• 05 Aug
    Shubhanshi Singh

    All work and no play makes jack a dull boy

    'Do your homework then you can go to play', is this something you must have definitely gone through. Ever since our childhood, we have been taught to prioritize 'homework' over everything.Have we ever paid attention to such a simple demand that our parents placed on us?

    Using sports as a leverage is wrong. It brings out a meaning that it's not as important as 'homework', which is not true. It' is through sports that one learns hard work, resilience, patience, team spirit, leadership qualities. It helps us build a competitive lifestyle. The key is for parents to find a balance between these two realms of work and play because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We don't want our Jack to be dull, do we?

    stressed child

     

    'Play' here means any extra curricular activity should be given equal importance as academic work such as dance, music, art, theatre, etc. I can vouch for the fact that these subjects are not waste, they teach a child basic life skills which can't be gained through bookish knowledge.

    It would be wrong to say that these extra-curricular activities are enough for proper education but at the same time, it would be wrong to completely neglect them and say that books are enough. A balance between books and play must be given priority. Teachers curb creativity in order to reach the academics target assigned to them. It's the responsibility of a teacher to nurture creativity in the education system as well. Even academically, studies show that a child will understand concepts better if it involves play and makes learning fun by handing over control, content, intent, and power to them.

    Benefits of work-play balance

    1. Better perspective
    2. Relaxed mind
    3. Better focus and concentration
    4. Interest restored
    5. Better social skills by interacting with peers
    6. Learning culture by observation
    7. Voluntary self-interested learning
    8. Conflict resolution and cooperation with peers
    9. Developing a positive outlook to learning if it's fun
    10. Motor skills development
    11. Building self-language by talking to their own self for better expression of emotions
    12. Developing self-concept every time the child succeeds in fulfilling a certain task entirely on its own

    Too much pressure during exams leads to impairment in learning. If a child grinds himself studying the whole day, he is more likely to get bored and lose interest, his or her mind won't be able to grab on concepts easily. It leads to mental exhaustion. The number of students committing suicide has increased in the recent times due to the intolerable academic pressure. Many other suffer from depression and anxiety disorders because of the same reason. As the child enters higher education, the situation worsens. The pressure to build a career and choose a stream wisely enhances, the students are put into a do-or-die situation to attain marks and crack high university cutoffs.

     playdate cancelled

    How to overcome this problem?

    'Mens sana in corpore sano' is a Latin phrase, usually translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body". One cannot develop one’s mind properly without an adequate development of the physical body. The development of both body and mind must go hand in hand. A bookworm who does well in exams may not necessarily be equipped to cope well with the challenges life offers. Therefore, a balance between mental and physical health must be maintained for a happy life.


    How to attain this balance?

    1. Allow the student to explore his or her areas of interest such as dancing, music, art, games, etc. and encourage them to spend time on it adequately when they wish to.
    2. Don't pressurize the child into studying all the time, give him opportunities to explore other domains. Be sure to give your child the idea that life does not revolve around grades.
    3. Let the child make decisions for himself over planning time for work and play. He will learn how to prioritize.
    4. Motivate your child to go out and play in the evening. Many children choose to stay home and play video games but it's still not healthy. Going out enables better growth and blood circulation.
    5. Inculcate the habit of meditation so that the child gains mental peace while relaxing. It also helps the child to concentrate better on the work in hand.
    6. Children learn from playing. Don't inhibit them. They develop social skills and the ability to empathize with other people by building healthy interpersonal relationships.
    7. Longer recess time makes the child more attentive to classes and less fidgety.

     

    There is an evolutionary 'practice theory of play' which focuses on how mammals play in order to survive and reproduce. For them, that is learning. It's natural selection tendency for young ones to learn from playing. This theory has been expanded to humans also and it was seen that children who learn from playing not only develop basic skills but also incorporate their culture into it. They learn by observing instead of being spoon fed.

     

    How are working people impacted?

