Velcro Dog

A Velcro dog normally means a clingy dog. Sometimes, dogs are simply clingy because we allow them to be, by giving them a little too much attention. A dog’s everlasting devotion is one of the best traits. However, it is possible for your dog to be too clingy – a Velcro dog that sticks to you everywhere you go. Junior is a classic example of the same.

You might not mind if your dog rests their head in your lap every time you sit to watch television, but it becomes a problem if they exhibit destructive behaviors due to separation anxiety. But that is not the case with Junior. Since years I have been leaving Junior alone at home for work and come back with everything at its place. No destructions and no accidents (unless he is unwell).

Junior is simply clingy. When I am at home, he will follow me from room to room, and even in the bathroom. He just wants to be around me, because I give him a lot of attention when I am around. The reason for this behaviour is because Junior had developed separation anxiety after Casper passed away.

In true honesty, I love it when Junior is clingy. It gives me a sense of being wanted. His warmth and love makes me feel comfortable and stress-free. A feeling of being unconditionally loved is something that no words can explain.

Anytime I leave Junior at boarding/lodging when I am going out of town, I feel empty. I feel like a major portion missing out of my life. I won’t be wrong if I say that I am actually clingy. I have got so used to Junior sleeping next to me, that I get sleepless nights when I am out of town. I don’t enjoy my evening Tea alone, that I enjoy when Junior is sleeping on my lap and I am sipping on my favourite Tea.

It’s a Velcro relationship. We both are clingy. We both cannot do without each other. I don’t know if this behaviour is bad for the long term, but for today; it’s the best I can ask for.

Dogs that have anxiety issues often develop clingy behaviours. Interestingly, dogs can also become clingy if they sense our stress or anxiety, and I suffer from self diagnosed anxiety. Surprisingly, my vet has recognized this behaviour and often recommends me to “be prepared” as my dog is turning old. But no matter how prepared you are, you can never be prepared.

Let me not get into the negative aspect of this. For now, Junior is my tail. Wherever I go, he follows. Today, for the first time I let Junior walk off leash. I have never tried this before. But he followed me so well, I was shocked. I had never done this before because I live in a crowded city; too many people and vehicles all year round. I always feared Junior running away or meeting with an accident. But today he surprised me. Like a tail attached to my body, he kept walking with me.

It’s bedtime for Junior right now. And he is sleeping right next to my chair instead of sleeping on the bed in another room. The unconditional love and companionship he offered to me is something I cannot get from anyone else. I have tried to give him his space in the past, but failed. Either he got frustrated and stuck around me or I couldn’t manage the distance and clinged onto Junior.  

Having a clingy dog is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people wouldn’t have it any other way. I personally love having my dog by my side. The moment Casper died, I wanted to prove to Junior that he was loved and he was not alone. I wanted Junior to feel secured. And somewhere from within, I too wanted to fill up the void Casper had left. Fortunately, this did not create any behavioural issues with Junior as he sleeps in peace when I am not home. And also plays and stays well when he is at the boarding/lodging.

Clinginess is not all that bad unless your dog has some medical issues and displays it in his behaviour. If that’s the case, you should immediately jump into correcting the behaviour or show a vet. Otherwise, enjoy the love and affection from your dog; because such pure love can only be shared between a parent and a child.  

I Feel Like Escaping

I feel like escaping. I live in a prison of my own thoughts. Imaginary or true, I have lost the touch of reality. My thinking keeps me away from the warmth of home. Confused, discontent, sad, I don’t have the answers. Only questions keep lingering for long. Is it the search for a greener grass? Or doubting if the shine I possess is not for me? Is it just in my head? Or my worst fears will come true one day?

Some days I am caged by the past. I sit and wonder, if I had done this, then that wouldn’t have happened. If I get a chance to go back and start over, I would do it a different way. Had I taken better decisions, then I would be happy now. Or if I would have waited a little longer, then I would be in a different situation now.

Other days I am consumed by the future. As the night falls, so does my motivation to stay strong. Many nights I am at the brick of falling completely apart thinking about the future. The overwhelming fear of the unknown; the uncertainty just scares me off. The dreaded thoughts of living without your loved ones, or suddenly going broke, or doing something incredibly wrong. Forgetting that Anxiety is a story teller, I still let it consume me.

