I and my new year goal – How we work together.

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

Last year was tough, like every other year, but a bit more tougher in every possible way. However, after going through all the lows and the rough terrain, I ended up learning a lot.

I learned about Life, about how helpful those difficult moments had actually been and how I need to be grateful for all that happened. It changed me, my outlook towards Life and my reaction to circumstances good or bad.

Last year taught me to forget about the past and the future and focus ONLY ON THE PRESENT MOMENT–the moment that’s LIFE!

Ergo, my WOTY (Word/Words of the Year):

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

 

Just being physically present in the here and the now makes no sense if you aren’t mentally and emotionally invested in it. To be able to live fully and experience every moment in all its entirety, you need to be living and breathing the moment, focusing on it a 100%. ¬†And, that is what I have been attempting since 2019 began.

I won’t say it’s easy, because it is not. We condition ourselves to forever look back at what happened and dream about what we would like to happen. Rarely do we forget the past tense and the future tense and concentrate on the present continuous. So, yes, it’s tough unlearning all that I was used to and learn something new, after all these years.

But, change, as we know, takes time to develop into a habit. It also takes a lot of hard work, patience and consistency. And, that’s what I have been working at.

There are times when I lose myself in the past, in comparing today with yesterday and how ephemeral Life is. But, after a while, I bring myself back to the present so that I experience well what the moment has brought for me.

HOW LIVING IN THE MOMENT HELPS ME:

Living in the here and the now helps me reduce my anxiety; makes me realise that, what I fear about tomorrow, is just my imagination and how I need to put my imagination to better use than conjuring all sorts of horrid things and ruining the peace I experience in this moment.

Living in the moment helps me focus better on my work–be it writing or art, or helping my nephew with his studies, or even managing my home.

Living in the moment helps me come up with ideas for my blog, topics I can write about or designs/illustrations I can work on.

And, finally, living in the moment helps me enjoy the present that I have, without worrying about the future that’s uncertain and ruing the past that can’t be changed.

It gives me peace of mind and a whole lot of sense about how I need to use my mental capacities for my well-being and my happiness.

How about you? Have you been working on your new year goals? Is 2019 in alignment with your WOTY?

 

Love,

SHILPA…

Is your new year in alignment with your WOTY?

Why you need to pursue a hobby.

Why you need to pursue a hobby.

Today feels like one of those perfect days when my household chores get done before time and I find some extra time on hand. Days, when I can plan out my work and complete it and be satisfied with myself. And, happy, too!

Yes, my work–my writing and my art–gives me immense happiness. And, on days when I am unable to indulge in either of these, it feels as if I missed out on something very important, which makes me cranky. Writing and art are the two hobbies that make my heart feel contented and my mind, relaxed. And, as I finished my housework before time, I could actually sit down this morning to make an artwork before beginning this post as opposed to every other day when I have to fight for some time for my art.

Hobbies are a part of our life, be it writing, reading, art, sewing, crocheting, gardening, cooking, baking, dancing, singing….the list goes on. These are activities that may not help us earn our livelihood, but more importantly, these help us stay mentally and physically healthy.

HOW HOBBIES HELP OUR MENTAL HEALTH:

IMPROVE FOCUS & CONCENTRATION: When you sit down to read, write or draw, or, in short, spend some time pursuing a hobby, your mind makes space for thoughts related to that activity and gets rid of all the clutter that usually crowds the mind. Your worries, stress, anxiety, irritation, anger, sorrow – all of it gets replaced by a sense of calm and peace. Your attention span improves, you focus wholly on that activity and become oblivious to the rest of the world. Hobbies quieten the restless mind and help you reap the benefits of being ‘still’.

IMPROVE MOOD: The time you spend doing that activity instantly improves your mood, which, in turn, results in a release of your happy hormones–endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. You may have noticed how refreshed you are by the time you have completed the activity. A dancer might feel all the more energetic, or a singer might feel a lot calmer. And, an artist might feel jubilant at having created the art he/she had planned in detail.

REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION : Hobbies are those activities that help us push away all the other thoughts, the what-ifs, the stressors and concentrate on creating something with our hands, our fingers. Watching it ‘coming to life’ drives away the thoughts that make us anxious or depressed and relieve us of all the accumulated stress. Hobbies can, actually, act like a drug that reduces anxiety, increases calmness and helps us sleep better!

HOW HOBBIES HELP OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH:

KEEP YOU FIT: Your hobby keeps you physically active and as a result, fit and healthy. Be it dance, sports, gardening, or any other activity which requires you to step outdoors and get moving, It helps your heart beat wonderfully and exercises every muscle, every bone that would otherwise lie idle, lolling on the couch, doing nothing!

HELP YOU SOCIALISE: If it’s a hobby that requires you to step outdoors and visit places, then you are sure to meet like-minded people, who share your passion for that hobby. You learn to share your experiences, swap ideas and express yourself better. And, if you are an introvert, then be sure to observe a sea change in yourself if you begin pursuing a hobby that asks of you to step ‘out’ of your cocoon! Your social circle is sure to widen and loneliness will become a thing of the past.

HELP YOU WIDEN YOUR HORIZONS: Yes, these are activities that will not only help you health-wise, but also increase your knowledge, change your perspectives and help you learn something much more than you ever imagined. There are a countless things in our world we know nothing about. Your hobby is sure to help you discover something new and help improve your skills, give you new ideas and teach you newer ways of doing things. I learned Zentangle and making the Mandala through the various social media platforms–art forms I never knew existed!

We live our lives in pursuit of peace and happiness. That’s why, in a life that is so short, uncertain and full of stress and difficulties, it helps having a hobby that gives us some moments of respite from all the chaos; gives our mind and body a few moments of peace and joy that give us renewed energy to go back out there and tackle Life and its complicated situations, all over again.

So, what’s your hobby? Do you make time for it in your daily schedule?

Love,

SHILPA..

 

Your hobby keeps you healthy.

 

 

 

 

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

 

So, finally 2019 is here–sparkling and glittering with its newness, infusing us with hope and vigour to make it a success story. I am sure most of us have decided on some new resolutions and promised to stick to those and fulfil them by the end of the year. Right?

But, as we all are so aware, all those grand resolutions are going to fizzle out by the end of the second week of January, itself! Or, may be by the end of January. And, we will find ourselves back where we started…wondering why we failed to stick to our plans and questioning our tenacity. By February, we will vow to stick to our resolutions the next year, come what may!

But, do you think we will succeed in 2020, either? I bet not.

Why do you think this happens? Why do our grand plans fizzle out?

I think, it’s because we make resolutions that are too ambitious and grand to handle. Seldom do we assess ourselves, our capabilities and our limits before making those resolutions.

Someone, who might wish to reduce weight, might decide to stay off sweets, altogether; enrol at a gym and workout like crazy; follow a diet to get the figure they so wish.

Someone might decide to work towards that promotion they so seek and slog night and day.

And, someone else might decide to live a more fulfilling life where they spend more time with their families and discover themselves, follow their passions, because, well… YOLO! I mean, You Only Live Once! ( I was so unaware of the meaning of YOLO till sometime back!).

But, is it that easy?

Being strict with your diet, hitting the gym regularly….can all get frustrating after a while because you never know when Life might test your commitment. All of our best laid plans could fly right out the window!

Or, in our quest to reach ahead in the “race”, we would neglect our health, our sleep and our family and if things don’t go as we expect–which is what usually happens– we could very well end up depressed.

And, people who wish to live a more fulfilling life with their families and all, can definitely achieve it, provided they place their smartphones and other gadgets under lock and key once they are home. But, do you think you can resist the temptation of checking the notifications on the many social media platforms?

You might do it for a day or two, but then will just give in to the urge to grab that phone and forget all about discovering yourself.

