Managing anxiety.

Managing anxiety.

I discovered last month that after battling chronic stress and anxiety over a period of 19 years, I had developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which went unnoticed for a long time. There was Life to deal with. Earlier, it was MIL’s illness and her passing away, followed by my pet dog’s illness and his passing away, and then, last year, hubby’s illness and many other unimagined, unexpected events that turned my world upside down.

It is only so much that a person can handle without getting intensely affected by the events that take place in his or her life. But, when the stress, the fear and the exhaustion gets unbearable, it is sure to affect a person’s mental health.

I am glad I sought professional help when I realised I couldn’t take it any longer.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be managed provided you work on yourself and your thoughts that cause you the anxiety. And, yes, also seek medical help.

So, after a few sessions of counselling and medicines that help in controlling the anxiety and its thought process and get an 8 hour uninterrupted sleep (ah, sheer bliss!), I have been handling my anxiety much better. I have learned to distract my mind from thoughts that cause the anxiety to escalate; I have made a few changes in my daily life to help me loosen up a bit, relieve the stress and learn to live in the moment that makes things a lot easier for the mind.

Today, I would like to share the ways in which I manage my anxiety and am in a much calmer space despite the chaos around. Well, chaos is omnipresent, isn’t it? It’s always going to be your companion in Life!

ANXIETY:

Anxiety is a feeling we all experience in our life. Some anxiety is even necessary for us to be able to face and deal with any situation that comes in our life at every turn. However, when this anxiety takes over our mind to such an extent that it becomes difficult to deal with everyday life, we ought to seek professional help. There is no need for any embarrassment, really. Our body will function to its optimum only if we are in a healthy frame of mind.

So, if you do feel your anxiety and fear making life difficult for you, then:

  • Consult a mental health expert,

  • Seek counselling, and

  • Take the prescribed medications.

  • And sharing a doctor’s advice :

    Try and understand the thoughts that cause you the anxiety and look for solutions. Journaling helps. Write down the thoughts that cause you anxiety and find ways to tackle those issues if and when they do arise.

Most of the times, people with GAD imagine the worst case scenario which causes extreme anxiety. Know, that whatever happens, you will be able to face it, cope with it. Diverting your attention won’t help in the long run. But, assuring yourself that you can and will deal with the uncertainties in Life will arm you with the strength you need.

EASY AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY:

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS:

An easy way to practice mindfulness is to make it a goal to be followed for a particular number of days. Say, for a week or so. Every task you do, make sure your mind is in that very moment a 100%. Grab your mind by its collar when you feel it wandering and bring it back to the present. it isn’t easy, mind you, but you need to do it for yourself. Just do it a few times, while cooking/working/walking, and you will notice how it relieves the mind.

BREATHE:

Breathe. The one process our life depends on and the one process we often neglect. We aren’t even aware whether we are breathing correctly.

Sit cross-legged on the floor, or a chair; be comfortable and then inhale slowly and deeply, for as long as you can. Then, exhale the same way. Focus on your nostrils as you take in the air and let it out, or focus on your stomach as it inflates and deflates as it takes in the air and lets it out. Do it just for 10 counts, initially. And, then, do it whenever you are sitting idle, lost in thoughts. Bring your mind to the moment and begin to breathe. And, FOCUS on your breath. DO NOT let your mind wander.

SLEEP:

An uninterrupted sleep is so necessary for our body and mind to recover from the day’s exhaustion, to repair itself and to rejuvenate.

Switch off your gadgets–phones, laptops and TV–an hour or half an hour before bedtime. Carry a book or the newspaper to bed and read or solve puzzles. Within ten minutes of doing this, you are sure to feel drowsy. This is because there isn’t the blue light emitting from the book/newspapers, neither is there any movement on a screen in front of your eyes to keep your mind alert. Sudoku and crossword puzzles work for me. Find out what works for you.

DIVERT YOUR MIND:

Each time I used to travel in the car with hubby at the wheel, I would panic. So much so, that I used to beg for divine intervention to come and save me. I am mortally scared of speed. I feel at ease only when the vehicle runs at a speed of 60 Kmph. Slower than that is also welcome!