Most of the days, I am completely cut off from the present. Just living! No motivation, no goals, no aims, just half in the past and half in the future. Self sabotage is a blade, one which I possess carelessly, always cutting, but never bleeding me out.

Am I the only one? Or are there others feeling and thinking the same? Does consistent bad time really play with our brain? Do we really get stronger and learn something? Or we just get used to living in survival mode. Is it always fight or flight? Or has someone seen the sun shining bright after thunder storms?

The desire to escape is fueled by yearning to run away from the unpleasant circumstance and situation. My problem is over thinking and trying to control the outcome. It’s a burnout feeling. When I was young, my dreams were to own a house, have a car, a family of my own and lots of money. Later it reduced to have at-least enough income to buy anything without seeing the label. Gradually it reduced to being healthy and seeing your loved ones healthy and happy. And now it’s narrowed down to having a peaceful mind and staying happy in whatever I have.

Sometimes life feels so overwhelming and claustrophobic that we long to escape, leaving everything behind and start new. Most dissatisfaction of our lives is fixable, or atleast can be improved. We know all the answers, yet we have too many questions. The resistance to change and trying to control the outcome is what puts us in a negative thinking cage.

I know it all. Yet here I am, trying to escape, drying up all the hopes some days for a better future. Feeling on and off has left me tired. Anxiety is bad. It tricks your mind into thinking that nothing will ever go right. It makes you think the worse case scenarios. A persistent state of worry and displaying excessive amount of fear leaves you drained.

But am I the only one? Is it really a tough time for many whether or not dealing with anxiety/depression? I know escaping is not the solution. And it should not even be. There are a lot of little things to be happy about and content with. For me it’s Junior and my family. However, some days I just feel like escaping. Just for a little while, to come back all charged up and face the world again.

The Hustle Culture

What is it that you are after? Are you taking care of yourself while you reach it? Why are you pretending to love your work? Will you be satisfied after you reach your goal, or by then you will need more? What is your definition for being successful?

So many questions, only one answer ­– the only thing waiting at the finish line is BURNOUT.

One of the biggest traps of this hustle culture is chasing what others deem “right.” What exactly is hustle culture? In short and clear words, it is more money to make, a bigger title, a higher promotion, etc. But what about, when you have achieved your goals? By then, you are extremely overwhelmed. By the time to reach the milestone, you are already unsatisfied and want more, most of the times because someone else has it.

Social media has played a very important role in promoting the toxic hustle culture. And why blame only social media, this kind of toxic behaviour has been infused into many families since childhood by comparisons. Mr. Sharma’s son got an A in his exams; you too have to study hard to get better. Mrs. Shah’s daughter came first in the race; you have to come first in the next.

Grind, hustle, work hard, etc. words like these have been glorified. Suddenly, talent has become secondary and success depends on long working hours. Time off is seen as laziness. If you are not hustling, you are failing. So damn toxic L

Always ON lifestyle with eventually lead to burnout and depression.

What has anyone got from this hustle culture? Ill health, stress, depression, anxiety, broken relationships, greed, etc. is what you get from nonstop grinding and hustling. Hustle culture started from toxic family behaviours and then it got its boost from social media. Even in my previous post I have mentioned how social media is being misused. The truth is, someone posted a picture of sitting in a lavish restaurant, but is struggling to pay utility bills. Someone posted a picture of living in a huge house or buying a big car, but is actually in debt. Someone posted a picture of a branded watch, but is actually a copy. And the list goes on.

But what do we do? We feel sad seeing all these posts and compare our present situation with theirs. We put in more hours to work to earn that extra money neglecting our health and relations. Only to show others that if they can do it, then even we can. The moment we take a break, people guilt trip us into thinking that we are lazy and we will not reach our goals if we rest.

Allow me to give you a fresh example of what a BIG LIE social media is. The gym that I go for workout, offers members a free a trial before paying for membership. One day when I was working out, I seen a woman come in along with a friend, used all the machines to exercise while her friend was recording her videos, and never showed her face at the gym again. Moral of the story, she used the free trail only to remove videos to post on social media. Do you get my point now!

Hustle culture thrives on stress, fear, guilt and shame. But we forget that an exhausted mind won’t be able to function. Hustle culture glorifies overworking as a badge of honour.  

