D – Drink enough water. #AtoZChallenge

D – Drink enough water. #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water everyday.”

it’s a common advice we hear on an everyday basis, isn’t it?

Water plays an important role in every physiological process that takes place in our body. Be it blood circulation, or digestion, cooling our body or driving away exhaustion, our body’s need for water can never be underrated.

But, rarely do we remember to drink water the way we remember other things. We prepare to-do lists for every little thing we need to do in a day, but never include “Drink enough water” to it.

Often, during the day, we feel exhausted and irritable and blame our tight schedules for it. Seldom do we pause to think if we have been drinking water while completing our tasks. The irritability and the fatigue is a signal from our body that it needs water–a signal we fail to read.

Hours pass before we realise we haven’t had a glass of water!  Nothing can make you realise the impact of not having enough water as much as your body can. So, why not add ‘DRINK WATER EVERY HOUR” to our to-do list?

TIPS TO REMIND YOU TO DRINK WATER:

  1. Set an alarm in your smartphone for every hour that will remind you to drink water.
  2. Label the alarm: DRINK WATER NOW.
  3. Drink two glasses of water every hour, or more/less, as per your requirement.

 

TIPS TO INCREASE WATER INTAKE:

This again is something we all know about, but don’t bring into practice as often as we should–which is everyday!

 

  1. If you find drinking plain water boring, you could add some mint leaves and citrus fruits to it. Or, include green tea, fruit juices (home-made), coconut water and buttermilk, too.
  2. Drinking coconut water after a workout, instead of a protein shake, will help replace the electrolytes and potassium that your body loses while exercising.
  3. Include vegetables like cucumber, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini and broccoli that are high in water content.
  4. Include fresh fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, watermelons, musk melons and pineapples that also have a high water content.
  5. Having a bowl of cucumber+tomato+carrot salad for dinner will not only supply you with enough fluids for the night but also help flush out toxins and supply you with the much-needed fibre for a healthy gut.
  6. Starting the day with two glasses of warm jeera (cumin) water has wonderful health benefits, too.
  7. Keep sipping warm lemon water at regular intervals instead of tea or coffee. But, be careful if you have sensitive teeth. The acid in lemon can make your teeth more sensitive.
  8. Opt for fruit juices made at home, or cut fruit. Sugarcane juice is also one of the best thirst quenchers that also energise you on a tiring day.
  9. Drink a glass of water an hour before bedtime so your sleep won’t be interrupted by bathroom visits.
  10. Lastly, drink a glass of water an hour before meals and an hour after meals, instead of during the meals.

The best way to check if you have had enough water during the day, is to observe the colour of your urine. If it’s clear or light yellow, it means you have had sufficient water. If it’s dark in colour and has a strong smell, it means you need to hydrate.

 

A word of caution here:

Drinking excessive water can harm your health! I came across this note in the papers today. Do read about the side-effects of drinking too much water.

Too much water can harm your health!

 

Much love,

SHILPA…

 

Water plays an important part in every physiological process that takes place in our bodies.

 

I am participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge and my theme this year is ‘SELF-CARE’.

You will find all the posts here.

 

 

 

Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Hello, people! How have you been? I was MIA on my blog for the past week or so. My winged babies chewed off the wire of my WiFi router…Yeah, that’s their favourite pastime–chewing wires–and, now that I have learned my lesson, I am going to get all the wires covered. Anyway, so, after we got a new wire and my wifi started working smoothly, I fell ill. Severe menstrual cramps, a UTI and fever…uff! I have never in my life suffered any such cramps, so I really felt like I was dying!

Thanks, though, for my gynaec friend who prescribed some meds and today I feel fresh as a lily! It helps to have doctor friends, isn’t it? Just one phone call and your issue gets sorted. So grateful for some really wonderful friends!

Anyway, today, I am sharing with you all some remedies for cough that I have tried and tested during the few times I have suffered from a terrible throat infection. And, no, this is not a sponsored post because of the syrup and Ayurvedic medicines I will be talking about (which, I am sure, many of you must have heard of, already).