Now, thankfully, since hubby learned about my GAD, he drives real slow. And, if by chance, there is a nutcase driving like a maniac and hubby tries to veer away from his path, I hold on tight to my bag in my arms and go away to some far away fantasy land. This works like a charm. Although, what I do need to work on, is to tell myself that I can cope with the speed and assure myself that whatever happens, I will take care of it.

TAKE A WALK/PRACTICE YOGA:

Any form of exercise, when done with complete concentration, helps distract your anxious mind.

I practice yoga for 30 – 35 minutes in the morning and go for a 40 minutes walk in the evening, without fail. And, while doing these activities, I do not have any app guiding me or recording/calculating the number of steps or calories burned. I just stay in the moment. I breathe, take in the scenery, or concentrate on the asanas. That’s THE way to enjoy your workout!

LISTEN TO MUSIC:

Music is therapy for the mind and the soul. Agree?

Just put on some music of your choice while working or doing chores and feel your mind relax. It is, indeed, therapeutic. I have made a habit of listening to music at least once a day–morning or evening–and it leaves me feeling so fresh!

COMMUNICATE:

Talking things out with your close ones helps tremendously.

I have marked days of the week when I call up my close friends and cousins and have a heart to heart talk with them. I have set alarms in my phone that remind me of which day and at what time I am to talk to which person. Amusing, I know, but this helps me stay connected with my close ones and have my support system when I am in need.

INDULGE IN FRIVOLOUS ACTIVITIES:

Absolutely insignificant stuff like looking for matching accessories for your clothes, deciding what clothes you will wear for which occasion (even if there isn’t one anytime soon), pampering your body with a spa treatment at home, preparing face masks or body scrubs from stuff in your kitchen cabinets–it is super fun, I tell you! These things, though frivolous, push out the anxious thoughts that often find a snug spot in our mind. Try it. It’s silly, I know, but it helps.

READ:

Fiction, especially suspense-thrillers are my go-to books when I need to divert my mind. Self-help books seldom help me at such times, coz I don’t want any gyaan; all I want is some adventure to read about or some murder mystery that grips my attention like nothing else can.

PURSUE A HOBBY:

My favourite is art, and especially, the Zentangle. And, these days, I am bitten by the Mandala bug. I can forget the world and its hundred worries when I sit down to make a mandala.

Anxiety is a feeling that will always be lurking somewhere in your mind. Life is such. But, you need to show your anxiety who’s the boss!

Take care…

Love,

SHILPA…

P. S.

Do read my friend Sanch’s comment below. She is a psychologist and has shared some much-needed advice for us.

Thank you so much, Sanch! ūüíü

Love,

Shilpa.

Manage your anxiety the easy way

Are you lactose intolerant?

Are you lactose intolerant?


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Do you remember, as kids, being coaxed to drink up that tall glass of warm milk every morning and evening? I know, some of you couldn’t even tolerate it and so emptied the glass in the flower pot or the sink, right? ¬†The smell and the taste can be off-putting, so I can understand.

But, there’s a reason why our parents wanted us to drink that glass of milk, you know?

Milk is a COMPLETE FOOD as it consists of every such nutrient that we humans need.

 

We have heard it since the time we were kids about how drinking milk will give us strong teeth and healthy bones as it is rich in Calcium.

But, apart from that, it also helps keep the heart healthy and the blood pressure under control.

Milk fortified with Vitamin D helps us sleep well and helps produce serotonin–our ¬†‘good mood’ hormone–which could keep depression away. Now, this is an information my doctor provided. ¬†He said that a lack of Vitamin D results in all of the PMS related feelings like mood-swings, irritability, depression, fatigue, etc, that, if not taken care of, can only worsen with time.

And, yet, so many of us find it unbearable to even bring a glass of milk close to our nose! Well, if the smell puts you off, you could always add a spoonful of some nutritional powder, like Horlicks, Boost, Complan, or even almond/cardamom powder–there’s a wide choice of nutritional drinks available in the market. Choose the one that you like.

