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Making The Most With New Normal

For many of us , the lock-down routine includes a lot of binge-watching TV shows, laze around ,binge eating and spend time on social media. While we all are guilty of doing all the above, this it turns out to be the unhealthiest routine and we soon tend to become complacent in our lives and tend to feel less motivated.

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It really helps to have some schedule especially in such uncertain times when we are not sure how long this new normal of lockdown would be a part of our lives. It would take a bit of a motivation and consistency but definitely is not difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Following some schedule daily has definitely helped me stay healthy mentally , physically and basically staying sane!! 😊

Early Rise N Shine

I always had a hard time to wake up early, would sleep late and wake up late. I tried changing this habit consistently for 15 days and it became a part of the routine to wake up early.

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My early morning calls partly helped me to inculcate this habit quickly. Sleeping early and waking up early is really a refreshing and you feel fresh all day.

Remember , you snooze you lose!! 😉

Grab A Bite On Time

Our eating schedules for breakfast , lunch and dinner are integral. Due to hectic work schedules during lock-down or even otherwise my eating habits were ridiculous and this affected my health adversely. I started seeing vitamin deficiencies in my health reports so it definitely was an alarm for me.

Eat Healthy

I slowly made it a point to have breakfast , lunch and dinner on time and also had a check on eating habits and made sure of portion eating.

Home cooked food definitely is the most healthy  and lock-down is helping us experiment on different interesting cuisines.

We can definitely use this to make some healthy choices for eating and make it a part of our lifestyle as we experiment.

I started to enjoy my preparing new dishes and try to prepare them like a pro by following YouTube videos 😉. Eating early dinner before 8 pm is something that I started to follow consistently and its definitely helped as a healthier lifestyle choice.

Workout (Yoga/ Running)

 I took Yoga lessons back in India and used to love them and they were thoroughly refreshing. After moving to States , I was more into Gym and Jazzercise but Yoga stayed with me all through and more so during the lock-down. I follow a 45 minute Yoga routine during lock-down and alternate between going for run and Yoga and it’s an extremely good tool to stay healthy.

Practice Yoga

We can practice Yoga anywhere just with a Yoga mat and couple of weights. There are tons of online videos/resources you can follow if you are a beginner. My personal favorite are Shilpa Shetty videos. She’s amazing at it!!

Going for a quick run also rejuvenates you completely and is extremely energizing. Even a small stroll in a park helps to refresh your mind.
Both the exercises mentioned above are great during lock-down and can be carried out by maintaining proper social distancing.

Scenic Drives

Initially during lock-down , since we were in the epicenter of the virus , lock-down rules were pretty strict. We could go out only for groceries/essentials. Being at home for longer duration weeks after weeks takes a toll on you.

Beautiful Drives

Short drives with your favorite music and driving to your favorite spots definitely refreshes you and is a good change and helps you in Staying Sane !😉

Make sure you are not crowding the places or getting out of the cars and staying safe.

Meditation

Most of us lead a stressful lifestyle with work and now with the additional anxiety around the virus. Doing a 15 min meditation daily helps calm your overactive mind and helps you stay focused and peaceful for any given situation.

Meditate

Initially you might find it a bit boring till you get used to it and you might even get distracted but with time if you can make it a part of your routine , you would definitely see a positive change in your mental health. I try to do it everyday for 15 minutes at night before I doze off and sleep like a baby.

Enhance your new skills

Lock-down is a great time to take up some new skills. I started my painting that I left a long time ago , a new blog site which I wanted to start for a while continue recording the songs I like during the lock-down.

I feel I am making a good use of this time and making it more productive , helps me to stay motivated.

You can pursue all your hobbies as this is the perfect time to do all of that you have missed out on😊

Enhance your knowledge

As its rightly said , Knowledge is Power. If you look actively look at the sites like LinkedIn it’s a great source of motivation and you would see how much people are doing during the lock-down to enhance their knowledge in their areas of expertise and grow in their careers.

Knowledge is Power!

I took up some certifications during this time and gave dedicated time to study for the technical certifications. This is a great time to enhance and excel your knowledge to grow further.

It can be a great stepping stone for your career and this time can actually be a blessing in disguise.

Relax N Enjoy

As its important to do all the stuff we do to keep going and stay motivated, its equally important to relax and enjoy our time with families and stay connected with friends. Watch all the shows/movies you can and make the most of it along-with having a productive day.

Chill Bro!

I managed to catch-up most of the shows & movies I missed early on and the list is only growing each day as I discuss with my friends.

I would love to know your favorites too!

Most importantly Stay healthy , safe and amazing !!

Do leave your comments and let me know what you are doing during this lock-down! Would love to know.

Image Credits – pixabay.com , giphy.com

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A Light Of Hope

As we navigate through a global crises of the pandemic and look down upon it as a curse we also look for a reason to keep moving forward and look for a silver-lining behind the dark clouds.