STOP celebrating this toxic culture and take timely breaks. Do not compare your stage 1 to someone’s stage 3. Learn to be happy and satisfied in what you have while working to reach your goals. Slow down. Take it easy. Life is short. Life is fragile. Don’t bother about what people will say if you have rest days. Don’t take calls if you are exhausted. Eat slowly. Exercise. Have a lazy day once a week. Play with your dog. Get 8 hours sleep. Love the life you have while you are healthy, because in true terms, health is wealth.

Give rest to your mind body often. Because if you get carried away in this toxic hustle culture, your mind and body will automatically take rest, and that will not be an appropriate time for you.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Life is precious of all the treasures. Let’s come to a state where living itself becomes a state of joy!

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness is not good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?  And after the Pandemic, things have shattered us up to such limit, that repairing it will take years.            

I always believe, human race runs on only 2 sentiments, i.e. Fear and Greed. You make someone worry about aging; they will run to buy an anti-aging cream. You scare someone about the harmful effects of a particular food; they will immediately run to buy organics. You influence someone about some benefits of an investment scheme; they will put in their entire savings in the greed of getting back more. You tell someone you are an expert in predicting the future and their future looks weak, but you have solutions to it; that person will be immediately driven by fear and greed.

In the era of smart phones and social media, people are worried about missing out on something. Everyone feels comparing their selves to others, where they feel they are left behind. And when we fail to cope with or handle all the pressures, we feel it’s best to end it all. The best way to deal with life’s pressure is to remain calm, in any situation. To be calm becomes a kind of a revolutionary act. To be happy with our own non-upgraded existence and to be happy with our own messy human selves would be the best remedy.

There is no exact definition of normal. It differs from person to person, situation to situation. Wherever you are, at any moment, and you feel like you are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames, pause for a moment and look around. Can you smell the fresh brewing coffee? Can you see the beautiful flowers blooming? Can you see a smile on some stranger’s face? Or even the clouds outside your window? You see, there is something beautiful in the simplest things. It is us who make everything complicated.

There are some very simple reasons to stay alive. Even when everything has come crushing down, there is always a reason to live.

  • You still have to listen to some beautiful songs
  • And the uncontrollable laughs with your siblings or friends
  • How about trying out some tasty food
  • Or let’s just read a new book
  • And there are many goals to achieve yet
  • Let’s just Netflix and Chill
  • Travelling to the countries you always wanted to go
  • Listening to the sound of the rain
  • Grandparents/parents massaging your head
  • Meeting the love of your life
  • Wearing that dress for a special occasion you have been waiting for
  • Or let’s just make some nice Tea/Coffee
  • Beat of all, play with your dog and see him/her getting old and be with them

You see, life is simple and the joys of life lie in the things that we already have. Aim high, but do not fear living in the present. Have dreams, but do not get distracted from reality. There are times when nothing is going right. No matter what you do, you feel the whole world is against you. No solutions in the horizon to solve your problems. Even then, there are millions of reasons to live. In such situations, stay calm and patient. And repeat to yourself that your situation will change. It does not rain forever.

Above all, live for yourself. Depression and Anxiety are story tellers. Don’t believe everything you think. Most of the times, the gravity of the situation is 1%, and the remaining 99% is created in the head out of fear, greed or ego. Let loose for some time. Sleep over it. Wake up, make yourself some Tea/Coffee and analyse your situation and your surroundings.

Life had punched me in the face back to back in the past 10 years. I had tried giving up on life 10 years ago. One simple act prevented me from taking that step and ever since, I have never thought of ending my life. Since then, I have always found a reason to live and enjoy the moments. And when my situation is very bad, even then my dog’s mere presence is my reason to live.

Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. You are in a hurry. So calm down and take your time. Hang in there if you can. Life is always worth it. Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life. Once the storm is over, you won’t even remember how you made it through. You are alone, I am alone. Yet we are together. Everyone is struggling in some or the other way. We are made of flesh, but also of stars. If your life is hell; keeping walking. Why would you want to stay in hell! You were there before, and now you know the way out. Don’t give up or give in. Calmly walk through it. 

Reality Check

We all live in a myth that we all are the directors of our own life. The truth is, we are not. Life happens and we just adjust to the changes and keep moving. We come across many inspirational quotes about life every day, but how many of us actually understand them and follow through?

