Motivating through art.

Today’s post and artwork are for my women readers.

An artwork that’s dedicated to each of you, dear women, who keep going despite all the tumult and the despair, the trials, and the tribulations.

And the quote is a gentle reminder to you all that YOU ARE A QUEEN…the queen of your world!

If your people don’t realize it, then it’s their loss. altogether. Of course, it helps to remind them from time to time as to who they have in their midst! ūüėõ

But, irrespective of what others think, hold your head high, for you have braved so many storms and come out stronger.

You have held other’s hands and brought them to the shore, braving the highs seas, caring the least about yourself, making others a priority.

You are beauty and you are power, you are love and you are compassion.

So, always wear your crown and walk with pride. For you made it this far and still have it in you to go further.

Always wear your invisible crown.

Woman in Zentangle

Do let me know if you wish to download this artwork and use it as your profile picture. I would love to share it with you.

‚̧

SHILPA…

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Motivational quotes that help me fight anxiety.

(Updated on 17th February, 2020, by Shilpa Gupte)

Let me be frank with you, dear reader. For those suffering from anxiety, it’s not always that someone will be by your side, trying to soothe your frayed nerves and an anxious, panic-ridden mind. There are and will be times when you are on your own when caught in a storm, with no help in dealing with the confusion and the dread.

It’s at such times that you have to fall back on yourself, unearth the courage from the depths of your own mind, and face the situation.

Past experiences help at such times. Moments, when we went through similar stressful situations and dealt with them with strength, are the moments that will give you the confidence to deal with the disturbing thoughts that torture you at such times.

Also, motivating quotes that one can repeat to oneself, affirmations that one can begin the day with, come to our help while dealing with anxious moments alone.

Read Generalised Anxiety Disorder Рcare and management

Sharing today, 5 of my chosen motivational quotes that I remind myself when my anxiety hits the roof.

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES THAT HELP ME FIGHT ANXIETY:

JUST BREATHE:

Just closing your eyes, diverting your mind to your nose, your lungs, and your breath and inhaling and exhaling for even a count of 10 makes a lot of difference to your mental health in an anxious situation.

Breathe

Last year, when hubby was admitted to a hospital for a tooth surgery, and I was doing all the running around, things would often go wrong. Like, one day, as I was in the elevator, riding up to hubby’s room, the elevator came to a sudden halt.

The lights went out and the elevator being one without a window, I was caught inside a pitch dark box with no air or light or a soul for company.

But, it’s what happens to these machines sometimes and despite banging on the doors, nothing happened for a long time.

it was only after a while that a guard on duty realised it and came rushing for help. It took time to open the door as the elevator was between two floors, but I was out of there after spending quite some time doing nothing but breathing evenly.

Had I given in to my anxiety, I would have been a nervous wreck – panicky, breathless, banging on the door, petrified of dying in there from lack of oxygen and whatnot.

But, all I did was sit down on a stool and breathe. When I stepped out, I was welcomed by a throng of people who looked far more terrified for me than I was, in there!

So, always remember….when in an anxious situation, just tell yourself to BREATHE.

Read 10 signs your anxiety is reducing.

THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS:

A quote that is always on my lips and in my mind, whether I am in a happy situation or a sad one.

Nothing lasts forever.

The way the seasons change, the sun rises and sets, so do our problems come and go, our moments come and go.

Driving yourself crazy about a situation with horrid thoughts won’t do you any good. But, repeating to yourself, that this, too, shall pass, will!

It’s easier said than done, but trust me, reciting these words reduces your anxiety, drastically. You prepare your mind for the change that’s about to happen in some time, which, in turn, helps you calm down and focus on the moment instead of imagining the worse.

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW:

Be in the moment instead of catastrophizing. Be conscious of your thoughts. Our mind is super fertile when it comes to conjuring frightening images and negative thoughts and driving us to the edge. And, in a difficult situation, it can only come up with worse things happening in the unknown future!

Live in the moment

First things first. Do we know what the future holds for us? We aren’t Nostradamus, are we? So, how can we predict what might happen tomorrow?

However, one thing’s for sure. Our tomorrow will definitely get ruined if we screw up our today by encouraging negativity and imagining worst case scenarios.

So, stay in the moment, however anxious it may make you feel. Experience it fully and try to come up with solutions. To deal with any situation, we need the presence of mind and alertness, only then can we find our way out of the situation, isn’t it?

YOU CAN DO THIS:

Encourage yourself, instead, that whatever the situation, you can, and will, handle it with elan. You might err in gauging the exact repercussions of your decisions, but you will definitely come out of it stronger and wiser, so what do you have to fear?

