Jackie Parry – author


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A View for Every Occasion

“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.

“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.

I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.

Moorea Island, Pacific Ocean

Moorea Island, Pacific Ocean

Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.

The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.

Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.

Mist rolling along our land under a full moon!

Mist rolling along our land under a full moon!

There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.

Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.

The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.

As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.

Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?

The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.

We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.

On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.

Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.

Fireside beer

Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.

But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.

I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.

———————————————-

My motto: ‘Be an encourager, there are far too many critics in the world already.’

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Ditch Kit, Grab Bag, Flee Bag

Think Survival At Sea

Cruisers’ Accumulated Acumen is selling incredibly well and has been tagged by a top sailing magazine as, “…probably the most comprehensive reference book designed for preparation for cruising life.”

Here’s an excerpt from our book – which not only includes over 1,800 tips, tricks and ideas for living on board, but also informative and fun articles such as this…

 

Your grab bag, ditch kit, flee bag (sounds like my old dog), jump-and-go-bag should include stuff to measure your own priorities and capabilities. What would you need? Who is on board and where you are going? Does everyone on board know where it is?

Align your inclusions with distance. Seasons don’t count, anyone on the water knows you can experience all four seasons twice in one day. However, thinking about the sea temperature is important; hypothermia has an insatiable hunger. The sea gods also have an unquenchable greed and anything in your boat that you think you need should have a piece of string (lanyard) fitted, to give you a fighting chance of hanging on to it. Common sense, speedy reaction and lack of panic should be mentioned, although I am not sure how to pack those things. The bag obviously needs to be watertight and waterproof, a bright reflective colour is a good idea (boats don’t just sink during the day).

Each to their own; some people include their obituaries – how very odd . . .! Other cruising buddies suggest a book and a mattress! All very nice, but I can think of several more important items. I’d rather have an extra bottle of water than reading material.

The Obvious

At the very least have water, flares and attention grabbers, surviving is nice, but being rescued is even better. The ditch kit should contain items for immediate use and possibly some months. Short-term think injuries, hypothermia and signalling devices. Mid to long-term survival, think water and food. Are you going to make water or catch it? Can you catch fish? Provision for prevention of sun exposure is imperative if you don’t want to end up like a crisp.

How much?

I have seen lists for short-term (minutes to hours), mid-term (hours to days), medium-term (days to weeks) and long-term (weeks to months). All very useful but how do you know which bag to collect when your boat sinks? Do you take all four? Think necessity not holiday!

Can the bag be snatched quickly? Paperwork is a good one, your passports and boat papers have to be somewhere, why not in the grab bag? Add a few dollars (American dollars are the most widely accepted if you are travelling overseas). Think of all the bureaucratic bits of paper that cause major headaches and gnashing of teeth, if you had to replace them.

As terrifying as it sounds, one day you might need it; now’s the time to think carefully about what it should contain. Grab bags provide thought-provoking conversations to all boat people. (Young, ‘Include my favourite toy’, old, ‘Put in the fine Scotch dear’), both would argue that their life depends on it.

Research suggests forgetting everything you have seen in the movies, on TV and in novels. But I tend to disagree, who’s to say what happens – survivors of course, but what of those who don’t. That monumentally dramatised scene could be precisely what happens. We’ve met a survivor whose boat took fifteen minutes to sink. He had ‘all the time in the world’ to grab stuff from cupboards. He now thinks all boats take this long to be swallowed in to the deep. Most of us know a story where a boat vanishes within seconds; those brief moments may give you enough time to grab your survival bag.

Our Bag

We have one big bag on our boat, which ideally should be split in two (1) Absolute necessities and (2) Necessities. However, it’s not and at the time of writing we are firmly welded to a mooring (for now). Our bag includes years of ideas gleaned from chatting to other people on boats as to ‘what’s in yours?’. It has (in no particular order): survival suits, sunglasses, wind up torch, handheld radio (VHF) and spare batteries, Spirulina (nutrient source in powder form), survival sheets (space blankets), hand Watermaker, toilet roll, water, string, fishing hooks/line, signalling mirror, knife, seasick tablets, First Aid with extra strong painkillers, flares, sanitary products, wet/baby wipes, tea towel, plastic bags, sea marker dye, lighter, paperwork (passports/boat papers/money), sunscreen, t-shirts, whistle, barley sugar, handheld GPS and batteries.

