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 teach you the true meaning of Love.
Ways in which pets help improve your life.
Raising awareness about breast cancer.

Raising awareness about breast cancer.

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Knowing the fear that is associated with the disease, I thought of doing this post with help from my gynaLecologist friend instead of just Googling the information.

It is a sad state, indeed, as most of us today depend upon Google to supply us information about illnesses, diseases and their cures least aware about how misleading it really is. Asking a trusted medical practitioner for guidance will, actually, save us a lot of stress and confusion. Hence, I turned to my friend for details about this disease.

Breast cancer cases have increased over the years and so has the fear revolving around it. Breast Cancer Awareness is an effort to not only raise awareness about the disease, but also educate women about how they can help themselves with better information and the care they can take in order to lead healthier lives.

This is a general post but with a lot of input and helpful advice given by my friend for us women in the hope of clearing the notions about the disease and help drive away its fear.

What is Breast Cancer and what are the signs and symptoms?

Breast Cancer is the cancer that develops from the tissues of the breast.

The main signs of breast cancer are lumps in the breast, change in the shape of the breast, depression in the skin on the breast, unusual fluid discharge from the nipple, an inverted nipple or a patch on the skin.

A change in the appearance of your breast needs to be given due attention

Who is at a greater risk?

Women who have a family history of breast cancer are at a greater risk of this disease. Women who may have suffered from the disease could also fall victim to it because of its recurrence.

Other than these, typically women over the age of 45, especially those who have had late pregnancies or no pregnancies and also those who have undergone hormonal replacement therapy could suffer. Earlier, the cases of women above the age of 45 suffering from the disease was normal, albeit a rarity, but today, due to the change in our lifestyle as well as late marriages and later pregnancies, the age at risk has come down to 30-35 years.

Changing lifestyle:

Our lifestyle has undergone a sea change today. With rising ambitions, women tend to postpone marriage and having children. This lack of childbearing and breast feeding can increase the risk of breast cancer. Also, consumption of alcohol and smoking among women has risen thanks to a modern mindset. This utter disregard to one’s health can increase the risk of not just breast cancer but other diseases, too.

Usage of pills to postpone or stop your periods also exposes your body to hormonal changes that result in hormonal exposure that may show its effects at a later stage.

Workaholics, who tend to place their career before everything else, often put in extra hours, especially at night. And, what my friend told me about this trend was rather disturbing. Our hormones that work during the day are different from those that work during the night and due to this change in our daily schedules, there occurs a hormonal imbalance. This, too, puts people at a risk of not just breast cancer, but also other lifestyle diseases.

Genetics play a huge role in cancer and hence, those with a family history are at a greater risk.

Self-help is the first step:

Self-examination is the first step in staying aware of any changes occurring within our bodies as we know our bodies better! Regular examination of your breast to see if you find any changes in your breast size or the nipple, or if you feel something that resembles a lump could help you act faster.

However, one also needs to know that if you experience pain in your breast, it could be as a result of PMS, or excess exercising or doing an activity your body isn’t used to on an everyday basis.

How to examine your breast:

Early detection through self-examination always helps. A monthly self-examination will, thus, inform you better about any changes than going in for clinical tests.

Stand in front of the mirror and observe your breasts for any outward signs of change. Check if they appear the same size, or if there is any discolouration or patches that weren’t present earlier.

Next, use your palm (and not fingers) to palpate your breast to feel for any lumps underneath. This examination by touch will tell you if there is any abnormality within.

Is mammography really needed?

We come across a lot of advertisements about breast cancer awareness and how we need to get a mammogram done on a regular basis to make sure we are safe. Following these adverts, and going in for mammograms can lead to more heartache and stress.

Mammograms come at a later stage, that is, only if and when you do come across a lump while self-examination. It’s a clinical advice given by the concerned medical practitioner after checking the patient. Therefore, it helps if you trust yourself and not get carried away by all that you read.

Mammography is not recommended for anybody and everybody. it is used to rule out any malignancy. There are new imaging techniques apart from mammography that give you a hint if you require to be monitored or not.

So, do not fall for all such ads from corporate hospitals. These only cause a lot of stress even if there is really no reason to worry. And, if while self-examination, you do come across some lumps, visit your gynaecologist who will examine you further and then advice you about the next step to follow, like getting an ultra sound done.

Ask questions to your doctor and clarify your doubts if mammography is really going to benefit you.

The fear revolving around breast cancer:

Breast cancer is something that people fear. The disfigurement that it causes if one has to get a breast removed, or even a part of the breast removed, can lead to trauma. The change in one’s appearance and how it changes ones attitude towards oneself can often lead to depression.

Confiding in your partner and family helps a great deal as that gives you the emotional support you require during such a crisis.

Do not be obsessed that even a slight pain in the breast is going to be cancer if you do not belong to the high risk group.

Remember, every lump can not be cancer, but any lump must not be ignored.

If there is pain, it is infected, and if there is no pain, it can be malignant, but not always.

