6 activities for you when you practice digital detox.

6 activities for you when you practice digital detox.

Sometime back, I read a post on my friend, Vidya Sury’s blog, about ‘Unplugging’ on a particular day of the week. For, spending time doing things that do not need a phone, laptop or even the television, and being ‘in the moment’ without the disturbance of the constant pings of notifications, makes life so peaceful.

It’s become a necessity today for us to reclaim our peace of mind by living the life we lived before the arrival of the gadgets, and hence digital detox is the need of the hour!

As much as I did stay away from my phone on a daily basis, I needed an entire day of the week when I wouldn’t even look at my phone or the laptop. And, so, I decided to make some changes in my Sunday schedule.

I MADE SUNDAY MY ‘STAY UNPLUGGED’ DAY.

I do check my phone in the morning on a Sunday for any messages, but then I switch it off. I might check it again once, but otherwise, it stays out of my line of vision.

I busy myself in completing chores that I don’t find the time to do during the week. I also spend some time indulging in self-care, like pampering myself–giving myself a facial, mani-pedi, colour my hair or groom myself.Apart from these, I busy myself doing some other activities I am going to share with you today.

JOURNALING HELPS:

Preparing a To-do list every first week of the month helps me remember all the things I need to focus on.

I prepare a bullet list for all my activities:

Household choresDe-cluttering

Cleaning

Healthcare

Blogging

Digital Detox

Under every topic, I make a short entry of what I need to work on during the month and then, every Sunday, I tackle those chores, one by one. Of course, I do not blog on Sundays, but the rest of the work I tick off my list as and when I an done with it.So, my to-do lists help me greatly in completing the tasks and making sure nothing gets left out.

HOW TO SPEND A DAY WITHOUT GADGETS

DE-CLUTTERING:

This is one of my favourite activities…all thanks to my mother’s genes that I inherited, I am obsessed with cleaning and purging.

De-cluttering is also one activity that helps me clear my mind even as I clear my home. Every Sunday, I pick one area or one corner, one shelf or one drawer, and then work on discarding stuff I haven’t used in the past year, and replacing the rest of the things in order, so that they are easy to locate when needed.I usually put away smaller items in boxes and label them, a la Marie Kondo!ūüėČ

De-cluttering the physical room to de-clutter the mental rooms!

Give away the books you have read so that someone else can read them and enjoy them!

So, until now, I have sorted and de-cluttered my wardrobe, the kitchen cabinets, the library, the shelf with all the important files, the medicine boxes, the loft in the kitchen and the storage area of my bed.It feels fabulous when I admire my handiwork. I love gazing at all these areas with all the necessary stuff arranged neatly and zero clutter to spoil the look!

BAKING:

I started baking with much enthusiasm in 2017. I had my cousin and bestie to guide me during all my baking endeavours, and I found it so relaxing and invigorating that I wished I had had a career as a baker! Last year, though, things went downhill and my baking supplies lay forgotten in a corner of my kitchen. But, on the 31st of December’18, I decided I would begin baking again and that’s what I did.

Fun activities to do on a Sunday!

I bake most Sundays, and hubby loves the activity, too, he being such a fabulous chef. It’s like I am learning it all over again, but it feels wonderful.Breads, cup cakes, pizza…we have been doing these on Sundays, and I plan on continuing it in the future, too.

ART:

Sunday afternoons are best spent working on some artwork. Be it a Mandala, a Zentangle design or an illustration, I play my favourite music and work for a couple hours.Time well spent!

Art to keep away technology

Not only does my mind stay occupied, but also my art keeps improving, and that makes me feel fantastic!Couple weeks ago, I did stumble upon a digital art app available on my phone and made a couple of abstract artworks, but yesterday, I felt that using the app on a Sunday disturbed my digital detox mantra, so I uninstalled that app and am back to my book and pencil for my artwork.

Last month, during the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I took an art break. Well, I had become rather lazy and did nothing on Sundays except watching movies on Netflix. Hubby and I would watch two movies, back to back–which was our fun-time.

But, last week, I decided to do away with watching television, altogether. It was taking up precious time, straining my eyes and giving me headache, and being a blogger, I can’t afford to neglect my eye health, can I?So, now on, it’s total unplugging on Sundays.