Diving into the bag after a year I am surprised to see that the wet wipes are still moist and the Spirulina still edible (mind you, it does look and smell remarkably like mould – even when new). Clearly, batteries should be replaced regularly, as should water in plastic bottles (leeching). Sunscreen and tablets/pills will have use by dates to be aware of too. We have spent over three weeks at sea in one go and been 1,500 miles from the nearest land, hence a fairly comprehensive bag. In compiling our kit, we gave careful thought to all the yummy stuff already included in our life-raft when it was last surveyed. Our EPIRBs are mounted in the boat, perhaps one should have been in the bag. Now, I would also include the Leatherman and some cereal bars. But the bag is heavy already.

Watermaker

Our small Watermaker was purchased in America (US$600). In Puerto Rico we met a guy who spent 66 days in a life-raft, in the Pacific Ocean, with his wife. They were attacked and holed by a pod of whales, ‘they were so lovely, riding alongside us and suddenly they turned . . .’  (Note to self: do not enjoy company of whales, turn on engine and shoot flares into water if same happens). He claims that they would be dead if they had not had the Watermaker in their grab bag. Before setting sail into the mighty Pacific, we purchased one. The emotions of coughing up the equivalent of almost a thousand Australian dollars were an odd mix; unwillingness to part with a large chunk of our cruising budget, conflicting with the thought that should we find our lives depended on it, it would seem a remarkably small amount of money. The Watermaker is still in its bag, unused and lonely, long may it remain so!

Other suggestions from friends: My humble opinion
Chemical heat packs Space blanket is smaller and works well
Petroleum jelly A necessity?
Book to read Really?
Wool and rubber work gloves Maybe one pair
Enema sack for rehydration I’d rather drink the water
Inflatable splints Great idea
Repair kit Already in life-raft
Swiss Army knife, sharpening stone, tube of oil. Make sure knife is sharp to start with
Sextant Way too hard to use in life-raft
Sponges In life-raft already
Chemical light sticks Good idea
Navigation kit Maybe
Sea anchor Good idea
Dried fruit and chocolate I’d never say no to chocolate (ensure fruit is not already in chocolate – this stuff can really go off)
Survival ship’s biscuits Good idea
Multiple vitamins A necessity?
Small plankton net Hmmmm
Photocopies of all essential crew documents Yup(or the originals)
Shore survival items in case you land in an uninhabited island: waterproof matches, flint, wire saw It’s all getting a bit much
Self-inflating foam pad or air mattress What about a snugly blanket and a cuddly teddy bear too – really . . . !
Spare prescription glasses Good idea – these are in our life-raft
Pack all gear into separate waterproof bags Not a bad idea

We hope you found this article useful. It was compiled with ideas from many different cruisers and survivors. They all openly expressed their survival considerations, experience and concerns.

If you’d like to read more, click here.

 


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Writing Competition

Short Story Writing Competition

I won this month!

June’s travel writing competition, that Robert Fear hosts, attracted many talented writers. This morning I received notification that I won this month.

They are all short stories related to travel – some of the yarns will surprise you, all will delight you.

Here’s a copy of my story, click here to read the others, you won’t be disappointed.

“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.
“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.

I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.

Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.

The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.

Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.

There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.

Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.

The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.

As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.

Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?

The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.

We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.

On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.

Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.

Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.

But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.

I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.

Wonderful view

View for every occasion


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Firm Butt Solution – It works!

Weed helps fight the flab!

Working hard? Have a free therapy session!

So, everyone wants a nice tight tush right?

Well, you don’t need a gym, you don’t need to pay your way to gain a pert posterior AND it doesn’t feel like exercise.

Actually, it is just like a therapy session.

Getting Weed!

Come to visit us (or any local land owner) and offer to pull up their fireweed!

The Benefits

  • You are outside, enjoying this fabulous autumn
  • It gives you a chance to let your mind wander
  • You are doing physical exercise without feeling like you are
  • In just a few days your butt tightens right up! Believe me!

Freebie!

Come here, far south coast of NSW, it’s like a free gym – I’ll even give you a cuppa!


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How I Cured My Migraines

I’m 99% free from migraines!

