Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U - 5 ways to Unwind

After two back to back posts on why we shouldn’t overwork ourselves and why we should learn to relax, here’s one more that tells you ‘how’ to unwind and relax. I know, most of the times we have very little time at our disposal and sometimes we may have a little more. So here are five ways to unwind, depending on how much time you have on your hands. 

If you can afford to unwind for less than half an hour – Do Shavasana.

Shavasana or the corpse pose is a yoga pose we normally do at the end of the yogasanas. It is meant to relax the body. But it can also be done in isolation. All you need to do is choose a flat surface - your carpet will do. Lie with arms and legs stretched in a relaxed manner and close your eyes. Guided shavasana is even better. The yogic guide takes you through a series of scenarios which shuts your mind off from what you are doing and relaxes you completely. There are several well-known audio relays of such guided shavasana.

If you can afford to unwind for less than an hour - Lie down.

First create a space in your home other than your bedroom which you can use to relax. It can be a quiet corner somewhere, maybe a large window sill, or even your balcony. Use your imagination and creativity to decorate the corner in a soothing manner. Put a relaxing push-back chair, a rocking chair or a soft mattress and some pillows if you like to relax on the floor. When you need to relax, go your corner, lie down, and close your eyes. You may choose to listen to music or read a book or sleep. Why create a corner? Because, by marking a certain place as your relaxing spot, the body learns to relax when it is in that place.     

If you can afford to unwind for an hour or more - Take a stroll.

Find a place nearby where there’s a garden, maybe some birds and butterflies (do such places exist?), and take a calm stroll all by yourself. Solitude and nature are a great combination. Smell the flowers, admire the plants, breath in the cool air, and walk at a leisurely pace.

If you can afford to unwind for a couple of hours – Book a relaxing treatment.

Get yourself enrolled at a spa, or a Kerala Ayurvedic massage center or a fish spa center. Getting your body pampered is certainly the best way to relax. I can vouch for the efficacy of the Kerala Ayurvedic massages. They artfully knead your muscles into a putty and when you leave the place, you will have a broad smile on your face and a spring in your body. The fishes biting your feet is a delightful experience too!

 If you can afford to unwind for a day or two - Take a vacation

Skip the hot holiday spots. Steer clear of crowds milling around and opt out of sightseeing. Look for places that are far away from the city, have no wifi, and are set plush in the midst of nature.  You may not have to travel too far. The nearest village might be your weekend getaway. Do nothing. Just sleep, eat, stroll, repeat.

My most memorable vacations are – the one in a village called Magundi, Chikamanglur, surrounded by coffee estates, the Bhadra river flowing through it and surrounded by hills on all sides, the second one in Hebri, Mangalore, bang in the middle of a forest, the Sita river flowing by, and the third in Dandeli, near Hubli, the river Kali gurgling by and the Western Ghats surrounding the place. The common thread that linked all these three places was there was no network whatsoever, the rivers were practically uninhabited except by local people, and we were in the lap of nature for as far as we could go!

What's your favorite way to Unwind? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

T - 5 Ts of Togetherness...

Love is not easy. It involves a lot of effort. Irrespective of whether love has been around for 2 months or 20 years, whether the object of your affection is your child, partner, parent or friend - the effort needs to be renewed every single day. If being together with your loved one for an entire lifetime is your idea of love, then read on to know the 5 Ts that form the frame for togetherness.  

Trust –

Easily, trust forms the basis of all relationships. When someone places their complete trust on you, it’s their way of telling you that they feel safe and happy with you and are confident of turning to you when in need and know that they will not be disappointed. Don’t break the trust they have placed in you. Honour your commitments. If you have promised them something, keep it up, no matter how difficult it is, or else, don’t promise. If they have entrusted you with their secrets, with their issues, with their ambitions, guard them in your heart.

Truth –

Truth and trust are like two sides of the same coin. People trust those who are truthful. The moment you start having secrets that you cannot share, when you have to lie, be dishonest or cheat, be sure that the truth though hidden for some time will soon come out and the trust will be broken.