    Looking at this beyond a student perspective, such children grow up to be workaholic in nature, prone to high levels of stress and anxiety. In a global survey by Travel India Expedia, it was seen that Indians work 42 hours in a 5-day span of the week which is 2 hours more than conventional 40 hours work rule. It might not seem too much of work now but it has also been seen that working extra not only leads to burnout and health problems but also decreased productivity. Most people cancel their vacations, work extra hours, stay connected to office work even when they are at home by checking emails and attending work related phone calls. This Work - life balance has always been overlooked, it's disrupting our physical and mental health. This leads to chronic fatigue syndrome which can cause short-term memory impairment, headaches, sleep disturbance, impaired cognitive abilities, ruin interpersonal relationships and difficulty in focusing.

    When asked about why people overwork, it was seen that employees wanted to be in the good books of the boss. Earlier, people who worked for more hours were appreciated for being more dedicated and prioritizing work, it is in the contemporary period when people have acknowledged how overworking does more harm than good.

    Only if we begin changing childhood education system that we can be mentally healthy in the later years of life. Many schools have started initiating play programs for longer than the conventional period of times indicating the prevalence of play as much as work. It is a cumulative effect that can't form one side alone, parents, teachers, and school have to contribute equally.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Sep 05, 2017 10:08 PM

      It is very well written on a contemporary and very important issue in today's time. This is so common in today's scenario wherein there is so much cut-throat competition that we become so engrossed in work that we hardly take out time for ourselves.

      I liked the point wherein you mentioned about parents and everyone around the child focusing too much on studies and academics rather than the other activities, the kid desires. You are very right in saying that parents should encourage their children to find a relevant field of interest as it helps in development of various skills required for the task as well as social skills. It is at that age that children don't need someone to bombard them with lessons but someone who can listen to them as a friend and parents and teachers need to learn this art, and also devise methods to make learning more interesting instead of mere bookish learning.

      I never knew that always being grossed at work has such adverse consequences. Thanks once again for sharing this. Every parent should read this.

  • 05 Aug
    Reshma Venugopal

    How we can resist that junk

     

    woman at grocery

    Do you ever just randomly sit at a place when you have nothing to do, so you start scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you find videos of delicious and sinful food. You are now watching it being made, trying to remember every ingredient put in it, but you know deep down there is no point because you just want to devour that end product. You now realize that there is no way you are going to get that because: a) it is too much work, and b) you probably don’t have the money or time to go looking for something that good.
    But the story does not end there. After watching about 5-7 tempting Buzzfeed food videos, you think, 'I am hungry'. Now mind you, you might not even be hungry, but you want to pretend like you are because your mind wants that high calorie, sweet, yummy or cheesy goodness. It’s not you, it's your mind.

    Have you ever wondered why this happens and how can we remedy this? Research suggests that 'while experiencing negative or positive emotions typically leads to increased food intake, stress may result in either over or undereating. Several participant characteristics, like gender, BMI (Body Mass Index) and restrained, emotional, or external eating styles seem to influence these relationships' (Reichenberg et al, 2016).

    Therefore, here are some reasons why your body is craving that junk and how you could help control them.

    Reason 1:  Your body is producing too much Leptin

    Leptin is a hormone that produces body fat cells. It basically tells our brain how many calories have been taken in, and how much more or less we should be having. However, with the increase in body fat, we have an increase in Leptin, which means the need for more calories, implying more intake of fatty foods which are high in calories.