In December of 2019 , when the world first heard of the “Deadly virus from China”, none of us imagined the gravity of this virus. We all looked at the news and moved on with our routine thinking it wasn’t a big deal and eventually it would subside . Slowly it started to spread across different countries and the next thing we know , it was literally all around us and we were amidst the epicenter of this virus.

By mid of March 2020 in a course of just 4 months , the world had changed completely. With this rising number of cases ,people dying of this virus with no vaccine ,slowly everything went on a lock-down mode across the globe and people could walk out only for essentials. Masks and gloves were our new uniform , sanitizers were an essential and social distancing was a new normal.

We all packed our bags from work on March 12th after an email from the Human Resources that we would all work remotely until end of the month. We were happy to at least have this as an option when many of us are losing jobs , even struggling to support the family. For some of people around the world, it’s difficult to make the ends meet in this time of crisis. We could be nothing but grateful and started to pray for all this to end soon. We stocked all our groceries , essentials and locked ourselves down at home. The anxiety , fear of the unseen enemies could be seen all around.

For some of us being from IT “Working From Home” , although was a feasible option always , for the first time could be seen implemented for this long a duration. It felt like a relief at the beginning to start our day by not worrying about the traffic on the road and wake up right next to your work desk. Slowly the stress of constantly working long hours at a stretch started to hit us.

When you are going to work , whether you realize it or not , your mind by default gets distracted with various things like getting ready for work , commute and  for those people with kids , it’s even a bigger list of tasks to complete before you even get to work. Hats off to all those parents working from home who attend these long office calls and juggle between managing the workload with kids to look after. The kids  on the other hand are equally curious why they have to be home all day and now it’s  parents’ responsibility to keep them busy while teachers are digitally available.

Our online meetings often have kids screaming , crying and laughing in the background , pets that are barking , other calls interjecting our calls and even at times cows that are mooing. Yes , this really happened. Our new tagline now is “ok , Are you able to see my screen ? I am sharing now.”

With all the nervousness and anxiety around the pandemic, people are still working judiciously towards having “Business As Usual” and making the projects a success and in-fact working long hours at a stretch with no breaks and crazy busy schedule all day. Work life balance sounds like a “myth” in a situation like this we have people working even harder just so they can sustain in the current economy and for the months to come. At the end of the day with such high stress levels , we look forward to that sleep that we are going to get only before it all starts again the next day.

When I took a step back and looked at this craziness , I realized how innocent we human beings are. We work towards well-being of our families, work hard towards paying our bills , sincerely look at our jobs with passion and work towards it with determination no matter what job we do and how much we are paid for it. The paramedics , medical workers , police staff working relentlessly every single day are a great example of this dedication and we can only begin to imagine what they and the families go through. 

With the street traffic hitting all time low , and web traffic hitting the maximum , we have a whole bunch of creative minds the world has ever known with hidden talents at the peak from chefs , singers , painters , content creators, poets , dancers and the list goes on.People are now more empathetic towards the families going through the difficult times and trying to help in whichever way possible.

There is a lot of speculation on how the pandemic is going to affect the economy and whether or not we would be changed human beings at the end of it all.

For me , I feel we all are inherently born with all these qualities of love for family , socializing with friends ,dedication for work, passion, compassion, determination, creative thinking but probably we all just lost our way down the line and adapted to the convenience. We took things for granted and it had to be the pandemic to make us realize our own qualities and things that really matter to us.

Time would decide whether this phase changes us as human beings forever but for now , let’s just enjoy the few moments we have got to spend with our families ,let’s all be careful but stop stressing about the rising graphs , because if only stress could resolve this issue we would be sorted by now.

For all those stressing at jobs , worrying about the job loss and for those who have already lost their jobs “This too shall pass!”

Learn to live in the moment without worrying about future. There is a light at the end of every dark tunnel and a gorgeous rainbow after every thunderous storm. Let’s  paint a beautiful picture for the future together where the kids are out playing at the parks , we are enjoying guilt-free vacations with families and friends , gathering for festivals , going out for the movies and parties , hugs and kisses are the normal way to express love and we are in  pandemic free, healthy world again.

Hope you all Stay safe and Healthy !

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A Beautiful Game Called Life

As it’s rightly said, “Life Happens when you are busy making other plans”. As a young girl, belonging to humble middle-class Indian family , my world was only limited to the city I was born and raised in India. For the most part , I had goals were limited to completing my education, getting good grades, finding a job, get married ,have a family , settle down and have beautiful kids. My dreams were small and easy to achieve. Simple , isn’t it! Well, Looks so easy.

