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…

 

Stay away from your mobile phones before 9 am and after 9 pm

Put that phone away!

Put that phone away!


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Last month, I wrote a post on a particular habit that I needed to change. I had promised myself that I would work on it and come back a month later to write about how I had successfully kicked the habit. So, here I am!

I had planned on exercising control over my phone usage and use my time constructively. As I said, habits take a while to change, to become habits. I had given myself a month, and today, I feel so good about myself because, although I haven’t kicked the habit altogether, I have learned to control the urge.

Now, my phone stays away from me in the mornings, till I finish my workout and my chores. I reach for it only after I have had my breakfast. I scroll through the messages and the news feed on Fb and Instagram. But then, I remind myself after about 15 minutes that my time is up. That there is work to be done, articles to be written, so put that thing away!

The Wi-Fi stays on, but the phone stays away. The rest of the day, too, I pick up the phone for a while, but I have observed that after some time, I tire of gazing into the phone and put it away sooner than I used to.

Most evenings, the Wi-Fi is switched off and some days, I just leave it like that. There isn’t much to see in there, anyway, and surely, the world isn’t going to change in the time I stay away from it all! And, if someone does need to get in touch with me, they can call me up. People to whom I matter know how to get in touch with me; they don’t need to reach out through a social media platform.

The peace I experience at such times is unbelievable and inexplicable. It also helps that I have a couple of good books that whisk me away from the madness that is social media. Also, the need to make better use of my time keeps me on my toes all day. My to-do list has quite a many items that need to be ticked off before the end of the day.

it is, indeed, satisfying seeing all those tasks accomplished, and, it is this contentment that propels me to keep working harder and stay away from the “distractions”.

Of course, there are days when nothing around seems to interest me and that is when the phone stays with me for longer. But, the need to keep my promise to myself is stronger than the need to entertain a bored and an idle mind. For such days, I use Netflix and watch a good movie–my TV viewing is 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of time I spend watching the idiot box.

I had ended my post on a positive note, with hope and promise that I would, indeed, work on my habit. Maybe that is the reason I could put my heart into it. The responsibility I have towards myself made me work on it, seriously.

Being responsible for our actions is what makes the difference in our attitude. My father used to say that we need to be true to ourselves and everything will fall into place. Those words echoed in my mind each time I reached for the phone earlier in the past month. As a child, I hardly could fathom the meaning behind those words; it is now, as I work on myself, that I understand what they stand for.

The struggle to stay away from the gadget can’t be called a “struggle” today. In fact, on some days, I consider the phone to be the most uninteresting piece of invention by man and reach for my book!

Just writing these words gives me a feeling of utmost satisfaction. Feels really good to realise I care for myself more than stuff–unnecessary stuff. Glad to tick off another item on my list of ‘Things to do to love yourself’!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

Just so you know, the amount of time you spend looking at your phone today, is half the amount of time you will be spending at your ophthalmologist. Also, you have just this pair of eyes to use in this life time.

SHILPA…

I came across these 10 simple ways to break bad habits. Do try and follow these. I am sure you will find a difference in yourself some day soon.

Easy ways to change old habits.

Habits make you.

Habits make you.

It’s the first day of a brand new month, and a good day as any, to begin something new. So, why not do something that I have been trying to work on, but failing successfully for so long now?  My mind was as wide awake last night at 1 am, as it is at 8 am, as I lay in bed, ruminating on the need for something new, something different.

My Geminian nerves get restless if something new and exciting isn’t happening every now and then. I get bored with the little things in life. No, I don’t cast away those boring little things, I just push them to some far corner in the darkest areas of my mind and look for something to replace them with; something that challenges me, makes me work hard and changes me in its own little way.

So, as I lay thinking about this much-needed change I wished to bring, a line from an Instagram post flashed in my mind. A blogger friend, Vasantha Vivek shared it–a digital detox tip:

“Stay away from your mobile before 9 am & after 9 pm everyday.”

 

These words just popped out of nowhere last night and I almost sat up! Now, that is the kind of change I needed! Since the longest time, I have been trying to break this particular habit of mine, but in vain. I would just give up after a week, or so, and then repent. But, what good was all that repentance when I wasn’t doing anything about it?

So, last night, I decided, that, this is it, enough is enough.  This is what’s been bothering me, and I am going to get it out of my system, altogether. What a wonderful idea it felt! And, today being the 1st of a new month, I felt I needed something new to feel good about.  A change–a good change–that would, definitely, help me.

