Category Archives: Joyful Living

How to De-Stress Instead of Distress?

We share helpful tips on how to de-stress when otherwise in distress!

  1. Meditate to relax and spiritually connect with oneself deeply at the very core on a regular basis. Besides meditating, set aside a me-time to do something fun for yourself. It could be anything just for 15 minutes a day that gives you a lot of joy.
  2. Practice light yoga or other physical activity to keep up the energy level and boost metabolism.
  3. Practice taking deep breaths to relax oneself and to deeply connect at the very core on a regular basis.
  4. Watch your white sugar consumption and replace with natural substitutes wherever possible. Sugar is no different than any other addictive substance. Hence it is very important to limit the intake of refined sugar.
  5. Eat more whole foods and limit the intake of processed foods. Whole grains and complex foods go a long way to increase our metabolism, prevent diabetes and contain much more nutritional values than processed foods.
  6. Absorb plentiful sunshine and get some vitamin D. If you live in a place without regular sunny days,  it is recommended to take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D enhances mental and physical activity and prevents depression.
  7. Schedule only limited blocks of time to be on social media and minimize gadgets and device usage. Enjoy life’s bountiful gifts by being in the moment.
  8. Organize your day, prioritize all your activities by order of importance and de-clutter all your belongings.
  9. Connect with your family, friends and loved ones by appreciating them for their love and support on a regular basis. Feelings of gratitude and being loved uplift our moods and immediately alleviate stress.
  10. Last but not the least, make someone else’s day by doing something special for them and making them smile.

How To Maintain A Healthy Pregnancy?

Early prenatal care is important in promoting a healthy pregnancy. It starts with prenatal visits to the doctors to ensure that we are staying on top in all of the following areas:

1) Avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol: These are the absolute no-no(s) to get out of the way. Smoking or even second-hand smoke, alcohol and drug intake can affect the development of the fetus and affect the infant’s health. During pregnancy, the expecting mother should not have anything to do with these harmful substances.

2) Medications: Most pregnant woman may already be taking some medication, such as for acne or for chronic pain or for any other medical condition. It is important to discuss with the doctor which of these medications are still safe to take.

3) Avoid toxic substances: At all costs, we must stay away from exposure to any harmful chemical solvents or other toxic substances, such as lead or mercury.

4) Minerals/Vitamins: We have to ensure that we are taking adequate amounts of folic acid as supplements throughout the pregnancy to prevent the child developing any neural tube defects. The good news is that most prenatal vitamins will have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Also your healthcare provider may give you supplements of vitamin B12 and assess that your iron levels are adequate.

5) Eat a Healthy Diet: It is important to have balanced meals with variety of fruits and mixed berries, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, proteins and low-fat dairy products to ensure the developing fetus has all the required nutrients. Also during this time one should drink plenty of fluids. Here is an awesome link that helps pregnant women to create a checklist of their daily meal plates:

6) Eat a safe diet: Pregnant women should avoid all kinds of raw fish, processed meat, undercooked meat and unpasteurized cheese. They should also avoid fish with high content of mercury. The FDA guidelines for pregnant women are that 12 ounces a week of fish with low levels of methyl mercury, such as shrimp and salmon, is a safe choice during this time.

7) Limit Caffeine Intake: Excess caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage. Your doctor can dicsuss with you and recommend the total amount of caffeine you can take. They may suggest an upper limit of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.

8) Maintain a healthy weight: The doctor will recommend how much weight you can safely gain during pregnancy based on your current weight or BMI. It is important to follow the weight-gain chart as gaining too much can lead to many other problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure etc.

9) Maintain physical activity: It is very important during this time to maintain a light level of physical activity. Some of the best forms of exercise during this time is walking and swimming with minimum physical strain. Activity improves sleep during pregnancy, helps to maintain healthy weight gain and also makes childbirth easier.

10) De-stress and relax: Last, but not the least, relaxing and de-stressing throughout your pregnancy is probably the best thing you can do for yourself and for your bundle of joy. Try to engage in peaceful and relaxing activities even when you feel anxious or stressed out – with a little bit of mindfulness and meditation, you can de-stress instead of distress!

How to Age Well Emotionally and Spiritually?

We take constant care of ourselves physically but what about our souls and our spirits? We should also take care of ourselves spiritually. Why is it extremely important to age well spiritually and emotionally? If you haven’t already done so, take a moment now to think about how we want to be remembered as when we leave this earth and what kind of legacy we want to leave behind?

Do we want to be remembered as someone who was always stressed out, selfish, lacked self-control and discipline, was helpless and blamed others constantly or was always angry and ill-tempered? Or do we rather want to be remembered as the hero of our own life’s story? – someone who was helpful and supportive to others in need, kind, generous and big-hearted and who was a significant contributor to their community? Deep in our hearts we almost all wish to be the latter person but do we always practice the daily routine that ensure we will age well spiritually?

