much, if any, filtering). And you’ve got a plethora of sites that cater to specific groups, from religious affiliations to ethnic groups to specific ages. (Of course there are also sites that gear toward sexual, as opposed to romantic, relationships, or those looking for less ethical relationships, but I’m guessing that that’s not what you’re looking for.) To find sites, you can do an internet search or just look for ads that are sprawled just about everywhere you look.

Another online option, if dating sites are not your thing, is to connect with people in online forums and chat rooms. You can meet others with similar interests in a casual atmosphere. Just keep in mind that you may end up with more friends than romantic possibilities.

Public Places
They say a great place to meet people is at the grocery store. I can’t attest to this, but enough people have said it that there must be some truth to it! But you can also meet people at other stores that appeal to your tastes, such as bookstores. You may need to have a bit of confidence to chat someone up, but you never know who you might run into.

Of course there’s also the cliched bar scene, where you can find many singles looking to connect. Depending on the atmosphere you may find young singles just looking to “hook up,” or you may find more mature singles looking for a real relationships (and, of course, anywhere in between). Ask friends and coworkers for suggestions or do your homework before popping up at a bar that’s not what you’re looking for.

Beyond the bar, you can check out parks, cafes, the gym, and more. Open yourself up to the opportunity to meet others — just about anywhere!

Other Options
Sometimes love will appear when you’re not even looking for it. Or at least you can be doing something else while looking. Along these lines are options such as taking a class, volunteering, participating in a club or organization, and joining a sports team. The people you meet will likely have some similar interests, providing a great starting point for a relationship.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also ask friends to set you up on blind dates. Or you can check out speed-dating, in which you meet several members of the opposite (or same!) sex and interact for only a few minutes to see if you’re compatible. If money’s not an option, you can also look into hiring a professional matchmaker.

Think about the kind of person you’re looking to meet, and try to think of where that type of person would hang out. You never know where you’ll meet your perfect match.

Your Money: Where Does the Money Go?

Whether you’re trying to save more or looking to pay down debt, knowing where your money is going can be helpful. And I’m not just talking about bills, though that is, of course, important. I’m talking about the little things and the not-so-little things that come up on a daily or random basis.

Without knowing where your money is going, it can be difficult to make effective changes to your habits and make progress in your saving or spending goals. By tracking your expenses you can properly plan and decide where to cut back so you have extra money to apply toward your debt or save for your goals.

To track your expenses, carry a notepad with you and record any money you spend — whether it’s 75 cents in a vending machine or a shopping spree at the mall. You  may be surprised at what you spend money on and how easily it disappears. Keep the log for a week, month or longer — however long it takes you to see the pattern and find ways to cut back. Maybe your downfall is clothes. Can you spend less? Shop elsewhere? Buy one blouse instead of two? Or maybe you stop at the vending machine a few times a week. Would it make more sense to buy in bulk at the store instead and bring your own snacks? Tracking your purchases can help you pick up on these quirks and guide you in ways to save.

Once you’ve found areas to cut back, take action. When you find yourself moving to spend that money, stop yourself and earmark that money toward your goal instead. Even 75 cents a few times a week adds up. And that can make a big dent in your debt or savings goal.

If while tracking your expenses you find yourself spending on unexpected expenses such as car repair bills, consider starting an emergency fund. Put a little money aside on a regular basis so that when an unexpected bill comes up you’re ready for it. As I said above, even a small amount adds up over time. And being able to plan for the saving can help make the expense more manageable than having to deal with a several-hundred-dollar bill all of a sudden.

While you’re at it, take a look at your bills and see what you’re spending on. You may be overspending on things you don’t use. Make that money work for you instead of wasting it. Your goals may be closer than you think.