Anxiety Emails

I finish 2 weeks tomorrow on my new work chair. Things for me changed overnight due to some unforeseen circumstances. From being the guy who handled back-end/internal communication and was used to resolving issues behind the scenes to being pushed into the front office to deal with clients and suppliers. 

It’s been 2 weeks, since I spent 8 hours at work stress free to spending 10 hours in front of the computer wishing the day was for 25 hours so that I had an additional hour to finish my work. It’s been 2 weeks, since I looked forward to hearing more and more from my colleagues because they used to be busy telling me about how illogical or unreasonable clients were to now feeling a couple of seconds of anxiety when I see their names flash on my phone.

It’s been 2 weeks now, since I last fired a stress – free email. From sending them to my colleagues and sellers within the system to now firing them to outsiders. I call them ‘Anxiety Emails’.

‘Anxiety Emails’

Those emails that you defer a couple of times in a day, ponder on for 60 seconds before sending and for 180 seconds after. Maybe you even go to your sent emails to verify if you’ve sent it to the right person. Or maybe you don’t relate to anything I’m telling you, in which case this may seem like a futile attempt.

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The first time ever, that I shot out one of these, I ended up almost getting kicked to the curb. I mean, how idiotic does an educated dude have to be, to not be able to differentiate between 2 names and almost throw away his entire business plan to an outsider. BUT, that wasn’t me (IT WAS!). I am by no means an idiot (I WAS!). But it was handled and I’ve only learned from the experience.

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But yeah, 2 weeks and 1000 emails later, it still feels like it’s my first day on the job. I still do every little thing I mentioned above. I mean, my risk appetite which earlier used to be the size of a pea is now having to deal with watermelon sized doubts that just keep on piling up. My worst case scenario, which once used to be a few abuses from my boss and a few overnight-work days to redo the entire work to potentially risking losing business and getting fired. 

Well, all I can really hope for is it gets better after the next 2 weeks or the weeks after. Because Anxiety Emails, they’re not for me; maybe they will be in the future, but they definitely aren’t right now. I mean yes, they’re enabling me to grow and handle stressful situations and learn new things; and I love the challenge too. But I still think 2 weeks ago … Those were happier times!

Did you ever think you’d find someone rant about losing sleep over emails? Oh no, I mean ‘ANXIETY EMAILS’!

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Game Review – Tokaido

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COVID has played spoiled sport to all your travel plans? How about I tell you a way in which you can travel through a beautiful town in Japan, explore various panoramas along your way as well as indulge in some shopping?

Sounds exciting, right?

Come onboard this journey with me through this picturesque board game called Tokaido.

The game consists of : 1 Game Board, 5 traveler piece, 5 Travel point markers, 5 player colour tokens, 50 Coins, 10 Traveler tile, 12 Hot spring card, 60 Panorama cards, 25 meal cards, 24 souvenir cards, 14 Encounter cards, 7 Achievement cards. 

Set up the board as shown in the picture below. There are a lot of elements in the game, once you know them, each play shall not take more than 20 minutes.

A Guide To The Photo Above

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  • A – score markers
  • B – Traveller Card
  • D – Coins To Begin With
  • E – Traveller
  • F – Temple Coins
  • 1 – Game Board
  • 2 – Bonus Points
  • 3 – Meal Cards
  • 4 – Souvenir Cards
  • 5 – Encounter Cards
  • 6 – Hot Spring Cards
  • 7 – Panaroma
  • 8 – Coins

To begin with, each player must be given a choice of 2 traveler tiles, drawn randomly. The player keeps one of them. Each traveler tile has a special power and it denotes the number of coins the player shall begin with. 

After choosing the card the player shall pick their colour- place it at the Inn (the staring place) as depicted in the picture above (E) and shall put their corresponding point marker at the top (A).

The game is now set-up and ready for play. The player during his course of journey till the last inn shall come across various stops such as :

 The Village – Where one can buy souvenirs and make a set of 4 souvenirs in order to get more points;

 The Temple – Where the player can donate upto 3 coins;

Encounter & Hot Springs – If you stop at the encounter or hot spring – Draw the top most card;

Panorama – There are three panoramas – Paddy, Mountain, Sea – Complete their sets to get the bonus card;

Farm – If you are out of coins stop at the farm and take 3 coins from the bank;

Inn – There are a total of 4 Inns in the game, one each at the start and end and remaining two it he middle of the game. All players must gather at the Inn for a meal and then move ahead. The first player at the Inn picks up meal cards (3) equivalent to the number of players playing the game. For example- if there are 3 players, 3 meal cards will be picked up. The first player shall buy one meal from those cards and then pass the cards to the 2nd player who will then pass it to the last player. The player who last entered the Inn shall now proceed ahead. A player shall continue their turn till the time they are the farthest from the Inn in comparison to the remaining players. 

The game though looks difficult to understand, is super fun to play with once all the elements are understood. 

If you wish to buy this game or know more about it, please feel free to get in touch! You can click on the WhatsApp button below to comment or leave a comment.

For those of you who are new here, our insta handle is @boardgameshub

Need more help?

Have questions or need a hand or WANT TO BUY THE GAME? We’re here to help. Reach our friendly support team via WhatsApp.

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Mocha Flavoured Ice Cream

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Everyone loves ice cream, if you don’t this recipe will make you change your mind…

PREP TIME – 2 Hours

COOK TIME – 2-5 mins

SERVES – 3-4

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 3 Large Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Tsp Instant Coffee
  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Milk


METHOD: –

1. Peel and chop the bananas (similar size).

2. Store in an airtight container or a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for at least 3 hours (until the bananas are solid). Ideally overnight would be best, if you can’t wait that long then until the bananas are solid.

3. Put the frozen bananas into a blender and blend until you get a thick ice cream like consistency. Add Coffee and Cocoa Powder and Blend again.

4. Add Coconut Milk and blend one last time again.

5. Have immediately from the blender or freeze again for a few hours and enjoy a scoop or two or the entire tub.

Notes: Technically you would not need extra sugar but you could add 2 Tablespoon of Honey if you like. You can add Chocolate Chips or Sliced Almonds or dried fruits or fresh fruits too.

Ta-da Enjoy this Ice-cream! 😀

Below are a few photographs showing you how the process looks in bits and pieces

Bananas out of the freezer after they settle in the grinder for about 5-10mins.

A little crumbly banana mix, add the Instant coffee (whichever flavour you have, we went ahead with Double Chocolate Coffee)

And there you go, a jar full of Ice cream, a tub full of Healthy Joy 😀

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Cycling For Beginners

Listed below are a few cycling tips I personally followed as a beginner or wished someone had told me sooner than later. This post is aimed solely for beginners and enthusiasts who have started cycling recently. I’ve tried to cover some of the most common pitfalls of getting into riding, but haven’t forgotten that the best thing about cycling is that it’s fun and easier on your joints.