The most interesting thing I’ve learned is how to moderate what I eat and not feel as if I am missing out. It’s so obvious and!  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Since January 1st, I’ve:

  • Monitored what I’ve consumed
  • Moderated meat and fatty foods
  • Vastly reduced the amount of chocolate and alcohol
  • Consumed at least 3 litres of water a day – don’t guess it measure it otherwise you won’t drink enough!

This has helped reduce my headaches enormously, but I’ve found out other, non-food related tactics that also help.

A low-pressure system, i.e. a storm, will give me a headache (I’ve always known this can set me off, but a friend reminded me of it recently.)

If I over-heat I will get a headache. This could be working in 35 degree heat, but at a recent house-sit I took a dip in their pool. They heat their water via the sun – and it was like getting in a bath. While it felt pleasant, not long after I suffered from a headache – I felt it come on as my body warmed up.

How to manage my migraines

  • Keep cool – this means not only plenty of water to replace what I’ve lost (in additional to the three litres if doing physical work) but also pouring water on my wrists and neck, and even my head – cooling down properly, reducing my body temperature.
  • Plenty of water – 3 litres a day and much more if doing physical work.
  • Eat well – when I say I have reduced my meat intake, I try not to have it more than once a week and in this I am not including fish as meat. I eat a  lot of fish. I’ve lost weight and feel great. The main reason for doing this was to help my digestive system. I am an A+ blood type, which means I can process carbohydrates much easier than meat.
  • Stress – I have become adept at Choosing Happiness! It works – choose to be happy and content and you are. I also have a way of dealing with jobs that I don’t like. Recently I’ve been painting the interior of our caravan; it’s a fiddly, messy job (I am a messy painter). But as soon as I find myself losing my cool with it all, I remind myself, “at some point you will not be able to do this – so enjoy it while you can!” It works! I appreciate my health and energy.

UnravelTravel is my travel brand for gifts – take a look here… Choose Happiness is just one theme…

Vastly reducing my chocolate intake has helped. I try to stick to dark chocolate if the urge becomes too strong. Milk chocolate is almost an instant trigger (if eating a good quantity – a taste now and then is okay).

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What I came to realise

Food is connected with happiness. I don’t think I’ve been as happy as I am now. When things haven’t gone right I know I comfort eat. Now, as I am so content food is become just a fuel, something to keep me going – not something to indulge in – mostly…

Drinking a lot of water fills me up. So I eat less, keep hydrated, not only does this combats headaches it helps my skin too.

I am feeling great and looking great, even if I say so myself!

So, after just a few months of monitoring my intake, stress levels and body temperature, I feel I am in control. I am never without my stainless steel water container and constantly sip from it throughout the day – ensuring I consume at least 3 litres. (Mug can be purchased here.)

THIS IS KEY!

HAVING A NICE MUG/DRINKING VESSEL MEANS I KEEP IT WITH ME AND

CONSTANTLY SIP THROUGHOUT THE DAY!

My head has never felt so clear – ever – in my life! So that is a remarkable breakthrough.

Someone recommended I take Magnesium for migraines, but also for many other health benefits. So I am giving that a go as well.

Any questions or advice needed (or offered), please drop me a line.


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Migraine Advice Update Part 3

Great Migraine Advice

Tips on Combatting that Migraine

With the great advice and suggestions detailed in the previous blog, I’ve received more in-depth comments too.

“Foods that contain Tyramine, often fermented foods: Mature cheese, red wine, beer, sauerkraut, soy sauce (very high in salt as well, which wouldn’t help), vegemite and chocolate. Nitrites used in cured meat, Aspartame (there’s a reason why it’s not recommended for young children – it screws with your head!)”

I had to look up Aspartame and this is what I found:

From the NHS – UK Website:
Aspartame has been subject to more scare stories than any other sweetener, ranging from allergies and premature births to liver damage and cancer. Read more here.

Here’s a great article all about migraines, it mentions Aspartame as a possible cause.

It also talks about other triggers, many of which make perfect sense to me. What was most interesting that they say some women have a headache prior to their period. This was spot on for me too (see my previous blog here on combating my migraines).

This article talks about a study that “proves” Aspartame does not contribute to migraines.

However, despite mentioning a study that proved this fact, this is issued by the Aspartame Information Center.

More information on Caffeine

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, so supposedly if migraines are partly due to vasodilation, it could be good. But it also increases blood pressure, so it might cancel that out. It increases cortisol levels – the stress hormones – so I’d probably steer clear of it.”

