Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

 

After last year’s A to Z blogging challenge, I remember being in a dilemma. It had been an exciting month of drawing the letters of the alphabet, writing posts and visiting blogs. But, it had also been an exhausting month of writing and reading posts and replying to comments in time!

I had several ideas floating around in my mind about what I could choose for a theme for A to Z 2019, and at the same time, I was wondering if I would participate at all for all the burnout it could cause.

But, here I am!

You can’t keep a writer from writing, can you?

So, last month, while I worked on creating pins for Pinterest, an idea struck me about how I could blog about a topic that was tailor made for my niche. I jotted down a few points as and when I could and came up with:

 

THE A TO Z OF SELF-CARE

 

Self-care usually figures at the bottom of our priority lists. What with our family, job and Life taking centre stage, we hardly find time to indulge in ourselves, take care of ourselves.

I have been a witness to how my mom, my sis-in-law and so many women in my life hardly find time for themselves. And, if they do,  they feel guilty of spending it on themselves.

I understand how difficult it is making time for oneself in a packed schedule. But, it’s a necessity doing something just for oneself, even if for half an hour. It’s the welcome break women need, their mental health needs. And, if one is mentally healthy, one can find peace and happiness in every situation. That’s something I have learned over the past so many years.

Looking after our own well-being isn’t something one does once a month and then forgets about it. It’s something one needs to practice on a daily basis, without any kind of guilt hanging over one’s head.

Hence, this April A to Z blogging challenge, I will be sharing 26 ways to self-care in easy, doable ways, about things that, generally, get sidelined over other more “important” ones.

The posts will be short, quick-reads, with tips that will help you IF you treat them as RULES and promise to abide by.

It might sound like I am giving an ultimatum of sorts to you women out there about how you ought to follow my tips, or else….! But, trust me, girls, if we don’t care for ourselves, no one will. Ever.

For these 26 days, I will be sharing some ‘Points to remember’– a to-do list for us to follow each day. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so, I guess following these tips for the next 26 days will get us into the habit of caring for ourselves.

So, beginning the 1st of April, do visit Metanoia for my tips on self-care and do share with me if you find these helpful. I will be happy for the feedback, dear reader, for it’s you who keeps me going!

 

Much love!

Take care, coz I care,

SHILPA…

 

If you don't take care of yourself, who will?

 

Skin care made easy.

Skin care made easy.

Sundays, for me, are cleaning days. Cleaning, de-cluttering, scrubbing – each of these activities gives me much peace of mind.

Sometimes, I scrub my home, and at other times, when I am in the mood to pamper myself, I scrub myself! I mean, I have a spa day at home, when I experiment with kitchen ingredients to prepare facial and body scrubs–natural beauty products, as opposed to ready-made ones–to rejuvenate my skin and add some cheer to my routine.

The benefits of using natural ingredients are:

They seldom have any side-effects, or leave any rashes on the skin.

They are available at home.

They are cheap compared to the branded ones.

They are skin-friendly. Rarely do we need to do a patch test before using them on our skin.

And, the scrubs need very little time to prepare–just two minutes!

There are a few face and body scrubs I have used since a long time now, and can vouch for their effectiveness.

Sharing today, two such scrubs that you can use as facial as well as a body scrub.

SEMOLINA + YOGHURT:

The grainy texture of semolina gently scrubs away the dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling baby-soft.

Yoghurt, or curd, is a natural moisturiser. The bacteria present in curd is the good bacteria that improves the complexion, softens the skin and is one of the best ingredients to use for dry skin.

I have dry skin, which is getting drier by the day. I stopped using ready-made face washes long back. For, however much they may promise to restore the moisture of your skin, they do have added chemicals that don’t make any difference. So, I use either gram flour (besan) with milk or curd to wash my face everyday.

METHOD:

Mix a teaspoon of semolina (rava) with curd–take as much quantity as you require. to make the paste.

Apply to face and neck and gently scrub in circular motions.

Our facial skin is delicate and doesn’t need too much pressure–the kind they use at a beauty salon.

Scrub for a few minutes and then wash off with cold water.

Pat your skin dry.

And, because you are using curd, you won’t need a moisturiser!

TIPS:

*This scrub can be used all over the body.

*You can use this everyday–either semolina+curd, or gram flour+curd, instead of a face wash.

*Add a pinch of turmeric to the gram flour. It gives a glow to your skin and also cures any nicks and cuts you might get while shaving your hands/legs.

SUGAR + GLYCERINE + LEMON JUICE:

This combination was shared with me by a beautician friend when I asked her for a manicure. She said I really didn’t need to spend any money on it. Instead, mix the ingredients and scrub my hands weekly!

The powdered sugar cleans away the dead cells, leaving the skin feeling smooth.

The lemon juice helps brighten your skin with regular use. And, being antibacterial, it helps fight acne.