In the past two years, since the pandemic, many of us have had a harsh wake-up call and forced us to change our priorities, our way of living or thinking, our approach towards life in general. The more time passes, the more I realise that life is to be lived one day at a time. Sometimes, even thinking about the next 24 hours is too much, that time; live every moment. I have even perceived that happiness and fulfilment is in the little moments.

We are currently biting off more than what we can chew to embrace the new reality post Corona virus. For some, the worry, the sorrow, and the sadness associated with the death of their loved ones or feeling of isolation will last too long. For others, the impact this virus and isolation left on the mental health will linger even after all this is over. And for a few others, the realization of the importance of family turned out to be a blessing.

While there are a lot of motivational quotes, awareness and help available on the internet, there are many misguiding and wrongly provocative materials and articles also easily available. Unfortunately, many people feel that’s the reality and fall prey to it and regret later.

The virtual reality is starting to feel like real life. On a daily basis, on many social media sites I come across quotes like “you have to thrive, not survive”, “be the leader of your life”, “if you are not something, then you are nothing”, “hustle now, rest later”, “disappear for some years, and enjoy later”, “date only to marry”, “be a gangsta”, “the relationship broke because you deserve better”, “don’t give chance to others, be independent and spoil yourself”, etc.

I am not saying all the above quotes are completely wrong, but the meaning extracted from them by people these days is wrong.

Let’s get to reality:

  • You don’t always have to keep thriving; these days if you survived your day, you did a good job.
  • Our future is unpredictable. We all seen it in the past two years. Life happens, change is the only constant. Only control your thoughts, don’t try to control your life.
  • Others perspective of success is not necessarily your perspective of success. Same applies for having fun. Do what is suitable, convenient and comfortable for you.
  • Taking rest, having days off is extremely essential in today’s times. Don’t fall sick or drain yourself out in hustling all the time or showing the world how much you work.
  • Take accountability of your own bullshit. Sometimes, the relationship breaks because both the partners are not on the same page, or you were the toxic one, or your partner’s needs changed and opted out. Besides cheating and abuse, there is free will, and you and your partner are allowed to change your mind. No one owes you anything, and neither is your partner a bad person that you keep saying you deserve better.
  • You have no need to disappear to earn money and then enjoy or rest later. You can do everything simultaneously. Having fun, taking breaks, going on a vacation, or going out with friends and family, and most importantly, keeping in touch with your loved ones is very important for healthy living. You never know which moments become only memories or when you will see the person for the last time in your life. Make beautiful memories along with earning money.
  • Sometimes it is essential to ask for help. Everyone has the capacity to be independent, but asking for help is required sometimes.
  • No work is big or small. A man can choose a career in cooking and a woman can choose to be a carpenter. Do what you like, do what gives you peace.
  • Accept that you will die one day. Embrace it and don’t live life as per what internet tells you or shows you, or what you see others doing on their stories. Don’t compare and don’t judge a book by its cover. More than half of pictures and stories posted on the internet are fake.
  • Failure is necessary to grow. Failure and success are not opposites. They both are part of the whole.
  • Problems may be inevitable, but so is our approach towards it. If you can change anything, change it, if you cannot, leave it. It’s ok to quit sometimes.
  • Your energy is finite. Please use it wisely. Don’t let the artificial internet world be an energy vampire. Trust me. Majority of the stuff you see is bogus or fake.
  • Allow yourself to simply enjoy an experience with your partner. Be present. Not every person you date will be “the one”. If it’s meant to be, you will marry that person. Or else leave in dignity.

Waste time this year; go for long, rambling walks. Write poems or try a new recipe just because. Pray, paint, laugh at yourself or simply watch something on the TV. Take your dog to the beach or just sit by the shore and enjoy the winds and coffee. Our world is obsessed with being productivity all the time. We feel guilty of wasting our time even for an instance. But the reality is, our “unproductive” hours are the most soul-shaping parts of our lives. SLOW DOWN!

2021 in Retrospect

2021 was an incredibly hard year for many, including me, but I am hopeful that 2022 will be better.

This time last year I was enthusiast about the year 2021 as the entire world was suffering from Corona Virus, and was looking forward to hear the news that the pandemic is over. Who knew that 2021 turned out to be worse, and would shake up our lives? We seen the virus being less dangerous at times, but most of the times, it was still spreading fast. In India, we had a very unfortunate 2nd wave of Covid. Way too many people were critical and lost their lives, including a member of my family.