How you can help yourself stay healthy:

Reduce mental stress, and make your life simpler. Let go of all that clutters your life, as in activities that demand a lot of your time and attention leaving you with no time for relaxation. Remember, not everything is really worth it. Respect your time and also your health.

Follow a fitness regimen as well as a healthy and a balanced diet on an everyday basis. Lack of exercise can lead to a lot of health problems–a fact that is known by all, but not taken seriously.

Follow a daily schedule that gives you enough time to rest at night. Try and complete all your tasks before your bed time so that you get the necessary 7 hours of undisturbed , peaceful sleep.

Do follow the self-examination technique regularly and stay aware of any changes occurring in your body.

I hope this post was helpful to you all. If you have had a family member or friends who might have been victims of this disease, do share their experiences and any advice that could be of help to everyone. It will go a long way in creating awareness and staying healthy and safe.

Love,

SHILPA…

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From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

Get Fit Stay Fit

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What is, or has been, the number one wish on your health list? Let me guess, does it have to do with losing weight? I know, that must be it, because 9 out of 10 people consider themselves overweight, or “fat” (which is so wrong, let me tell you) and follow everything they can in order to lose a few pounds.

The world is not kind to people, either. The body shaming taunts must have wounded your spirits, and your self-esteem must have suffered badly, isn’t it?

I, too, have faced the barbs and the hurtful questions for the longest time. But, I belonged to the other “category” — I have been thin all my life. Thin as in never being considered slim and trim, but thin. And, people are not kind to people like me, too. I have heard it all–from “don’t you eat?” to “does your hubby thrash you if you eat more?”.

People fail to realise that there is a thing called metabolism – the process that occurs within our body that maintains life; a process that causes food to be used as energy, and decides how fast or slow our calories and fat gets burned.

I have a high metabolism, that means, the food that I eat gets converted into energy at a faster rate and hence doesn’t get converted into fat. So, however much I eat, multiple times in a day, it hardly shows!

Earlier, though, the thinness caused me to appear gaunt and stick-thin. Hubby encouraged me to eat all that I wished to and include all sorts of health tonics and stuff, but to no avail. I remained thin as ever.

Yoga: the best exercise regimen

It was only around three years ago, that I felt I needed to include a proper exercise regimen that would not further burn my calories, but help tone my body and help build some muscles. And, the best way to attain that, I felt, was through Yoga.

Yoga helped me understand my body. The areas that were flexible and also those that weren’t, and the aches and pains when I bent forward or backwards. Regular practice helped increase the flexibility in a body that had not had any kind of exercise for a long time.

We women are under the wrong impression that our household chores make for perfect workout sessions. It is really not so! We do burn calories sweeping floors and running around after the kids all day long, but, the flexibility that every other part of our body lacks can be achieved only by a proper workout.

The various asanas and the Suryanamaskars helped me achieve the kind of flexibility and suppleness I needed. I could feel my body getting toned, my skin getting healthier and me getting trimmer and curvier from being stick thin.

A balanced diet:

We learn right from our school days how important it is to follow a balanced diet in order to stay healthy and happy, but rarely do we actually follow it on a daily basis. Thanks to our busy schedules we treat our health as an afterthought.

I used to begin the day with a king-sized breakfast followed by a good lunch, too, but it was in the late afternoons that my energy levels dipped and I would feel tired soon. I realised the time gap between lunch and dinner was too big and I needed to add some snacks to fuel me through the evenings.

Most of us make do with a cup of tea/coffee and a couple of biscuits. Rarely do we stop to think where we will get the nutrients from that we require to function until dinner time. I mean, seriously, how are you going to benefit from a cup of tea and a few biscuits made from refined flour?

I added sprouts and vegetable juice for this particular hour in my diet plan. Sprouted moong and matki made into a bhel with tomato-onion-chillies and some farsan was the perfect savoury snack that kept me full and supplied the necessary nutrients to last me till dinner time.

Vegetable juice made from beetroot-tomatoes-carrots with some ginger made for the perfect drink to wash down the bhel. Either that, or buttermilk or lassi, that would aid in digestion and also keep my system cool.

Fitness matters:

Whether you are on the heavier side or the lighter side, what really really matters is how you are from within. I feel proud to say that almost all of my blood tests come out perfectly normal, except for Calcium and Vitamin D3, for which I take supplements. I feel energetic and happy knowing that sticking to a particular diet plan that I chalked out for myself as well as an exercise regimen has helped me stay in shipshape.

My body may not appear strong, but it is strong enough from within to fight infections quicker thanks to an efficient and a reliable immune system. I seldom fall sick (Touchwood!) and on the rare occasions when I do, I bounce back pretty soon.

Thanks to my Yoga practice, I don’t experience a lot of aches and pains. And, the bad lower back that does complain once in a while, gets taken care of through some gentle exercising.

Taking care of your diet despite a busy schedule and following a particular exercise plan goes a long way in giving you a healthy body. Accepting yourself as you are and being proud of how well you care for yourself is what matters.

Fitness matters more than size!

Love,

SHILPA…

Thanking Anshu Bhojnagarwala for this opportunity to share my fitness journey for Bonhappetee.

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Healthcare for bloggers.