The current situation I find myself in could have been far more demanding and gruelling, so let me be grateful for ‘what is’ and not worry about ‘what could have been’!

MAKE YOURSELF PROUD:

We all wish we had done things differently; how proud that would have made us! But, when the opportunity presents itself, we forget about it all and give in to our fears, our anxiety and end up feeling miserable about ourselves.

None of us is perfect, but we secretly desire to be so. However, the kind of criticism we shower ourselves with, ‘making ourselves proud’ never happens.

So, when dealing with your demons, your anxiety, imagine how it would be to overcome that fear and deal with the situation bravely.

Imagine how proud¬†that¬†would make you of yourself, and act accordingly. No one’s going to present you with an award for your bravery, but you will, definitely, feel so much better about yourself! And, that means A LOT.

Dealing with your anxiety bravely won’t get your name in the newspapers. But, it will matter to YOU. And, that’s what’s most important.

Read 10 signs your anxiety is reducing.

CONCLUSION

Anxiety can become a life-long companion if we encourage it. However, it isn’t easy keeping anxious thoughts at bay. But doing our best to live in the present, reminding ourselves about the courage we have, and being grateful for everything we have been blessed with, is sure to help us deal with a stressful situation.

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Quotes that help fight anxiety

Monday Blues. #MondayMusings

Mondays are a pain. A MAJOR pain.

The first day of the week, when most of the world’s population is ready with their To-do lists in hand, is the day I don’t look forward to, at all. It never happened earlier. In fact, I would wonder why people call it the Monday Blues. It’s only now that I realize why. Well,¬†Monday comes after a lazy Sunday, and twice a month (or thrice?) after a lazy Saturday, as well. The slothfulness seeps into our bones to such an extent, our brain and body refuse to change gears!

My weekends are usually lackadaisical. I do have my to-do lists for the weekends, too, but there isn’t any strict timetable to be followed.

(Ah, just thinking about my lazy weekends makes me pine for one!).

Not that I loll on bed or the couch all day during a weekend. I do indulge in some de-cluttering, scrubbing and cleaning the house, pampering myself and binge-watching some crime series on Netflix. This last bit is my favorite part!

My laptop takes a break, blogging takes a break, the phone, too, takes a much-needed break. And, my everyday schedule undergoes a bit of a change, that’s all. And, yet, when Monday does arrive–as it must–I feel a weird kind of dread seeping through my entire being.

I feel too lazy to enter the kitchen first thing in the morning, so I begin with an invigorating Yoga session, which fails to invigorate me enough to get into the cooking mode.

Ah, now I understand why I am hit by the Monday Blues! It’s the cooking part, which I don’t indulge in during the weekend that gets to me. Glad to know that I am not the only one who feels this way about cooking. My friend, Balaka Basu feels so, too. Also glad that my hubby is an extremely talented cook and not a strict taskmaster who insists on eating homemade meals ONLY. He often takes over the charge of the kitchen and lets me laze around. He is such an adjusting person – God bless him!

So, today was one such Monday which was not productive at all, until now. It’s almost time for bed and here I am, gung-ho about typing this post! Guess the Monday Blues are on the wane. Wonder why it didn’t happen earlier in the day. I could have written this post earlier, made a better sketch for my Monday Art hashtag instead of a silly drawing of a baby elephant (which my darling friends referred to as “too cute”!), read a chapter of The Artist’s Way….oh,I could have done so much!

Anyway, better late than never. At least I am feeling much better now, which will reflect on my mood tomorrow morning, which, in turn, will ensure I do something constructive tomorrow and for the rest of the week, too.

And then will come my fav weekend, which will be followed by¬†the dreaded Monday…all over again!

Uh oh.

How I wish we didn’t have a Monday, at all. The week would have begun with a Tuesday and life would have been so much better, isn’t it? ¬†Am I making any sense at all? My brain is shutting shop, I guess. “Time for bed,” ¬†it seems to say.

So, what about you? How are your Mondays? Blue or cheerful? Lazy or productive? Exciting or boring?

Have a good week, y’all!

Love,

SHILPA…

MONDAY BLUES

**This post is written for #MondayMusings. 

#MondayMusings

 

You beneath your skin, by Damyanti Biswas. The Cover Reveal

 

You beneath your skin, by Damyanti Biswas

 

Today is a big day for a dear friend of mine as well as for my blog. Today, it’s my absolute delight and honor to reveal the cover for Damyanti Biswas‘s debut crime novel, You Beneath Your Skin to be published this September by Simon & Schuster, India.

I met Damyanti last year, a couple of years after being an ardent admirer of her writing. It was her blog and her style of expressing her thoughts, and stories of real-life heroes, that instantly made me her fan. But it was only after meeting her that I realized I had found a friend for life!