In the words of the great Eddy Merckx — the legendary Belgian ex-pro cyclist who won 11 Grand Tours, including five Tour de France: “Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”

1. Choosing the Right Bike

The first and most important thing to determine before buying a bike is the purpose of getting one and the terrain it’s going to be ridden on. Bikes are most broadly divided into 3 groups and we’ve provided a short summary below. However, you can also refer to our previous article for an in-depth analysis of ‘How To Choose The Perfect Bike For Yourself’.

Summary

TypesRoad BikesHybrid BikesMountain Bikes
Type of RoadMeant for paved roadsSome off-road MTB abilities mixed with a compromised road bike design for paved roadsMTBs are designed to be used on rough terrain ranging from unpaved roads, gravel paths and technical trails
Type of FrameLightweight aluminium frame and thin wheelsAluminium and steel frames with thin wheels, but thicker than a road bikeAluminium and steel frames with thick wheels and greater ground clearance
Handlebars and PostureDrop down handlebars and aggressive streamlined postureFlat handlebars for comfort and ergonomic posture
Straight handlebars with a front as well as rear suspension with a straight or aggressive posture depending on type of ride
Average SpeedAverage speeds on 25 – 35 km/hAverage speeds on 18 – 25 km/hAverage speeds on 10 -12 km/h on trails and upto 20km/h on paved roads
RecommendationsIdeal for people who want to discover speed or athletes who want intense cardiovascular exerciseIdeal for beginner cyclists or users who are looking at cycles to go on excursions exploring the city or countrysideIdeal for beginner cyclists thanks to its hardiness and all-terrain credentials or for individuals who want to cycle on trails
*Note : City cycles are not a part of this table since they’re mainly meant for commute and not for regular or leisure riding.
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2. Cycling Core Gear (For Short Rides upto 1 hour)

As far as apparel choices are concerned, there is a huge range of cycling clothing out there ranging from easily affordable to insanely expensive choices. But we’re going to list down a few must-haves for you to ensure a comfortable and joyful ride.

1. Padded Shorts

The main purposes of padded shorts is to protect and cushion the bottom and genitals from the pressure of the body on the saddle, and to cushion the sit bones. Massively padded saddles won’t help you on longer rides (ouch!). The only way to be comfortable in the saddle is to wear padded shorts, fit a decent saddle and ride until you get used to it.

For those who haven’t heard or used these before and are wondering if you should be wearing any undergarments below these shorts, then the answer is NO. You do not wear underwear under padded bike shorts. The pad is designed to sit next to the skin.

2. Cycling Helmet

Things to keep in mind before you select a Bicycle Helmet:

  1. First thing first, please do not compromise on the quality. Wear a cheap helmet is equivalent of wearing a plastic cap. It will not help in any way during a mishap.
  2. The helmets are unisex and can be used by both men as well as women. Although one can always choose a preferred color.
  3. Buy the correct size of the helmet for your head. One can check the helmet size as per the image below.
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3. Rear and Front LED Safety Lights

Bike lights are a non-negotiable for any ride. Front lights may not be necessary if you don’t plan to bicycle in the dark however, rear lights cannot be compromised with, be it day or night. At the same time, wearing reflective clothes or a reflective jacket is also a great idea.

You can choose amidst a range of really nice looking fancy lights, which can be attached to the back of the seat or to the wheel itself.

4. Cycling Sunglasses

They don’t need to cost the earth or make you look stupid, but they will keep your eyes protected from bugs, stones, sun and rain. Some versions feature interchangeable lenses, so, if you can, get one lens for bright conditions and one for dull, wet days.

5. Medical Contact Card/Identity Card

You can never be too precautious when on the road. As careful as we are and hope it never comes to this, but always carry your identity card or medical card in case needed during any kind of duress or emergency. It may be very crucial to obtain your vital information in case of mishaps.

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6. A Bike Lock

It is important to note that a good bike lock is usually available for sale separately and never included while buying the bike itself. It becomes important to carry a lock especially if you plan to take breaks between your ride to enjoy the scenery around or just park it in your garage or workplace if you use it for commute.

7. A Mobile Phone (With/Without A Phone Mount)

You might have come across some professional or big time cycling enthusiasts who prefer using a cycle computer or have a speedometer attached to track live data. Well, if you don’t want to spend that extra money on those pricey accessories, you can simply invest in a good and sturdy phone mount. There are various apps that help you track live speed.

If you’re not someone who wants excessive data, you can also just use an armband or a safe pocket to store your phone in. Needless to say, it’ll not only help you with maps and commute but also ensure communication and empower you to call for help during emergencies, accidents or flat tyres.

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Are Masks Safe To Wear While Working Out?

Popular opinion is that a mask poses a lot of discomfort even while not exerting oneself, wearing one while working out can be even harder. To put all your doubts to rest, we consulted with care.fit pulmonologist, Dr. Manish Sahu.

The early days of the new normal were difficult for everyone. Wearing a mask has been the biggest change that we have had to adapt to. We’ve come a long way since then, adding masks to colour coordinate with our OOTDs and even to bridal ensembles.

The question is, do we add it to our workout gear? Let’s find out.

But, first let’s clarify the biggest misconception about masks –They interfere with the concentration of oxygen when we breathe

In truth, the concentration of oxygen that is available to a person without a mask vs with a mask on does not change. The pores of the mask are large enough to allow oxygen to come through. The only reason you feel uncomfortable is because you’re not used to wearing a mask. In fact, it is the airflow – volume of air one inhales and exhales – that gets affected when you wear a mask. 

Now back to the main question – do you need to wear a mask while working out?

The short answer, yes!

Strong exhalations during a workout help to regulate body temperature. Also, natural actions such as coughing or sneezing are hard to control. As a result we may spit droplets. A mask prevents these aerosols from circulating and thus makes the gym safe for you and for everyone. 

So, what kind of mask should you wear while working out? 

There are a large variety of face masks in a variety of materials.  It is recommended to wear a 2- or 3-ply cotton mask or even a single use mask. Do not wear N95 masks.

So, a light or moderate workout (like walking) with a fabric mask or even a single use mask, is no problem at all! Keep in mind that these masks can get wet because of sweat, so, keep a change handy. 

 It is not recommended to do vigorous exercises with a mask on. 

This is because while doing vigorous exercises air regulation through the mouth is less thereby impacting the regulation of body temperature.

What to do if you are working out alone at the gym? 