Time –

Togetherness demands your time. Isn’t ‘time’ the best gift you can give to your one? Agreed, in today’s fast-paced world, everyone is busy, there’s so much to do, and there’s hardly any time. But like it is said, ‘It is not about having time, it’s about making time.’ So, make time to be there for people you love.

Talk and touch –

Communication is such an important part of being together – both physical and oral communication. Most misunderstandings happen because people don’t talk, they don’t express themselves properly. People assume and presume, accuse and scream, and do everything but talk! Most issues would be solved simply if people communicated. And don’t forget to look into their eyes when you talk.

Touch is an important way to show love. Hug, hold hands, kiss. Make your loved ones feel loved.  

Tenderness -

As time passes, we tend to take people in our lives for granted. We expect more, we are disappointed more, we fight more and we hurt more. We forget that human hearts are as fragile as glass. Hence treat the people you love, like you would handle glass – with tenderness. Speak softly, act responsibly, behave gentlemanly and love endlessly, so with the adult, as with a child.  

What would you like to add to the list?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S- 5 reasons to say Sorry

Sorry. A five-lettered word, but how difficult it is to say it! As kids, we are taught that Sorry is one of the five golden words. While we have no qualms about saying the others, ‘sorry’ doesn’t come as easily. But of all the words, ‘Sorry’ has the most power to set things right. Don’t let the ego come in between. Say Sorry when it’s needed.

Here are 5 reasons why you should say Sorry.

Makes you feel lighter instantly.

When you genuinely apologise for some wrong doing, it lifts a heavy burden off your chest. Whether we accept it or not, our mind always knows when are wrong. And then we carry that burden all along, without realising how much it impacts our well-being.

Makes the other person forgive you.

I remember an incident where a friend had hurt me with such harsh words that stung for hours after they were spoken. It left a very bitter feeling about that person, and I vowed never to interact with her again. But within a couple of days, she called up and profusely apologised. I could see that she really meant it. It made me forget everything that was spoken and I willingly forgave her. I also realised how little it takes to set something right. One heartfelt ‘sorry’, was all that was needed.  

Makes other people see things from your point of view.

When you say sorry, it brings any argument or feeling of one-up-man-ship, crashing down. The invisible wall of hostility that gets built-up, breaks down and allows the other person to see and understand your point of view.  

Makes your little ones learn from it.

As our kids grow, they learn from everything we do. They mimic our actions, copy our behaviour and learn from our mistakes. When you apologise to someone, the little ones learn that committing a mistake is wrong but they can make it right by apologising. They learn to respect relationships and feelings more than their egos. Don’t you want to set the right example for your kids?

It’s for yourself.  

Saying sorry and meaning it, is more for our own sense of relief than for the person we have wronged. Irrespective of whether the other person forgives you or not, it will help you to be rid of guilt and help you to move on. Help yourself heal. Say Sorry.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R- 5 reasons why you must learn to Relax!

Our schedules are so tightly packed these days that we are constantly flitting from one activity to the other. Irrespective of whether you are a homemaker, are working outside, or are a student, there’s hardly a minute to spare for yourself! In the process, you end up fatigued, worried and irritated all the time. Only if you’d slow down a bit a take some time out to relax, you’d see that you can complete all your tasks without keeling over from trying too hard.

Here are 5 reasons why you must learn to relax.

Panicking and worrying is not going to make things right.

Sure, there’s a whole of things that keeps us on our tentacles – work that is pending, work that has deadlines, work that expects us to be in many places at the same time, work that is not going as per plan, or work that drives you crazy because the other people involved in it aren’t as dedicated as you are! But panicking or worrying isn’t going to get you anywhere. Things will happen when they have to happen.  

A relaxed mind can take more rational decisions.

You will agree that we hardly take our best decisions when we panic or worry. We tend to shout, argue, fight, feel discouraged, or angry when the mind isn’t relaxed. But if you take some time out to relax, you’ll see that your mind can react to situations and adversities much better. You will be able to take better decisions.

Relaxing increases productivity.