READING BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS:

Sundays are now spent reading the news in detail, and not just skimming through the papers. Moreover, the kind of articles they publish on Sundays are the kind I love reading, and writing, too…so, this way, I get to learn a lot.

CANDLE-MAKING:

Okay, this one activity took place only on one Sunday, but it was something I had been planning since ages. I gathered all the unused candles lying at home, melted them in a double boiler, added some colour to it, and poured the wax in a pickle jar which had lost its lid, and a few tequila glasses that would never serve their purpose.Best out of waste....

I loved this activity, too, but I am not going to indulge in it again, because, well, what will I do with all the candles?

MEETING MOM & DAD:

I saved the best for the last.

Most Sundays, I go visit my parents who live half an hour away from my residence. And, what a time I have there! All the pampering by mom, arguing with dad, playing with my little nephew and cracking jokes with my bro and sis-in-law…HAPPINESS, indeed!

 

Put away your gadgets and spend time with your family.

Now, isn’t that a Sunday well spent?

All I can say is, “Hail, Digital detox!”

How do you spend your Sunday? Do you ‘Unplug’, too? If you don’t, then I would suggest you try it out–at least for a few hours– and see for yourself how amazing it feels.

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

Why you need to 'UNPLUG'

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.

Accepting that you have a problem, is half the battle won.

However, where mental illness is concerned, people stay in the denial mode way too long in the hope that the problem will vanish if they avoid dealing with it, and that is where they go wrong.

Accepting the truth, that Bipolar Disorder was a mental illness here to stay, was not only difficult, but also heartbreaking–it was an illness on which would depend quite a many decisions of our Life. But, no one said that Life would be a bed of roses! On the contrary, there are far fewer roses than there are thorns in our Life, isn’t it?

Last week, I shared a post on Causes and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Today, I write about the treatment for Bipolar Disorder. 

ACCEPTANCE IS KEY:

Accept the fact that the illness is going to be a permanent part of your life. It isn’t easy doing so. It’s an everyday process. But, you really have no other choice!

A visit to a psychiatrist is the first thing to do instead of waiting to see if the symptoms die down with time. If you see your loved one unable to sleep or if you observe changes in their usual behaviour, DO NOT try to question them/argue or fight with them.

Set an appointment with a psychiatrist who will be able to make the right diagnosis and give the necessary treatment before things get out of hand.

If the aggressive, violent behaviour of the patient gets impossible to manage, he/she might have to get admitted to a hospital, where the first thing they would do is sedate the patient. DO NOT worry if they have to be restrained to the bed–it’s for their own good lest they harm either themselves or others.

The manic phase as well as the depressive phase can be really difficult for the patient as well as for the caregivers, but following the doctor’s instructions is imperative.

However much the patient objects to the restraining, the sedation or the treatment, know that it is for their own good. You, as a caregiver, will have to be strong and adamant, too, and only follow your doctor’s instructions.

TREATMENT:

A psychiatrist who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses is the one who will decide upon the treatment for Bipolar Disorder.

Once admitted to the hospital, the patient will be sedated. This helps calm them down. Sedation results in the patient sleeping for hours together (esp. after a manic phase).

The medications prescribed as part of treatment of Bipolar Disorder are:

Mood stabilisers

Anti-psychotics

Anti-anxiety medications

Anti-depressants

Finding the right medications for every patient takes some trial and error. At times, some medications work like a charm, and at times, they don’t give the desired effect.

As a caregiver, one needs to be extremely patient and bank on their support system for emotional, physical and financial help.

Medications take quite some time to show the desired effect. At times, in a matter of days, the patient exhibits flashes of normal behaviour, but, it takes months before the patient is completely healthy again.

Medications also have side effects that can bother the patient.

The speech is slurred because of the sedatives, the movements are slow and the mind, foggy. The patient often forgets why he or she has landed in the hospital and since when they have been there.

At times, they get argumentative and insist upon returning home, or discontinuing medications because of the side effects. Talking to the psychiatrist about it is a must instead of agreeing with the patient, lest the symptoms return and the patient experiences withdrawal symptoms and their condition worsens.

The patient might have to stay in the hospital for about a week or 10 days, until the doctor feels the patient is ready to leave.

Once home, the patient has to follow the prescribed regimen. Regular visits to the psychiatrists are to be followed.