    Leptin

    Reason 2: Your body is secreting too little Serotonin

    Serotonin is our pleasure enhancing neurotransmitter, which is responsible for us having enjoyable moments. They are produced in the gastrointestinal tract and are unswervingly related to our mood, hunger, and feelings. When you have low levels of serotonin, you end up craving for things. Low levels of serotonin are linked to mental health issues such as, depression (hence we have depressed eaters), anxiety (people who eat when they are nervous), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  

    When we get sad or depressed about something, a lot of us tend to find a certain pleasure in eating high-calorie food. So, if you ever wonder why you gobble up an entire tub of ice cream after a heart break, well, then, here you go.

    seratoni

    Reason 3: Food addiction

    Yes, there is such a thing. Food addiction is real, and we need to stop acting like it is not a big deal!
    Okay, I am done being theatrical, but you get the gist. What happens is, we all have neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are released to diminish pain, also known as analgesics. These are the same things that drugs like Heroin is known to have. So how exactly is this related to food addictions?
    The answer to this is, that when we take in food high in salts, sugars and carbs (hello Lays), we tend to feel good and fulfilled after indulging in these “comfort foods”. But what is the point if it only lasts for a few seconds, right?  We just end up eating more and more, and eventually, it becomes an addiction hence constantly releasing all of those endorphins. Once again, this is related to having poor mental health. Depression, anxiety, body image issues, and stress are all famous associates to food addiction.

    food addiction

    Reason 4: Unhealthy tummy

    Well, no guesses for this one. A healthy tummy means the bacteria and the internal space of your gut need to be balanced out with healthy bacteria. When you take in unhealthy foods, you create a space for bad bacteria to overpower you hence putting an effect on your Serotonin levels and Leptin, hence increasing your junk cravings.

    unhealthy stomach

    Reason 5: Stress, stress, stress and some more stress

    Stress is literally the one true love of every problem or bad habit that we have.
    Is there really a way to push out all the stress in our lives? Not really, but the least that can be done is to tone it down and bring the stress to a minimal level. When we are stress we tend to reduce our serotonin levels, which the brain thinks it is the right time to indulge in sinful desserts to get your moods to lighten. But what our poor brain doesn’t know, is that it satisfies you for only a while, and goes back to the same mood. It then becomes a vicious cycle that becomes hard to get out of.

    stress-eating

    Therefore, how can we come up with ways to reduce this pesky little phenomenon of binge eating and food cravings

    • Firstly, exercise. Working out has so many benefits, including the most common one, reducing fat. When we work out we start toning our body. This also means a restoring a healthy level of Leptin. It also increases endorphins, so this way we don’t need to satisfy our brain with the fries and nuggets because exercise is making it feel better.
    • Secondly, practicing meditation every morning. This is mainly to calm your nerves and helps you get less frustrated and stressed.
    • Thirdly, eating clean. This is directly linked to reason 4, which is having an unhealthy tummy. When you eat clean, you are making space for more healthy bacteria to occupy your gut than bad bacteria. Eat more fibrous food and more of vegetables. Additionally, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is your best friend guys, always and forever. It cleans up your system and eases your headaches. So eat clean and stay hydrated!
    • Make a diet plan, by balancing out your cheat day. Obviously, nobody is expecting you to stop all the junk in a day, but, try to balance everything out and try to keep at least once or twice a week for food you love. Remember to gradually bring it down, to maybe once a week, then to once a month.
    • Always have healthier alternatives for snacks. If you are a snacky person like I am, then don't forget to stock up the nuts and fruits as your alternatives to all your junky snacks. 

    There you have it, your biggest question answered. Now you know how to say no to that cupcake and eat an apple instead!

  • 04 Aug
    Priya Parwani

    Work-life balance made easy

    work life

    The 21st century is the century of modernity, technology, inventions, work load, and success. Industries, start ups, and online jobs are booming at a rapid pace. Everyone wants to earn money, no matter from which part of the world. Our professional world is, therefore, a major part of our life. An individual’s beginning of a professional career usually begins at the age of 23. So, according to this present scenario, it would not be wrong to say, that in the zeal to excel professionally, we end up losing our personal balance.

    Our professional lives take the most of our time as there exists an undeniable cutthroat competition all around us. We all want to be financially stable, enjoy certain luxuries, and for all our material desires, we need to work. However, we tend to prioritize our professional life over our personal lives, which hinders our personal balance. Following are the tips that people should follow if they wish to lead a balanced life, despite working:

    1. Take time out for yourself
      We, as humans, love to relax and take days off for a break.  Take out 30-40 minutes for yourself each day to give time to your hobbies. Feed your soul with the things you love doing. Enjoy your 'me time' as this will rejuvenate you from the stress.