What are some of the main emotional obstacles or mental stressors that we potentially face in our lives that cause us to lose our inner peace and control of our minds?

– Abuse in any shape or form
– Recent death or loss
– Legal problems
– Financial problems
– Changes in living situation
– Unstable living situation
– Work or school problems
– Relationship problems with parents, children, spouse, siblings or close friends

There must be infinitely more obstacles and also many other problems that are specific to different individuals but we get the general idea. Humans are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted complex beings and are constantly faced with many challenges of life and living! But how can we adequately defend ourselves against these mental stressors?

This article is a brief walkthrough of some helpful tips for us to meditate so that our true inner spirit can flourish and age with us peacefully and gracefully. #MindValley# experts (#Vishel Lakhiani#) have created amazing videos and concepts on meditation:

They have coined some inspirational and out-of-the-box ideas in describing these meditation concepts – such as ‘Blissipline’ – a feeling of bliss, gratefulness in the present while being disciplined in the journey towards our awesome future! When we take control of our own lives and are accountable in our present actions, when we create the self-discipline to work gradually towards our envisioned future, while being truly grateful and happy in the present moment is the idea captured in ‘Blissipline’! Truly inspirational work from MindValley and a great place for help with meditation and spiritual healing. We should take some time to meditate before we start our day every morning – and connect with our souls and spirit, feel gratitude for what we have now and nurture a vision for our future path.

We take the broad concepts of MindValley and summarize a few important pieces of meditation:

– Gratitude – Being grateful for all of our blessings in life such as family, intelligence, potential and inner strength and realizing the love and support that surrounds us.
– Forgiveness – Letting go of any negative thoughts and truly bringing out our inner peace.
– Daily Purposefulness – Starting each day with purposefulness and with the knowledge that we have the inner strength to make each day and every day amazing. This also incorporates being contented and happy in the present moment.
– Vision for the future – Nurturing a vision for the future and imagining all the amazing things we want to manifest in our future. We can realize that awesome vision by the theory of manifestation.

In addition to starting each day with meditation, we must constantly remind ourselves to relax conscientiously in order to enjoy all the blessings in our lives. When we are stressed out, we fail to notice the bountiful gifts of life even if they are right in front of us. We also perceive the same situation in different ways when we are anxious and when we are relaxed. Pursuing activities or hobbies or nurturing relationships with our loved ones can also help us to relax. We can implement this type of relaxation and self-control with one small step at a time. Eventually we will generate a cycle of positive events – and reap the benefits of the Domino effect – where we perpetuate the feeling of relaxation, peacefulness and inner control.

What are you humbled and saddened by?

I am humbled by

-all that remains to be learnt

-and that we cannot ever know

-the incomprehensible vastness of space

-the beauty in all of nature’s gifts

-the inevitable passage of our times

-the mortality of our very beings

-and our fleeting existence

-the love we receive that we can never repay

-and the kindness bestowed upon us by others

I am saddened by

-the world’s pain and suffering and injustice

-the unnecessary divides of poverty and oppression

-the potential wasted in our materialistic selfish goals

-the children who will go hungry today and tomorrow

-the pointless battles that we rage against one other

-that leave us too exhausted for the real wars

-against injustice, disease, drugs, poverty

-and the destruction of our planet earth

Hosting an all Ladies Lunch

A ladylike hosting!

I had been wanting to host this for a while : “A lovely ladies luncheon”. I had envisioned a gathering of several girlfriends to enjoy a wonderful spring lunch just chatting about our favorite lipsticks or our new shoes! Doesn’t get more feminine and exciting than that for us lovely ladies!

I wanted  my friends to be able to enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. I knew I had numerous small undertakings to accomplish that would culminate in the final lovely luncheon! I prepared pretty handwritten cards to send out the invitations. Of course there were miniature diamond stickers (small and sophisticated yet noticeable) to seal my envelopes! The cards had been mailed to 14 recipients of my invitation. Everyone initially showed much enthusiasm to join, however, busy as our lives are several declined. Eventually there were 9 confirmed guests for my luncheon!

I also wanted to have little favors for all my guests who were taking the  trouble to drive over to my house. I wanted to give them something small yet feminine. I bought mason jars, decorated them and filled with little nail polishes and hand lotion.


Several days ahead of the event, I started making a rough plan for what my appetizers would be, the main luncheon menu and what I could serve as dessert. I even researched online for cute but light delectables that could become my appetizers. I wanted to make something light yet very lovely as my dessert! I researched quite a lot and at last decided on vegetarian red velvet cupcakes made with fresh beets. I wanted my health conscious friends to enjoy the light dessert with natural red color from the beet vegetable as opposed to red food color. I finalized the lunch menu knowing that some of my guests also have dietary restrictions. I would need to have several vegetable dishes as one of my friends was vegetarian. I finally went with some roasted peppers, roasted red potatoes, and greek spanakopita. I also made flavored rice and stir-fry chicken.