So, beginning today, my phone stays far away from me till 9 am and after 9 pm. I did succeed today–I finished my chores, I began reading a new motivational book in the time I would scroll aimlessly through the news feed on FB and Instagram. And, my eyes felt less tired–no, in fact, they did not feel tired, at all! And, that felt great! Awesome, in fact!

So, thank you, Vasantha, if you are reading this!

Life was really so much more peaceful and less distracting before these damned smart phones invaded our world, isn’t it? And, we, the idiots, just let ourselves get all carried away, and now, look where it’s landed us!

But, as I said, any day is a good day to break an old habit and work on forming a new one. It does need a lot of work, and patience, to keep working on yourself so that that old, annoying habit doesn’t return and ruin things for us.

I plan on working on it, working on myself and coming back a month later to read this post and write a new one about how I kept my word to myself, so, help me God!

They say, it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. I plan on waiting for 31 days to see how well I succeed. I know, I will succeed!  I quit drinking coffee! Yup, it’s been more than a month now, and it feels so good!

So, do visit Metanoia on the 1st of next month to see if I do succeed!

Today, I also begin on the Alexa journey to take my blog,  the love of my life, Metanoia, to another level.  It sure feels good to have not one, but two new things happening on one day! Hmm….change is certainly good! Of course, it isn’t easy getting used to this change, but who said anything about Life is easy!?

Do you wish to join me in bringing about a little change in yourself? Maybe something similar to what I have decided–changing the relationship we have with our stupid phones?  Do let me know and we will work towards it, one day at a time, one step at a time. 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

Like it, Pin it!

Changing old habits, forming new pnes

 

 

 

 

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with Blogchatter. 

 

 

 

Image

A new phase begins.

 

14556622_1281116958578613_103603102567151871_o

You know how, when you are about to set off on a journey, or embark upon a  new venture, you experience those butterflies in your stomach? Well, that’s just how I feel as I type my first post on my new blog!

As I sit here, trying to work out my thoughts, align them in an order and pour them out on the screen, I think of the time I began four years ago as a techno-challenged newbie blogger, writing whatever came to my mind. Back then, I was oblivious to the myriad possibilities that lay in store for a blogger.  But, over the years, having met some fine bloggers, and the varied projects they are associated with, the seed of an idea was sowed in my mind.

To implement that idea, I had to move to a custom domain and then begin something different that would (hopefully) take me to newer avenues. Being  techno-challenged, I really wasn’t sure how I would do it, but, being  pig-headed, I wanted to do it all by myself. Thankfully, hubby’s colleague was there to help me make the big move to WordPress from Blogger and get a custom domain. And, from there on, I was on my own; she being a busy professional, and I being in a hurry!

It did worry me, initially. Working on Blogger for all these years, handling the complicated scenario on WordPress was anything but simple.  I did get all jittery when I saw I just could not cope up with the complex structure of this place. But, you know that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”? Well, that helped me in driving home the point that setting up the blog was really not rocket science. My blogger friend, Ankita Bhoye who had done the entire “job” herself, inspired me to give it my all.

It was really simple. All I had to do, was look up on the Net and follow the instructions on the videos on YouTube.  And, that’s all I did. Ha ha. Who am I kidding? Frankly, it was really not as simple as that.  There were  moments when I would pull my hair in frustration, shed copious tears at having failed to follow the technical jargon and spoiled things, and being such an utter failure!  But, luckily for me, some things fell into place by fluke, and slowly but steadily I began finding my way through the complex maze and reaching my goal.

And, finally, after all these days of sitting cooped up at home, bent on the keyboard, working feverishly on achieving the desired target, here I am. My old blog, ‘Feelings’ changed over to,’Metanoia’, with a new look. There are a few changes here, as in I have shifted all of my fiction posts to a new fiction blog I created some time ago. I have also included my art work in here and given it the platform it deserved. Erm, do I sound a tad boastful? Forgive me if I do, but reaching the place I have from where I began, I myself hadn’t expected this much of me, and thus the tinge of pride in my words.

Metanoia is an ancient Greek word that means a journey of change in one’s heart, mind and way of life. It is the precise word I was looking for. As human beings, we are constantly evolving; changing with times, and our various experiences; changing towards being a better version of ourselves, and that’s what I want to achieve. That’s what I hope to achieve through my work on my blog and in my life.

Inspiring myself to make changes in me is the reason behind this big leap. I keep my fingers crossed and intend to give it my all. I don’t know what the future will bring with it. All I intend to do is do my best, enjoy the journey and grow as a human being. So, help me God!