A relaxed mind is more creative and productive. When you give yourself a time out and spend time doing deep breathing exercises, meditating, smelling the flowers, simply lying down, or taking a nap, the areas in the brain responsible for creative thinking are activated. People brainstorm better, are able to memorize better, concentrate better, study better, and handle work stress better after a power nap. So, next time you find yourself in a jam, just reach for the pillow!

A relaxed person has a calming influence on their surroundings.

A relaxed mind is contagious. People around you tend to calm down if you are relaxed. An agitated person tends to increase the tension in their surrounding but a relaxed person dissipates the existing tension.

Relaxing helps keep illness at bay.

Relaxing helps to calm the body and mind. It prevents stress and depression. It also prevents high blood pressure, migraines and such illness which are all a manifestation of panicking and worrying. What is the use of spoiling the health and regretting later?  

Take time out from your busy schedules and relax. The body needs to rejuvenate and recoup. Don’t deny it it’s due.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q - 5 irritating Questions that people ask and how to tackle them!

Our lives are never private. There are people all around us trying to poke their noses into everything we do or don’t. They are so interested to know every little thing that goes on in our lives that it becomes a pain answering them.  

Are you free? they will ask. Your time is never your own. You will be expected to run errands, complete their child’s project, or whatever. But if you refuse to help, saying you have your own work to complete, they have the next question ready.

How much do you earn? they will want to know. Hah! They really expect you to tell them the figures? Don’t answer it, but if you did, well, God save you. If they think you are earning well, they will pop the next question.

Why are you single? What a waste of your life, if you aren’t yet married by the ‘correct’ age that society has set for you. Perhaps they will give you a cursory look and try to reason why marriage has evaded you.  

Why don’t you do something about your colour/ size? Poor souls. Don’t they know that one can do absolutely nothing about the colour of your skin, height and err…weight?  But when you eventually get married, you know what they will ask next...

When will you have a child? As if having a child is the sole reason why people get married!

After having given you the headache of a marriage and a child and seeing you run around like a headless chicken, will they get off your back? No! They will come back to question #1.  

Are you free?

So, here are 5 ways to tackle these irritating questions.

Use humour.

Find a funny way to reply back to irritating questions. If someone’s pestering you with the why aren’t you married question, roll your eyes and say, ‘Oh my, are you jealous?’, or wink and say, ‘Amn’t I lucky?’, or better, ‘Because I love bread pakoda more’!

Ask another question.

It always irritates people when you answer a question with another question. If someone’s asks, how much do you earn, say, ‘Why is that important to you?’, or ask them the same question, ‘How much do you earn?’ or even tongue-in-cheek, ‘Why, aren’t you paid enough?’

Be vague.

Giving vague answers which give out nothing about what they want to know is a clever way of getting them off your back. If someone asks, ‘What price did you sell your house for?’  say, ‘Even a million bucks would not be enough payment for this lovely home,’ or ‘Money is just a number, can it buy happiness?’

Give them an irrelevant and lengthy explanation.

If people have come looking for spice, give it to them. Take them round and round in circles, giving them all sorts of irrelevant information and take up so much of their time that they will think twice before asking personal questions again.

Refuse to answer.

Just refuse to answer. People aren’t expecting you to refuse to answer them. Knock them over with a refusal, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t want to answer that.’ Simple.

What's your trick? 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P - 5 kinds of People we should be grateful for!

Life would be so lonely and burdensome if there were no one to share our pain and happiness. But thankfully, every time we are broken, there's that someone who glues us back. Do we know who these people are? Or do we just subconsciously go them in our time of need and forget them conveniently?  

Here are 5 kinds of people who form our backbone...don't forget to be thankful to them.

People who make you smile.

I'm sure there's at least one such gem in your life. Even if your chips are down and out, and you are struggling for breath, they know exactly how to make you smile and laugh. Just seeing them lifts your spirits. They may not always dole out the best of advice but from them, you will learn that life is too short to be taken so seriously!  These are ones that make life worthwhile!

People who motivate.

These are the people who always have your back. They will egg you on to do what you want to do, assure you that your dreams deserve to be realised and support you when you feel low. With them you’ll be always full of energy. You can dare to share your weirdest and most impossible looking aspirations and they’ll tell you that you can achieve it too! And no, they will never judge you no matter what you do.