Gosh, who would have thought that we would face something like this? My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones or suffered from crisis financially and emotionally. It feels so surreal, yet, here we are, at the end of another year that many would just write-off and forget, including me.

As this year started, I was faced with an unexpected health issue which required an emergency surgery. As the year progressed, Junior had a surgery to get his tumour removed. Then we faced the deadly 2nd wave of Corona Virus, where a family member lost his life. As we were just recovering from the loss, my parents tested positive for Covid, in which my father’s health rapidly declined. During the same time, Junior too fell critically ill. The E. Coli bacteria had made a comeback and Junior had started urinating blood and throwing up.

In all this mess, I had to take care of myself and would get myself tested for Covid every week as I had to step out of the house for Junior’s treatment. My anxiety has broken all barriers this year. Besides stressing about the outcome and thinking about the worse case scenarios, I had developed a lot of physical symptoms which I have mentioned in my older post.

Well, it doesn’t end here. As my father and Junior were recovering, my mobile got stolen. When I asked the Universe “can this year get any worse?” I wasn’t challenging it………ha ha ha ha! But right before the year is about to end, I was robbed.

With the daily barrage of bad news from around the world and in my personal space, the only thing I knew was to keep myself busy and out of my head, if I was to maintain my sanity. Which to my surprise, I successfully did by finally overcoming my anxiety. All these unfortunate events gave me some time to self reflect and the first thing that came into my mind was “I cannot live like this and be a slave of my own mind and thoughts.”

This was the best thing that happened this year. I am not saying I have cured my anxiety, but now I very well know how to control it and not drown in it like I did all these years. I am still working on myself and learning about myself every day. By God’s grace, everyone is in good health now and fortunately, the year is ending on a good note.

In my endeavour to stay positive, I started to appreciate and find joy in small, everyday things. That’s the first thing you can do to start living a mentally healthy life.

I always thought that I had made a lot of positive changes in my life after my separation from my ex husband. But this year made me realise that I was not even half way there. The biggest change that I had to make was in my head, and I am proud to say that I came full circle. The hapless events were a blessing in disguise for me.

What this year really taught me was 1) focusing on the positive, no matter how small, 2) acceptance, which helped me in handling conflicts and uninvited events with a better prospective, 3) health is wealth, mentally and physically active life is the need of the hour, and 4) having a hobby, which can turn into a side income, as well as keep you busy in doing something you love.

So, in retrospect to 2021, it was an opportunity for me to take a step back, reflect and make some positive changes. Who knows what 2022 has in store for all of us? All I can wish for a better year and look forward to it in enthusiasm.

Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and A Successful New Year! Please stay Safe and Positive!

Anxiety

We all have heard and read about Anxiety a lot before, but do we really know what it is? As you all must have noticed that I haven’t posted any blog post in a month; it’s because my anxiety had worsened. What triggered my anxiety? Health!

This phrase “Health Is Wealth” is something we have been hearing since childhood. But exactly last month on this date I truly understood its meaning. My parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, inspite of being double vaccinated. What was worse, my mother recovered, but my father slipped into COVID complications. I thought, “How could this be happening? My parents are vaccinated. At the worse, they can have mild symptoms; it cannot flare up so much!” But it did happen. My father’s symptoms and post COVID recovery was terrible because he has some underlying disease. What opened my eyes was, if he was not vaccinated, he would have not survived. The vaccine actually saved my parents life. They were a breakthrough case, but somewhat mild.

Since I already suffer from anxiety since years; my mind made me think the worst case scenario. What made me insufferable was; Junior too falling ill at the same time. And not just sick, his health was grave. Junior got a UTI (E. Coli) which affected his Bladder and Kidneys, and he started urinating blood, vomiting and stopped eating.

I was in a fix, as I was in self isolation because I had met my parents’ everyday when they tested positive for Corona virus. I had no option. I got myself tested for Corona Virus, I tested negative and got out of the house on the 10th day of self isolation. I had to save Junior. Being a responsible human being, I informed my Vet about the same, maintained social distancing and wore a mask at all times even though I tested negative. I also retested myself on the 14th day and tested negative again. I was relieved. But my anxiety had already started playing its part.