So, all the enthusiasm with which we begin the new year starts to wane and our singleminded devotion towards fulfilling our resolutions begins to peter out. We do make a few feeble attempts at getting our mojo back, but in vain. And, soon, we fall into the rut we all were so used to earlier. Life takes over along with the uncertainties She brings our way and we realise we will never be able to win over Life and Her big plans!

WHAT WE NEED TO DO INSTEAD

This year, I decided to make a few goals to follow; goals that I haven’t labelled as “resolutions”; goals which would be doable and easy on me and my mind. After all that happened in my Life since 2017, all I need today is peace of mind. That’s all. I am not at all trying to be overly ambitious, or enthusiastic, or anything. All I am looking for is the elusive peace, and how to make it a part of my life, and thus these goals.

So, I jotted down a few things that I needed to make a part of my everyday life. Little things, really, like…

Simple, doable things that are sure to make me a stronger person, calm me during the tiresome, stressful moments and yes, build a solid support system that I so need.

Of course, it is not easy, for instance, to accept Life as it is, or believe in myself when things aren’t going my way. I am human, after all. But, being grateful for whatever I have is bound to change that and give me a fresh new perspective about my Life.

So, instead of coming up with resolutions we will never stick to, why not make smaller goals to work on on an everyday basis; goals that are easier to manage and do not burden us with expectations.

Here’s what you could do if you wish to fulfil your new year resolutions…

8 WAYS TO STICK TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS:

1. Take baby steps…make smaller goals that don’t tax your mind if you miss out once in a while. Remember, it’s okay to slip off the track once in a while.

2. Don’t be too strict with yourself as far as meeting your goals is concerned. I mean, suppose you decide to stay off sweets, then take it a day at a time and keep aside a day when you can cheat on your plan. Have a chocolate, or your favourite dessert–for the sake of your taste buds–and, then workout a bit extra the following day. But, then again, don’t overdo it. Bottom line is, care for your body, be considerate towards its limits.

3. If you wish to cut down on your smartphone use, set an alarm for 9 pm when you will switch off the WIFI and put the phone away. Do not switch it on as soon as you wake up. And, once you do switch on, time yourself. No more than 10 minutes to check whatever you wish to and as soon as your 10 minutes are up, switch it off again. Stay away from it for at least a couple of hours between every 10 minutes phone break you take.

4. If you have decided to exercise/workout everyday, do it in the morning beginning with just 15 minutes. After a week, increase it by 10 minutes. 25 – 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough. And, take a break on Sundays. Your body requires the rest.

5. Prepare a journal in which you note down your goals and how you manage to achieve them everyday. Be true to yourself. No cheating!

6. At the end of a week/ fortnight, if you find that you have been pretty consistent with working on your goals, reward yourself.

7. Remember to take life ONE DAY AT A TIME–this includes working on your goals, too!

8. And, finally, remember that you are NOT competing with anyone except yourself–your old self. So, don’t be a tyrant and drive yourself crazy over your goals. It will affect your mental health. And, if your mental health suffers, believe me, there’s no point working on any other aspect of your life.

So, what goals have you made for the new year? If you haven’t yet, I would suggest you give it a good thought, take everything into consideration and then decide what it is that you need to change. I am sure you will have a higher chance at succeeding at it!

Wish you the very best!

May you all have a happy, healthy and a peaceful New Year!

God bless!

Take care, coz I care…

Love,

SHILPA…

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Why GOALS work better than RESOLUTIONS.

 

 

 

How your pets help improve your Life.

How your pets help improve your Life.

I came across this little piece of information that this is the Animal-Human Relationship Awareness Week. It was a revelation for me, indeed, that people celebrated an entire week in honour of the relationship we humans share with animals, and hence decided to do this post.

We humans have had animals not only as pets, but also as security guards and hunters since years. However, it is as pets that our animal friends have made us realise their importance in our lives. I have had pets since childhood. My very first pet was a rabbit that I picked up from a play ground. It actually belonged to a friend, who was in the process of disposing of the poor creature.