If hot/warm milk gives you nausea or gas, try chilled milk. I love chilled milk. I add a spoonful of Horlicks to it and have it for my breakfast.  My last post was on coughs and cures, where I failed to mention that my cough usually gets cured by a glass of chilled milk, instead of the usually prescribed warm haldi wala doodh (milk with turmeric)!

Lactose intolerance and food options:

When the body cannot digest the lactose present in the milk, it makes you lactose intolerant. One could suffer from nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea and, hence, stay away from milk, altogether.

However, if not milk, then you can surely have other milk products such as curd or yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese or paneer, ghee, butter and milk which is lactose-free.

Other alternatives are soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain calcium as does Amaranth. Chia seeds, beans, lentils and tofu are other foods that also contain calcium in good quantities.

Milk products for the lactose intolerant:

Curd contains high amount of proteins making it a highly nutritional food. Add some fruits of your choice, some dates and other dry fruits and honey and you have a delicious and healthy bowl for a midmorning or evening snack, ready in no time!

You could also make a smoothie with curds and some fruits. Keep sugar out of these recipes, though. And, artificial sweeteners, too. Using honey, dates or raisins is a better alternative.

Curds go well with parathas, rice (curd-rice, any day!) or oats, too.

Buttermilk, when had after a heavy lunch, makes for the best digestive. Just add some cumin powder, rock salt (kala namak),¬†some finely chopped green chillies and coriander and you get the best cooling, digestive drink, ever. You know that, don’t you?

Cottage cheese, or¬†paneer,¬†is another milk product loaded with calcium and proteins. And, it aids in weight loss, too. Homemade¬†paneer¬†tastes the best–soft and creamy–as opposed to the readymade one, which is often rubbery and lacks any taste. Just add a spoon of lemon juice to some warm milk and when the milk curdles and the curds separates, pour it through a cloth in a strainer. Gather the cloth, squeeze it lightly to drain the excess water and tie it up. That’s it. Perfect, soft, tasty¬†paneer¬†ready to be used in your recipes, or eat it as is.

Cheese provides calcium and proteins, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc. The best benefit of cheese, I read, is for the teeth as it prevents tooth decay. For those trying to gain some weight, you could add cheese to your diet. It helps improve the bone density and also strengthens the muscles.Opt for cheese with low salt content as otherwise it could affect your blood pressure.

And, finally,¬†ghee,¬†or clarified butter, is another milk product that you can consume on a daily basis. It will help in maintaining your gut health, keep your joints healthy, your heart beating beautifully, your skin soft, and your weight under control. My post on¬†Ghee has the method of preparing it at home. it’s really easy to make, or you could buy white butter from the market and use that to prepare the¬†ghee.

So, if you have deleted milk from your daily diet due to lactose intolerance, do include it now through the various milk products. ¬†You will be doing a world of good for your health–mental as well as physical health. Trust me!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

DO YOU SUFFER FROM LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?

 

Coughs and cures.

Coughs and cures.

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Hello, people! How have you been? I was MIA on my blog for the past week or so. My winged babies chewed off the wire of my WiFi router…Yeah, that’s their favourite pastime–chewing wires–and, now that I have learned my lesson, I am going to get all the wires covered. Anyway, so, after we got a new wire and my wifi started working smoothly, I fell ill. Severe menstrual cramps, a UTI and fever…uff! I have never in my life suffered any such cramps, so I really felt like I was dying!

Thanks, though, for my gynaec friend who prescribed some meds and today I feel fresh as a lily! It helps to have doctor friends, isn’t it? Just one phone call and your issue gets sorted. So grateful for some really wonderful friends!

Anyway, today, I am sharing with you all some cough remedies that I have tried and tested during the few times I have suffered from a terrible throat infection. And, no, this is not a sponsored post because of the syrup and Ayurvedic medicines I will be talking about (which, I am sure, many of you must have heard of, already). Also, the remedies I have mentioned, not only help with the cough, but with the cold, too!

First of, I would like to share the herbal drink I made for myself a couple years ago, when I had had a really bad cough. And, miraculously, my cough was cured in just a few days! So, do try it out, if you haven’t already. It works like a charm and is extremely soothing.