 “Chocolate has some caffeine, but more theobromine – a similar chemical. It is, however, a vasodilator. Although it contains serotonin, the feel good hormone, migraines are also partly caused by an excess of serotonin.”

Fabulous – yum – recipe! An alternative to Chocolate

I’ve mostly read that chocolate is a no no. I’ve had very little over the last month. Thank you, Simon Hugh

Thank you, Simon Hugh Wheeler for offering so much valuable advice and this recipe.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“An alternative to chocolate is carob. I know it’s not the same, but for example, I’ve made a microwave, 1 min mud cake with carob flour, an egg, some sugar and a touch of cinnamon and ginger which is gorgeous.”

Simon goes on to say, “Carob has no caffeine, no oxalates (if you have kidney or joint problems, that can help), but has fibre, calcium, magnesium and vits A, B, and D, amongst other nutrients. It also has antioxidants and Gallic acid which is a mild analgesic – it helps to reduce cholesterol too.”

Find out all about Carob here.

Needless to say, I will be looking into carob recipes further.

What now?

Well, I’ll continue on my quest to monitor what I eat to see if I can nut out what affects me.

However, as I am eating everything in moderation, it may take some time. If I don’t have a migraine within a month of this experiment, I will be ecstatic as I usually have one at least once a month.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I lose control and binge on something yummy (yes, it’ll be chocolate), then I’ll monitor the results.

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Simple Solutions

I hope to solve my problem with the simplest solution – and I fully intend to solve it – watch this space.

Update: My research has revealed some incredibly interesting triggers and things to avoid… all will be revealed soon. BTW – I am winning the battle!


4 Comments

Migraine Battles Part 2

Migraine Advice from around the world

On talking openly about my battle with migraines, I’ve received an amazing response.

As promised I’m going to share some comments, advice, and suggestions. My experiment continues and I’ll have some interesting results to share with you soon.

Praise

“It’s always wise to discover the cause instead of treating the symptoms” and “Good on ya!”

It’s lovely to receive positive encouragement

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things to avoid

Cheese
Dairy products
Preservatives
Colouring
MSG
Artificial flavourings
Citrus
Chocolate
Wine
Too much meat

Replacing lost nutrients

Seeds and nuts

Good for migraines

Caffeine

Magnesium

Bad for migraines

Caffeine

Chocolate

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What can be good for you

Dark Chocolate

Interesting remarks to ponder

“Sometimes people think chocolate is a trigger for their headaches as they have eaten it just prior to getting one, when really you’ve eaten it in response to the onset of a headache, (e.g. your body needs it).”

I found this interesting and this made good sense to me. It’s something I am keeping in mind as I go and monitoring my results.

In response to “Chocolate can be good for you,” one person commented, “I can’t eat dark chocolate at all, guarantees a migraine with vomiting.”

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another friend mentioned their pain and suffering with migraines, “I’ve tried everything even Botox! I sometimes think it is hormonal and the Doctors don’t know what to do apart from tablets..”

I’d never ever do botox (botulism injected – yikes!) of course, desperate times calls for desperate measures and I know when I’ve been in extreme pain I’d pretty much take anything that would hold some hope. This is one reason I am avoiding Doctors for as long as possible – I don’t want drugs, I want to beat it myself.

Alternative Help

“I was advised that pouring cold water over your head can ease it, mine disappeared of their own accord.”

I do find that if I am too hot (working in that humidity mentioned in the last blog), I suffer, so this makes sense too. I have had a cold cloth on my forehead and the back of my neck before, if I remember to do it early enough – if I don’t, with a full blown migraine, nothing can touch my head. (I’ve done some interesting (self) research on this!)

Later, another person commented, “We have used ice packs around necks in ED to help the really nasty ones that meds weren’t budging with some success.”

I’ve taken note and will try to use this method in the early stages IF I get another migraine.

Image courtesy of Antoine Henrich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Antoine Henrich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More Technical Advice

Look out for Part 3 of this experiment which will detail some fabulous advice for those who have to take the next step – watch those chemicals! Read those labels!

And – a great alternative/recipe for chocolate…

It’s time for me to step away from the laptop to give my eyes a rest…. to much screen time could be another trigger!