Well, even then, your mask should be on because asymptomatic carriers of covid are a great risk of spreading the virus. Why risk an infection, right?

Is there anyone who shouldn’t wear a mask?

People with chronic respiratory and cardiac problems should not use mask while exercising. They should workout at home  alone.

What about face visors? 

Face visors are an additional layer of protection and in no way a replacement for masks.  They alone are not sufficient. They provide insufficient protection against floating, infected droplets. They aren’t sealed and allow air to enter one’s nostrils and mouth. Use them if you must, but, never without a mask.

Lastly,  sanitise diligently, maintain social distancing at all times, and wear the right mask – all of which will ensure that you, and everyone you’re working out with are safe. Don’t forget to clean your masks every day to ensure maximum safety!

Disclaimer : I do not own this article. This article was originally published here. It was insightful and I felt like sharing it with the readers on this page. I should also tell you that I have been a member of Cult.Fit for almost a year now and use their gyms regularly.

A New Year Resolution to Reduce Weight and Lose Fat? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

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We all know about fat. Fat is bad, right? We need to lose it to be fit and healthy. Well, not quite. In fact, fat (in the right amount) is essential  for leading a healthy life. The problem lies in having too much or too little. That’s where body fat percentage comes in. So what is the truth about body fat, how can we calculate it, and what does it have to do with living healthy? Read on to find out.

What is body fat percentage and why is it important?

To understand why body fat percentage is important, we first need to understand what it is. Our bodies are composed of many different components — muscles, bones, body water, organs, and of course, fat. 

Fat percentage is the ratio of fat in relation to those other components. 

Now, although fat gets a bad reputation, it is essential for many of our body functions. It helps maintain life and reproductive functions, and the accumulation of adipose tissue from stored fat helps cushion and protect the organs in your chest and abdomen. So having accumulated fat is important, but like everything in life, you need to maintain a balance. That’s why calculating body fat percentage is so important in identifying your health — having a body fat percentage that is too high or too low can indicate certain health risks.

How do we calculate body fat percentage?

There are several methods to calculate this. Here are some of the most common:

  • Calipers — It’s based on the idea that about 50% of total body fat lies under that skin, and involves measuring the thickness of skinfolds at standardized sizes. It is also known as the Skinfold Method
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) — This is a value derived from the weight and height of a person; a simple numeric measure of a person’s thinness and thickness. Having a numeric value allows health professionals to discuss weight problems more objectively with their patients. Read here, why BMI is not an adequate measure to record fitness.
  • Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) — Uses X-rays to scan and measure whole-body bone mass and soft tissue composition, and is the preferred method for identifying bone and body composition
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) — Uses an imperceptible electrical current to measure body composition. Body fat (adipose tissue) causes greater resistance and slows the rate at which the current travels through the body
  • Hydrostatic Weighing — an underwater weighing method based on on the Archimedes Principle. A person weighs themselves on land and underwater. The difference between the two values can help determine body density and fat percentage. Though this is considered one of the most accurate measurement methods, it requires a lot of resources and space and is therefore not the most feasible
  • US Department of Defence Method — Calculates body fat by using a person’s height as a constant and girth of neck and abdominal for male and neck, hip and waist for females

What does your body fat percentage tell you about your health?

Using any of the above methods can give you an idea of your body fat percentage, but the number alone doesn’t tell you much unless you know how to interpret it. Here’s what body fat percentage means according to the American Council on Exercise

DescriptionWomenMen
Essential Fat10-13%2-5%
Athletes14-20%6-13%
Fitness21-24%14-17%
Acceptable25-31%18-24%
Obesity>32%>25%

As you can see, the values differ for men and women, and there are further differences if you break these groups down by age. You may have noticed the term ‘essential fat’. This refers to the fat present in bone marrow, nerve tissues, and organs, and can’t be lost without compromising physiological functions. The chart above shows that women need to have higher essential fat percentages, as these fats are very important in maintaining hormonal balance and aiding and protecting the reproductive organs. 

How and when do these values help?

These numbers are useful in determining whether a person is underweight, at a normal weight, overweight, or obese, which can have a direct link to their health. Higher body fat percentage, for example, is linked to a myriad of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insulin insensitivity, diabetes mellitus, and even certain types of cancer. If your body fat percentage is too low on the other hand, you’re at risk for anaemia, malnutrition, osteoporosis, low immunity, and, if you’re a woman, fertility issues. Knowing your body fat percentage can also give you an idea of how fit you are and what you need to do to work towards your fitness goals.

How to reduce body fat percentage:

You can reduce your body fat percentage by reducing your overall weight. There are many ways to do this in a healthy way — without going on a hunger strike! Try the following tactics:

  • Caloric deficit — consume fewer calories than you burn. Everything you eat is converted into fuel for your daily activities. When you consume more calories than you can burn, it’s stored as excess fat. You can prevent this with a caloric deficit of about 10-20%. Of course, this doesn’t mean you cut out all high-calorie foods from your diet. Remember that your body needs calories for day-to-day functions like muscle repair and sustained energy. You want to make sure you have the right kind of nutrients — proteins, carbs, and even fats —  in your diet to stay functioning throughout the day!
  • Exercise — focus on cardiovascular and resistance training. A low-calorie diet alone isn’t enough to reduce weight, it needs to be complemented by the right workout. Cardiovascular and resistance exercises are great for this because they help build and maintain lean muscle mass — which in turn reduces body fat. Weight training is particularly important in your fat loss journey because, when done properly, it creates a greater caloric expenditure than steady-state cardio. And don’t forget consistency is key in maintaining both muscle gain and weight loss.
  • Lose fat, not muscle — weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean loss of fat. Losing weight signifies a loss in total body mass, but this doesn’t mean you’re reducing your stored fat. Loss of lean muscle mass or less water retention can also result in weight loss. Keep in mind that you can only lose body fat by following a caloric deficit and a good training program. In fact, research shows that fat loss without sacrificing muscle is more effective when caloric deficit is achieved through training. Keep track of the calories you consume and the activities you do and find the right balance between the two. If you find your caloric intake is high and your activity level is low, look into increasing the level and frequency of the workouts. If you feel like you’re doing the right amount of exercise but are still taking in too many calories, it may be time to make some dietary changes. Choose wisely to make sure you’re not losing valuable muscle mass instead!

Some myths about fat loss

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about fats and fat loss which can cloud your understanding of how to maintain a healthy body fat percentage. So let’s take a second to clear the air.

  • Fat can convert to muscle and vice versa

Fat and muscle are different kinds of body tissues — one cannot turn into the other. When you exercise with a caloric deficit, the extra fat that is stored in the body is used for energy. You burn fat and build muscle. When you stop exercising, muscle doesn’t turn into fat, instead, it starts to atrophy and also slows down your metabolism.