So, without further ado, here’s the cover!

The red and black immediately captures nuances of an atmospheric crime story, isn’t it? ¬†But, it’s the face visible under the title that’s sure to make you wonder who she is, and what her story might be.

You beneath your skin, by Damyanti Biswas

Lies. Ambition. Family.

It‚Äôs a dark, smog-choked New Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious Police Commissioner Jatin Bhatt ‚Äď an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all.

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.


If edge-of-the-seat suspense thrillers are your preferred genre, then do check out this book. It’s not just a crime story but also deals with certain social issues.

Pre-order YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN here.

 

I received an advance copy of the book and here’s what I felt about it.

Being a crime-story fan, I loved the blurb and looked forward to the story. It did begin on a slow note, but picked up pace soon enough and, suffice to say, I was hooked!

Damyanti gives a clear picture about the city where the story is based, as also the characters. My heart went out to the central character, Anjali, who has to deal with life that’s difficult and demanding. Caring for a special-needs child and dealing¬†with everyday life is a tough task, and to do it all with elan, I felt respect for Anjali, and concern, too.

The story also revolves around relationships between the characters, apart from the crime and that makes it all the more interesting.

As far as the other characters are concerned, I did feel in some places that a particular character could have been portrayed a bit differently. But when I looked at the story in its entirety, I realized that each character had been etched to perfection.

The crime does get grittier as you turn the pages, and it’s precisely this that keeps you going, wondering what lies ahead.

The end was a surprise element for me, as I was expecting something completely different. But, you ought to give it to the author for such a build-up that leaves you in shock from an unpredictable denouement!

 

You Beneath Your Skin Back Cover

 

So, do you read crime novels? What do you think about the cover of this book?

Would you like to read You Beneath Your Skin and make a pre-order? You will not only be entertained by an engrossing story but will also be doing your bit towards the society.

For You Beneath Your Skin, all proceeds to the author would be divided between Chhanv Foundation and Project WHY.

To support the organisations, pre-order HERE.

—————

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter.

Sustainable Period Wear.

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post. I received the products from The Period Hub as I write for the website and wanted to use their products before writing about them on my blog.

It’s since the past year, or so, that sustainable period wear has been gaining popularity. The cloth pads and the menstrual cups have been spoken about a lot and for good reason, too. With our environment facing the brunt of our carelessness, it’s a relief that people are awakening to the hazards our products pose.

Alongside, we are also gaining awareness about how certain products that are made for our convenience end up harming our health, namely, the sanitary napkins and tampons that we have been using for so many years now.

The Period Hub is one such place that creates sustainable period wear and intimate care products for the woman of today, who places her wellbeing and also that of her environment above everything.

I used the reusable sanitary napkins, the Intimate wash (Vagina Wash), the Period Roll-On and the Period Balm and this is my review of these products.

Reuable and disposable cloth pads from Period Hub

REUSABLE CLOTH PADS:

The reusable sanitary pads are made from 100% cotton. There is no use of either plastic or chemicals in the pads. The multi-layered pads are built to absorb the flow very well right from the first day of the period.

The pads come in medium and large size. They have flaps at the sides with press buttons to be hooked underneath the panty which keeps the pad from sliding.

Frankly, I was a bit apprehensive before using the pads, but after wearing it for the first time on the first day of my period, I was assured I had made the right choice of switching from readymade pads to cloth pads.

I used one pad for more than 7 hours during the day, and at night for more than 8 hours. Either of the times, there was no staining on my panty.

Being a cloth pad, it didn’t cause the irritating friction that a readymade pad causes. And, as there was no such friction, I did not suffer from itching or any tenderness of the skin on my inner thighs.

Cloth Pads from Period Hub

WASHING INSTRUCTIONS:

There is really nothing icky about washing the pads we use for the simple reason that the blood comes from our body!

Wash the pads under running water and then soak them in detergent water for some time.

Do not use a brush to scrub the pads as after being soaked for some time, the pads come out clean.

Wash and rinse thoroughly so that there remains no trace of the detergent.

Wring it and put it out to dry.

These pads can be used for three years.

 

DISPOSABLE CLOTH PADS:

I also received a disposable pad made of cloth. The top layer is made of 100% cotton fabric and the bottom layer is made of unbleached cotton. These have a vegetable base as a leak-proof layer that prevents leaking. Do wash before disposing of these pads.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of switching to a menstrual cup, then I would suggest you try these cloth pads. They are comfy and snug and so skin-friendly.

