A New Year vote for happy hormones

2021 will hopefully help us forget the horrors of last year and accept the challenges of the days in waiting

Last week, we put out messages on social media to you, our readers, asking you what your New year resolutions were. Most of you didn’t list your resolutions. Instead, you talked about hope, relationships, and described what you wanted 2021 to look like. We roped in experts and social influencers to ask them for different approaches to live the best life in 2021.

Here, we look at what our readers are seeking:

“I just need a new routine for a happy college life”

Krish Ashok, Chennai-based engineer-turned techie who loves to cook, play music and write, has authored Masala Lab:The Science of Indian Cooking. In his experience with juggling his many interests, he says it’s a good idea to “Recall things you enjoyed as a routine in the past and based on that make your PPP (Personal Project Plan). It should include eight hours sleep and the remaining 16 hours you decide how you want to spend it, being on your own or with family or friends. Whatever you do, think constantly how to get better.”

For a happy college life, he says it’s important to rediscover the micro-moments of joy in our daily living. “Reduce your online footprint and be a creator, not a consumer. Stop endless scrolling through other peoples’ lifestyles. It zones you out and may leave you dejected to know where others partied or travelled to, what they wore and ate. Pander to your interests and identify at least one hobby where you do not need another person’s help like cooking, gardening, exercising, reading, singing, dancing, playing an instrument. Understand and maximise your limitations by learning just enough at the right time.”

Follow him on Twitter: @krishashok

“I want to gain muscle”

Ayesha Billimoria, afitness expert and social influencer, Mumbai, advises using home equipment like small dumb bells (3 to 5 kg), TheraBands, hoola hoops, and tubes. “Motivation has to first come from within you followed by action,” she says. Squats and push-ups, hopping and skipping, climbing up and down the stairs multiple times a day, doing your own strength training by lifting buckets, chairs, cans whatever is available at home, works on strengthening your muscles. There’s no age cut-off to building muscle, and everyone can exercise according to their capacity, so do as much as your body allows, she says, adding that building muscle happens across the day, with every little movement.

Follow her on Instagram: @fitgirl.india

“Making my mistakes my learning so I can improve”

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, an international table tennis player, who won at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is an Arjuna awardee says we often want to learn from our failures, but we must also observe our successes and learn from those do. “We self-introspect only when something goes wrong. But it’s important to make a mental note of every action. I keep track of my match itinerary, diet, exercise schedule, fitness level, moves on the court — to avoid repeating mistakes,” he says, pointing to record keeping, journaling, and data as important tools. “There are various ways to do this, depending on what you want to track. If it’s about fitness, for instance, a smartwatch would help. There are apps to track your moods and mental activities. These help you figure out what mistakes you have done and also the gains you have made.” He adds that his mental conditioning coach skips negative words such as ‘avoid this’ or ‘don’t do this’.

Follow him on Facebook: @sathiyantt

To be more disciplined in the areas that I’d like to grow in.”

Papa CJ, Delhi-based stand-up comedian feels it’s about being in flow, and being honest to yourself. “For instance, if you feel you write the best poems at midnight, then do so. If you are a late riser, don’t compel yourself to jog in the early hours because a celebrity does it. Your routine has to be custom-made for you and self-motivating,” he says. The point is to do something repeatedly, so you grow in that direction.

Follow him on Twitter: @PapaCJ

“No more overthinking”

Divija Bhasin, a Delhi-based counsellor says when you are worked up, your mind gets clogged with negative thoughts and if you check your forehead for instance, you will most often find your brows frowning. It is a physical symptom of your anxiety build up which you do not realise. “When communicating becomes a problem write down your worries. It becomes easier to resolve them because when you write your thoughts get structured. You can read them aloud and ask yourself if they are reasonable.” Apps like Headspace guide you to pay attention and recognise the tension in every part of your body and work on it.

Follow her on Instagram: @awkwardgoat3

“Cook more. Read more…Do more of the things I love to do.”

Lovneet Batra, nutritionist and author of 50 Desi Superdrinks, feels cooking is a fundamental life skill that also brings happiness to the table. “Our motivation to eat is not simply driven by hunger hormones or the desire for nutrients; our emotional state affects our food behaviour too,” she says. “Home cooked family meals are proven to be more nourishing both nutritionally and emotionally for the entire family.” She says it’s a good idea to keep three things in mind when in the kitchen: our likes and dislikes, tradition and culture, ingredient availability. On a particular day, cook something one person likes and another may not be too fond of – it’s a good way to help us understand that some adjustment is necessary even in our closest relationships. Another day, cook from an old recipe book, and another, ask a friend for a recipe.

Follow her on Instagram: @lovneetb

With inputs from Praveen Sudevan

Catch our live sessions around these resolutions, with the influencers quoted here

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