Once the patient shows signs of good health, the doctor makes the necessary changes in the medications. And, once the doctor permits, the patient can return to their earlier schedule of work or schooling.

Appointments with the doctor and the prescribed medications have to be regulated strictly despite busy schedules or travel plans.

OTHER SIDE EFFECTS:

The other side effects the patient experiences are trembling of the hands, forgetfulness, sleepiness, weight gain. Talk to the doctor about these side effects.

CARE:

If the patient accepts that he/she has to deal with the illness for life and take the medications as per the doctor’s instructions without fail, then it becomes easy to deal with the problem.

As a caregiver, it’s paramount that you personally take it upon yourself to administer the medications to the patient.

Make it a part of your daily schedule and you won’t miss out on any dosage.

Fixing appointments with the doctor as per the doctor’s advice is also the caregiver’s responsibility, as is accompanying the patient to the clinic each time.

Make a note of the changes made in the dosage and follow the instructions to the T.

If the patient has travel plans, make sure you pack enough medications and label the packets clearly in pouches big enough not to be missed. Explain the patient about these medications and how they can not, and must not, miss any dose.

WHEN LIFE GETS BACK TO NORMAL:

Yes, it does! Once the patient’s moods are brought under control with the help of the medications, slowly and steadily, Life comes back to normal. The patient, who, sometime ago, displayed manic and depressive moods, transforms into his/her ‘original’ self.

The calm and collected, well-balanced person who is dedicated to his/her career/academics; who has a wonderful, beautiful, caring heart and a fantastic sense of humour; who cares deeply about the family who dotes upon him/her, is the person you see, by and by.

As the caregiver, all you need to do is:

Pay attention to the patient’s sleeping pattern (whether they are sleeping too much, or too less)

Observe their reaction to crisis or stressful situations.

Contact the doctor if their anxieties feel abnormally high.

Keep a close watch on their spending habits.

Make sure they take their medications on time everyday.

And, religiously follow the doctor’s advice.

 

Bipolar Disorder is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, provided you take quick action.

Anybody can become the victim of a mental illness. Accepting it, instead of ignoring it, is the first step towards dealing with it.

 

Take care,

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

A raita recipe for summer.

A raita recipe for summer.

Last month, I shared the pumpkin+curd raita¬† recipe. Today, I share the spinach+curd raita recipe. This, again, is from my mum’s kitchen, and a personal favourite.

I love curd, and any recipe that has curd is a favourite. Be it boondi raita, or the pumpkin raita, the cucumber raita, or the spinach raita….I love them all. And, summer is the perfect time for raita, right?

What with the heat leaving us exhausted and thirsty, round the clock, any recipe with curd is beneficial. And, it is a blessing if you are a curd-lover, for I know some people who are allergic to this milk product.

Sigh.

So, sharing today, this cooling recipe that requires no more than 20 minutes to prepare, and is not only tasty, but nutritious, too.

A cool recipe for the hot summer

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach + Curd raita

 

Spinach leaves – 1 bunch, washed clean

Curd – 200 gm

Green chillies – 1

Ghee – for tempering

Cumin seeds & asafoetida – for tempering

Sugar and salt – to taste.

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE:

CURD:

  • Rich in calcium, potassium, zinc.
  • A good source of proteins, Vitamins A, B6 and B12.
  • Contains live bacteria that’s great for immunity and our intestinal tract.

SPINACH:

  • An excellent source of calcium, Vitamins A and C.
  • Consists of fibre, protein, zinc, phosphorus and choline.
  • Protects against high blood pressure and heart disease.

METHOD:

Clean the bunch of spinach leaves, wash under running water and leave it in a colander for the water to drain.

Then, chop finely the spinach leaves and the green chilli.

Chopped spinach for the raita

 

In a pan, pour some ghee for tempering (approx. 1 tbsp). Once it’s hot, crush some cumin seeds on your palm and add them to the ghee. Then, add the asafoetida and the green chilli.

Next, throw in the chopped spinach leaves and saute for a couple of minutes and place the lid on the pan.

Take the lid off after a few minutes, and then cook till the water from the spinach leaves evaporates completely.

Switch off the burner.

In a bowl, take the thick curd (minus the water) and whisk it well. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Add the cooked spinach to the curd and mix well.

Spinach and curd raita

 

Ta-da! Your cool spinach+curd raita is ready!

