The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

In September, I wrote a post on changing a habit that was taking up a lot of my precious time and energy–usage of the smartphone for nothing but passing time. It was taking a toll on my eye-health apart from wasting my time, which was leaving me irritated with myself.

I did a follow-up post after a month where I wrote about how I had worked on changing the habit and succeeded to quite an extent and benefitted from the experience. Of course, my love affair with the smartphone hasn’t completely ended, which is the reason I am participating in this Challenge.

The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!

Thankfully, because of my earlier post, I could make some changes due to which my affair with the gadget isn’t a “torrid” one, anymore. I don’t need it by my side all day or night. I usually switch off the Wi-Fi of my phone by 9/9:30 pm and switch it on only in the morning, by 9 am, after completing some of my morning chores, my Yoga and breakfast.

Also, I never take the phone to bed with me, the reason being it is dangerous placing your phone on the bed, or under your pillow as you sleep.

I keep the phone’s volume to its lowest, and place it on a stool by my bedside in case mom or someone from the family called up at night. And, thanks to Cookie, I don’t need an alarm to wake me up, so the phone, too, goes off to sleep!

I usually carry the newspaper to bed, to solve puzzles before I sleep. Actually, it is solving the puzzle that puts me to sleep. Either that, or a book.

Reading induces sleep faster than staring at your phone/computer screens, you know?

The blue light that our phones emit keeps our brain awake and alert. And, to fall asleep at night, you need something that will calm the brain, not keep it on high alert! Not just the light, but the action on our screen awakens our brain. What do you think will happen to our sleep in such a scenario?

During the day, I take frequent breaks from the phone by switching off the Wi-Fi every couple of hours. For example, while writing, reading, helping my nephew with his studies and in the evening, when I step outside for a walk.

I often see walkers peeping into their phones even during their walk. They hardly pay any attention to the world around or to their breathing! What’s the point of the walk if you can’t leave the virtual world aside for sometime and enjoy nature?

So, these frequent breaks from the phone do me a world of good. The constant pings of the numerous notifications, the constant need to check what’s going on out there, the staring at the images as I scroll aimlessly–the absence of it all gives me immense peace.

There are times, though, especially when hubby is to return home late and I have no book to read or movie to watch and still have to stay awake till he arrives, when I do scroll through the Facebook News feed, or Instagram. But, because it strains my eyes and bores me after a point, I put it away soon.

Now that I have taken up this 7 day challenge, I will get an opportunity, and some motivation, to work harder at keeping the phone away. I know I need to do this– for my eyes and for my peace of mind.

As part of the challenge, I will continue doing what I have been doing these past couple of months and some more, and then do another follow-up post next year on how helpful the detox has been for me. Why don’t you join me, too, dear readers?

If I haven’t been able to convince you to make some changes in your phone habits by all that I shared above, let me highlight the reasons why you need to give yourself a break from your phones at night.

5 reasons why you need to put the phone away at night

1. Our brain is used to sleeping at night. It needs some rest, too, you know? But the blue light that the our gadgets emit can awaken the brain.

2..Falling asleep after scrolling through can get difficult because not only did the light awaken the brain, but the moving scenery in front of your eyes leaves the brain asking for more such excitement. Have you noticed how you get pulled into the whirlpool once you begin mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed? How the time flies and before you know it, you have been staring at your phone screen for an hour!

3. Due to the above reasons, the brain finds it almost impossible to calm down and fall asleep and you tend to stay awake longer even as the world around dozes peacefully.

4. This sleep deprivation leads to a dull and dazed you who wakes up with a heavy head and an irritable mood.

5. The strain on the eyes caused by all the staring at the blue screen in the darkness shows its effects in the form of dry eyes, blurred vision and a pain around the eyes. To learn how staring at the screen constantly leads to pain, move your eyes in a circular motion and you will know.

Our wellbeing is our responsibility. If we don’t understand how our habits affect our health, who will? If we don’t take precautions now, we will be the ones to suffer from the ill-effects at a latter stage, when rectifying the issue might not be possible.

Let’s make a pact to take control of our lives, make changes in our lifestyles and lead healthier lives.

If you aren’t participating in this challenge, I urge you to do so. We could give each other company, dear reader, and boost each other’s morale if we find ourselves slipping off the track! What say?

Do join me along with my friend, Ashvini Naik, as we try and overcome this constant dependence on the phones and reclaim our peace of mind and our life!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

To participate in the challenge, all you need to do is write a post on how you plan on breaking free of this habit of taking your phone to bed with you, attach this cool badge and share your post on the Linky till the 7th of November. Share your post widely on social media and let’s spread the word!

SHILPA…

Sleeping with your phone by your side is harmful to health.
Why you need to put your phone away at night
Experiences change the way we express. Inktober 2018.

Experiences change the way we express. Inktober 2018.