People who are honest.

Everyone loves honesty as a quality, and yet, we don’t like people who are truthful. Quite a paradox? Yes, because truth is bitter. We label people who are honest as unthoughtful, rude, and harsh, but they have your best intentions at heart. They tell you things without mincing words. They are way better than those who sugar coat their words but aren’t really bothered about you. Keep the honest ones close.

People who love you and help you unconditionally.

To receive unconditional love is such a blessing. Yet, we take these people who shower us with unconditional love for granted. Are there people who have been there for you and have always helped you in your times of need? Never forget to show gratitude to these people. No, they will never stop loving you even if you don’t reciprocate, but won’t they be thrilled if you do? 

People who listen.

We all need our 3 am friend. The person who will be there to listen to our woes, to give us their shoulder to cry on, to hug us when we need it the most, no matter whether it is day or night. These are the people you can depend upon the most. There’s nothing that can comfort us more than a person who can you can give us a patient hearing, is there? Well, don’t forget to return the favour when they need you.

Who are these people in your life? Know who they are and keep them close. Perhaps, there’s just one such person in your life, but they might be a combination of two or more qualities or maybe even all 5. I hope you revere them for the sunshine they bring into your lives.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O - 5 reasons why you shouldn’t Overwork yourself.

No one really has a 9-5 job anymore! Irrespective of whether you are an IT professional, marketing executive, doctor, banker or even a teacher or housewife, the one thing that’s common is exhaustion due to overwork. Every employer is looking at how productive the employee is, every home maker is looking at what extra can be done or has to be done in order to push through the day and in general everyone is slaving their behinds off overworking, till it kills them. The Japanese have a word for it - Karoshi - which translates to, death due to overwork.

But working those extra hours, slogging away till you fall down dead is not really a great way of living, is it? 

Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t overwork yourself.

You don’t want to live an incomplete life, do you?

Whether you work at home or at the workplace, they are just one part of your life. There are several other things, like your family, spouse, parents, family, interests, hobbies, travel, and so on and so forth. Making one part of your life into your entire life, is like just living 10% of your life, and neglecting to live the rest. Just like it is important to eat a proper ratio of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in order to have a healthy body, it is important to play, relax, and enjoy along with the work that you do.

You don’t desire Loneliness, Do you?

If you continue to neglect all other parts of your life, they will start neglecting you too. The kids grow up before you have played enough with them, the parents are no more around to share in your happiness and grief, the spouse has given up and probably moved on, and you are too old to travel or even pursue your hobbies. When you are finally free to spend some time, no one has the time for you. What a shame!

What about the toll on your Health?

Overworking is stressful. You have to deliver, you have to not only be productive but increase your productivity as well. All this leads to a chronic stressful condition. Soon, it manifests as heart disease, obesity, insomnia, depression, back aches, headaches, stroke etc. You cannot sleep well, you cannot eat well or are overeating and not exercising, your heart cannot bear the pressure and in short, your health goes for a toss. Eat well, exercise, sleep well. These are as important.

What a waste of resources!

What use are the money, fame, and name you have earned if you have not spent them well? Whom are you saving for? The future generation? Does it mean you don’t consider them capable enough to earn their bread? Statistics say that most people who spend their lives overworking, die with more than 90% of their wealth unused for their own benefit.

A friend of mine has a three-storied bungalow which employs 12 servants for its upkeep, runs an AC in every room, entertains guests all the time, and needs a huge amount to be paid in EMI. The couple are successful businesspeople but hardly have time to eat and very little time to spend in their own homes! It makes me wonder for whom are they are working so hard? To make the banks richer, servants comfortable, relatives jealous and power companies prosper?

You don’t want to die with regrets, right?

No one wants to die with regrets. A housewife who has spent all her life just tending to the needs of her family but hasn’t taken any time off to groom herself, pamper herself, fulfill her hobbies or enjoy herself, will invariably find herself staring at an empty nest years later, wondering when her entire life passed by. Why die with unachieved dreams, unfulfilled desires, and unshed inhibitions?

