How I stopped binge watching Netflix and started reading books

watching TVI have to first admit that I love Netflix. The ability to watch your favorite TV shows or movies at anytime without any distraction is great. But it can also get addictive if one doesn’t maintain self control. For instance, I watched 9 seasons of “How I met your mother” during Thanksgiving and Christmas break last year. Which roughly translates to 225 episodes in about 45 days. It initially started because I was alone while my husband was out of town and then it continued even after he returned.

I felt pathetic about it later and as a self correcting action, I didn’t touch Netflix for the next 10 days. But of course, that wasn’t the end of it. Time and again I would start binge watching again, until I realized, it was getting dangerous for my lifestyle. I was practically just sitting while binge watching, though sometimes I used to multi-task; for example do some office work (which took me twice as much time to complete).

So here’s what I did to remediate:

1. Spring – I would like to blame winter and extended rains this year for my behavior but once Spring was here and days were getting longer, I didn’t want to give that as an excuse. I decided to put an end to it.

2. Duolingo – I usually start watching Netflix when I return from home, since I am tired and want to clear my head. So instead of watching Netflix, I started practicing Spanish using the app Duolingo. I completed 34 levels in 2 weeks.

3. Watch only while you eat – My hands are occupied while eating, so I made the rule that I would watch Netflix only when I eat and that too for less than 45 min.

4. Reading – I made a reading list and based on my speed I decided to set a goal of 1 book a month.

5. Walk the dog more often – Winters also meant less walking time since it gets darker quickly. Now that Spring was here, I decided to go on long walks with my dog.

Honestly, all of the above items were already part of my lifestyle except that I ignored them when I start binge watching. It took me some soul searching and guilt shaming myself to get back on track. I hope this serves as an inspiration to all of you to spend your time doing things that improve your life.

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Stop stressing and enjoy your life

stressWorry, stress, thinking about the worst, these are some things that comes naturally to us. We worry about what others will think, we stress about our future, our present and also about things we did in our past. And while doing all of it, we impair our heath and our capability to move forward and do something better.

Stress can easily take up a good amount of our life, the kind of time that we could have used doing activities that we enjoy; like going to a beach, or playing football or writing a poem or hanging out with family or friends.

The way to get rid of stress is to understand that misery or problems or whatever else that you are stressed about is temporary. A couple of years from now everything you are stressing about now won’t matter. Keep moving forward. Don’t try to dwell in what you can’t control, try to take charge of what you can do.

Stop worrying about the inevitable, cease the day and live like it was your last.

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To all the kids in pain, I am thinking of you

rose-1760737__340I am very sad today, I don’t know why. May be its hormones, may be it’s the sad music that I am listening to on a loop, may be it’s the string of sad news I keep reading all day everyday. I am ashamed at human race; we use everything possible for our benefit. We corrupt, we destroy and we are selfish. It doesn’t end there, our actions live for a long time, sometimes way beyond our lifetime.

Amongst everything, one thing that baffles me is the urge for human race to procreate. I see so many people desperate to have kids, going beyond their means sometimes. I fail to understand why is it hard for people to think of adoption as their first option. How can one think about bringing a child to this world, when there are millions of children who are abandoned, malnourished, waiting for a good home. It troubles me a lot.

I know lot of people will disagree with me but no matter what reason you give, it is not enough. I hope things change, I hope people see things differently in the future. I hope for a world where no child is homeless.

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Stereotypical judgements

judgementI am petite girl of south asian decent having an English name with a Portuguese-French last name and I live in the US. Growing up in India, I never faced any discrimination or weird looks because of my name. People did find it hard to pronounce or write my name at times but other than that it was normal.

The amazing thing about India is that a billion people with several different cultures, languages and ideologies manage to co-exist without judging each other. You could be a Priyanka or an Akbar or a Veer Singh or a Diana and they can all live harmoniously regardless of what they eat or speak or whom they worship – no questions asked.

When I moved to US a decade ago, I thought it would be easier to fit in here because of my non-Indian name and also because I had read that American’s are the most welcoming people. And don’t get me wrong, I agree with that, American’s are great but I often get those weird questions and glances that I was not used to back home.