For the first time in my life, I realised that Anxiety is not just a mental illness, but it also affects you physically. Besides being continuously anxious about my Dad’s and Junior’s health, following were my physical symptoms:

  1. Sweating a lot
  2. Breathlessness
  3. Short breaths
  4. Low oxygen (but recovered quickly)
  5. Fluctuating body temperature
  6. Sore throat
  7. Heavy head
  8. Panic attacks
  9. Fatigue
  10. Stomach cramps
  11. Severe acidity
  12. Blurry vision
  13. Less concentration
  14. Irritation
  15. Hot and cold flashes
  16. Racing heartbeats

I faced all of the above 24/7 for the entire month.

Aimlessly I kept looking for solutions on the Internet for a remedy to reduce my anxiety. I tried going to the gym, did yoga, did meditation, journaling, did breathing exercises, spoke to close ones, went for a walk, etc etc etc. Nothing helped for the long run. All these were temporary solutions. I stopped going to office for work, I stopped cooking, I stopped painting, I stopped answering phone calls, and many other things. My entire concentration was on my Father’s and Junior’s health. One thing good that I did was; I removed Google from my phone. Google only increased my fear and flared my anxiety.

What I have learnt from this dreaded experience is “HEALTH IS WEALTH”; whether it is physical or mental. Money, dating, house, cars, partying, etc. All of these come later. It also taught me to take care of my health (physical and mental) from now on so that when I am old, I do not face the consequences what my father faced. My mother is relatively healthy and had no side effects or dreaded symptoms because of the virus. She recovered in no time. But my father went through a tough time. This horrible time also showed me the true faces of people whom I called family and friends. However, some family members and friends stood by us rock solid and I am grateful to them.

Today my father and Junior both are out of the danger zone and on the road to recovery. So am I, from my anxiety. From now on, I am not just going to be physically healthy (which I already am), but will also work on a long term solution to manage my anxiety. This experience also made me change my priorities in life in a good way. I wish and pray for everyone’s good health and happy living.

Redesigning Life after Lockdown

It’s a restart for many of us, or let me say – majority of us. For some a mental restart, for some a physical restart, and for some both. However, this pandemic gave a lot of us a new perspective to life and an opportunity to start again.

Life is not the same for many of us. What we once took for granted; have now become our priority. Many bonds between people have been destroyed and many became stronger than before. A big change is noticed in many of our lives. Good or bad, the pandemic played it course and left a huge impact on us for many years to come. 

The Corona Virus claimed many live, and tackling loneliness among those left behind has made it worse, with some people more affected than others. More and more people worry something will happen to them and no one will notice. Those who have lost members of their family or close ones; feel the least able to cope with the after effects.

Besides Corona Virus, many are dying of heart attacks. Staying at home from the past 18 months, going out only for essential work, businesses closed, no socializing or physical contact like before and the fear of contracting the virus has left many people anxious about their present and future, which has lead to a sedentary life and increase in stress levels.

I am not immune to any of the above. The only difference is, I am living with a dog and that has helped me to stay positive most of the times and live an active life even in the lockdown. But my mental health too had gone for a toss. Some days I felt like I wouldn’t survive financially, and some days I would feel like life was not worth living after all. However, Junior being around at all times helped me not slip into depression and actually redesign my life, sort my priorities and be prepared for anything in the future.

My biggest realization in the lockdown was that life is beautiful and meaningful only with your loved ones and family around. There were times when I used to get irritated if my mother or father would call me often. But today, I value those calls. Sometimes I would get tired giving Junior continues attention. But now, there is nothing more important than spending as much time as I can with him. I have also realized that saved money is the actual treasure and wealth. YOLO (you only live once) is only a concept. The pandemic also taught me not to blindly run behind money, but balance life by paying attention to your health and also spending time with family.

Time and again, the quote “grass is not green on the other side” have been proved to be right. This hit me once again when I was talking to one of my cousins who live in a different so called modern and advanced country than mine; and she said “many countries claim to be advanced and modern than the other, and then in the first place, how did the virus enter their country? And if it did, then how come they took so long to mellow down the virus? And also, how lakhs of people died in their country? So stay where you are and value your country. The grass is not green on the other side.”