    2. Prioritize your health
      It has been rightly said, "health is wealth". Health is the most important thing and we should not take it for granted. To maintain proper health and work, we must extract some time for exercise.  If we aren’t physically well, we would end up taking leaves and not work anyway. So, focus on your fitness and health. Drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet to lead a healthy life.


    3. Have personal life goals
      It's important to have someone in your life who can stand by you through the dusk and dawn. For a healthy lifestyle, we should spend some time of our day with our loved ones and indulge in meaningful conversations with them. Having a good plan for personal life is as important as having a good plan for our professional life.


    4.  Be with successful and balanced people
       Surround yourself with people who have a good work-life balance as they can motivate you to have an equal balance in your life.


    5. Be more productive
      We can save a lot of time by avoiding unproductive activities like scrolling through social media every few minutes or hours. We should spend our time on some recreational activities instead and read more books which make us more efficient and productive.


    6. Do what makes you happy
      Life is too short to work for something which does not make you happy. If you are spending your time on things which don’t excite you, it's better to not do them anyway. If you’re chasing the wrong things in life, how will you ever succeed?


    7. Make a proper schedule and stick to it
      To schedule our day is one of the most important things for us to do. We all should have our day planned in such a manner that we get time for ourselves as well as for our work.


    8. Plan a trip once in a year
      Yes, rejuvenation is a must and especially in this era where we all are surrounded by so many stressors. Take your loved ones out for a vacation, or maybe for a regular outing. Do something which you don't do on regular basis.


    9. Communicate efficiently
      When we share our problems, we are half the way towards solving them. Whether it's a workplace problem or personal life problem, one must be able to communicate effectively.


    10. Avoid intermingling of professional and personal lives
      We should be able to distinguish between both, our professional and personal lives and should understand that home is a not place where our office should be. Due to the rising usage of technology, although ‘work from home’ seems to be a convenience for many of us, we cannot deny that it eats up our family time. At home, we ought to devote our time to our families, spend some quality time and listen to our loved one's daily happenings but we end up sitting in front of the screens each day. Our family deserves our time, and so do we. Therefore, it is imperative to leave the work at the workplace. 

     work life balance

    Always remember, that to lead a healthy life, we need to maintain a balance between our work and our personal lives. We have to remember that what matters the most in our life is our happiness.

    We should work in a way which pushes us to achieve success, happiness and yet have meaningful relationships. We must have equilibrium between work and life so that we can be happy in and out.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Sep 02, 2017 08:41 PM

      A well written piece and as you mentioned that this skill of balancing work and personal life is so much needed in today's date. All the points you provided gives one life goals and how to be happily successful in our lives. I loved this line wherein you mentioned that happiness is the thing which matters the most in our lives.

      People have become so ambitious these days that they have completely forgotten to take care of their physical, mental and emotional needs. They don't even think of discussing their needs to someone close to them as they have had  already lost hold of those relations due to excessive responsibility of work undertaken. But it is really important to vent out our emotions to someone close to us and it provides a lot of relief.

      One should plan their activities and as you said, that it is important to plan equally well enough for both professional as well as personal lives.

       

       

  • 02 Aug
    Shruti Gupta Delhi

    The death game - Blue Whale 'Suicide' Challenge

    The Blue Whale Challenge is said to have originated in Russia which compels teenagers to commit suicide. It begins by asking the participants to draw a blue whale on a paper and carve it on their body. Once they complete this task, they are given other self-harming tasks such as involving watching horror movies alone in the middle of the night. The game demands the participants to complete 50 such tasks in 50 days, the last one being suicide. The game ‘blue whale’ got its name from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.

    blue whale challenge

     

    The game has said to cause numerous suicides among teenagers all over the world. At the initial stage, feelings of self-loath and hatred are induced in them so that they feel low about themselves. Their meaning to life and existence is told them to be a waste. Participants are made to believe that the world would be a happier place if they died. If, however, they were unwilling to do so, they are constantly told how nobody cares about them and wouldn’t be bothered if they did not live.