You can enjoy it with chapati (indian Flat Bread), or have it just like that. Either ways, it’s delicious and makes for a perfect accompaniment with pulav or biryani, instead of the usual cucumber raita.

 

Spinach and curd raita with chapati

 

Do try it out and let me know if you like it.

Love,

SHILPA…

A cooling summer raita that's delicious and nutritious, too.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 1 – Causes and symptoms.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 1 – Causes and symptoms.

May being the Mental Health Awareness Month, I am doing a two-part post on Bipolar Disorder–a mental illness I have witnessed from close quarters and learned to deal with over the years.

Bipolar disorder:

Meaning:

As the name suggests, Bipolar Disorder is an illness that alternates between extreme depression on the one hand, and extreme euphoria on the other.The mood swings, the energy levels and the activity of a patient oscillates between extreme highs and extreme lows that makes leading a normal life immensely difficult.

If left untreated, it can play havoc with a person’s Life, career, relationships and overall health.

The episodes of extreme elation, or manic episodes as they are called, can leave the patient sleepless, hyperactive and extremely positive and outgoing.

The episodes of depression, on the other hand, can leave the patient feeling totally negative, with no energy or enthusiasm about anything in Life. It can also make the patient suicidal.

Causes:

Bipolar disorder does not have a particular cause.

It could be genetic, in that, it could turn up in a person who has a family member ailing from the illness.

It could happen as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

And, it could also emerge as a result of hormonal imbalances, or circumstances, like, unbearable stress or a traumatic incident that could trigger the extreme mood swings.

Symptoms:

The mood swings related to Bipolar are very unlike the mood swings others experience every once in a while. While a mentally healthy person can get over his/her moods, patients of Bipolar find it difficult to get a handle on their moods.

Their mood swings are severe and they experience either a euphoria (manic phase), hypomania, or a serious bout of depression during an episode.

The manic phase is when it gets tremendously difficult managing the patient as their energy levels are uncontrollably high, as is their aggression.

They find it difficult to focus on one particular task and keep flitting about from one task to another.

The patient has grandiose plans for his/her life. They think big, as in, planning to buy a huge house, or a costly gadget, a high-end vehicle, in short, anything that exudes extravagance.

Patients in the manic phase often avoid reporting to work or school/college.

They are aggressive, angry, and can lose their temper for the minutest of issues.

They go on a spending spree and (in the words of a Bipolar patient) a Rs 500 note resembles a Rs 5 note, which encourages them to squander it away without a thought. In short, they spend recklessly.

Their confidence levels are at an all-time high, which results in the grand plans and squandering. Their speech is clearly not normal and they speak rapidly and in a loud voice.

They find it difficult to sit still in a place and get excessively restless.

They also find it difficult to sleep and find a mere couple hours of sleep enough.

They also experience hallucinations, and fear that the people around are trying to harm them.

They might display signs of Multiple Personality Disorder and/or schizophrenia while in the manic phase.

Indulgence in drugs, alcohol and smoking is also high in this phase, and any amount of cajoling them to slow down only has a negative effect.

At times, they also experience a high libido, which could lead to promiscuous behaviour.

The depression phase either precedes the manic phase or succeeds it.

The patient in a depressive state finds no meaning in Life.

He spends a lot of time in bed, sleeping away the hours.

No activity excites him and nothing you do can change their mood.

They feel helpless, hopeless, depressed, and despair over everything.

Because of the hopelessness, they worry immensely about every little thing.

Having lost interest in Life, they also find it difficult to eat and, as a result, lose weight and energy.

In the depressive state, too, they find it difficult to attend to their work or studies and prefer staying cooped up in their room. An atmosphere of gloom hangs heavy in their surroundings during this phase.

There is a high chance of suicide in this state if the patient doesn’t receive timely help and treatment.

Although Bipolar Disorder DOES NOT have a cure, all of the above symptoms can be treated with medications, therapy and counselling.

I have witnessed my hubby exhibiting most of the above symptoms when in both the phases–manic and depressive–hence, this post is based on what I have experienced as a care-giver.

In the next part, I will discuss the treatment and care for a Bipolar Disorder patient, which I will be sharing next Friday.

So, do visit Metanoia to know how you can look after your close ones if they are diagnosed with the illness.

Love,

SHILPA..

What causes Bipolar Disorder and what are its symptoms?