As humans, we are constantly evolving, changing from what we were into someone way different; someone we ourselves might fail to recognise. The way we express, emote, react, all of it changes as we age, as we experience Life and Her varied hues.

This year, the changes that I experienced, the various moods of Life that I witnessed brought about a change in the way I expressed my thoughts, through words as well as through art.

My artwork for Inktober this year was way different from what it was last year. No, I am not really impressed by all that I created, but frankly, I realised there is a lot within me that I haven’t discovered yet; potential that awaits to be tapped, emotions waiting to be expressed in tones that differ from the ones I have used so far.

What holds me back, is, perhaps fear or, maybe complacency, or a lack of confidence that I can, indeed, do what I could never imagine.

How I make use of the change in me tells me how I far I have come from where I began!

Today, on the last day of Inktober 2018, I am sharing the ink drawings I made for these past 10 days and also making up my mind about following this ritual of creating something everyday, even if something minuscule. That will keep my brain from getting all rusty!

It will also help me on working harder at improving my art.

Day 22.

EXPENSIVE.

Like this handbag, which I love!

Day 23

MUDDY.

Like the muddy paws my pet dog brought into the house after a walk in the rain!

Seen here are my footprints along with Chikoo’s pawprints.

Day 24

CHOP.

Shortest story I wrote…

Chop–end of a love story.

Wonder how many lives come to an end in such a brutal manner! 😞

Day 26

PRICKLY

Like this cactus in a sandy desert.

Day 26

STRETCH.

Like how we stretch a rubberband between two fingers, or how Life stretches us to our limits!

Day 27.

THUNDER.

Loved drawing this ship caught in a storm.

Day 28

GIFT.

The ability to express my feelings and emotions through words and art is the best gift I received from my Creator.

Day 29

DOUBLE.

Like the Gemini twins!

Day 30

I ditched today’s prompt for this bunch of flowers I came across on Pinterest. It was such a therapeutic experience making them!

Day 31.

SLICE.

And, finally, with this slice of the Black Forest Cake, I come to the end of Inktober2018!

What a wonderful, thrilling experience it was. It gave me a quite a few ideas of what I can attempt apart from Zentangle art.

Looking forward to Inktober 2019!

See you all soon, with something new and different 💖

Love,

SHILPA…

From my bookshelf, October’18 — The story of a little boy.

From my bookshelf, October’18 — The story of a little boy.

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you click on the image below and use it to make a purchase.

Wonder, the book by R. J. Palacio, is about Auggie–August Pullman–a fifth grader, who suffers from the Treacher Collins Syndrome. It’s a medical condition that has left his face disfigured. Having being homeschooled by his mother, Auggie now has to join the Beecher Middle School so as to experience the real world.

Auggie has an elder sister–Olivia– an extremely caring sister who understands that her brother needs all the attention of their parents, more than she does.

At the new school, there are children who are petrified by his face, but there are also some, like Summer, who look beyond the disfigurement, at a child who is not only adorable, but also very articulate and intelligent.

Wonder is Auggie’s story, of how, despite being so against joining a school, ends up enjoying school life, making new friends and winning everyone’s heart.

What I loved about the book:

Everything about the book just stole my heart! RIght from the first word, I fell in love with the story and with Auggie, as well as the other characters in the story.

His parents, who care about their son, put his insecurities about the school to rest and are open to his opting out of the school if he finds it uncomfortable. It can be such a tight rope walk for parents with children who need their constant attention due to some medical condition. Giving equal attention to their children can be a tough thing to achieve.  Auggie’s parents do their best to give their all to both their kids so that they bloom into beautiful individuals.

His sister, Olivia, or Via, as she is called, knows and understands how her brother needs all the attention because of his condition. A girl who treats her brother like a normal child and is, yet, very protective about him. It can be a really difficult situation, having a sibling with special needs and with the focus being on them, the other child is sure to feel left out. In spite of it, I liked how Via takes it all with a smile and learns from Life. The perfect little elder sister.

Auggie’s friends, especially Summer, a child whose caring heart never differentiates between Auggie and the other kids at school. She becomes his best friend right on the first day of school and could, actually, teach us adults a thing or two about accepting people as they are and not judging them on the basis of their appearance.

Oh, and Mr. Lawrence Tushman, the director at Beecher Prep. He welcomes Auggie into the school and makes sure he feels at ease in the new surroundings with the help of three of his classmates. We could do with more teachers like him–caring, understanding and with a clear conscience; whose only intention is to help mould their students into wonderful human beings.

And, how could I forget, Daisy–Auggie’s pet dog, who loves her human brother, but, sadly, dies in the story. Her death made me weep like I did when I lost my Chikoo.

*Sniff*

 

There are some quotes in the story that grab our attention and urge us to look within and ask ourselves if we are being the kind of humans we were meant to be.

Courage. Kindness, Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.

It is not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.

And, this one, Auggie’s precept:

Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world!

So, be kinder than is necessary, and remember to be a friend….a true friend.