    It begins by attracting the target audience (young teens) through scary videos on a social networking site. One video leads you to another and finally to a page where the game ‘the blue whale challenge’, begins. People who are willing to take the challenge are said to have negative thoughts, feelings of low self-esteem and self-loathing attitude towards life. They are majorly depressed and wish to die. This game seems to them as a way to make their suicide a little more interesting, since everything else doesn’t interest them. This is where the game begins. Once they sign-up, they are made to do their tasks in the middle of the night, mostly at 4.20 AM. The kids, feeling that they have been assigned a responsibility, complete the tasks as per the instructions, so as to not disappoint those who have entrusted their faith in them.

     

    The game has been created by Philipp Budeikin, 22 years old, a former student of psychology, who had been expelled from his university. A victim of bipolar disorder himself, he revealed that his mother and his brother hit him when he was a child. He believed those who are weak are a biological waste, and must not live in the society.

    “THERE ARE PEOPLE – AND THERE IS BIOLOGICAL WASTE. THOSE WHO DO NOT REPRESENT ANY VALUE FOR SOCIETY. WHO CAUSE OR WILL CAUSE ONLY HARM TO SOCIETY. I WAS CLEANING OUR SOCIETY OF SUCH PEOPLE.”

    He targets those who can be easily manipulated and further convinces them to die. He used sleep deprivation as a tool to influence the kids. It is strange how the study of human behavior can make someone play with the psyche of kids of a tender age.

    Philipp, who has claimed that he is responsible for lives of seventeen teenagers, is actually accountable for over a hundred deaths. Yet, he has been receiving love letters from teenage women from across the country despite being under police arrest. One of the possibilities of this happening is because of the warmth and understanding that the creator provided the participants of the game which the victims lacked in their lives.

    The number of deaths caused by this game is alarming, unfortunately, one such incident took place here in India. On 30 July, a 14-year-old ended his life by jumping off the building he used to reside in, in Mumbai. The boy had allegedly discussed the game with all his friends and even left a text saying “I am going to the building to jump.” This statement was unfortunately joked about and not taken seriously. It came as a shock to everyone that someone as young as a class 9 student would be vulnerable to such atrocities.

     suicide game

    After the shocking incident, the school suspended classes for the students and counseled them as to how suicide is not something to be proud of and how it must not be glorified at any cost. In response to this incident, Fadnavis, the Cheif Minister of Maharashtra showed his concern. Since government keeps a check on what kind of visual content is available to us, a check on online games is as imperative to prevent any more cases like these.

    parents blue whale 

    Parents are hence requested to keep a tab on what sites their wards surf on the internet. Also, they must be a part of healthy communication on a daily basis. Parents must speak with their children to know if they are going through a bad phase, or having feelings of dejection inducing low self-esteem.

    If they find their child going through any of the symptoms, like withdrawal from favorite activities, fear, anxiety, despair, irritability, lethargy, sleep disturbances, and erratic changes in behavior, they must speak with them or even provide them with counselors, if necessary. Remember, anything is better than ending a life. So, if any alternative is available, take it. Don’t hesitate in visiting doctors. They will only help you, and will probably, save a life as well!

    Through this piece of writing, I would like the readers to know that this post, in no way, intends to promote the game. It is indeed a deadly game and people, especially teenagers, must not indulge in it just to know 'what the fuss is all about'. This game can ruin one's life as it clearly intends to do so. Students and children are, therefore, requested to stay away from this game.  

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 04, 2017 08:11 PM

      A clear example of how having intellect or knowledge is important but it is important how you apply it. It is puzzling that the inventor of the game getting love letters. Such games should be banned wherein you have to harm yourself. It is a good piece of information which needs to be spread not just among the young children but also to their parents so that they can meet their kid's psychological needs.