  • You can reduce fat from a specific part of the body

The idea of spot reduction is one of the biggest weight loss myths out there. Whether you’re looking at excess fat around the belly or the arms, it is not possible to reduce the fat in one specific area. You need to work on overall fitness levels and fat loss to achieve that.

  • Doing only cardio will help you lose fat

Cardio definitely helps burn calories, but only while you’re exercising. Resistance and weight training on the other hand cause wear and tear in your muscles which your body will need to expend calories to repair. That means it burns calories even after your workout. An ideal combination of both will aid in fat loss and avoid loss of lean muscle mass. Resistance training is also better at burning through stored fat. Although a 20-30 minute cardio session will make you sweat, doing a more intensive or longer resistance training will use fat as the energy source rather than the glycogen storage.

  • Crash Diets will help

To lose weight or fat sustainably, you have to create habits, Sustainable weight loss or fat loss requires creating habits —  nutrition, workout, or lifestyle. While crash diets where you consume very low caloric meals may show quick results in the short term, they can in fact result in weight gain and muscle loss in the long term. Furthermore, fasting and diets are only safe when done under professional guidance.

  • Very low body fat % is good

A body fat percentage significantly below the recommended range can be fatal. Once the range reaches the essential fat level or lower, it could hamper the body’s physiological functions. It also depends on gender, age, exercise levels, and genetics. Some athletes, such as professional bodybuilders, may be recommended to have a low body fat percentage, but this is only for a very short time, usually for competitions.

  • You need to avoid foods containing fats for effective fat loss

Foods rich in fat are not necessarily evil. In fact, fats(good fats) are essential nutrients and should be part of a healthy nutrition plan. But because fats contain more calories per gram as compared to protein or carbohydrates, you need to keep an eye on how much you are consuming.

To sum it up

Body fat alone is not an indicator of health, although it is a main component. A person’s lifestyle, metabolism, and workout regime are other indicators that can provide a more holistic view of their health. That being said, body fat percentage is an easily quantifiable metric that can give you a good idea of what it will take to achieve your fitness goals. If nothing else, it’s a friendly benchmark for your weight loss journey!

Full Body Workout At Home – No Equipment

Amidst the outbreak of Corona Virus and the immediate shut down of public facilities including gyms, offices, etc. we’re moving to a very dormant, ‘work-from-home’ lifestyle. Nobody knows how long it’ll last. Hence, it is important to make sure you get your daily workout fix at home and stay in shape.

The best part is, anyone can do this workout at any time during the day and without any equipments. Here’s how the workout looks like :

The Workout

This workout is broken down into 4 parts – The Warm Up, Main Workout, Finisher, Cool Down.

Warm-up:

Do each move for 30 seconds. Do this warm-up twice.

  • Spot Jogging
  • Jumping jacks
  • Inchworm walk to shoulder tap
  • Squats

Circuit:

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds in between each move. Do the entire circuit twice.

  • Push-ups
  • Alternate Leg Forward Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sprawls
  • Panther Shoulder Tap
  • Planks

Note – For additional intensity, one can increase the number of rounds to 3 or 4 or shift to a 45 second move – 15 second rest routine.

Finisher :

Do 1 rep of each, then 2 reps of each, then 3 reps, etc., and go as high as you can get in 3 minutes. 

  • Beast Load and Unload
  • Burpees

Cool-down:

Do each move for 30 seconds or longer if it feels good and you have time.

  • Forward Bend and Toe Touch
  • Standing Quad Stretch
  • Cat and Camel Pose
  • Child’s Pose

Note : Just spend 10-30 seconds more to limber up and stretch.

Here’s how to do each move:

1. Spot Jogging

MatureEssentialAlligator-small

  • Stand upright in your regular stance and jog on the spot.
  • Make sure you’re jogging on your toes and not heels or the centre of your feet.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

jumping-jacks-20-min

  • Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands at sides.
  • Jump your feet wider than hip-width apart, and bring arms up to clap hands overhead.
  • Jump your feet back together and bring your arms to your sides to return to starting position.

Continue for 30/45 seconds and try to get as fast as possible.

3. Inchworm Walk To Shoulder Tap

Inchworms

  • Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands at sides. Bend forward at your hips to place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • You can bend your knees a little if you need to.
  • Walk your hands forward until you’re in a high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged.
  • Tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips as still as possible. Try not to rock at the hips. Do the same thing with your left hand to right shoulder.
  • Walk your hands back toward your feet and stand up to return to the starting position.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

4. Squats

Squats

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
  • Bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower down into a squat. Keep your core engaged, chest lifted, and back flat.Push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position.
  • Squeeze your butt at the top.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

5. Push-ups/Modified Pushups

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your elbows and bring your chest toward the ground to do a push-up. As you bend your elbows and lower toward the ground.
  • Push back up to high plank, maintaining a strong core and flat back. This is 1 rep.
  • If this is too challenging, feel free to modify by dropping to your knees when you push your butt back toward your heels.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

Lunges

  • Stand with your feet together, arms down by your sides.
  • Step forward (about 2 feet) with your right foot, landing on the ball of your right foot and keeping your heel on the ground.
  • Keep your chest lifted, back flat, and your glutes and core engaged.
  • Push through the heel of your left foot to return to standing, and without pausing, step forward repeating the movement with your left leg.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

7. Mountain Climbers

mountain_climbers_man

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Bring your right knee under your torso to your right elbow. Return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, bringing your left leg to your left elbow. Return to starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Start slowly, and start to speed up the move when you feel comfortable, for even more of a cardio challenge.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

8. Sprawls

Sprawl Squats

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Lower into a forearm plank, starting with your left arm, followed by your right.
  • Then, come up in the reverse order—starting with your right arm and following with the left.
  • Now that you’re back in the high plank, perform one frogger by jumping your feet outside your hands, keeping your weight in the center of your feet. Drop your butt down.
  • Then, jump your feet back out to a high plank and repeat the plank-up starting with the right arm this time.
  • If this is too challenging, scale down by doing the plank-up from your knees and walk your feet in for the frogger instead of jumping.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

9. Panther Shoulder Taps

panther-shoulder-taps-20-min

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Engage your core and while keeping your back flat and your butt down (like you’re in a plank), lift your knees off the floor about 1 to 3 inches. Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
  • Tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder, while using your core strength to keep your hips as still as you can. (“Imagine there’s a drink balancing on your back!” Sims says.) That’s 1 rep.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

10. Elbow Plank

Elbow-Plank

Planks are great for working the abs, and the elbow plank is harder on the abs than the traditional plank in push-up position.

