35 days to 36
Last year, before my 35th birthday I decided to put myself through a 3 week challenge to break my self-sabotaging habits, and basically jumpstart my self care routine, and it was a fabulous experience. I was someone who slept in her makeup, and didn’t bother with facewash and sunscreen on most days, and by the end of the 21 days I was able do a 5-step skin care routine both morning and night; habits that I continued through the year. Also, I started having my supplements of vit C and turmeric, in those 21 days, over the course of the year, I had added astaxanthin and vit D to the routine as well.
So, this year, I decided to step it up, and added a LOT more things to the challenge, and challenged myself to a 5 week challenge which I like to call 35 days to 36. This time I was concentrating on not just myself, but my interpersonal relationships, my long term goals.
I posted the entire list of my BEGIN AGAIN list as an Instagram post on 14 August, and here is the report card for the exhaustive 35 days/5 weeks self challenge.
1. Walk 10K steps everyday. This was one of the habits I really looked forward to everyday. I would walk 5 k steps or so in the morning, and another 5 K in the evening, and during that time I heard my podcasts, or TED talks, or dance music. They were entertaining and educational walks in nature, and I really enjoyed my own company. Yes, I didn’t make 10 K on most days, but I did much better than I expected. 8/10
2. Drink 2 litres of water every day- Now this one I was mindful of, because I had failed miserably at this the year before, but this time I had interesting water infusions through the day, tea in the morning, ginger lemon tea mid morning, turmeric infusion tea in the evening, triphala (an ayurvedic concoction to balance the doshas) in the night. So just drinking these various teas and infusions through the day helped me stay motivated and also looking forward, it was monsoons, and I wasn’t very thirsty, but the warm infusions were nice in the nippy weather. 8/10
3. Reduce carbs at night: Hmm I really don’t know how to grade myself here, because on some days, I did exceedingly well, but on others I binged so much at dinner, that I out weighed any caloric deficit I might have accumulated. I would binge on nuts and snacks, and have a bit of chocolate on most nights. 6/10
1. I was supposed to just keep up my basic morning and night skin care routine: These included a vit C and hyaluronic acid serum in the morning, and a retinol cream at night. I managed to do these. But previously I used to do an extensive face massage using a porcelain soup spoon as a Gua sha and korean 7 skin method techniques, which I just could not continue. But, in these 5 weeks, I did 2 at-home facial during my son’s online school class. At-home facial kits require almost an hour of putting different gels, and creams, and massaging the face. The self face massage technique I have posted on my Instagram page IGTV. And by gosh, the glow up was fabulous. So have decided to do this intensive face massage/facial routine once a month hence forth. 8/10
2. Hair oil twice a week: This was again one of my favourite routines, especially since my housekeeper does such a good job of oiling the hair. Overnight oiling with basic coconut oil on most days, and a special antidandruff shampoo on some days. This is another habit I plan on continuing. 9/10
1. Writing one complete short story, essay , poem everyday: This was a fascinating habit, and my first week I was so focussed on this habit, that all other habits took a back seat. My laptop stopped working, and yet, I continued writing long hand, pen to paper. I then bought a really expensive laptop. But then, as it happens, my inspiration started to dwindle, and I felt that I wanted to give writing a break. And so, after a 10 day break, I am back to writing. 8/10
1. Listen to finance podcasts : This was easy, I heard alux.com , book summaries on business and finance, like rich dad poor dad, Unshakeable, and then heard interviews of the authors of these business books. Very inspiring.
2. Invest in local , small business: Didn’t get around to doing that, but I hope to invest in something agriculture or food related, or something in tourism, once Goa opens post pandemic.
3. Build other sources of income: work in progress, but, should happen soon.
These were the crux of this years habit building, and it was the most challenging. Because here, I was no more a bubble, working within myself; I was reaching out , and that always requires a different mindset, atleast for me, where I am most happy within myself.