  • 02 Aug
    Sanjna Verma

    Simple steps to get over laziness

    Laziness can be termed as something which stops us from performing a task in our life. At times, people do not feel like doing anything after they performed a strenuous job like, lifting heavy objects or when a student has studied for many hours and is exhausted, and he does not feel like doing anything immediately. It is normal because, at that juncture, the body needs rest. However, if a person is not doing anything for a fairly long period of time and has a lot of work to do, it is a matter of concern. The reason behind such feelings has to be ascertained before treating them.

    Laziness can have physiological or psychological causes. The physiological cause is high and low blood sugar levels due to skipping breakfast or excessive intake of sugar present in food items like coffee, rice, pasta etc. The fluctuations in the blood sugar level can be one of the factors for symptoms of depression, fatigue and inability to cope with stress. It can also be caused due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), acetylcholine which affects mood, energy, and motivation.

    The problem can be psychological also. The nature of the task and the personality traits of an individual play a major role. The person may feel lazy because he/she does not like the task or because it is too difficult for him/her which causes him/her to lose self-confidence. Or the task is monotonous and the person does not feel like doing it.

     

    Here are a few ways by which one can get out of the habit of lying in bed or being unproductive:

    • Belief in oneself: As I mentioned earlier, when we comprehend the complexity of the task, we do not feel motivated to go further and accomplish it. Belief in oneself is important as it keeps our spirits high. Without this, we would not be able to communicate with others or even assert our viewpoints.
    • Physical Activity: It is seen that physical activities such as walking, running or jogging and even a 5 to 15-minute workout helps, as it increases metabolism and blood circulation thereby helping a person feel energetic and motivated enough to do the pending tasks.
    • Eating Habits: Avoid eating junk food, it contains ingredients which do not help a person feel energetic. This is the prime reason for the increase in obesity in metropolitan cities today. One should eat a healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables, and nutritious food items.
    • Dividing tasks into smaller parts: If the task looks humongous one should divide it into smaller parts. This will not just help towards accomplishing the goal in a composed manner, but also help one work according to one's potential, current need and without worrying about the completion.
    • Getting started: Even if you prepare a to-do checklist, it is important to pull up your socks and implement your plans, because if you do not start, the paper and ink will get wasted for preparing the to-do list, right? A good start is equal to a good beginning, after all.
    • Creating the ‘Right’ Atmosphere:  Wearing a tracksuit and a pair of sports shoes will make one feel geared up for an intense workout. Whereas a formal suit may seem absurd during a workout! Similarly, for a desk job, keeping things in order so as to feel like working and minimizing all possible distractions. If the task is monotonous, one can reduce it by playing light songs which would not only help in killing the monotony but also relaxing our minds. It is important to create the right ambiance and present yourself accordingly.

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    • Visualise: If you do not feel motivated enough to start, try to think of the consequence of not doing so. Say, if you do not complete your homework in the said deadline, you will be reprimanded. This is a small example. You can try it for other tasks as well. 

     

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    • Keeping your eye on the goal:  It happens that we lose motivation or feel exhausted after performing the task for some time. But you cannot sit because there are goals in front of you.  For that, think why you started to think of it at the first place and motivate yourself with those intentions. Example: You might not feel like going for a workout. In that case, you can motivate yourself by reminding yourself as to why you had started this activity- for losing weight or to stay healthy or to wear your favourite dress you wore 3 years ago. Any external factor which holds extreme importance to you can act as a motivator.
    • Reinforce yourself for accomplishing a goal: It is a psychologically proven technique to reward or reinforce yourself for accomplishing a goal- telling yourself, “Well done!” (like patting your own back) after achieving smaller goals or using positive reinforcements such as treats after accomplishing tasks.

     

     These are a few ideas to get over your laziness, provided you are not lazy enough to even think about it!smile