The point is not to tell you to stop working and start enjoying. Rather it is to make you aware that there’s more to life than merely work. Don’t forget to give an equal share of the pie to every aspect of your life. Don’t say, I’ll travel when I retire or I’ll enjoy when I am free of responsibilities. Remember that all these aspects have to be taken care simultaneously so that you can live a fulfilling and happy life.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N - 5 ways to say NO!

How often have been have you been inundated with requests to help someone, accompany someone somewhere, complete the project on someone’s behalf, take someone’s place at work, at home, at some family function, babysit someone’s kid, or run an errand for someone…but you have been so neck deep with your own commitments and have wanted to refuse. But…you ultimately ended up saying yes, taking on an additional responsibility, straining yourself and wishing you could have somehow politely refused?

Happens all the time? Well, you aren’t alone. Many people find it difficult to say ‘NO’. Out of the fear of hurting someone, out of wanting to return someone’s favour, out of respect for someone position, whatever the reason, they get bullied into taking up tasks they would have wanted to refuse. They end up stretching themselves too much, get all worked up and end up short of pulling out their hair in despair!

Before you give in, consider these points.

Know your limits.

You are a human, not a robot. There’s only so much you can accomplish in a day. It’s therefore very important to know how much you can stretch yourself without keeling over. You know your routine, your commitments, and your limitations. Before you accept anything more, mentally find out if you can take up additional responsibility.


Of course, you cannot always give importance to your own work. There might be people who genuinely need your help. See, if you can prioritise the work, yours and the other person’s in order of importance, urgency, and need for your interference. If the work cannot happen without you, then you might have to make provision for it.

If you know that: 
a) the work doesn’t need you to be a part of it, 
b) the other person is simply using your goodness to transfer their burden to you, 
c) you yourself are flooded with work and 
d) it’s neither urgent nor important enough for you to leave everything and attend to it, here’s what you can do.

Say NO without actually saying it!

Take time to answer.

Never be in a hurry to reply. Many time, after we have accepted the responsibility, we think, ‘I should have said this’ or ‘I should have checked with my schedule first’, but we have already committed and then we cannot back out.

Take your time. Say, ‘Can I get back to you?’ Tell them, you’ll let them know if you can take the responsibility after checking with your commitments. That gives you time to plan your work. If it is feasible, you can help and if it isn’t you will know what to say.

 ‘You’ set the deadline.

Do a quick mental math. How much time will you need to finish your commitments before you can go about helping them? Tell them that you can do them the favour but not before a particular date or time. That way, you aren’t refusing them directly, but they also know that they cannot bully you into accepting their undue request. Say, ‘I can do this on Saturday’ or ‘I am free only after 4 pm.’ And if they are in a hurry, they will have to look for someone else.

Refer help.

If someone keeps leaving their kid with you to babysit every time they have to go out, suggest a babysitter. If someone needs you to shop for them, teach them how to do it themselves online. That way, first, you are not really refusing help, second, you are teaching them how to help themselves and third, they’ll get the hint that you are not always inclined to oblige and that they cannot take you for granted.  

Ask for a return of favour.

If someone wants you to take their place at work while they take a vacation, make sure to tell them you will want them to swap places with you in the immediate week after. If someone wants you to run an errand or babysit or complete a project, make them do the same or something else for you. But make sure they return the favour.

If they agree, it will be a fair exchange, or else it will give you an escape from them forever! They will not be able to ask you for a favour again, and if they still do, you will have the right to refuse. And people who are simply trying to take advantage of your goodness without themselves intending to help will not be able to face you again.

Say NO.

Sometimes, people don’t stop harassing you, or promise to return favour but don’t or don’t get hints. In such cases, don’t hesitate to say NO directly. ‘Sorry, but I cannot help you this time. Maybe, next time,’ should suffice. Be polite, smile and refuse.

Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t mean to suggest that one should be selfish and self-occupied all the time. Our society thrives only when we help one another. But at times, there are people who take advantage of the fact that you cannot refuse or those who try to put their burden on you so that they can enjoy. There’s no harm putting your foot down with such people and letting them know that you will not be taken for a ride.