Glycerine locks the moisture in your skin and helps keep it hydrated.

METHOD:

Take a teaspoon of powdered sugar, add the juice of half a lemon and add a teaspoon of glycerine to it to make the paste.

Apply it to your face/lips/hands/feet, and scrub gently.

Scrub for a few minutes in circular motions and with a light pressure.

Wash off with cold water.

TIPS:

*Chapped lips, blackheads on the nose, acne…all of these skin problems get solved if you use these scrubs regularly. In fact, you can feel the difference in just one use.

*As much as possible, use cold water to wash your face. Hot water robs the skin off moisture and dries it faster.

*Do not touch your face every now and then. We never remember which surface our hands have touched and might transfer all kinds of germs/dust to our face!

So, that’s all from me today. Do let me know if you have used these scrubs, or use any other scrubs.

Take care of your skin…take care of yourself!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

DIY (1)

 

A letter to my anxiety.

A letter to my anxiety.

My dear Anxiety,

So weird that I call you “dear”, considering you have caused nothing but distress for years together. But, since you have been an old companion, I’ll be polite with you.

I did think that it would be easy getting rid of you, you know? With the help of therapy and my meds, I had started to feel so much better, as if a load had been lifted off my chest. But, as a dear friend pointed out, it isn’t easy getting rid of you, completely.

You still exist in my system. You hide in the shadows, like a bandit, waiting for the perfect chance to pounce on my mind and destroy all the peace. You are very very wicked…oh yes, you are!

Haven’t you had your fill feeding on my mind all these years? Why can’t you just let me be? Why do you have to rear your ugly head every now and then and tease and taunt me so? Is it your mode of entertainment?

I know you so well now. I can instinctively sense you approaching when my heart starts to beat in that peculiar manner and my breath gets shallow. The restlessness and the panic and all those horrid thoughts that suddenly appear and crowd my mind speak loud about your vile intentions.

But, I have had enough.

I have decided to work harder at getting over you and not cower in fear.

I know, you will always be loitering around, somewhere on the periphery. But, I am working on getting stronger by the day, and learn how to deal with you, rather, make good use of you to face the fears you scare me with.

Yes, I am working on using you to my advantage; making use of my anxiety to get over my anxiety!

Like, the other day, when hubby disclosed his plans for the next month. My instant reaction was PANIC, followed by fearful thoughts of every kind.

But, then, something clicked, and I thought to myself how I didn’t need to think about the moment that’s still to come. How, we can take precautions and be prepared for any untoward events that might take place. How, those untoward events I fear, might not even take place, after all, and, it’s all just YOU trying to put those fearful thoughts in my mind!

What a relief it was, I tell you! Not because of what I had realised about you and your evil ways, but about being able to find solutions to eventualities that might happen.

it was our Scouts and Guides motto, back in school:

“BE PREPARED”.

So, that’s what I am going to work on.

On being prepared for anything and everything that comes my way.

And, making good use of you in looking for a way out of a difficult situation I might find myself in.

All I need to do is, BE PREPARED and BE ALERT.

Ah… That does feel so good now!

Try as you might, dear Anxiety, but I am NOT going to allow you to win.

I am going to fight you till my last breath.

So, YOU be prepared, too!

Love ‘n’ luck

SHILPA…

 

Use your anxiety to your advantage. Face it boldly and do not cower in fear.

 

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

March begins in just an hour, now. How time flies! Precisely why we need to make full use of every moment we get–every single moment of every single day.

A new month also means new beginnings, although, you really don’t need to wait for a new month or a new year to make a new beginning. You can do it anytime you feel like you need to change.

Some months back, I decided to change my phone habits and a couple days back, my diet. It does feel wonderful, seeing how the changes are affecting my health and my life!

CHANGE IN DIET:

Earlier, my breakfast included a mug of chilled milk with a spoonful of Horlicks. It was something I looked forward to, the moment I woke up. However, it was also something that gave me gas. Yes, milk does that to me….Sigh.

So, to get relief from it, I switched to curd/yoghurt.

Now, curd+banana+raisins+oats (I know, I know..OATS!!?? But, hubby got it for me, so I have to finish the stock, right?) has been my breakfast, ever since.

I have also started having curd+rice for lunch, as opposed to no rice earlier. My lunch, which comprises of chapatis/ragi rotis, sabji, curd-rice, satiates me. No more hunger pangs within two hours of lunch!

The curd keeps me cool, helps with the digestion and I no longer feel like my tummy is a gas chamber!

The live bacteria (pro biotics) in the curd takes good care of my gut health. And, a healthy gut, is a happy me!

Its high protein content ensures I have enough energy to face a busy day.

I deducted rice from dinner, though, which now includes chapatis, sabji/dal, and a huge bowl of salad (cucumber+carrot+tomatoes). Makes me feel full, and yet, not uncomfortably full.