First of, I would like to share the herbal drink I made for myself a couple years ago, when I had had a really bad cough. And, miraculously, my cough was cured in just a few days! So, do try it out, if you haven’t already. It works like a charm and is extremely soothing.

REMEDIES FOR COUGH:

HERBAL DRINK:

As you must be aware, our kitchen cabinets hold in them spices that not only add flavour to our food, but also have medicinal properties that help in curing some ailments. So, using a few of those spices we are going to prepare the herbal drink for our sore throat.

INGREDIENTS:

A glassful of water

Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds

2 – 3 pepper corns

2 cloves

A tiny piece of cinnamon

Half an inch of grated ginger

A few Tulsi leaves

1 spoonful of honey

Keep the water to boil. Then, add the spices and ginger and let boil for a few minutes. Switch off the gas once the water changes its colour and you get the aroma of all the spices. Strain in a glass, add a spoonful of honey, stir well and consume it when hot. Take your time, though, lest your tongue gets scalded!

Having this drink twice a day –first thing in the morning and last thing at night–will definitely cure that cough in a matter of a few days. You won’t need to visit a doctor who will prescribe some cough syrup and medicines that will only make you drowsy and cost you a lot of money.

Gargling with warm salt water, or turmeric water, helps, too. It does provide relief from the itchiness in the throat.

 

TURMERIC+SUGAR:

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant used for its medicinal purposes.

Gargling with hot water mixed with half a spoonful of turmeric gives great relief to the sore throat.

Another way to use it to cure cough is to consume quarter spoonful turmeric and half a spoon of sugar before bed time. Chew thoroughly and then have half a sip of water. This will ensure an uninterrupted sleep. It’s something my MIL always believed in and now, so do I.

AYURVEDIC MIXTURE:

India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, as you must know. It has been used since ages to cure ailments without any side-effects, provided prescribed by a knowledgable practitioner. However, the mixture I am telling you about is something that has been passed down to me by my mother. It’s something she always prepared for us when we developed a sore throat during childhood. And, this, too, works…trust me.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINES:

1/2 a spoonful of Yashtimadhu (Licorice) powder

1/2 a spoonful of Sitopaladi Churna

1 spoon Honey

1 spoon Ghee

The Ayurvedic medicines are easily available at your local chemist.

Mix well all the ingredients in a bowl and have quarter of a spoonful (of half a tiny spoonful) every half hour or so. Also, drink the herbal drink twice a day and you will feel better soon.

ADULSA:

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Adulsa is a medicinal plant found in Asia and is used in Ayurvedic medicine, specially for cough and cold. You will find it at your local chemist. All you need to do is, add 2 spoonfuls of this syrup to a glass of warm water, add some honey and drink this twice of thrice a day. It not only tastes good, but will give you quick relief from cough and cold, and will not make you drowsy.

BENEFITS OF HOME REMEDIES OVER OTC COUGH SYRUPS:

The ingredients used in the herbal drink are all used in our everyday cooking. These are spices that are also medicinal in nature and have zero side-effects.

Ghee contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help cure not only dry cough but various other ailments. Did you know that adding a spoonful of ghee to warm milk and drinking this before going to bed can relieve you of constipation?

Honey, too, is antibacterial and helps in curing a throat infection.

Ginger has antibacterial properties that help fight infection and treat a sore throat effectively.

Tulsi leaves help fight infections and allergies.

Yashtimadhu, or Licorice, also has anti-inflammatory properties that help cure throat infections.

Sitopaladi Churna–an Ayurvedic medicine–is a commonly used cough remedy that has no side-effects. When added with Yashtimadhu, honey and ghee–all of which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties–it’s the best cure for a sore throat.

The over-the-counter cough syrups and other drugs that people generally opt for when suffering from a sore throat or a runny nose, offer nothing except temporary relief and that, too, with side-effects. You feel drowsy all day and hardly find any relief despite consuming bottles of the syrups.

This being the season of coughs and colds, I thought of doing this post so that if any of you are suffering from a bad throat, do give these cough remedies a try. it’s all a matter of faith, really, which I am sure you will develop once you experience the benefits of these remedies as opposed to the OTC cough syrups.