REMEDIES FOR COUGH:

HERBAL DRINK:

As you must be aware, our kitchen cabinets hold in them spices that not only add flavour to our food, but also have medicinal properties that help in curing some ailments. So, using a few of those spices we are going to prepare the herbal drink for our sore throat.

INGREDIENTS:

A glassful of water

Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds

2 – 3 pepper corns

2 cloves

A tiny piece of cinnamon

Half an inch of grated ginger

A few Tulsi leaves

1 spoonful of honey

Keep the water to boil. Then, add the spices and ginger and let boil for a few minutes. Switch off the gas once the water changes its colour and you get the aroma of all the spices. Strain in a glass, add a spoonful of honey, stir well and consume it when hot. Take your time, though, lest your tongue gets scalded!

Having this drink twice a day –first thing in the morning and last thing at night–will definitely cure that cough in a matter of a few days. You won’t need to visit a doctor who will prescribe some cough syrup and medicines that will only make you drowsy and cost you a lot of money.

 

TURMERIC+SUGAR:

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant used for its medicinal purposes.

Gargling with hot water mixed with half a spoonful of turmeric gives great relief to the sore throat.

Another way to use it to cure cough is to consume quarter spoonful turmeric and half a spoon of sugar before bed time. Chew thoroughly and then have half a sip of water. This will ensure an uninterrupted sleep. It’s something my MIL always believed in and now, so do I.

AYURVEDIC MIXTURE:

India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, as you must know. It has been used since ages to cure ailments without any side-effects, provided prescribed by a knowledgable practitioner. However, the mixture I am telling you about is something that has been passed down to me by my mother. It’s something she always prepared for us when we developed a sore throat during childhood. And, this, too, works…trust me.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINES:

1/2 a spoonful of Yashtimadhu (Licorice) powder

1/2 a spoonful of Sitopaladi Churna

1 spoon Honey

1 spoon Ghee

The Ayurvedic medicines are easily available at your local chemist.

Mix well all the ingredients in a bowl and have quarter of a spoonful (of half a tiny spoonful) every half hour or so. Also, drink the herbal drink twice a day and you will feel better soon.

ADULSA:

Ayurvedic Cough Syrup

Adulsa is a medicinal plant found in Asia and is used in Ayurvedic medicine, specially for cough and cold. You will find it at your local chemist. All you need to do is, add 2 spoonfuls of this syrup to a glass of warm water, add some honey and drink this twice of thrice a day. It not only tastes good, but will give you quick relief from cough and cold, and will not make you drowsy.

BENEFITS OF HOME REMEDIES OVER OTC COUGH SYRUPS:

The ingredients used in the herbal drink are all used in our everyday cooking. These are spices that are also medicinal in nature and have zero side-effects.

Ghee contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help cure not only dry cough but various other ailments. Did you know that adding a spoonful of ghee to warm milk and drinking this before going to bed can relieve you of constipation?

Honey, too, is antibacterial and helps in curing a throat infection.

Ginger has antibacterial properties that help fight infection and treat a sore throat effectively.

Tulsi leaves help fight infections and allergies.

Yashtimadhu, or Licorice, also has anti-inflammatory properties that help cure throat infections.

Sitopaladi Churna–an Ayurvedic medicine–is a commonly used cough remedy that has no side-effects. When added with Yashtimadhu, honey and ghee–all of which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties–it’s the best cure for a sore throat.

The over-the-counter cough syrups and other drugs that people generally opt for when suffering from a sore throat or a runny nose, offer nothing except temporary relief and that, too, with side-effects. You feel drowsy all day and hardly find any relief despite consuming bottles of the syrups.

This being the season of coughs and colds, I thought of doing this post so that if any of you are suffering from a bad throat, do give these cough remedies a try. it’s all a matter of faith, really, which I am sure you will develop once you experience the benefits of these remedies as opposed to the OTC cough syrups.

The Ayurvedic products are all available online, so, if you fail to find these in the area you reside in, you can always shop online.

Do let me know if you found any difference after using the above tried and tested remedies.