Healthcare for bloggers.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Okay, this post is not only meant for bloggers, but all those who work on computers all day, which is quite a lot of people slouched in front of their computers/laptops for more than 9 hours, or so. So, it is that many people experiencing aches and pains, day after day, and doing nothing about it, because, well, there’s work to be done, blogs to be visited, articles to be written and read! Right?

This post might seem longish, but, do read it to the end.

So, to begin with, how do you sit when you sit down to work? In a chair, or on your sofa or your bed with your laptop placed on your lap? I hope you sit in a chair with the laptop placed on the table, with your back erect all the time. But, I am sure we all sit that way only for a while. Eventually, we slouch, our backs bent, necks almost craning to peep into the screens. Tell me this is how you sit and I will tell you how very wrong that is for your body.

By the end of the day, you develop a pain in your lower back and your legs, a pain in your neck, pain and stiffness in your shoulders and tired and dry eyes. Isn’t it?

But, worry not, for there are just somethings that, if you follow, will help you drive the pain away. Provided you do it everyday, and not just today and tomorrow! So, let’s begin!

Things to remember while working on your computer:

1.Sit with your back erect, feet flat on the floor, or placed on a footrest, thighs parallel to the ground and wrists in line with your forearms. If you wish to sit on your bed, at least do not sit in a reclining position, with your back resting against pillows. Sit erect, place the laptop on a laptop table.

2. DO NOT sit for long. Time yourself. Sit for about 45 – 50 minutes and then just switch off the computer and go for a walk. Complete some chores around the house, or walk around your house/ work place. But do take a 5-10 minute break and WALK. Exercise your legs.

3. Make sure your neck is straight and not bent over the keyboard, and keep your shoulders relaxed. Some people have the habit of flicking their neck side to side in quick movements when they sense some stiffness in their neck. Please do not do that!

Instead, do a few neck exercises: Sit cross legged on the floor, or in a chair, but sit with your spine erect. Turn your face upwards and then slowly bend down as if to touch your chin to your chest(5 times). Then, look from side to side (5 times), again do it slowly. Next, bend your head as if trying to touch the ear to the shoulder. Don’t actually touch your shoulder, just bend, as slowly as you can– 5 times on both the sides–right to left.

4. Eye care: We tend to stare at our screens and forget to blink. Blinking cleans the eyes and keeps them moist. So, blink, consciously. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Remember this 20-20-20 rule. Or. Look out of your window.

When you take your hourly breaks and after you have had a walk, sit straight in your chair and do these two eye exercises:

Blinking- Squeeze shut your eyes tight and open them wide , instantly. Squeeze them shut, again, and open them wide. Follow it 10 times.

Palming: Rub your palms together till they feel warm and then place them lightly on your eyes. Slowly count till 100 and feel your eyes relax. Wash your eyes as many times as you can with cool water. I use Refresh Tear Drops, thrice a day, to keep my eyes feeling fresh.

5. Do a few shoulder exercises so that the stiff muscles get a chance to get back in their original position (you might sit erect and all, but you won’t even notice when you slouch!). You could do these exercises after the neck exercises.

Lift your shoulders and move them backwards, as if trying to touch the shoulder blades to each other. Then, bring them down and then move them in the front, making a complete circle with your shoulders. Go slow. Do this a few times- clockwise and anticlockwise. Then, once your shoulders are relaxed, lift them up to your ears and ‘drop’ them down in their original position. Again, do it slowly, for a few times. Breathe easy.

Each time you take a break, follow it up with the ‘Blinking’ and ‘Palming’ exercises, and the shoulder exercises. Push your shoulder blades towards each other to stretch those muscles to relax them, every now and then. The pain that you are bound to experience from stiff shoulders when you wake up every morning, will only increase every day if you don’t take care now.

6. Your wrists could also stiffen from being in the same position continuously. Rotate your wrists a few times, slowly, clockwise and anticlockwise. Your fingers, too, need to be exercised regularly. Open your palms, spread out your fingers and then close them into a fist. Do it a few times, slowly.

The eye, neck and shoulder exercises don’t take more than 15 minutes, so, I would suggest doing these every morning, as soon as you wake up. Here are a few more eye exercises you could do before moving on to the neck exercises.

Try and go for a walk everyday–morning or evening–for at least 30 minutes. Pay attention to your breathing when you walk and enjoy the fresh outdoor air. After being cooped up inside the house, or office, all day long, you need the workout.

I have stressed on going “slow” while doing every exercise because you need to be slow and not in a hurry to finish it off and get back to your work, or tense your muscles or joints, unnecessarily. Be gentle and caring towards yourself, while exercising, for the simple reason that it’s your body, not a machine that won’t feel pain or get hurt.

Follow these simple exercises regularly and watch the pain recede. Of course, it won’t vanish completely in a matter of days, but eventually, it will subside. If the pain continues, do visit a physiologist or consult a doctor, but please, do take care of yourself.

That’s it for today, for my hour is up and it’s time for me to go for my walk.

Take care, you all!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Blogger life

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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..

 

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Changing old habits, forming new pnes

 

 

 

 

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