  • Start face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Push off the floor, raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows.
  • Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.
  • Keep your back flat — don’t let it droop or you’ll be defeating the purpose. Picture your body as a long straight board, or planks.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

11. Burpees

burpee-20-min

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your knees and reach forward to place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Kick your legs straight out behind you and immediately lower your entire body down to the ground, bending at the elbows, so that your chest touches the floor.
  • Use your arms to quickly push your body back up while hopping your legs back under your body.
  • Explode up, jumping vertically with arms stretched overhead. Land lightly on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, and immediately repeat.

12. Beast Load and Unload

Loading-and-Unloading-Beast

  • It is similar to a blast off push-up, but without the push-up.
  • “Load the beast” by assuming a modified child’s pose, kneeling on the ground with heels underneath hips, knees slightly flared open, and arms extended in front of you with elbows straight. Let your head fall between your arms, and lift your knees an inch off the ground.
  • Next, “unload the beast.” Keeping your elbows completely straight and your knees an inch from the ground, begin to shift your hips forward. Continue to push forward until your shoulders are in front of your wrists. Return to the start to complete one rep.

13. Forward Bend and Toe Touch

Toe touch

  • From Downward Facing Dog, slowly step forward to the top of your mat. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Straighten your legs out as much as you can and let your torso hang down.
  • Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders, and extend the crown of your head toward the floor to create a long spine.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

14. Standing Quad Stretch

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt.
  • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
  • Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

15. Cat and Camel Pose

Cat and camel

  • Kneel down on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Round your upper back while pressing your shoulders forward while looking down. This is your starting or cat position.
  • Pause, then slightly arch your back while looking up towards the ceiling. Return to starting position.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Child Pose

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hip width apart and your feet together behind you. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs.
  • Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your forehead on the ground, with your arms extended out in front of you.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

20 Positives Of 2020 (Part 2)

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The other day I spoke about why it is important to practice gratitude for your happiness and peace. If you haven’t read it yet, click here. I did not want to end this year on a bad note, because I have been grateful for a lot of things. So here’s an elaborate list of all the things that have come out of 2020 that have added value to my life and have a positive impact.

Ps. If you haven’t read the first part yet, click here.

11. Professional/Blog Growth and Writing

For Bombay Ficus and for me personally as a writer, the lockdown was a big win. Not only did I get more time to write and publish more content, it also allowed me to brainstorm and put forward more projects and expand the blog. 

For all our readers that aren’t aware, Bombay Ficus was birthed amidst the lockdown on 19th June, 2020. (To read about our history, click here). The lockdowns across the globe also led to increased internet activity that gave this page a boost in terms of it’s viewership and visitors, which is only encouraging for me as a blogger to write and publish more often.

I have also embarked on a journey to become an author and wrote down the first chapter to what I hope will eventually be a published book someday. (You can find my experience of the beginning as an author here)

12. Nurturing Relationships, Recalibrating Priorities and Recognising Important People

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As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I was communicating with a handful of people that I really called my own, during the lockdown. People, who made men happy and who really cared about my wellbeing. But I have to thank social media (Instagram mainly), because it also told me about what other people were upto, reminded me of people I hand’t been in contact with and it is no secret, that Instagram stories act as great conversation starter countless times.

So I did reconnect with some old friends from school and some people I’d only met recently. Over time, I started nurturing those relationships back to good health and now my inner circle consisted of more than 8-9 people. It is no secret, that conversing with the same people everyday in an uneventful period becomes tardy, so expanding the circle did help.

Here’s a half of the best part : I ended up reconnecting with my ‘on again – off again’ bestfriend from school and I think this time, we’re going to stick around for a long long time.

Here’s another half of the best part : My relationship with a not-so-old friend grew to an extent where they’ve become my favourite person and one of the best things to happen to me in 2020.

13. Getting Over Excuses

ResolutionsExcuses
“I’m going to learn the guitar this year”“Work has been crazy and I don’t get the time”
“I’m going to take up dance classes over the weekend”, etc etc “Work is so hectic, I need the weekends to relax”, etc etc

Starting April, I did have a lot of time on my hands to jumpstart on my New Year Resolutions or do something I’d always wanted to do. Which I did, initially. But as the lockdowns became the new normal, I eased into my old lifestyle and spent time lazying around watching TV or doing something unproductive. It took me a while to realise that I ended up using ‘Work’ as a convenient excuse for all the things I was too lazy to do. It was pretty convenient since no-one could question it or hold me accountable because I prioritised over what helped me earn my living.

So yeah, I stopped making excuses and started holding myself more accountable for my boring monotonous life and took necessary actions against it.

14. Digital Evolution – Webinars/Zoom Calls and Digital Development at The Workplace

As a continuation to the previous point, I started taking up classes online. I took up a 3 month dance course, trained with my trainer over online sessions and brushed up on my guitar lessons with Youtube. These were things that I would’ve always preferred doing in person, until I couldn’t.

Work-from-home was also a concept that was not too common in my line of work. Mostly because we functioned in a more traditional sense. While we had been wanting to update ourselves and be at pace with the technological developments, we always ended up procrastinating for one reason or the other, until we were forced to do it.

But COVID19 and lockdowns forced our hand and now we have a fully functioning system where working remotely is smoother than ever.

15. My Parents and My Privilege

A roof over your head, running water and working electricity. As much as you use them, you might be taking these amenities for granted. Imagine your life without these conveniences, and you’ll find every reason to be thankful for them. I never had to worry about surviving in these circumstances and was mostly protected under my folk’s roof and had a convenient time.

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16. My Health

A lockdown meant I was not allowed to hit the gym nor go out and party or eat at restaurants. It also meant staying at home, choosing my own working hours and investing the time saved in commute to catch up on my sleep.

I researched and changed my way of working out, doing only body weight exercises (which were really nice for my joints), I focused on my mobility and saved myself from tiny niggles and injuries. Resorting to only eating home cooked food meant I was using healthier ingredients, watching what I was eating and improving my gut health. The added sleep also helped me deal with my everlasting fatigue and helped me be more calm and made me less cranky.

17. To Realise You’re Going To Be Able To Handle Adversity

@vaishnaviarote writes : This one is kind of a personal experience. Most of my family members tested positive to COVID, I even lost my beloved family member to covid.

Just when things could not get any worse, my younger sibling got diagnosed with something unusual that needed urgent surgery and left him to be dependent on people for daily activities. It felt like my whole world had collapsed. I felt like I couldn’t deal with it, but just like that I did and things have started to get better. Even when you feel like nothing is working in your favour, there will be this one thing that’ll make you have faith again and uplift you and make you believe. Remember,this too shall pass.