MORAL: It helps having a light dinner!

CHANGE IN PHONE HABITS:

I did a post on my phone habits last year. I also did a follow-up post. Since the past two months, I have made furthermore changes in my phone usage.

I switch on my phone wifi in the morning at 8.00 to check messages/mail etc and switch it off within 10 minutes. I check it again for few minutes at 11.00 and then keep it switched off till 1.30 pm.

I use the Canva app on my phone to make images for Instagram and Pinterest after lunch for half an hour.

Evenings are usually spent working on laptop, or talking to friends on the phone. So, by 8.00 pm my phone wifi goes off to sleep.

The time I spend on social media has reduced substantially:

INSTAGRAM: 15 MINS. (Set the timer on Instagram and it will remind you when your time’s up).

FACEBOOK: 10 – 15 MINS.

WHATSAPP: 5 MINS. (I’d rather talk than text).

CANVA + PINTEREST: 30 MINS.

GMAIL: 2-3 MINS. (it’s also on my laptop, so makes no sense wasting time there).

Now, I have ample time to indulge in art, reading, blogging and planning.

Also, it saves my eyes from strain.

I have stopped watching TV during lunch time, too. I pay attention to the food in my plate and how good it tastes. TV viewing is for the evenings, for some time. That’s a lot less screen-time, right?

MORAL: Use the phone judiciously and you will have mastered the art of Time Management!

I keep an account of it all and intend to do a follow-up post on how well these changes help me in the long run.

How about you? Have you made any changes lately? How do you feel about it all?

Love,

SHILPA…

We need to change our habits for the sake of our health.

 

Chemical-free hair colour.

Chemical-free hair colour.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

To begin with, this is not a sponsored post. This is about a product I have been using for quite some time now and being satisfied with it, wished to share it with you all.

I began using Greynil about two years ago, on the behest of my cousin. Before that, I used to apply henna to cover my greys. It gave my hair a fiery red shade and then orange, much to my dismay. I did not want orange hair and neither did I wish to use chemical hair colours.

So, I opted for Greynil and am really happy with the way my hair feels today!

GREYNIL:

Greynil is a chemical-free, herbal hair colour. It is manufactured by Dr. Jain’s Herbals brand and is prepared using the following ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:

Henna powder

Indigo (Neel)

Sofia Oil (Perfume)

DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

Greynil is available in two shades: Brown and Dark Brown.

Choose the shade that suits your natural hair colour.

Take the required quantity in a bowl and add boiling water to it to make a paste. Leave it aside for a few minutes. Wear the gloves that come with the pack and apply the paste to your hair when it is lukewarm.

Part your hair and apply from roots to the ends with a brush.

Once you have finished, cover the hair with a shower cap and then tie a towel, or a cotton dupatta on top, like a turban. This will keep the hair colour warm and prevent you from catching a cold or experiencing a headache.

Keep it for two hours and then wash off with cold water.

DO NOT SHAMPOO the same day.

Once the hair dries, you will find it rough to touch and tough to comb and de-tangle. Do not worry. Just comb as gently as you can and tie your hair in a bun.

Oil your hair the next morning. Your hair will soften as soon as you apply oil.

After 2 – 3 hours, wash your hair using your usual shampoo and conditioner, or even shikakai, if you use it (you will find the lather turning blue–that’s because of the Indigo.).

Let your hair dry naturally, or towel-dry it, gently.

De-tangle the hair once dry.

Initially, you will need to apply Greynil every 8 to 10 days. Later, you may use it every fortnight.

BENEFITS OF USING GREYNIL:

1. Greynil, being a pure herbal hair colour, is free of any chemicals, and, is therefore, not harmful for your hair and skin.

2. It makes the hair softer, silkier, improves hair-growth and the health of your crowning glory!

3. You will also notice a decrease in dandruff with regular use of Greynil.

I add half a spoon of methi seeds’ powder while making the paste. Methi is a miracle seed and a blessing for not just your hair but also your health.

4. Greynil doesn’t make your hair orange when it fades after some days, but leaves it with a brown tinge and then, back to your natural hair colour.

Greynil is available at your nearest chemist-druggist. You can also buy it online.

Hair colours–whichever brand they may belong to–contain chemicals that are harmful for our hair and skin and result in the hair turning grey sooner. Using chemical-based hair colours also results in excess hair fall, dry hair and dandruff.

This particular product suited my hair and skin and gave good results. Skin and hair types vary from person to person, so if you experience any discomfort while using it, you can always switch to henna.

TIP FOR USING HENNA:

Add beetroot juice to henna if you have brownish hair and wish for a maroon tinge. Beetroot also helps reduce hair fall.

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Herbal hair colours for beautifully healthy hair.