The Ayurvedic products are all available online, so, if you fail to find these in the area you reside in, you can always shop online.

Do let me know if you found any difference after using the above tried and tested remedies.

Take care…

LOVE,

SHILPA…

 

Treat cough with herbal medicines.

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 along with my blogger friend Ashvini Naik

The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!

As part of this challenge, I will have to follow my own rules about phone use for 7 days. After that, I will have to make a conscious effort to stay true to my rules and make sure it becomes a habit. 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.

 

5 CHANGES I MADE IN MY SMARTPHONE USAGE:

 

1. I 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.

2.  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.

3. 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 calls up at night.

4. I 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.

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.

5. 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. After all, this is the only life we have!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Using the smartphones for long, can have an effect on your health.

 

 

5 easy ways to look after your eyes.

5 easy ways to look after your eyes.

The use of computers and smartphones has put a lot of strain on our eyes. It requires us to focus at a single distance near our face. Seldom do we remember to blink (an action that cleans our eyes and  keeps them moist), or give our eyes the rest they require. Our eyes were not made for such kind of work and as a result bear the brunt of all that they are subjected to.

The way we care for our bodies through workouts and diets, the same way we need to care for our eyes. So, today, I am sharing with you some  easy-to-do exercises that require just 5 to 10 minutes of your time,  have long-lasting benefits  and  could restore the health of your eyes! Do consult with your optometrist before commencing this routine. And,  I would suggest doing these first thing in the morning, before the rush hour.

Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed for these few minutes, or do these before you leave your bed.

Sit  cross-legged on the floor with your spine erect and your hands on your knees, close your eyes and give yourself some time to settle down. Breathe and try to relax those frazzled nerves and try to calm your wandering mind. Become aware of yourself, your breathing, your body. The exercises you will be doing need you to concentrate on yourself.

 

  EXERCISES FOR YOUR EYES:

 

1.  Workout for your eye muscles: 

Open your eyes once you know you can focus on your exercises. Then, slowly, without moving your neck, move your eyes towards the ceiling. Stop for a second and then, slowly, move them down to look at the floor. This up and downward movement of the eyes should be carried out as slowly and with awareness.  Do this routine five times and then close your eyes to give them a short break.

Next, look left to right, as slowly as you did the above exercise, without moving your neck. Do it for five times, and then again, close your eyes for a break.

Next, focus at the ceiling and then, slowly, move the eyes in a clockwise direction, for five times and then anti-clockwise for five times. And, remember to go slow. If you concentrate on the eye muscles as you do these exercises, you will be able to spot the places where you feel a slight stiffness and/or pain. These are the muscles that have borne the strain of having to stare constantly at the screen.

If you follow these exercises regularly, it will be the best thing you will be doing for the care for your eyes.

 

2. Blinking:  

Open your eyes wide and  then close them tight  and immediately open them wide. Again, shut them tight and  open them. Repeat this 10 times. The quick shutting and opening of the eyes is a good workout for the muscles around the eyes. It increases blood flow to the eyes and relaxes them by the end of it.  After 10 times of blinking, close your eyes and relax.

 

3. Palming: 

This exercise is to relax the eyes at the end of the routine. So, rub your palms for 10 to 15 seconds till you feel them warm and then place the palms on closed eyes, with the fingers resting on the forehead and the base of the palms on your cheeks.  Count to 100 (or 200)  in your mind and relax, let your eyes bask in the warmth. Once done, slowly remove your palms and open your eyes.

 

4. Staring: 

A)

Hold your hand straight in front of you with your fist closed and thumb up. Stare at your thumb. Slowly, move your hand to the right without bending it at the elbow.  Keep gazing at your thumb as it goes to your far right but without turning your head in the direction. Bring your hand back in front of you, and then use your left hand in the same manner to stare at your thumb on the left side. Do it once to the right and to the left.

B)

Stretch out your arm straight in front of you. Make a fist and stick the thumb out.  Your thumb has to be at eye level. Slowly, bring your hand closer to your nose. Stare at the tip of your thumb as you do this. Then, move your hand away, back to its original position. Stare at your thumb even when you move it away. Repeat this twice.