Take care…

LOVE,

SHILPA…

Ayurvedic and home remedies for cough

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

So, finally 2019 is here–sparkling and glittering with its newness, infusing us with the hope and vigour to make it a success story. I am sure most of us have decided on some new resolutions and promised to stick to those and fulfil them by the end of the year. Right?

But, as we all are so aware, all those grand resolutions are going to fizzle out by the end of the second week of January, itself! Or, may be by the end of January. And, we will find ourselves back where we started…wondering why we failed to stick to our plans and questioning our tenacity. By February, we will vow to stick to our resolutions the next year, come what may!

But, do you think we will succeed in 2020, either? I bet not.

Why do you think this happens? Why do our grand plans fizzle out? Why do we forget all about our resolutions to turn a new leaf in the new year just days after we start?

I think, the reason is, that we make resolutions that are too ambitious and grand to handle. Seldom do we assess ourselves, our capabilities and our limits before making those resolutions.

Someone, who might wish to reduce weight, might decide to stay off sweets, altogether; enrol at a gym and workout like crazy; follow a diet to get the figure they so wish.

Someone might decide to work towards that promotion they so seek and slog night and day.

And, someone else might decide to live a more fulfilling life where they spend more time with their families and discover themselves, follow their passions, because, well… YOLO! I mean, You Only Live Once! ( I was so unaware of the meaning of YOLO till sometime back!).

But, is it that easy?

Being strict with your diet, hitting the gym regularly….can all get frustrating after a while because you never know when Life might throw in some surprises or test your commitment. All of our best laid plans could fly right out the window!

Or, in our quest to reach ahead in the “race”, we would neglect our health, our sleep and our family and if things don’t go as we expect–which is what usually happens– we could very well end up depressed.

And, people who wish to live a more fulfilling life with their families and all, can definitely achieve it, provided they place their smartphones and other gadgets under lock and key once they are home. But, do you think you can resist the temptation of checking the notifications on those hundreds of social media platforms to see how many people approve of you and the stuff you share?

You might do it for a day or two, but then will just give in to the urge to grab that phone and forget all about discovering yourself. Such is the control our gadgets have over us.

So, all the enthusiasm with which we begin the new year starts to wane and our singleminded devotion towards fulfilling our resolutions begins to peter out. We do make a few feeble attempts at getting our mojo back, but in vain. And, soon, we fall into the rut we all were so used to earlier. Life takes over along with the uncertainties She brings our way and we realise we will never be able to win over Life and Her big plans!

WHAT WE NEED TO DO INSTEAD

This year, I decided to make a few goals to follow; goals that I haven’t labelled as “resolutions”; goals which would be doable and easy on me and my mind. After all that happened in my Life since 2017, all I need today is peace of mind. That’s all. I am not at all trying to be overly ambitious, or enthusiastic, or anything. All I am looking for is the elusive peace, and how to make it a part of my life, and thus these goals.

So, I jotted down a few things that I needed to make a part of my everyday life. Little things, really, like…

Simple, doable things that are sure to change my outlook towards Life, make me a stronger person, calm me during the tiresome, stressful moments and yes, build a solid support system that I so need.

Of course, it is not easy, for instance, to accept Life as it is, or believe in myself when things aren’t going my way. I am human, after all. But, being grateful for whatever I have is bound to change that and give me a fresh new perspective about my Life, and that is exactly what I wish to achieve.

So, instead of coming up with resolutions we will never stick to, why not make smaller goals to work on on an everyday basis; goals that are easier to manage and do not burden us with expectations.

Here’s what you could do if you wish to fulfil your new year resolutions…

8 WAYS TO STICK TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS:

1. Take baby steps…make smaller goals that don’t tax your mind if you miss out once in a while. Remember, it’s okay to slip off the track once in a while. Make goals keeping this in mind.

2. Don’t be too strict with yourself as far as meeting your goals is concerned. I mean, suppose you decide to stay off sweets, then take it a day at a time and keep aside a day when you can cheat on your plan. Have a chocolate, or your favourite dessert–for the sake of your taste buds–and, then workout a bit extra the following day. But, then again, don’t overdo it. Bottom line is, care for your body, be considerate towards its limits.