 

COST:

REUSABLE PADS:

HEAVY FLOW – RS. 340/pad (it lasts for 3 – 4 years)

MEDIUM FLOW – Rs. 310/pad (lasts for 3 years)

LIGHT FLOW – Rs. 230/pad (lasts 3 years)

DISPOSABLE CLOTH PADS:

MEDIUM FLOW – Rs. 185 for a box of 5 pads

LIGHT FLOW – Rs 155 for a box of 5 pads

 

SKIN-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS FOR HYGIENE:

PERIOD WASH:

Period Wash from Period Hub

Intimate care solutions weren’t heard of a few years back. But, now you will find many such solutions brought to you by different brands. However, the difference is that those use chemicals–the foaming agents present in those will tell you, as well as the ingredients on the label.

The Period Wash by Period Hub is made especially for our intimate areas which have natural bacteria that need to be preserved. The ingredients used are skin-friendly and help to maintain these bacteria.

INGREDIENTS:

White vinegar to restore the pH balance.

Alum for genital tightening

Glycerine which is a good conditioner

Aloe vera for its healing properties

Rose essential oil to keep your skin safe from infections (UTI).

HOW TO USE:

After your shower, take a few drops, or half a capful in your palm. Rub it between your palms and apply to your intimate area, taking care to clean the area from vagina to the anus so that your vagina stays free of any infections.

Our vagina cleans itself and maintains its pH balance naturally. It’s our vulva (the outer organ) that needs to be cleaned every day. The water shouldn’t be too hot, and it’s always better to use a chemical-free intimate wash instead of scented soaps. The rose essential oil of the Period Hub period wash keeps you smelling fresh.

Tip: Make sure to use the period wash twice during your periods. Clean around the vagina and the vulva gently and carefully. Do not apply soap inside the vagina. Rinse it well and pat dry.

Cost: 100 ml for Rs. 165/-

THE ANTI RASH PERIOD BALM:

Period Balm from Period Hub

INGREDIENTS:

Coconut oil, charcoal, beeswax, and essential oils.

A product free of any chemicals, the anti-rash balm comes in handy to keep your intimate area well moisturized and smelling fresh. Because of its moisturizing properties, the balm prevents your skin from getting rashes due to friction that might be caused due to wearing pads all day. And, thanks to the fragrance, you feel fresh all day, even during your periods!

The smell is simply heavenly and the moisturizing balm kept my skin from feeling itchy.

Cost: 20 gm for Rs. 150/-

PERIOD ROLL-ON:

Period Roll-on from Period Hub

INGREDIENTS:

Mediterranian herbs like Lavender, Clare Sage and Starflower, and Borage Oil.

Apply the roll-on around the navel once a day, or after your shower.

It gives relief from menstrual discomfort like irritability, cramps, and tenderness of breasts.

I didn’t find any relief from the tenderness of breasts after using the roll-on, but I did feel a sense of calm during my PMS as well as during periods.

Cost: 10 ml for Rs. 299/-

NOTE:

The above three hygiene products come in glass containers, NOT plastic, and are then packaged in recyclable cardboard material.

I would personally urge you to try the Period Wash and the Anti-rash balm. Both of these are worth the cost and excellent products as far as hygiene is concerned.

CHANGING OLD HABITS:

It’s not easy changing old habits. For years, we have been using the readymade sanitary napkins manufactured by different brands. These pads have been convenient to use, easy to dispose of without having to wash. But, if you pause to think about it, are these pads really easy to dispose of?

The store-bought pads we used all these years take about 500 to 800 years to decompose. Can you imagine the kind of pollution we have created thanks to our lifestyle? Can you imagine the condition of the landfills, and the health risks these pose on innocent animals who chew on these to fill their hungry bellies? Watching stray animals rummaging through the trash cans, pulling out soiled sanitary napkins and then discarding them around after realizing these are not food, is the most pitiful sight if you have witnessed it. ūüė¶

it’s really difficult making the shift from store-bought sanitary napkins to sustainable period wear. ¬†But, it takes just a month to form a new habit. One might feel unpleasant washing the pads, but, just think about it – it’s all a part of our own body, what’s there to find unpleasant?

Just think about the help you are extending to your environment! isn’t it the need of the hour to make a shift, a change in our lifestyle, so that not only is our health taken care of, but also our environment, our planet Earth? it’s all we have to live, for the coming generations to live. If we don’t look after this place, who will? Isn’t it time to take matters seriously?

As I read in a newspaper recently – if you really wish to do something for your country this Independence Day, then do make a small change in your lifestyle that will go a long way in taking care of your Motherland. A tiny change is all it really needs.

 

SUSTAINABLE PERIOD WEAR

 

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