For example, every time I go out for a team lunch or dinner, there would be this one person who would always ask if I am a vegetarian. Just because I come from India doesn’t make me a vegetarian. I understand, they probably asked it out of concern so they can order the right thing but perhaps a broader question such as “Does anyone have any dietary restriction” directed to everyone in the table would have been appreciated.

Another common question that I get asked often is about my last name. People often wonder if it is my married name because they always assume that an Indian cannot have a last name like mine. And then I have to educate them on how it is common for some Indians to have last names such as DeSouza, D’Cruz, Fernandes etc., just like you might find a Mohammad or a Vishnu there.

I know these are small things and in the bigger scheme of things it doesn’t matter. Most days I brush it off but some days I find it offensive. I have never complained about it (except for writing it here) and I never will but when it starts happening often, you wonder where we are headed. Why is it so easy for people to fall for the stereotypical identity. Aren’t we are all smarter now? Isn’t having the internet supposed to broaden our minds? Or has it limited our capability to think? Something to think about.

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Reflecting on someone’s action

reflectionsI read a blog today about a girl who is sad, confused, depressed about things going on in her life. She has a lucrative job in one of the high paying companies, lives in the city, has plenty of friends, money, comfort and yet she has an emptiness in her life.

She mentions that her life has become mundane, the cost of living in the city has resulted in cutting off expenses in other areas, her commute has increased five fold and at the end of the day she feels so tired and lost that she barely has time to do her everyday chores. She chose to go back to her home, a small town with lesser amenities and start fresh.

I like her courage to leave all the comforts and start a life from scratch again but I am not completely satisfied for her reasons for doing that. I believe that every story has 2 sides to it. All her reasons for unhappiness that she mentioned was self-created and easily fixable in my opinion. For instance, the decision to live in the city was completely hers, she obviously decided to do it knowing that it would increase her work commute and she was aware of the cost of living. Not having time to do chores or other work is attributed to laziness and lack of better time management in my opinion.

Again, I don’t blame the girl for how she felt and for her miseries but I think all of this happened because somewhere deep down she never wanted the life she has been living. Her heart was always back home where her family and childhood friends are. Many of us chose a life either because we follow the crowd or because we think that’s the right thing to do. Seldom do we stop, step back to think if this is what we really want; especially when we are young.

I am glad the girl finally knows what she wants to do but I do hope she goes back home not hoping to find a solution to all the problems that she faced in the city but to find inner happiness. Because all the problems that she listed above is not isolated to fast paced cities and high paying jobs; these problems can happen no matter where you are and what you do. One needs to clear their perspective of what they want in life and balance their lifestyle to achieve it.

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Control your reaction

reactionI am generally a very calm person. It is very hard for someone to annoy me especially at work. Home is a different story altogether though, since people close to me know what my weak points are. But lets not go there today.

Although I am calm and composed at most times, one thing that does annoy me or stresses me out are lousy drivers. I dislike when people are on their phone when clearly they should have their eyes on the road. I also dislike when people drive on the road unsure on where they are going thereby slowing the traffic.

But off late, I have been practicing patience towards these drivers. Drivers who annoy me. I want to make sure that I control my brain during these times and not the other way round. So whenever I am behind a person who is distracted, I consciously make my good personality kick in. I am super patient, I slow down and I continue. It has made my commute much easier and stress free.

I started doing this not for the benefit of other drivers but for myself. By doing this, I am no longer stressed while driving. I am happy and pleasant and at the end of the day I have one less thing to worry about

Sometimes, small things can make a huge difference to your health. Often how we react to situations can be controlled by making minor changes in our lifestyle. Take control of your mind and the world would be a better place.

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This too shall pass

timeI have known this phrase for a long time but I always considered it as something that I should think about during bad times. It served as a motivation to pick myself up when I am down or hit a barrier because everything is temporary; that all the bad things doesn’t stay forever and eventually we’ll get out of it and move past it to a brighter future.

However, recently I read Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” which gave me a new perspective to this phrase. It made me realize that not just bad times but even good times go away. This is a phrase that one should read everyday to keep themselves grounded. When things go well, one shouldn’t be over elated and rise with pride because it is temporary, just as bad times are.

The point is, good or bad everything goes away. Nothing’s forever and we are part of an ever changing world. One shouldn’t hold onto to success or money or anything else that keeps us happy, we should accept it, cherish it and keep going. The ability to live in the moment and keep going forward will help us lead a meaningful life.

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