18. Taking care of your mental health

As the lockdown kept extending and a lot of things kept delaying along with it, my anxiety took a toll on me. I was not able to cope well with it but I was pretending like I’m okay which made it worse. A few of my friends encouraged me to seek help and that’s when I contacted a foundation that provided me with a counsellor. It’s still going on and I’m not completely alright but I’m doing a lot better. This year taught me that it’s okay to PAUSE and look out for yourself and your mental health.

19. Mental health awareness

A lot of taboo goes around mental health and how it’s merely an excuse or just in the head. This year has been very difficult for a lot of us and our mental health has gone for a toss in the bargain. I read a lot of articles about how people have been clinically diagnosed with depression and suicidal tendencies due to the anxiety, fear and loneliness that came along with this pandemic. But then along with this I also saw people making an effort to cope up. There were 24*7 helpline numbers for those who minds were going through a turmoil. People have been talking a lot more about mental health and taking it positively while supporting their loved ones.

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20. Getting rid of toxicity

I’m going to try to explain this with a small metaphor. 

Imagine you have an allergic reaction to something but you’re not sure what it is. So you stop engaging in certain activities (like petting a dog/cat) or eating some specific foods and then slowly resume each activity one at a time. Then, you just use the elimination process to rule out an activity after another.

Similarly, things were going well for me initially during the lockdown days when I was cut off from the world. Then slowly as the lockdowns were lifted and I started interacting with people again, I was able to realise what kind of people were toxic to me or not good for my mental health and I subsequently maintained a distance from them.

Ps. We have a lot of exciting projects coming for you in 2021. So do hit the subscribe button if you’d like to keep hearing from us and thank you for being supportive and leaving encouraging comments for us. It only motivates to keep going.

Here’s wishing you a very happy and safe New Year!

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20 Positives Of 2020 (Part 1)

Yesterday I spoke about why it is important to practice gratitude for your happiness and peace. If you haven’t read it yet, click here. I did not want to end this year on a bad note, because I have been grateful for a lot of things. So here’s an elaborate list of all the things that have come out of 2020 that have added value to my life and have a positive impact.

1. I Learnt New Skills

This is the easiest positive to begin with. Once things settled down and it was clear that lockdown and work-from-home culture was here to stay, a lot of changes took place. The primary change was that I’d end up saving time on commute and the relatively slow economy ensured lesser work assignments and ample free time at home (atleast initially, until people came to terms with it being the new normal). In order to use this free time efficiently, I ended up polishing on some of my old skills and learnt some new ones. 

I took my baking skills to another level to now be able to bake my own fresh bread, brownies and pie. I learnt to cook newer dishes from different cuisines too. I also ended up refreshing on my guitar skills, which I hadn’t played in almost 6 months. Webinars to brush up on some work related knowledge, more reading and educating myself on better ways to maintain hygiene and safety also took place.

2. I Learnt To Be More Patient

I also learnt to be more patient this year. Every person has been affected by 2020 and is dealing with it differently and it is important to respect that as well as give the other person their space and time. Things may not be available on demand as they once used to be. It was also necessary, since I was spending so much time at home with my family, which I hadn’t done in months.

Similarly, personal communication at work was replaced by zoom calls, making it more time consuming and slowing down the overall work cycle. Reports took longer and help did not come immediately. Thus, it became very important to exercise patience in these circumstances.

3. Importance of relationships

During the lockdown, the only people I got to see personally were my folks and siblings. Work carried on via zoom calls and a lot of time was spent doing house chores. At the end of the day, I ended up talking to barely a couple of close people outside my family that I actually missed or my work colleagues who I was in constant communication with.

This lockdown though, also somewhat forced me into spending more time and bonding with my family. It personified the phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’ for me. We took care of each other. We lifted each other up during our lows and I realised their importance especially when I heard about how lonely my friends got (the one’s who were living alone).

I had so little to worry and so many people to share my day and pass my time with.

4. Relationship priorities

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When it was announced that the entire country was going into a lockdown, survival seemed improbable for a social butterfly like me who went drinking or partying every weekend and had a big social circle. But, I mostly spent the entire lockdown only talking to members of my family and 4 of my friends. It was only these people that I spoke about my day-to-day with. 

I realised, the people outside my inner circle were irrelevant to my happiness and in some ways, not worth the effort I was putting in to stay relevant in those social circles. I was better off saving that energy and investing in myself and people within my inner circle.

5. Work-life balance and the ability to say ‘NO’

One of the biggest cons of a work-from-home office culture is the lack of fixed office hours. While in a normal world, I’d barely work once I was out of the office or after office hours, those rules didn’t apply anymore. Thus, it became all the more important for me to set up boundaries and be able to say ‘no’ when an unnecessarily high amount of work was being sent my way or being dumped on me.

With a more relaxed and balanced lifestyle, I was able to work more efficiently and not hate my job or my bosses while feeling fatigued or close to a burnout. A proper work-life balance helped me bring my personal life back on track, brought about a good change in my lifestyle and health and also made me more efficient and happy.

6. I learnt to plan things

It was not all fun and games during the lockdown. I was supposed to do my part in the house chores, help my mother in the kitchen and work was a pain, thanks to the endless zoom calls. Simultaneously, I had also taken up a couple of online classes, had to spare an hour a day for my workouts and was pursuing my passion of writing. This required for me to plan my day properly, in order to be able to make the best use of my time. 

Another example of planning was preparing a weekly list of things. Keeping safety in mind, we would try to buy all our groceries for the entire week in one trip. That meant, preparing elaborate list of meals and buying perishables accordingly. It was way more difficult than it seemed, because supermarkets were running short of supplies and we had to make do with what we could get.

7. Finding happiness in small joys

This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned, that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. While I was stripped away from all of my indulgences and it seemed like hell had broken loose, I started to find joy and get excited about the smaller things in life.

Like when I could see my Soufflé rise in the oven, or on completion of a book or finishing a post in time to publish on the blog, playing cards with my folks after dinner, etc.

It just made me realize how important it is to celebrate the more regular occurring smaller joys of life and not wait for decades until I bought my own house or a luxury car or wait for a promotion, etc.

8. Being more independent

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Here’s something from @vaishnaviarote :

There was a point where I was living by myself for a few months and I had never entered the kitchen before. I didn’t know anything about cooking, instant noodles being an exception of course. I somehow got interested and started cooking these delicious meals all by myself while taking care of my rent, bills, laundry and work.

It was hectic but it also made me realise the pain our parents go through to provide us with all of these essential basic things and also how privileged some of us are. 

It made me a lot more confident about living by myself. I knew I could survive.