Finally the lovely day arrived.  I tried my best to ensure it would go as beautifully as planned. I woke up very early and made sure that all my hallways, living room and kitchen counters were neat and tidy. I set the lunch table with fine silverware and decorative china. The favors were labeled with each of the guests’ name  and served as the place holders.


At the very last minute through my online research, I had learned a very quick way to turn my cupcakes into beautiful high heels. My friends absolutely enjoyed the gathering and the little simple ways that I tried to make them all happy!




It’s your day everyday

I try to tell this to myself every morning. No matter what may come my way I will make the most of the day ahead – that it will be my best day every single day. If you believe it then you can make it happen – faith in yourself will move mountains.

It is definitely easy to be happy and positive when things are going our way and everything around us is perfectly pleasant and nice. The challenge is to be positive when we are faced with potential problems – when everything is not going the way we planned it. That’s when the real test is – whether we can still believe in our strengths and potential.

I feel it helps in those challenging moments to make a decision and chose to make the most out of my day . I find it helps under pressure to open my heart to many possibilities, be more kind, to listen more and most importantly to catch the little glimpses of joy in simple little things to help us go through each day….

Meeting My Niece After 5 Years

I knew this would be so emotionally intense – I had met my niece after a few days of her birth. Those were some precious moments I had held her in my hands for the first time. Her beautiful big face, while the rest of her so tiny, peeked through the light pink and yellow blankets that cozily wrapped her. Through the next five years, time would fly by, I would only speak with her over phone or over skype – especially for the last couple of years we started speaking every Sunday afternoon. She would sing me songs ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’, she would name her little pony toy Twinkle (twinkle is my nickname). Her name for me is Fifi and to match that she calls my husband Fifa. Over these years I started to grow a special relation with her – the way she would call me on the phone, how happy she would be to speak with me, how she said she prayed for me every day. She wanted me to come for her 5th birthday. She started the hosting process a few months earlier, prepping me with cookies and teas over the phone. All kinds of things were being made and the question that begged every phone call – when was I going to come by? I kept saying soon for her birthday, cautious not to break her little heart lest I was unable to make it. I told her I would visit her if the weather was nice. She convinced me that the weather would be nice and that I should visit soon.

Finally I came to a date on which I would meet my beloved and precious niece. I was excitedly waiting for that day to arrive. My husband was with me. We would be driving to New Jersey and since it had also been her birthday recently, we would be buying many birthday presents to load up in the trunk to surprise and amaze her. Our car inched closer to the house. We just had parked, when she came running out of their front door shouting happy bursts of ‘Fifi, fifi, fifa, fifa’. Her relative mentioned she had been speaking of us all day. She was so overjoyed. I grabbed her little self and we took some photos right away. I wanted to capture each and every moment spent with her. I wanted to experience every single precious moment that I could with her to its fullest.  We opened the trunk and to her amazement she was thrilled with all the presents we had brought for her. We took them all inside and she started playing with them. Many more pictures follow and she was all wide smiles. According to her mother, she is not very fond of taking pictures, but today she was smiling the widest at the camera. She really knows how to make you feel special. We had brought her a toy kitchen set. She started right away making a meal for us. She wanted to make us a special rice dish, ‘Chicken Biryani’. Every now and then she would come over and have us check the salt. I could not believe how intelligent she was and how much she knew already. She acted just like the perfect hostess. She served my meal first and just to be playful she told my husband that he needed to be patient and he needed to wait for his meal plate! How playful was that! Every now and then she would jump over our laps and we would steal a precious shot for making memories.  My husband was also playful with her. We would always ask her to give us her toy pony over the phone. She would diplomatically answer ‘It is too big to mail. I will give you when you visit me.’ So now that we were with her, my husband asked for the big pony toy. Not to be making him upset, the little diplomat brought him a tiny pony substitute toy! My husband protested and asked for the bigger version to which she again outwitted him asking ‘Why would you ever need the big one? Do you need to sit on it?’! She makes you feel involved and special but she never loses her fine touch over things.

She cooked all afternoon for us and then she told us ‘I have been cooking a lot and now I am so exhausted!’ She runs to her couch as if to take a nap but then next minute she was up. She comes over to us and says ‘Good Morning, now it is time to eat breakfast!’ We told her we would burst if we ate anymore and that I would definitely need to exercise. She poked our tummies to check if we had any space left to eat! It was just the most adorable four hours that I will never forget.

Then it was time for us to leave. They had a cake so that we could celebrate another birthday with her. She would not blow candles until there were cute little toys all over her cake. She is so particular about what she wants. When I explained to her that I had to leave, I could almost feel her heart beating. She could feel my heart racing too. She knew I was getting upset too. So she kept kissing my cheeks as if to comfort me. She has a big heart like that. I cannot express how blessed I am to have my little niece.