3 fabulous ways to use coconut oil for hair and skin care.

3 fabulous ways to use coconut oil for hair and skin care.

The benefits of coconut oil have been known since ages. It’s been tagged as a health food with medicinal properties and also a skin-friendly, perfect ingredient for skin and hair care. Be it the Extra Virgin Coconut oil, or the refined coconut oil that we usually use for hair care–both of these make for the perfect beauty ingredients without any harmful side-effects.

For me, personally, coconut oil has been my go-to during the harsh winters to fight dryness as well as the bi-weekly head massage that benefits my hair and my sleep.

Over the years I have realised that a chemical-based moisturiser can never bring me relief from dry skin as much as the tried and tested coconut oil. It may not sound glamorous, it may not smell heavenly, but it helps soften my skin and nourish my hair. Well, actually, it¬†does¬†smell heavenly–the faint aroma of coconut on my skin makes me feel so warm within!

So, today, I am sharing with you all, 3 ways in which coconut oil has helped me in my skin and hair care routine.

Coconut oil for lustrous hair

 

COCONUT OIL FOR SOFT AND HEALTHY HAIR:

MIRACLE OIL:

Using Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for a weekly hair massage changes the way your hair feels and looks! My SIL shared with me a secret recipe for hair oil and after using it for the past two years, I can vouch for its effectiveness in improving the hair quality.  Of course, one needs to be regular in using it!

INGREDIENTS:

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil  Р1 bowl

Curry Leaves                   Р 10 to 15

Fenugreek (Methi) seeds Р  1 teaspoon

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a tempering pan.

Once it’s hot, add the¬† fenugreek seeds. Allow them to sputter and change colour.

Then, add the washed and dried curry leaves. Allow them to turn crispy.

Switch off the burner.

Allow the oil to cool before storing it in a glass jar.

USE:

1 I use the miracle oil to massage my hair twice a week. Applying it after  colouring my hair softens the hair and reduces hair fall. It makes my hair silky and soft. And, I just love the aroma of fenugreek and curry leaves mingled with that of the coconuts!

2 After a hair wash, I towel-dry my hair and apply 3 to 4 drops of refined coconut oil before de-tangling and combing my hair. This conditions the hair and keeps it moisturised and well-nourished. And, yes, it doesn’t appear sticky when I leave my hair loose!

 

 

Coconut fights dryness

COCONUT OIL TO TREAT DRY SKIN:

Extra Virgin Coconut oil, or even the refined coconut oil make for the best moisturisers. My skin has begun to dry with age, and during winters it can get really bad. The itching can get pretty annoying and no amount of moisturisers help. No, not even those that claim soft skin in one application!

So, since some time now, I have been using  coconut oil during winters. Gently massaging the face and the body with the oil half an hour before bathing ensures softer skin and no dryness.

Applying some coconut oil after the shower keeps my skin soft and moisturised, too.

 

COCONUT OIL makes for a better shaving gel, than shaving gel.

 

COCONUT OIL FOR GROOMING:

Surprisingly, coconut oil makes for a better ‘shaving gel’, than a shaving gel.

Shaving, too, used to dry my skin. My legs would often itch after a day of shaving and no moisturiser helped bring me relief. So, I began using coconut oil instead of shaving gel or soap and the results stunned me!

SKIN CARE BEFORE AND AFTER SHAVING:

Use cold water to wash the skin before and after shaving. Hot water dries the skin.

Scrub the skin with a home-made body scrub. You could use a simple scrub made of gram flour (besan), curd and powdered fenugreek seeds.

Wash and dry.

Apply refined coconut oil to the part you wish to shave.

Now, use the razor. Do not shave a spot multiple times, just a couple of quick, gentle strokes are enough to get rid of the hair.

Wash well once done.

Now, use the body scrub once again and clean well.

Give a final wash with an antiseptic liquid like Dettol.

Pat dry the skin.

Apply refined coconut oil when the skin is moist so the oil spreads fast. The skin will absorb the oil quickly so you need not worry about a sticky, oily skin all day.

Applying coconut oil daily after bath, instead of a body lotion, will ensure no irritation, dryness or itching on the shaved area.

 

That’s all from me this week for skin and hair care. Do share with me your own beauty secrets, or beauty ingredients that you discovered in your kitchen cabinets and how they helped you. I would love to know.

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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