1. Call one person from my phone list everyday. Reach out to old friends : This was tougher than I expected, and I had already expected it to be tough. I began by the letter A on my phone list, but with time, I organically called anyone I thought of. Many of the people I called had been very important to me at some points in my life, and I would like to believe I had been important to them as well. But, many of the calls that I made, or even whatsapp messages that I sent out to these old friends was met with polite conversations, and nothing more. Many said they were busy and would call back, but did not. Nevertheless, I made sure I continued doing my bit, to leave a simple ‘remembered you’ message. And I spent a few moments each day giving gratitude for the memories that I had with those friends. I realised that there was a reason we had drifted apart, life was too full and busy, and living in the present is more important than looking back at the past. The last 10 years, has been an upheaval in all our lives, with changing families(marrying), changing cities, and making the transition from student to professional. All the calls I made were happy that I had reached out, but only a few led me back to rekindling old friendships. Many I had to accept, were now just a page in a previous chapter of my life. 7/10
2. Send out 5 gifts to 5 friends who matter: This was the BEST decision. I enjoyed choosing thoughtful, small things my close people would enjoy. And it ranged from books, to cast iron skillets, to journals, makeup, and a photoshoot. I gave much more than the 5 people. I gave little gifts for my friends children, I gave little things to my favourite patients, and the act of giving mindfully, and really thinking what would make the other person happy, was a very satisfying feeling. I have been doing chakra meditation for a while, and all my chakras were brilliant and aligned, other than my heart chakra, I just could not fill my heart with love and compassion. And it was after the above two exercises of being grateful to all my past friendships, and celebrating the good people in my present life, that I saw my heart chakra unblock finally. I think I will continue this habit of giving more of myself. 9/10
3. Talk to my husband for 10 minutes uninterrupted, without distraction or irritation: I know a lot of you are keen on knowing how this went. Well here goes. So, first. We set a time. It was the time when he had his dinner, since we eat at different times. Next was what would we talk about, I found the New York times 36 questions that lead to love here is the link 36 question , a good place to start. By having a set of questions which has nothing to do with our daily grocery list, or son’s school work, or other every day mundanestuff, but a questionnaire, which was internationally known to bring couples closer, is what I feel reduced the chances of arguments, and yet, lets be honest, we did argue. Yes, it was met with resistance. Yes, I added a little gift for him everyday post our talk session as a positive reinforcement, it was generally the writing I had done that day, because he does enjoy my writing. I think he didn’t like the structured sessions, and we soon moved to a little less structured conversations. 8/10
4. Dedicated play hour with Shreysht: I think this was very good for both of us, everyday at 4 pm, he himself came to take me to play. I taught him a lot of board games, like sequence, monopoly, UNO was our favourite. We would paint some days, and play shadow play, or hide and seek. I even started a new Instagram pages – shraseswithshreysht inspired by our time spent together. We now play chess after dinner, and I feel it really let me enjoy his childhood more, once I had a dedicated hour where both of us did not use ant screen. My phone was out of bounds during this time too.9/10
5. BONUS : I started having dedicated times in the week for others who mattered to me, and I realised if people are important, we have to actually carve out a dedicated time for them in our lives. Affection in your heart is not the only thing, people require the attention that shows that affection as well. 10/10
Mental health and self care
Fabulous .I started to do moving meditation in the form of qi gong every morning, and realised that moving meditation and breathwork, helped me more than sitting meditation. My Sunday chakra meditations, were when I got many of my brilliant insights, and I gifted myself a chakra crystal set, and am teaching Shreysht the power of crystals, and the importance of our chakras. I had said I would gift myself a divine feminine workshop if all things worked out, and a free divine feminine workshop is happening all of September on Instagram, which I am part of. And I had said I would gift myself a spa a month if I did well with my meditations, and I already gifted myself two of those in the past 5 weeks. 10/10
This brings me to the end of the 35 days to 36.
I feel stronger, more grounded, more able to overcome my hurdle of reaching out to people, and am able to embrace others in my life. I felt this challenge was very holistic, it was based on mental, physical, financial, spiritual, interpersonal growth. With age I am realising that if we want a more fulfilling life, we must try and bring more balance. Last year, I had great hair and skin at the end of the challenge, this year I have enriched relationships, and the glow up is from within and without.
I hope this inspires others to set themselves up for a bootcamp for the soul, and challenge to begin again.