Do you agree? 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M - 5 tips to Tame the Monkey Mind

Our mind is a tricky place. Billions of thoughts cross our mind every day, vying for attention and action!  Studies say that a staggering 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts cross the human mind per day, which means that we think anywhere between 40- 50 thoughts in a minute or about one thought per second!

Well, that’s not all, because the thoughts do not just come to our mind, they criss-cross, jump, meander and wander at will! And before you realise it, a simple thought can run into hundreds of parallel or unconnected thoughts in a single moment! How does one tame this monkey mind that shows no keenness to slow down?

Be Aware.

With our thoughts running at the speed of light or maybe faster, we carry out most activities without even being aware of it. In the morning, we get into our cars and begin our drive, say, to our office. The next thing we realise is that we are already parking our car in the parking lot. We are not even aware how we drove to office! In fact, we do every task as if we are automated machines. We eat, but we have no idea what we ate or how much we ate! We start a task, and we continue doing it, all the while letting our minds be plagued by a million thoughts.

That is why it is so important to bring awareness into whatever you do. Don’t focus on the past or the future but limit your thoughts to the present. Employ all your senses when you do a task.  When you eat, devote yourself to eating. Look at the food, smell its aroma, feel the texture with your hand, and tongue, pleasure your taste buds and feel it fill your stomach and heart. Express gratitude to the Lord for putting food on your plate. Chew every morsel well.

Don’t resist your thoughts.
If you resist your thoughts, they tend to persist – much like a nagging child. Don’t shoo them away. Instead, develop the art of listening to your mind. Listen to what the mind keeps chattering about all the time. Give it a patient hearing. Listening helps to not just have clarity in your thoughts but also to lets you plan what should be done about it. If you just keep pushing the thoughts out of the mind, they keep coming back with renewed vitality and continue to occupy your mind space.
Be thankful.

Being grateful for everything that we experience in our day to day life is a simple yet underrated practice. When the mind is filled with thankful thoughts, it begins to fill our heart with joy. Slowly it becomes a part of our thoughts. Negative thoughts are replaced with positive ones.


Meditation is easier said than done. But learning to sit quietly for a little time every day, learning to breathe well, to relax and simply let the mind idle away can have long lasting benefits.  Meditation is known to bring about physiological, psychological and physical changes in us- every cell in the body undergoes change and is filled with energy and healing. It is this renewed vigour in the cells that results in the positive changes that occur in the body.
As you learn to meditate, your breathing becomes more rhythmic, heart rate stabilises, and the mind and the body relax. With regular practice of meditation, you will be able to sleep better, stay stress-free, and even concentrate better.
Sleep well.

Sleeping well is quite important to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, so that the body’s internal clock falls into a pattern. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, so choose your sleep hours according to your lifestyle. Eat light. Limit technology at bed time. Over a period of time, not only will the body learn to relax completely but your mind will learn to calm down as well. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

L - 5 beautiful Love poems

Love is a beautiful emotion. It is the basis for any relationship, be it between parent and child, man and woman, between siblings, or friends. But what forms the basis of love? Here are 5 beautiful poems that sum up the essence of love.

Express it!

 True, isn’t it? What use is the love that you hold in your heart? Show it and shower it on the one you love. Love without expression is like a song without the music and lyrics! 

Overlook the faults.

We all have our flaws, yet we expertly pick the imperfections of our loved ones. Learn to overlook the failings of the other if love is to blossom.  

Don’t change.

Is it love that changes with time? The most beautiful stories of love are of those who have stood together like rocks in good times and bad.  

Give space.

Love can be suffocating if there’s no space. Two individuals cannot always have the same interests, likes, and dislikes.  Learn to give space for the both of you to grow and give a chance to discover each other all over again. 

Mind the tongue.

Harsh words once spoken are like the bullet that has been fired from a gun. No matter what you do, the damage it causes cannot be undone. Hence mind your tongue and resist the urge to spew venom in your bitter moments. The moments will pass but the poison will stay forever.
Conversely, not conversing can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. So keep the communication going always. 

What's your favourite love poem?   