Well things went as per my achievable plan of completing my education and getting a job easily and until this point I did not even think that there could be other side to the story. It was only after being in a bad , traumatic relationship that I started to lose all my confidence. I started to doubt the smallest decisions of life as the big one had failed miserably. All the roads ahead of me started to become blur and I felt directionless. I lost all hope and it felt like end of my small world. Inherently I am an optimist, so this feeling of hopelessness was unusual. I cried a lot and knew I did not want to feel this way.My brother asked me to be positive and read a lot of positive books like the secret. I got a lot of unconditional love and support from family and friends to gather courage and pieces of broken heart to move on with life.

At the time when nothing was working for me , I thought of doing something that I had never done before and was not a part of my “plan”. I applied for a work visa though an IT consulting firm based in US and resigned from the job where I was working for 7 years. I had an opportunity to move to US as an IT professional. It almost felt like a blessing in disguise and life trying to offer me a second chance.

Looking at the fragility of my mind and emotions, my parents, sibling were very skeptical if I should take this decision. I remember my mom saying “Dear, please think this through.  I don’t know if it’s a good idea”. They had never seen me taking such risks before and never was a rebel as a child in-fact quite the opposite. I never lived apart from them even in India , let alone abroad. I had traveled briefly to US before for work but that was it.

For me, it felt just a new change, a new environment, new opportunity and I wanted to do something that I never imagined I could. I did not want to marry right away in a hassle just because it seemed like a right thing to do , people around said so or it’s a social norm. I wanted to go for it when I felt it was right and so did the other person. Whatever it is I felt was the way to live for all this while did not suddenly feel like the only way to live life. With some convincing my parents agreed. With a lot of nervousness yet excitement, I decided to travel to US on a work visa.

I moved here to US in February 2014 to the City of 10,000 Lakes ,Minneapolis, MN.I started to live on my own in a 1 BR rental apartment in Minnesota where I got my first job. I wanted some peace ,discover my strength and overcome weaknesses. I didn’t know anyone in MN at the time, so initial days were really tough. From being new to the country and culture suddenly the world seemed so different and full of endless opportunities although I was extremely weak mentally and felt alone. From getting a bank account, to getting a driver’s license ,finding an apartment and setting it up my own way ,getting a car, dealing with the brutal winter of MN , doing my own daily chores with no help ,dealing with changing immigration rules and uncertainty everything seemed to be new and like a learning each day.

At work , it was a completely new experience. Dealing directly with clients at work was something I was doing for the first time. Working in India versus working in US completely were totally different and good learning experiences. I made some good professional contacts and had an opportunity to work with multiple end-clients on some critical projects.

I got a lot of extra time in the evenings to spend for myself. I started reading a lot, joined new meetup groups. I would go hiking , ice skating, skiing. I binge watched all the Netflix series. I started trying all the new cuisines here, partied like crazy , enjoyed all the sports played here, attended live concerts. I started recording my favorite songs over the weekends ,even listening to the new music that I usually wouldn’t .Started painting and Yoga and Bollywood dancing sessions. I watched all the movies from different languages and visited many beautiful places across US and a went on a bunch of road trips with my buddies. My small world suddenly became enlarged and this new world seemed to be full of possibilities.

My parents visited me often initially only to know that I was doing just fine and were thrilled to see how I lead my life here in spite of the struggles day to day. We traveled together to more beautiful places together while they visited me. Although skeptical ,I enrolled to some dating and matrimonial apps to find someone new and interesting and see if life can offer me a second chance in that area. The good , bad & interesting experiences I had there would definitely make an amazing content for my new blog.

With a blink of an eye, it’s been seven years of my journey to this new country which doesn’t seem to be new to me anymore. Things look familiar and it feels a lot like home. I stayed in 3 different states during this course of 7 years and had some amazing and varied experiences in each state. I made some great friends and most beautiful memories to cherish. I crossed paths with variety of people personally and professionally , had good and bad experiences but each one of them had something new to teach me throughout my journey here which only helped me grow.

Now I feel like traveling more and creating more enriching memories. When I look back and the journey is nothing but memorable, could be with flaws but totally worth it and continues to be so.

Things aren’t always rosy, the path isn’t always easy. You have times when you feel tired of dealing with all the stress at work and home and even at times tend to overthink , start to doubt yourself and feel lost and give up. The key to get around all of this is to be self-motivated , stop comparing your life with others and know that everyone goes through this at some point in life. Self-motivation , positive attitude , gratitude are such understated assets. We can gather all the strength , get up and get going with just these 3 things.

Take every risk that you can , while you can and never fear it.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  – Jack Canfield

Moving to a different country was one of the things I chose at the time to move out of my comfort zone which is not necessarily the only thing. It could be different things for different people. Key is to not stop but keep moving and do what you like. Today , I feel more independent not just financially and also strong mentally and more open to new ideas . I am more loving , evolved ,caring as a person and I feel like I am in complete control of my life and have no fear about circumstances or at-least now I am equipped to deal with my fear. I feel like I can do more for others, have more creative ideas like writing blogs and this is my first try for the same. Hope you all like it!!

I learned to cherish this beautiful game called “Life”, Do you?!?