9. Needs vs Wants

COVID19 ensured that there were no appraisals or bonuses for the year. In fact, I was amongst the luckier bunch of people who got to keep their jobs and not take a pay cut. Here’s an account of what it was like to lose your job during the pandemic from our very own Esha J.

With the shutdown, my expenditures were reduced to almost a third of my usual monthly expenditures. I was not spending money on new clothes or going to malls or the movies, wasn’t eating or drinking in restaurants or pubs nor ordering-in came. I also ended up saving a ton of money which I usually spent on commute.

All I really ended up spending money on was groceries, my Netflix subscription and some utility bills. Since I lived under my parent’s roof, these expenses were also seldom often taken care of. All I needed was 20% of my actual salary to meet my needs and  an additional 10% to spoil myself. It opened my eye on a lot of wasteful expenditures I did, simply because I could.

10. The forbidden fruit is sweeter

Although I have never been someone who lives on alcohol or parties or just has to go out to the mall or movies, it was pretty easy to not engage in those activities initially.

But as time went by, I was craving to go to the movies or go to a restaurant or pub for the food and dancing. For the first time, I was actually starting to miss my workplace and my small (but well decorated) cubicle. I was just missing getting into my car and driving around the city. Atleast in the first few weeks when there was a strict lockdown.

It is only when something is taken away from you, that you realise how much it meant to you.

Note : You can check out Part 2 of our post here.

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Practicing Gratitude : Why You Should Practice Gratitude In These Times

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Virus. Pandemic. Lockdown. Quarantine. Unlock. Virus 2.0

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It’s hard to stay positive when these are the words we’re being exposed to day in and day out. Of course, the fact that we’re cooped up at home  only makes the situation worse.

Over the last few months, I have read a lot of books in order to find the secret behind being happier and trying to maintain a healthy balance in life; physically, mentally and spiritually. Although different books and authors have different perspectives and methods, one of the most common amongst them is ‘Gratitude’.

It may seem like the new normal will never end, but don’t lose hope just yet. Why? Because this is a good time to remind ourselves of everything we have to be grateful for. And when you think about all the things you once took for granted.

So while you stay safe, wash your hands, and maintain social distance, also remember to add ‘practising gratitude’ to your list.

What is gratitude, though?

It is an emotion or feeling, a recognition and appreciation for what one has, that comes from acknowledging the goodness in one’s life. It opens your eyes to the fact that what you have is truly enough. Research demonstrates that the practice of gratitude can enhance overall wellbeing, and other studies have shown that people who practise gratitude are more resilient in the face of trauma. What’s more, spending a few minutes every night writing down what you’re grateful for can even help you sleep better. In short, gratitude makes us happier — and that’s definitely something we need now more than ever!

Researchers in Positive Psychology have found that gratitude and happiness are always strongly correlated. A possible theory is that gratitude moves people to experience more positive emotions, to thoroughly enjoy the good experiences, better their health, face adversity, and develop and maintain relationships of strength, which in turn makes you happier.

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The three common ways people can express their gratitude are:

  • By being gracious of their past (i.e., think of positive childhood memories)
  • By being gracious for the present (i.e., taking time to be present and enjoy)
  • By being grateful for what’s to come (i.e., hopeful and optimistic of the future) (Giving thanks makes you happier).

There is a direct link between happiness and gratitude. Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more someone is thankful or feels gratitude, the less there is time or room for negative thoughts.

Oscar Wilde once said, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

Ps. Here’s a poem I wrote a long time ago about being grateful about some of the people in my lives.

Here are a few ways in which you can get started:

Maintain a journal

Close-up Of Gratitude Word With Pen On Notebook Over Wooden Desk

Count your blessings and write them down every day — be it the great cup of coffee you enjoyed in the morning or that recent video call you had with your friend. Soon, you’ll realize that you have more than you need to be happy.

Express appreciation mentally

If you can’t find the time to write every day, think about something you’re grateful for — e.g. the healthcare workers, police officers, and other essential services that are ensuring we remain safe — and be thankful for their hard work.

Meditate

While meditation usually involves a complete focus on the present moment, the practice can also be used to focus on what you’re thankful for — such as pleasant weather, a nutritious meal, or a good night’s sleep. Try the guided gratitude meditation on the cure.fit app or website to get started.

Why should you practise gratitude?

Now that you know how to inculcate the practice — and the feeling — of gratitude in your daily lives, here’s a deeper look into the myriad benefits that come with it:

Improved heart health

Being grateful helps you stay healthy. Research has shown that a positive attitude brings down the risk of depression, stress, and anxiety, all of which are factors behind heart disease. Further, according to various studies with participants that suffered from asymptomatic heart failure, individuals who were willing to see the brighter side of life and exhibit ‘trait gratitude’, slept better and took better care of themselves! Happiness, better health, and a good night’s sleep? It’s a win-win.

Stronger relationships

Of course, showing someone appreciation makes them feel good — but the effects of gratitude go even deeper than that. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude is associated with positive future relationship outcomes, while other researchers compare gratitude to auxiliary emotions that bring people closer, such as trust. So show your loved ones how much they mean to you — and go the extra mile to reach out to friends or family you may have lost touch with. Now’s the time to let people know you’re thinking of them, and how much you value them.

Better self-esteem

Yes, noticing what other people don’t have will make you feel better about yourself — but the most important part of practising gratitude is going beyond comparison to appreciate what you have. And that’s when you stop comparing yourself to others completely. This is what helps you get rid of toxic emotions such as greed and envy, and cultivate better self-esteem!

While these are compelling enough in themselves, there’s another reason you should start practising gratitude — sooner rather than later. Research shows that regular expressions of appreciation alter the molecular structure of the brain and keep grey matter functioning the way it should. Further, the feeling of gratitude activates multiple regions in the brain, boosting the production of ‘happy hormones’ like dopamine and serotonin.

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To sum up

People who practise gratitude have a positive attitude and feel better about their lives as well as their connections with others. So there’s really no reason to wait — there’s no better time than the present to remember all that we have to be grateful for.

As Melody Beattie once said,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

So what are you feeling grateful for, today?

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13 Things I Learnt During COVID19 Lockdown

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1. Being a homemaker is tough and under appreciated

I’ve seen it everywhere around me, that homemakers don’t get close to as much appreciation as he/she should. That we as fellow family members should be more thankful and vocal about our gratitude towards them, but we simply fail to do so.

During the last 6 weeks, while the entire country was in lockdown and all sorts of services were put on a halt, one service that affected every other household in India was the unavailability of househelp, maids, etc.