We have once again realized the importance of the basics like washing hands, covering our mouths, valuing relationships, exercising, eating healthy, and most importantly – being nice to one and other. Mental health is as important as physical health. And since the pandemic has increased the number of people getting depression and anxiety, not just in adults, but even in child, it is very important to redesign our lives and adopt more flexible and broad minded thinking. My vet told me, there has been a massive increase in the number of people and families adopting or buying cats and dogs during the lockdown. In a way, it is good as far as people consider them as family and do not abandon them once the countries open up.

It is very easy to change your life when there are restrictions. But what will happen once the lockdowns are lifted and life gets back to normal? This is where the actual challenge comes. Will we be consistent and disciplined? Will we stick to our redesigned life? Will we maintain our new behaviour and stick to the new routine?

Collectively, we can and we should use this pandemic as a rude wake-up call for all of us and help bring about a positive change in our habits and lives, and create and new and better normal.

Social Media vs. Reality

The benefit of social media is that it helps us connect with others and share our experiences, but an undeniable negative aspect of social sharing is that we essentially only ever see a highlight of people’s lives, which is generally the opposite of their actual, everyday experience or lives. Social media has a big role in people’s lives as generations tend to live more digitally. However; in society there are many issues and negative outcomes rooted from social media.

It is extremely easy to create an account on any social media platform, which leads to anyone having access to anyone’s content. Anyone can access to what is shared, uploaded, tagged, etc. and viewed in matter of seconds. Social media makes it easy to create a version of you that doesn’t always tell the whole story. So how can you tell the difference between social media and reality?

It’s easy to look at others social media feeds to feel like they are living their best lives. But most of the times, the reality is way too different. Lots of people feel FOMO (fear of missing out) when they see what others are doing online – it can seem like everyone is having more fun than you are. If you’re feeling like this, it’s important to remember that social media doesn’t show the whole story. If social media is getting you down or giving you serious FOMO, consider taking some time out to focus on some of the other things in your life that make you feel happy.

It is also important to remember that some people create social media posts for a job. It’s not uncommon for some social media influencers with big followings to get paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars by companies to pose with particular products. People who run social media profiles as a job have a lot more time to perfect their social media feed. Some social media influencers even use professional photographers to help them create the perfect photo.

Let’s talk about people’s perspective that are influenced by seeing other people’s posts and consider their lives as nothing but a waste. I have a friend like this. She will always call me up to sulk about how miserable she is compared to others. Her statements are, “you know how ordinary she looks, yet she got such a romantic boyfriend, and look at me; my husband is so vanilla” or “how do they get so much money to travel all the time?” or “look at her skin and figure, so perfect” etc. At some point of time, haven’t we all felt this way?

But let me tell you this, time and again I have come across articles which point out the reality behind those perfect pictures. We humans are so desperate to show off our so called perfect lives, that we have even involved our pets into our selfish motives. I had read an article where the pet parent threatened the dog to get a perfect picture. When we see that picture, we automatically assume how cute the dog is and how well trained he must be to pose for a picture like this. But in true honesty, there was fear behind those cute eyes because he was threatened. Besides animals, even small kids are pressured for pictures. Another article pointed out that a mother scolded her kids at the park to get a nice picture. But as always, after seeing the picture, we assume what a great mother she is to have such well mannered children.

Another harrowing impact on common people is what social media has portrayed as perfect bodies and clear glass skin. The impact is so bad, that a normal man is forced to have 6 abs and a normal woman is assumed to have an hour glass body. People are fat shamed, thin shamed, colour shamed, etc. on social media. Even bullied for choosing sexuality or affected by racism. It is getting from bad to worse. Infact, many have even lost their lives for getting that perfect picture.

Besides this, most of the social media platforms have become hook-up platforms. Many people, married, single, divorced, etc. are only trying to connect with others for hook-ups and flings. Cheating has become extremely easy, as more than half of the cheaters use social media platforms to find or contact their lovers. Appropriate relationship boundaries have become blurry. Social media seems to have added fuel to the fire of infidelity. You don’t even have to find somebody who is in your neighborhood. You can flirt and exchange sexual communication with anyone who is willing to do it on planet Earth who is holding a Smartphone.

Life has become easier with the advent of technology and social media. Distance has been reduced because now you can remain in contact with your loved ones every second, but the drawbacks of the increased use of social media aren’t unknown too. Talking about real, offline relationships, the effects of social media is more adverse than good. Hundreds of friends on social media, but how many can you lean on when you need someone.

