Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

 

After last year’s A to Z blogging challenge, I remember being in a dilemma. It had been an exciting month of drawing the letters of the alphabet, writing posts and visiting blogs. But, it had also been an exhausting month of writing and reading posts and replying to comments in time!

I had several ideas floating around in my mind about what I could choose for a theme for A to Z 2019, and at the same time, I was wondering if I would participate at all for all the burnout it could cause.

But, here I am!

You can’t keep a writer from writing, can you?

So, last month, while I worked on creating pins for Pinterest, an idea struck me about how I could blog about a topic that was tailor made for my niche. I jotted down a few points as and when I could and came up with:

 

THE A TO Z OF SELF-CARE

 

Self-care usually figures at the bottom of our priority lists. What with our family, job and Life taking centre stage, we hardly find time to indulge in ourselves, take care of ourselves.

I have been a witness to how my mom, my sis-in-law and so many women in my life hardly find time for themselves. And, if they do,  they feel guilty of spending it on themselves.

I understand how difficult it is making time for oneself in a packed schedule. But, it’s a necessity doing something just for oneself, even if for half an hour. It’s the welcome break women need, their mental health needs. And, if one is mentally healthy, one can find peace and happiness in every situation. That’s something I have learned over the past so many years.

Looking after our own well-being isn’t something one does once a month and then forgets about it. It’s something one needs to practice on a daily basis, without any kind of guilt hanging over one’s head.

Hence, this April A to Z blogging challenge, I will be sharing 26 ways to self-care in easy, doable ways, about things that, generally, get sidelined over other more “important” ones.

The posts will be short, quick-reads, with tips that will help you IF you treat them as RULES and promise to abide by.

It might sound like I am giving an ultimatum of sorts to you women out there about how you ought to follow my tips, or else….! But, trust me, girls, if we don’t care for ourselves, no one will. Ever.

For these 26 days, I will be sharing some ‘Points to remember’– a to-do list for us to follow each day. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so, I guess following these tips for the next 26 days will get us into the habit of caring for ourselves.

So, beginning the 1st of April, do visit Metanoia for my tips on self-care and do share with me if you find these helpful. I will be happy for the feedback, dear reader, for it’s you who keeps me going!

 

Much love!

Take care, coz I care,

SHILPA…

 

If you don't take care of yourself, who will?

 

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?

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

March begins in just an hour, now. How time flies! Precisely why we need to make full use of every moment we get–every single moment of every single day.

A new month also means new beginnings, although, you really don’t need to wait for a new month or a new year to make a new beginning. You can do it anytime you feel like you need to change.

Some months back, I decided to change my phone habits and a couple days back, my diet. It does feel wonderful, seeing how the changes are affecting my health and my life!

CHANGE IN DIET:

Earlier, my breakfast included a mug of chilled milk with a spoonful of Horlicks. It was something I looked forward to, the moment I woke up. However, it was also something that gave me gas. Yes, milk does that to me….Sigh.

So, to get relief from it, I switched to curd/yoghurt.

Now, curd+banana+raisins+oats (I know, I know..OATS!!?? But, hubby got it for me, so I have to finish the stock, right?) has been my breakfast, ever since.

I have also started having curd+rice for lunch, as opposed to no rice earlier. My lunch, which comprises of chapatis/ragi rotis, sabji, curd-rice, satiates me. No more hunger pangs within two hours of lunch!

The curd keeps me cool, helps with the digestion and I no longer feel like my tummy is a gas chamber!

The live bacteria (pro biotics) in the curd takes good care of my gut health. And, a healthy gut, is a happy me!

Its high protein content ensures I have enough energy to face a busy day.

I deducted rice from dinner, though, which now includes chapatis, sabji/dal, and a huge bowl of salad (cucumber+carrot+tomatoes). Makes me feel full, and yet, not uncomfortably full.

MORAL: It helps having a light dinner!

CHANGE IN PHONE HABITS:

I did a post on my phone habits last year. I also did a follow-up post. Since the past two months, I have made furthermore changes in my phone usage.

I switch on my phone wifi in the morning at 8.00 to check messages/mail etc and switch it off within 10 minutes. I check it again for few minutes at 11.00 and then keep it switched off till 1.30 pm.

I use the Canva app on my phone to make images for Instagram and Pinterest after lunch for half an hour.