These are the people who did all of the most basic chores of our household like cleaning, washing, etc. While everyone in my house shared these chores amongst ourselves, I realised how much work my mother put in despite all the help she got. It was only when I started helping her in her chores that I realised how exhausting it was.

I always knew a homemaker’s job was thankless, but I had no idea it was that difficult as well. We’ve got to do better than just be appreciative.

2. Cooking is the easy part

Let’s face it. Dicing vegetables and cooking with precise ingredients and recipes isn’t easy. However, if there is anything more taxing than cooking good food and enjoying it, it is to go back to your sink and clean your mess on a full stomach when you’re feeling the laziest you could ever feel during the day.

3. Thank god for modern technology and appliances

We simply don’t talk about these enough cause they’ve become such an organic part of our daily livelihood. The washing machines, steam irons, every kitchen appliance that exists, a hoover and even something as basic as a spinning mop. Imagine spending an hour to wash clothes by hand, requiring all the upper body strength that it does and then moving on to do all the other chores in the house.

Now I am privileged to the point where my family owns a dishwasher too, amongst all these appliances and I have to admit it, I am so thankful. Doing the dishes was a part of my chores and 4 days in, I already had my skin peeling off and other cuts.

A little ironic isn’t it?

These hands can lift a 100 kilos easily, but 4 days of doing dishes and its blister season!

4. Privileges of a big home

I as a member of this family, am extremely privileged to live in a home that is big enough to have a separate room for all the people living under it. We can easily walk into our rooms when we need our own space and enjoy each other’s company during other hours.

It was only after listening to a few other people and discussing this at length with my folks did it dawn on me that the average size of a house in India is 494 sq-ft. while it is close to 125 sq-ft in a slum area and these homes house an equivalent number or more members than living in my home. These people have nowhere to go except out of their houses which is impossible during this period.

5. You don’t need a gym to workout

I have always been a strong advocate of bodyweight exercises. They are more than sufficient for a person to get fitter and healthier and help avoid a great deal of risk and injury. You can find a list of benefits of a body weight workout on this page : Benefits of a body-weight workout .

More so, they don’t require you to spend any money on buying any sort of equipment or later finding space to store those equipments. They may not be enough if you want to beef up or become a professional body builder, but otherwise they’re as good as it gets. Calisthenics is a serious form of fitness that focuses simply on body weight workouts and is followed by thousands of individuals.

A simple and very effective body weight routine can be found here : Full Body Workout At Home – No Equipment .

6. Chores are a workout in itself

In its traditional form, sweeping and traditional forms of mopping or swabbing require a lot of physical effort and work almost every major muscle in your body. Take modern machines away and washing clothes by hand is also a great test of your shoulders and arm strength and overall a good test of your cardiovascular health.

Take something like a lift away and carrying your groceries to your home over a flight of stairs could be more taxing than you could’ve ever imagined.

7. Efficiency

With the unavailability of maids and other househelp, as well as the onus of working from home, it became increasingly important for us to plan our day. With the few hours I’d need for work, I also needed a few hours to carry out my share of chores and additionally, I’d decided to atleast spend an hour for my health. This made it very important for me to plan my day and be efficient, so as to not defer my tasks or be unproductive.

I could not have imagined I’d get lessons on efficiency within the 4 walls of my own home.

8. Decision making and planning

With the lockdown procedures in place as well as some other additional lockdown procedures in our apartment building, we only had 2 out of 7 days (Monday and Tuesday) to step out and get groceries or get done with other tasks. We couldn’t step out otherwise and neither did we wish to unless there were some extraordinary circumstances. Social distancing and safety will always be a bigger priority.

Hence it became imperative for us to list all the groceries and essentials that we’d need and plan our grocery runs accordingly and make a list of all of our tasks, so as to not get stuck or seek special permissions to get our tasks done.

9. What’s your excuse now?

I have always wanted to learn new skills, read more books, rehearse my guitar lessons, etc etc. For the longest time, I told myself it’s very difficult and I am not able to do it because I have a very busy schedule and work kept me occupied; that I was too tired after work to workout and too mentally exhausted to read something new.

What I’ve realized now is that work was just an excuse for me to get out of these things. I haven’t read for more than an hour a day during a time when I am sitting on a chair 12 hours a day, when I have nothing better to do than watch some television and do some chores. I could’ve also taken up online lessons, but I never got around to doing it either.

The lesson I learnt is, if I really wanted to do those things, I would’ve found a way to do them anyway. Maybe not dedicate a lot of time to it, but begin somewhere. This lockdown has given me a big reality check and has been a real eye opener.

10. Learning is Ageless

To be fair, it’s not just little children who pick up new hobbies and stumble onto previously undiscovered skills. Single, married, kids, no kids, whatever your age … learning is for all. Now, more than ever, we have time to watch webinars and pursue online classes, and take up fitness challenges or journaling.

My father has been the closest example of this. He’s now taking cooking lessons from my mother while also going through recipes online to mix things up and add some spice to a boring day.

11. Money matters and Financial Literacy

In these torrid times when there’s a global economic slowdown, huge conglomerates are filing for bankruptcy leading to job cuts going all around, it is very important that each person understands the importance of financial literacy, which means personal finance as well as family finances.

Calculating inflows and making subsequent budgets are the need of the hour. The importance of financial discipline can be highlighted now more than ever.

12. Relationships take more than love and communication is very important

COVID19 has forced almost the entire planet to be in quarantine for extended periods at some point or the other. Countries like Italy, Spain, India, etc. announced a mandatory complete lockdown for 6 weeks or longer to ensure safety of it’s citizens. In these circumstances, every relationship is practically thrown into being long-distance because you simply cannot see your partner for atleast this period if not more.

It is during this period that you begin to realize the little holes in your relationships. Things that got mitigated and overlooked during those coffee meets and movie dates and intimate moments.

13. Community sharing is the need of the hour

Be it sharing of knowledge, financial help or other intangibles; it is our duty as humans and participants of a community to help others who are not as fortunate and struggling in their fight for survival. Humanity right now demands nothing more than selflessness and empathy from us. Every person amongst us should find a way to contribute in whatever little way we can. That is the only way forward.

-The Travellothoner

Inadequacy

I spend the nights staring at the ceiling

What really is this feeling

I am right there and yet not

Thinking of all the things I have achieved

And yet the feeling of self worth is far from being perceived

The list of blessings is really a lot

And yet somehow it falls short

Already burnt enough

Why is the sail still so rough

The existence covets endline

Helplessly looking for a sign

I ask myself these questions

Of the answer there is no mention

This feeling has an impression so forlorn

To misery this life has already sworn

But I am not complaining

For nothingness is a gracious guest

Like inadequacy that gives me everyday it’s best.


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