So, it was as a little girl that I learned to be responsible for another life. And, it has been this magical bond that I have had with all my pets that has taught me a precious lot about Life.

Sharing with you all today…

5 ways in which your pets improve your life:

Pets help you de-stress:

You return from work bone-tired, and as you open the door, this bundle of fur comes dashing across the room with happiness writ large on its face. How do you feel?

I would feel on top of the world! Here was someone who cared about me–really cared about me–and was delighted to meet me at the end of the day. How special it felt! Still does, when I return home and Cookie comes flying towards me and perches on my shoulder, chirping excitedly, as if asking me where I had been!

All the day’s fatigue vanishes in no time and you feel refreshed. You share your day’s troubles with this little creature who does not understand head or tail of what you speak, but at the end of this talk, you feel relieved. Having unburdened yourself thus, you now look forward to spending the evening peacefully, with a happy tail wagging by your side, or twirling around your legs as you prepare supper.

Pets teach you the meaning of true love:

My pet showers me with unconditional love!”

How many times you may have read/heard this line and wondered what’s the fuss all about, isn’t it? But, really, ask a pet owner and you will know what we mean. It was only after experiencing it with Chikoo that I learnt the true meaning of unconditional love. You may be sick/tired/angry/harried/irritated and as a result venting all your frustration on your pet, and all you will get in return is slobbery kisses and eyes dripping with love.

Your pet will never, ever, abandon you, especially when it sees you in this miserable condition. They stay by your side, offering you their quiet company, their shoulder to cry on. They do their best to heal your broken heart and give you the reassurance that, come what may, they will be by your side, always.

*Sniff sniff*

Pets help you socialise:

Being a shy person, communicating with people has always been an Achilles Heel. I would much rather keep my thoughts to myself than share them with others. But, with pets, you learn to open up and come out of your shell, mingle freely.

Taking them out for walks brings you in the company of people and you learn to loosen your tongue. I would always find ways to get out of a situation where I had to speak with strangers. I still do, but now, at least I am prepared to speak if the situation arises. All thanks to my pets, I am, at times, eager to socialise!

 

Pets help you stay fit and healthy:

If you have a dog, it is an accepted fact that if you don’t take him out for a walk, he will bring the house down. If you have pet rabbits, you may not have to take them out for a walk, but you will definitely be down on all fours coaxing them out from under the bed, or running around the house looking for them when they decide to play hide-and-seek.

And, if you have pet parrots, and you decide to let them out of their cages, you spend your time bending down to clean up their droppings or coaxing them to come out of their weird hiding places or keeping an eye on what they put into their mouths!

So, with all of these activities, you are definitely going to stay on your feet, away from the couch, working out and staying physically fit and mentally calm.

Well, it does take a lot of patience getting animals and birds to do your bidding, so, of course it teaches you how to stay calm in every situation!

And, finally,

 

Pets help fight loneliness:

With all the unconditional love they shower on us, it comes as no surprise that pets make for the best companions–better than humans! Your partner, children, friends will all be with you, but only for some time. But, your pets will be with you as long as they live. They place you ahead of themselves; you are their world, so in your moments of loneliness, they will be by your side, licking away those wounds that are seldom visible to others’ eyes.

I remember Chikoo would limp towards me, place his paw on my thigh and assure me that he would be with me, always. Those moments of utter loneliness saw me wade through only because of his presence. And, now, Cookie carries forward the tradition.

It helps having a pet by your side. They distract your attention from stuff that’s harmful to you–your stress, for example. The attention they seek from you helps you forget about your worries and focus on them. ¬†Refreshed, when you get back to the issue that caused you the worry, you realise how futile the exercise was! Don’t you agree?

Do you have a pet? How has it changed your Life? Do share with me; I am a sucker for pet stories!

Love,

SHILPA…

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Pets are good for our health and our life!

 

 

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…

 

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Is it easy to change your old ways? Is it easy to change yourself?