I would love to get your feedback and suggestions, considering I am still not very adept at handling the intricacies of the technology needed for this kind of work. It will be of a  great help to me.

Thank you all!

Love,

SHILPA..

Let there be change.

Let there be change.

          Every morning, when I skim through the newspaper, my eyes  search for a particular piece of news, which I actually dread reading: a sexual assault here, a gruesome rape there, the lenient laws of our country which fail to offer hope to the victims, and the accusations that fly thick and fast, landing blows on the victims in the worst periods of their life.  Careless statements like, “it surely must be the woman’s fault”, or, “she must have been dressed inappropriately”, or even, “she behaved in such a way, she asked for it”, get thrown around so casually by the heartless public, it embarrasses me no end.  Seriously, do we ask for it?!
As much as I remember, I did NOT ask for it when I was just 14 years old, decently dressed in a salwar kameez, holding my mother’s hand, trying  to enter a crowded ladies compartment of a train, when a male hand, with long, sharp fingernails  groped me, pinched me and disappeared into the crowd, leaving me badly hurt and shaken. I also  did NOT ask for it, when I got spanked  in a crowded street  by a  boy, who was out to have fun with his rowdy friends, leaving me thunderstruck.  And, I certainly did NOT ask for it, when, as an 8 year old, I was violated by my tutor –  the teenaged son of our family friends, whom I looked up to  like an elder brother.
Each and every ‘incident’ (and some more)  happened  years ago, but I remember it so vividly, as if it were  yesterday! The disgust, the shame and the guilt attached to it came without an expiry date. Even now, it leaves me feeling nauseated. So, when I think about those unfortunate souls, who have been harassed and tortured in worse ways, I shudder to think, how long, before they breathe freely, sleep peacefully?
Such incidents rarely, if ever, get erased from our memory. The fear, the trauma that stays behind, breeds a  wariness of people, that refuses to die with time.  Each time I hear about little girls being tutored by   a male teacher, I pray the teacher doesn’t have a devil hidden somewhere within him. Every time I see young girls, lost in thoughts, or listening music on  their iPods while walking through a busy street, I pray for their safety. Not all are capable of fighting back. I wasn’t. I was too young and terrified when it happened.
I know, after reading about my experiences, people might wonder why I speak about such embarrassing incidents. There will also be others, who might say,”Such things keep happening. Why didn’t she slap the guy?”  Well, first of all, it wasn’t I, who  committed the sin. Therefore, I don’t feel ashamed speaking about it. In fact, I think we must voice our experiences, so that we know we aren’t alone. And, secondly, does ‘such things being quite common’  give permission to men to behave lecherously, and treat women as  objects meant to be pawed at?
However, the worst part of it is, when the victims get blamed for such crimes. I agree, that not every place is a safe haven for women to roam freely, dressed as per their likes. But, not every sexual assault takes place in a dark and dingy lane, where women are found loitering around in the skimpiest of outfits! These crimes take place in broad daylight, in the busiest of places, among known people, and with women covered from head to toe in traditional  outfits. Correct me if I am wrong.
It’s  time we pointed fingers at the culprit, instead of  finding faults in the victims of sexual harassment.  Let’s not forget there are daughters in every home.  Heaven forbid, if someday, some of those little girls fall prey to  such evil, won’t you hunt down those beasts for their blood?  Or, will you ask your girls, why they weren’t dressed appropriately, or reproach them for having asked for it? Or, ask them why they simply stood there, instead of retaliating?
Victims of sexual harassment deserve a sympathetic understanding of their ordeals, and not those  accusing fingers pointing at their ‘flawed characters’.  Just peep into those hearts, which thudded with horror, when their bodies were being attacked in such brutal ways; just feel those  wounds, which were inflicted on those innocent souls, and which are still raw and hurting. You will feel the pain they experience when inundated by scornful statements, which get sprinkled liberally at the first instance of an attack on their modesty.
Today, we strive to make our society a safer place for women. But, will we really be able to achieve it unless we  punish – and banish – the devil that resides in every mind? Shouldn’t we be making the laws stricter for the perpetrators, than ordering a decent dress code? Shouldn’t we be shaming the culprits, and bringing them out in the open, to be skinned alive in order to teach the rest of them a lesson?
A little change in our attitude, a lot of change in our laws, will definitely work towards ensuring  a safer world for every human being. Is that a lot to ask?