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K - 5 things never to say to your Kid

As parents, we want the best for our kids. Yet, we sometimes get angry, impatient or annoyed with our little ones for various reasons. I’m not going to argue if the reasons are right are wrong, it all depends on the situation you are in at that moment. But irrespective of what our circumstances are, I believe there are certain things you must never say to your kids.

You are good for nothing (Demoralising)
Kids are clumsy, they spill, they break, they drop, but they are learning. Just because they do not have a careful hand, don’t brand them as ‘good for nothing.’ They might be slow learners at school or not be competitive enough at sports, but just because they haven’t shined yet, don’t brand them as ‘good for nothing.’ Being demoralised like this will make them scared to take up any assignment or task.

Instead, teach them the correct way to do things. Help them clean up when they make a mess. Be patient when they are slow to learn. That’s the way they are going to learn. Children who learn from their mistakes not only grow up to be responsible adults but also do not fear taking risks.

Don’t you dare…or else…(Threatening)
Kids can get annoying sometimes and it gets difficult to get them to listen to you. They might throw a tantrum, but don’t lose your temper. Don’t threaten to send them away to the boarding school or to somewhere you know they fear. Don’t threaten them with taking away their prized possessions.  For you, it’s an empty threat, but it can leave kids fearful and bruised. You don't want your kid to grow up into a meek and timid adult, do you?  

A cousin who used to threaten her daughter like that when she was younger, has now grown into a tween who cries herself sick if she cannot find her mother for a moment when in a gathering.  

You are too young for this (Undermining)
We do fear for our kids’ safety and we would never want to endanger them with risky activities. By all means, be guarded but give them the freedom to explore and learn. Don’t inundate them with too many instructions and don’t keep telling them that they are too young for this and that. Be their guide and help them do what they set out to do.

My little one loves to cook and chop. He was just six when he held the knife for the first time. I was scared as hell, I didn’t want him to accidentally chop his finger. But I didn’t want to discourage him too, so I let him help me with the chopping and cleaning and cooking. Of course, all under my hawk eye. I brought him safety equipment like plastic knives so that he doesn’t injure himself, but I didn’t want to tell him that he’s too young to do something.

I hate you (Dissociating)
This is one of the worst things you can ever, ever, ever, say to your child. Think of how you’d feel if someone you loved the most said something like that to you. Well, those feelings are multiplied manifold for a child. No matter what your child has done, never tell them that you hate them. It erodes their self-confidence, makes them feel lonely and depressed, it makes them feel dissociated from you. You don’t want to scar your child for life, do you? Even though that time will pass, they will carry the bitterness a long way into their adulthood.

You are a bad person (guilt tripping)  
No child should ever be told that they are bad. Don’t leave the child feeling guilty. People are never bad, only their actions are. And when it comes to kids, they have no idea about the repercussions of their actions. They don’t do things knowingly, unlike adults. Putting them in a guilty spot is harsh. They surely don’t deserve it.   

Kids are like wet clay. It is up to us to make impressions that they will cherish for a lifetime, not those that will scar them for life. Don’t stop them from questioning. The questions might be irritating, but the little one is learning the hows and whys. You keep dodging their questions and soon they will stop asking. Don’t let this be a cause of regret later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J - 5 Joys to cherish before they perish

Joys don’t last forever. Like sorrows, they come with the expiry date stamped on them. They are like the rainbow, you must wait for them but make sure to enjoy them before they fade away! Here are 5 joys which you must cherish before they perish.

The joy of cuddling up with your child-
Children grow up all too soon. Before you know it, they are as tall as you! You cannot baby talk them anymore, can’t kiss and hug them in public and can’t make them sit on your lap or sing a lullaby! Well, technically you can, but your child will hate you if you do! So, cherish the joy of spending time with your little one before they grow out of your lap. Quality time is what you should be looking at. Watching TV together does not qualify, neither do attending family functions! Aim at playing with them, taking a stroll in the park, reading out to them, listening to their chats and such activities. Trust me, the will cherish these little joys all their life! 