 

5. Things to remember when working at the computer:

1. While working at the computer,  always remember to blink regularly.  This will keep your eyes from drying. Or, close your eyes and roll them clockwise and anti-clockwise, slowly, and feel your eyes getting a massage!

 

2. You could also do palming every once in a while when your eyes feel the strain.

 

3.  Remember the 20-20-20 rule.  Every 20 minutes, look away at a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds and give your eyes the respite they need after staring at the screen  so close to your face. I know, it’s difficult keeping track of time once we immerse ourselves in our work. So, you could set an alarm for 20 minutes in your phone and let it remind you to take the much-needed break.

Follow the above rules even while reading a book. Remember to  look out of your window or look at something at a distance. Reduce the pressure you put on your eyes.  You will instantly notice  how relaxed your eyes feel. It’s all we can do to care for our eyes!

 

 

Following this routine regularly will help in keeping your eyes agile and the eye muscles flexible. It’s akin to feeling your body becoming flexible after a regular workout.  Do try it out for the sake of your eyes. And, do remember, that these exercises in no way help in improving your eyesight, but, they will definitely maintain your eye health.

Like it…Pin it!

 

Ways to look after your eye health.

 

 

 

 

 

Why whisper, when you can be carefree? #Period Pride

Why whisper, when you can be carefree? #Period Pride

                 I had my first period at the age of 12, and today, as I sense  menopause peeping from round the corner, I remember a statement made by a professor way back in college:

Celebrate menstruation! It is what makes you a woman!”

Golden words, those, considering, we women hate this thing we would like to think of as  an affliction! When I first learnt about it, I wondered if only women in our country suffered from it! Hilarious, I know, but in my day and  age, innocence still existed.

With no Internet to enlighten us with information, we were too naive to understand life and its ways.  Discussing such taboo topics with elders was considered to be strict no-no. Mother did advice me on what I was supposed to do if something “went wrong” in her absence. But, Dad was not to be consulted as he had no knowledge about anything of the sort!

I would often wonder when I would be rid of this monthly trauma, and so once  badgered mother to tell me when I would become a free bird.  She muffled a laugh, wrapped me in her arms and enlightened me  that my periods would be my companion for more than half of my lifetime! I almost fainted.

Mother would recount tales of how  women from olden days were treated  during those few days  of the month. They would have to stay in an outhouse, or some dark and dingy room all by themselves and their plates of food would be pushed towards them through the door left ajar for such tasks, lest they “touched” someone and contaminated them.

They were forbidden from entering temples and kitchens, for they were impure. And if by mistake they did brush past someone, then that person had to have an immediate bath!  I was aghast at that piece of news!

I also found out how certain practices  existed when I was young. Maybe they do so now, too! Maybe the way it is considered a taboo and has laws pertaining to behaviour during those days,is the reason why it  is looked down upon as an exasperating issue  rather than just another bodily function.

Some years ago, mother had invited some guests at her place and some religious rituals also had to be performed. I was on my period precisely at that time, but I decided to keep mum about it and help mother, lest all the work fell on her shoulders. As I went about completing the chores, I wondered why God, who created us, would consider His children to be impure because of something He Himself had blessed them with!

How could our God be so petty?

I confessed to mother a few days later fearing the worst. But, mother was a lot more progressive in her views than I gave her credit for and accepted my views proudly! I wish every mother would be like mine.
I  know that I am hurting sentiments by saying such things; I am aware how strongly some people feel about it the issue.

I have also read about some “scientific reasons” behind these so called laws. However, treating periods as a natural physiological occurrence, like urinating or sweating, would be a lot more sensible, isn’t it?

Also, discussing it with girls, as well as boys, when they come of age, and making them aware of the various eco-friendly products that can be used during periods, would help create the awareness it so deserves. Doing away with age-old laws and  assuming a  more progressive outlook will help the  Naari lead a better and a happier life.

*Linking this post to Write Tribe #Period Pride.