I am sure you will love this book. Our children could do with such stories of kindness and courage in today’s world where appearances are given more importance and instant gratification is the way of life.

Next on my list is, to watch the film!

Love,

SHILPA…

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Last month, a dear cousin flew down to India. We have been really close right since our childhood. So, as we caught up over the phone and swapped notes, she asked me how life was. When I told her my daily schedule, she got into the ‘sensible cousin mode’ and gave me a much-needed pep talk.

She knows what an introvert I am, who loves her own company, enjoys staying cooped up in her home and seldom approaches people for a conversation. So, she came up with a brilliant plan to revamp my lifestyle and add a pop of colour to it.

She advised me thus:

Get out of your house on the weekends. Visit a cafe and become a regular at the place. Carry a book, if you feel awkward, initially. Then, mingle with the other patrons, get friendly with the staff, have a few laughs and then come back home, feeling thrilled and upbeat!

My darling cousin has a reason. She feels if I do this one thing, then the anxiety and the gloom that looms large like an apparition and frightens the hell out of me, won’t bother me, ever again. The socialising will act as the best panacea as well as a stress buster!

Since some time now, I have been in the state of mind where I wish to go out, meet and socialise, but the mere thought of actually meeting people and conversing with them gives me the jitters! I am in such a dilemma that I’d rather stay put where I am–at home. I am too self-conscious and, at times, suffer from a low self-esteem. There, I admit it.

Chatting with strangers is not something I can imagine doing. It’s a different matter, altogether, meeting my blogger friends, even if for the first time. We all know our stories, where we come from, our likes, dislikes, pet peeves and passion, so even if we were to meet for the very first time, we would just be picking up from where we left in the virtual world, where we meet oftener.

Indulging in small talk with complete strangers is not my thing! What do I talk about? The weather? Fashion? Kids? Work? What???

So, when I asked my cousin what do I talk about with strangers, she giggled and told me to just talk whatever comes to my mind, but not get into anything serious–like talking about LIFE, for instance. She advised me to, “Keep it simple, silly!” and learn to chill.

Yes, CHILLIN’ is what I am supposed to be doin’ to bring about some vibrancy into my dull and boring life.

That reminds me, dull and boring is what an old friend thinks I am, which, as a matter of fact, is the fact. So, to get rid of this dullness, I need to get out of my comfort zone, which is my home, and learn to mingle.

Phew!

Oh, and, I also need to change my wardrobe, try out something that adds an element of zing to my life and watch myself bloom, all over again! Her words, again.

Now, introverts reading this post will, definitely, wonder how the hell am I going to attempt to do all of the above. I, too, wonder how I will manage it all. I mean, I am 45, and all my life I have been this wallflower who would rather stay on the periphery and watch all the fun than approach strangers and converse with them. Mingle with them.

Ahem…I feel like telling my darling sis, “I don’t mingle, lady..I prefer to stay single!” Hehe..Bad joke, I know, but that’s how I like it.

Oh, how am I supposed to do it, dear cousin? Pray, tell me!!

“Sweetie, you just need to step out of your comfort zone!” is what will be her witty retort!

Wish me luck, people! Will keep you posted!

Tell me, dear reader, have you ever tried stepping out of your comfort zone? Or, are you contemplating doing something like what I have been asked to do? If you have ventured out of your comfort zone, how has the experience been? Do share with me your story; it will be an inspiration for me!

Love,

SHILPA…

Prompts to help beat the Artist’s Block!

Prompts to help beat the Artist’s Block!

Sharing today my ink sketches for Week 3 at Inktober.

I must say, the prompts do make it easy to draw on the days when the mind is blank. Something like an Artist’s Block! But, at times, the prompts can be so confusing that try as you might, it gets difficult coming up with something to draw!

Day 15

WEAK

I drew my childhood self–weak and voiceless against the man who…well… It is really my #metoo story from childhood that haunts me to this day, when I was too weak to protest. I am glad I had my parents by my side.

Day 16

ANGULAR.

I wanted to draw a handsome, male fashion model with an angular jawline and rugged good looks. Sigh. I just couldn’t manage it! I am bad at drawing humans!

Day 17

The prompt for this day was SWOLLEN. But, as I said earlier, I just couldn’t come up with any idea. Moreover, it being the festival of Navratri, I was keen on drawing Maa Durga.

Day 18

BOTTLE.

Made this bottle with a moneyplant. And, thankfully, the moneyplant came out pretty well!

Day 19

SCORCHED.

This is the picture that came to mind instantly when I read the prompt.

Day 20

BREAKABLE.

…like my heart!

Day 21

DRAIN.

I used the verb ‘Drain’, instead of the noun and made this drawing! Now waiting for winter when I can fulfil my wish…of sipping some wine, or vodka! 😜

That’s all for this week at ‘The Art Nook’, from this eccentric artist.

Until next week…

Take care and keep smiling… come what may!

Love,

SHILPA…