Evenings are usually spent working on laptop, or talking to friends on the phone. So, by 8.00 pm my phone wifi goes off to sleep.

The time I spend on social media has reduced substantially:

INSTAGRAM: 15 MINS. (Set the timer on Instagram and it will remind you when your time’s up).

FACEBOOK: 10 – 15 MINS.

WHATSAPP: 5 MINS. (I’d rather talk than text).

CANVA + PINTEREST: 30 MINS.

GMAIL: 2-3 MINS. (it’s also on my laptop, so makes no sense wasting time there).

Now, I have ample time to indulge in art, reading, blogging and planning.

Also, it saves my eyes from strain.

I have stopped watching TV during lunch time, too. I pay attention to the food in my plate and how good it tastes. TV viewing is for the evenings, for some time. That’s a lot less screen-time, right?

MORAL: Use the phone judiciously and you will have mastered the art of Time Management!

I keep an account of it all and intend to do a follow-up post on how well these changes help me in the long run.

How about you? Have you made any changes lately? How do you feel about it all?

Love,

SHILPA…

We need to change our habits for the sake of our health.

 

Chemical-free hair colour.

Chemical-free hair colour.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

To begin with, this is not a sponsored post. This is about a product I have been using for quite some time now and being satisfied with it, wished to share it with you all.

I began using Greynil about two years ago, on the behest of my cousin. Before that, I used to apply henna to cover my greys. It gave my hair a fiery red shade and then orange, much to my dismay. I did not want orange hair and neither did I wish to use chemical hair colours.

So, I opted for Greynil and am really happy with the way my hair feels today!

GREYNIL:

Greynil is a chemical-free, herbal hair colour. It is manufactured by Dr. Jain’s Herbals brand and is prepared using the following ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:

Henna powder

Indigo (Neel)

Sofia Oil (Perfume)

DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

Greynil is available in two shades: Brown and Dark Brown.

Choose the shade that suits your natural hair colour.

Take the required quantity in a bowl and add boiling water to it to make a paste. Leave it aside for a few minutes. Wear the gloves that come with the pack and apply the paste to your hair when it is lukewarm.

Part your hair and apply from roots to the ends with a brush.

Once you have finished, cover the hair with a shower cap and then tie a towel, or a cotton dupatta on top, like a turban. This will keep the hair colour warm and prevent you from catching a cold or experiencing a headache.

Keep it for two hours and then wash off with cold water.

DO NOT SHAMPOO the same day.

Once the hair dries, you will find it rough to touch and tough to comb and de-tangle. Do not worry. Just comb as gently as you can and tie your hair in a bun.

Oil your hair the next morning. Your hair will soften as soon as you apply oil.

After 2 – 3 hours, wash your hair using your usual shampoo and conditioner, or even shikakai, if you use it (you will find the lather turning blue–that’s because of the Indigo.).

Let your hair dry naturally, or towel-dry it, gently.

De-tangle the hair once dry.

Initially, you will need to apply Greynil every 8 to 10 days. Later, you may use it every fortnight.

BENEFITS OF USING GREYNIL:

1. Greynil, being a pure herbal hair colour, is free of any chemicals, and, is therefore, not harmful for your hair and skin.

2. It makes the hair softer, silkier, improves hair-growth and the health of your crowning glory!

3. You will also notice a decrease in dandruff with regular use of Greynil.

I add half a spoon of methi seeds’ powder while making the paste. Methi is a miracle seed and a blessing for not just your hair but also your health.

4. Greynil doesn’t make your hair orange when it fades after some days, but leaves it with a brown tinge and then, back to your natural hair colour.

Greynil is available at your nearest chemist-druggist. You can also buy it online.

Hair colours–whichever brand they may belong to–contain chemicals that are harmful for our hair and skin and result in the hair turning grey sooner. Using chemical-based hair colours also results in excess hair fall, dry hair and dandruff.

This particular product suited my hair and skin and gave good results. Skin and hair types vary from person to person, so if you experience any discomfort while using it, you can always switch to henna.

TIP FOR USING HENNA:

Add beetroot juice to henna if you have brownish hair and wish for a maroon tinge. Beetroot also helps reduce hair fall.

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Herbal hair colours for beautifully healthy hair.

 

 

 

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.