Be Happy, Healthy & Hopeful: Three Things Women Must Aim For

Happy-Health-Hope-HeadMy Latest Article for Women published on http://www.sheroes.com on 2nd August, 2016

Be Happy, Healthy & Hopeful: Three Things Women Must Aim For

Recently, I was delivering a session for research scholars at an IIT, and I was happy to see that around 25% of attendees were women. After the session, we were informally discussing the priorities of life. To remain hopeful is a challenge, said one of the girls.

It had me thinking about what women should aim for.

As mentioned in my book Why women are what they are, I believe women lead two lives–an internal ‘dream life’ and an external visible life. They do things more out of expectation and not out of intention.

There are women who act according to family norms, social etiquette and worry about how others will perceive them. There are women who solitarily nurture their inner self and do not bother about people, society, and norms whatsoever. There are women who are aware of both lives and they balance them both, gradually converging the internal and external lives.

Since women are mentally and emotionally far stronger than men, they tend to ignore their mental and emotional well-being.  In societies and communities of India, men are expected to give financial support while women are expected to provide all the other support. With a lot of stereotypes biting the dust in this digital age, we need to reaffirm and reset our priorities.

Besides money required for sustaining ourselves, women must take care of our happiness, health and hope:

Happiness

Most women concentrate on taking care of their families, their homes and neglect themselves. The are so consumed–in maintaining a perfect home, looking after their spouse and kids, balancing jobs, elder care–that they are too tired to look within. They suffer from a burnout as they do things to fulfil expectations; not because they want to.

Women remain unhappy as they allow others to take over. They believe in the image of themselves as created by their near and dear (?) ones, which could be strikingly different from their real selves.

In Rajasthan, I would come across many women who thrived on adventure, loved to experiment but lived a conservative, orthodox life stagnating in a time warp. Women remain unhappy when they ruminate. They keep going back to painful memories of the past and keep rewinding them for daily consumption. It keeps the pain alive.

As they start enjoying their emotionally drained status, women start enjoying unhappiness. It is not only unfair; it is illogical too. Women must work towards forgetting the pain inflicted in any form and start living happily in the present. We need to choose to stay happy.

Health

Women ignore their health because they are deeply engrossed in making each day a perfect day for their families. They keep postponing the regular check-ups and they keep thinking that diseases happen to others. It is hard to detect depressed women as they don’t admit to their mental agony or issues that they can’t sort out on their own.

Women should remember that ‘tomorrow is a disease’ when it comes to exercising and health check-ups. Today is the time to begin, and it should be adhered to every year.

Women need to be aware of their family history and diseases that they are predisposed to. Neglecting health is one of the biggest disservices that women can do to themselves, because men are always taken care of when it comes to health.

There is no age to start taking care of your health. It is our daily duty towards ourselves to eat healthy, on time and to exercise.

Hope

Women get disappointed more, because they are deeply connected to the lives of so many family members–parents, husband, kids, siblings–and something keeps going wrong somewhere all the time.

It is so important for women to keep their spirits high and help others stay hopeful. A friend of mine recently had her nephew hospitalised with a kidney ailment. At the same time, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. As she was busy helping her mother and brother, she felt guilty of not looking after her teenage daughter well. It lasted more than a year and she felt so low on hope.

Women need their daily dose of hope to sail through myriad responsibilities they eagerly shoulder. Friends, audiobooks and books can be the greatest disappointment-buster for women. Talking to friends and asking for help gives strength and stamina to march on.

Search for HOPE, strive for HAPPINESS and work towards your HEALTH before thinking about the next task.

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Technology for MOMs – Create your Digital Presence

Technology for Moms.jpgNothing has helped woman more in last decade than this great enabler called technology. Nothing has opened more frontiers for women in last few years than a magical opening through a tap or a click.

Men could always go out any time, reach out to new set of acquaintances and friends, communicate informally and reap benefits of all such associations while women would be fulfilling their domestic responsibilities full time or after office hours.

Even working women would get to meet a particular set of colleagues only and be a part of some coffee break gossip.

Not anymore.

Technology is the greatest leveller if used judiciously.

It is the greatest gift for every woman, especially mothers.

If you want to ask why, read on:

  • Confidence booster: When young mothers are busy changing diapers, their world shrinks to the cries and sleep patterns of the baby. As they spend more time with the baby, they begin to feel out of touch with the rest of the world.

Not anymore.

The digital world is at their fingertips and keeps them aware and involved. They don’t feel that the whole world has said good bye to them and moved on while they were singing lullabies. It gives so much of confidence to be in the thick of things and not feel ‘written off’.

  •  Opportunity Giver: When mothers are busy raising their toddlers, they want to keep their ‘individuality fire’ burning. It used to be full of guilt pangs in office or frustrated siestas at home. First one to three years of young mothers can be utilised through online courses to learn new interests or expand the existing interests. Visit Udacity/Coursera/EDX and explore a new world of opportunities.

  • Unifier: Business opportunities through networking online have infused women with new freedom.

Blogging, selling products, forming groups online, teaching through webinars are some of the working options which engage women completely and offer satisfaction. Online shopping if used judiciously can save a lot of unproductive time.

While I rave about a positive tryst with technology, I cannot forget the unnecessary use of social networking sites which has become an addiction, a lifestyle menace.

Dear Moms, use technology not to forward recycled, overused and futile messages but to improve your lives.

Use technology not to post innumerable pictures and click ‘react’ button but to create your digital presence.

I will talk about creating your digital presence in the next post.