3. If you wish to cut down on your smartphone use, set an alarm for 9 pm when you will switch off the WIFI and put the phone away. Do not switch it on as soon as you wake up. And, once you do switch on, time yourself. No more than 10 minutes to check whatever you wish to and as soon as your 10 minutes are up, switch it off again. Stay away from it for at least a couple of hours between every 10 minutes phone break you take.

4. If you have decided to exercise/workout everyday, do it in the morning beginning with just 15 minutes. After a week, increase it by 10 minutes. 25 – 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough. And, take a break on Sundays. Your body requires the rest.

5. Prepare a journal in which you note down your goals and how you manage to achieve them everyday. Be true to yourself. No cheating!

6. At the end of a week/ fortnight, if you find that you have been pretty consistent with working on your goals, reward yourself.

7. Remember to take life ONE DAY AT A TIME–this includes working on your goals, too!

8. And, finally, remember that you are NOT competing with anyone except yourself–your old self. So, don’t be a tyrant and drive yourself crazy over your goals. It will affect your mental health. And, if your mental health suffers, believe me, there’s no point working on any other aspect of your life.

So, what goals have you made for the new year? If you haven’t yet, I would suggest you give it a good thought, take everything into consideration and then decide what it is that you need to change. I am sure you will have a higher chance at succeeding at it!

Wish you the very best!

May you all have a happy, healthy and a peaceful New Year!

God bless!

Take care, coz I care…

Love,

SHILPA…

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EFFECTIVE WAYS TO FULFIL YOUR RESOLUTIONS

My chosen word for 2019

My chosen word for 2019

2018 is coming to an end, and what a year it has been!

Eventful, I must say!

Not a day went by this entire year without teaching me something–a lesson for life, a survival trick, a secret to living Life! And, for all that happened–bad, worse, worst–I am grateful for it all. That’s not to say that good things didn’t take place. They did. Loads of good happened, too, for which I am grateful. But, it’s the difficult times that I am thankful for. It’s always the tough times, the troubles, the stressors that make us stronger, wiser, saner.

I read somewhere that a year can do a lot to a person. Couldn’t agree more! This entire 2018 changed me completely. The person I was, changed to the person I am today–a person I am proud of and look up to. I really don’t mean to brag about myself, but today, when I look back at who I was, I feel embarrassed…I cringe when I see who I was back then. So, am glad things happened the way they did this year!

Last year, I had chosen the words, HOPE and FAITH to guide me in 2018. They did. It was hope that kept me from losing patience, and faith that led me by my hand as I strove to face every odd that came my way. And, no, hubby’s illness was not the only thing that went horribly wrong this year. But, everything else that did go wrong is something that will always always stay with me, reminding me about the ephemeral nature of Life; that Life is not to be taken seriously, for it’s never constant.

The few lessons I learned this year are:

NOTHING IS PERMANENT

EXPECTATIONS BREAK YOUR HEART, SO NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING FROM ANYONE, LEAST OF ALL FROM LIFE.

And,

LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

This moment that I am alive is the only moment I have, so it only makes sense to make the most of it. Live in the here and the now. Of course, I have made a couple of plans for the next year, but being flexible as far as seeing those plans come to fruition is what I have decided. I don’t know if I will be able to fulfil all those plans, but I would like to do my best today and let tomorrow take care of itself!

So, my word for this year is:

CARPE DIEM

Seize the day!

Do my best, today.

Be my best, today.

Be as happy and grateful as I can be, today.

( Erm, is there a word for ‘Seize the moment’? I didn’t find any!)

That’s all. I just don’t wish to think about what the future holds for me. I would just like to focus on this moment, on today...this day…and be happy that I am alive; with everything I have (as well as all that I don’t).

Isn’t that much easier to do than make big resolutions and then slip off the track when Life drops a bomb on you, as Life is wont to do!? *wink wink*

So, what is your WOTY? Have you thought of any?

Love,

SHILPA…

my chosen -word of the year-