The joy of curling up on your parents lap.
As sad as it makes me writing this, our parents probably aren’t going to be around as much as we wish they would. As we get busier with our careers and lives, we tend to forget the hands that nurtured us. Just living in the same house with them or visiting them as and when we can, is not going to be enough. As with the kids, spending quality time with the parents is important too. Sit with them, listen to them talk, take them out and ensure that their twilight years are happy and comfortable.

The joy of having fun with your friends.
Again, as we grow in our careers, friends take a back seat. But friends are perhaps the only people who keep us grounded, humoured, sanitised and crazy, not to forget youthful! No matter how old you get, being with friends will take you back to your youth. These are people who have been a part of your growing up years and been by your side in your times of struggle - no one will understand you better than they do. Keep them close always.

The joy going crazy with your partner.
Our partners are probably the most under-valued people in our lives. As years roll by, we start taking them for granted, and their presence becomes like the ubiquitous salt. Salt is an inseparable part of a dish, but no one acknowledges its presence. We only realise it’s absence when we forget to add salt someday. Like salt, don’t relegate your partner’s presence to the background. The joy that the partner can bring into our lives cannot be substituted. The children grow up and go away, parents pass on but the partner keeps you strong and going at all times. Whatever your schedule, don’t let distances or priorities keep you away - physically, yes, sometimes because it is inevitable; but mentally, never.

The Joy of loving yourself.
This is perhaps the last on our list of priorities or maybe, it isn’t even there. But being in love with ourselves is as important as showering our love on others. A joyous inside reflects on the outside too. Show yourself some love, pamper yourself with some attention, and do things that you enjoy. Bask in the joy of loving yourself.

What would you add to this list?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I - 5 tips for dating an Introvert

Opposites, they say, attract. Well, in my case, it worked exactly that way! The self-confessed, extrovert in me found itself being attracted to the painfully shy introvert in my husband! While I was loud and outspoken and brash, he was so soft-spoken and polite that I wondered how we hit it off in the first place! He was vehemently opposed to noise and I loved being outdoors! I was at times so scared that I might do or say that could offend or hurt him. But over time, I learnt what a gift it is for an extrovert like me to be married to an introvert like him.

Here are 5 tips for you, especially if you are an extrovert and your partner happens to be an introvert.

Find the middle path.
It is a given that both like to do things differently and also enjoy different things. But the trick is to find the middle path.  For example, I realised that hubby hates the outdoors because he abhors the crowds and the noise. So, we planned our outings to places that are not as crowded and yet fun to be. I am quite at home in a sea of people and have a lot of friends but he prefers a closed unit. Amongst us, we have a smaller circle of friends, that is not too small and not too large, but it is extremely close knit.

Don’t push beyond their limit.
Even if your partner is an introvert, they will do their best to accommodate your desires and fancies, if they love you. But in the zeal to get them to do more, don’t push them beyond their limits and don’t try to change them. Introverts tend to withdraw further if you try to keep poking - very much like a tortoise. It might, however, take a few trials and errors to know how far your partner will go.

Be patient.
Introverts are not always shy and wrapped up in their cocoons. They can sometimes surprise you with their candor. The trick is to be patient. As tempting as it might get to flood their ears with your sweet cooing, learn to listen. It helps if you know what their interests are and you are able to start a conversation with such topics. They might speak little but it’s pretty enlightening to hear them speak if you can keep quiet for some time!   

It’s okay to do things separately.
Disagreements are commonplace when you want to do everything together. But like chalk and cheese, extroverts and introverts have a lot in uncommon! Resist the urge to plan all your time together. If there are things that you really want to do, go ahead with you gang but don’t drag the reluctant partner with you. The space that you give each other will make the relationship stronger as will the time that you spend together.

Go easy on the PDA.
It is quite a normal reaction for an extrovert to expect and show a lot of PDA. But Introverts are not really into PDA the way you want them to be. They have their own way of showing affection which might be much more meaningful and deep. If you find that your partner is not comfortable with it, don’t embarrass them by persisting with your overtures. 
The same goes for expecting compliments, thank-yous, that's-so-sweet-of-yous, you-are-best, etc etc. 

 Are you and your partner an extrovert-introvert combination? Does it work in your favour or against it? 
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