Please remember, no one has a perfect body or skin. Don’t get under the knife to achieve the impossible. Don’t go broke trying to show others the wealth you don’t have. Don’t threaten your kids or pets to display a fake perfect family. Don’t travel just for the sake of photos. Instead, connect with likeminded people and have a healthy social circle. Promote your business on social media. Stay connected with family and friends who are far away. Use social media to make your life easy and simple. Not to compare yourself with others and make your life miserable.

Social media is not reality. Take control of your life; compare yourself to what you were yesterday than comparing to others on social media. Take everything you see with a pinch of salt. Remember, never believe everything you see, because from far even salt looks like sugar.

Bullies

I had taken a break last week from uploading a post. The reason for that was, I was fueled with anger. Today, in this post; I am writing everything from the heart and experience.

My country India is going through a tough time right now. We all are scared not just about the Corona Virus, but about our survival as well. Every single day we hear and read about deaths. All this has increased a lot of anxiety in majority of us. We are already living in fear, but there are some who add up to the stress.

Last week, some Anonymous had left a nasty comment on my page which said, “I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore, who’s own marriage is wrecked and now is wrecking others marriages.” I am not too sure if this comment was left by someone known or some anonymous who actually took the effort to read my posts and then leave a nasty comment like this. Besides this, someone else left a comment on my dog Junior that in such bad times, I have kept a dog and spending money on him instead of donating.

Let me start by saying, yes I am divorced and there were a lot of factors which lead to my divorce. How does that mean I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore? And by just being divorced, does that mean I am going to break others marriages? Even Bill Gates got divorced. Does that mean his wife is now going to break others marriages! What I don’t understand is, if you have so much guts to leave a disgusting comment like this, then why “Anonymous”, show your face and leave your name. I will be more than happy to clear your misunderstanding.

Regarding my dog, he is with me since 9 years, and I may not eat but see to it he has been fed rather than donating to people who can’t even follow basic protocols of wearing a mask on the nose and putting others life in danger. I do my piece of social work and I do not need anyone’s validation.

Fake WhatsApp messages, daily propaganda of news channels, irresponsible citizens, lack of support from the Government, etc. and then, there are internet bullies who are spineless, no work to do, no guts, but just leave assholic comments because they don’t have to face the person.

But this isn’t new. I know of someone, who would be so possessive about her boyfriend, that eventually her relationships turn toxic and she would end up being single all the time. She would always blame other women if her relationship turned sour. Something like, “she was his ex and now she is trying to get him”, or “I will not let my boyfriend meet this girl because she is divorced and want others husbands/boyfriends”. However, all her relationships failed because she was insecure within herself. And that insecurity she would display on others making even her friendships toxic. Constantly playing a victim card, not working on yourself, and always blaming others makes you a toxic person and a bully.

I have always been bold and open about my personal life. I try to spread as much positivity and encouragement as I can through my experience. In such tough times, if you can’t be good to yourself and other people, then atleast keep your mouth shut and don’t be a spineless bully.

Stress, depression and anxiety are already silent killers. I am a strong person and I can hit back. But many have committed suicide because of bullies. When the mindset is already in fear because of the pandemic, why create more chaos. When a marriage is breaking, why blame only the other woman? Your husband opened that space for the other woman. If he was true to the wife or happy in the marriage, he wouldn’t have opened that personal space. Correct your husband first. Or I must say, as I have mentioned before also, sometimes we too are toxic, for which our partners seek love outside. Being divorced doesn’t mean I am lonely, desperate and available. No one wants a divorce, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Let’s all be humble and fight this together. If you can’t be good, don’t be bad either. Keep quiet and mind your own business. Regarding dogs, we all pet parents are capable of doing anything for our pets to keep them healthy and safe. We all do our set of humanity gestures. Just because we do not post it, doesn’t mean we are not helping others. If you are frustrated with your own life, I have said before, seek professional help if nothing is helping you.

I can take criticism well, atleast show your identity. I have a fighting spirit and I am getting stronger every passing day, again through experience. I request all those who think about committing suicide because of bullies, that never for even a second think of giving up your life. You are strong, you are enough, you are wanted. These bullies display their insecurities, they need help. Not you. If I can do it, so can you.