I’m at a strange crossroads at the moment. I have so much I want to say but I’m not entirely sure how to say all of it. Writing usually helps me structure my thoughts, so here’s what I’m trying to do.

July has been a very unique month. While I had a wonderful time with friends and family in the first half as well as during the last weekend, the middle of the month could have been better. A severe flu coupled with an ankle sprain effectively put me out of my fitness routine which I’d begun in earnest. Things I discovered about myself left me less than pleased during this period.

But more than all of this was my experience with social media this month and the learning I have taken away from it. Social media is a topic that fascinates me, both as a blogger and a person.

The curious juxtaposition is although I need and love social media as a writer, I find that it fatigues me as a person. A discussion with a close friend had her echoing the same thoughts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

[bctt tweet=”Here are lessons from July that leave me feeling grateful. #Gratitude” username=”shyvish”]


Just as things were looking up on the health front, I was felled by that menace unique to monsoons, the dreaded flu. This attack was quite severe and I wound up with a head cold, a cough that wouldn’t quit for two weeks, high fever and body pain. I also lost my voice and couldn’t speak for 3 days.

Apart from affecting work marginally, (I say marginally because I have a fabulous work team that steps in and covers for me), I couldn’t blog or blog hop. Not many people may know this but writing and reading blog posts are my remedy to pretty much any ailment. So when that took a hit, I felt emotionally ill as well. I wasn’t getting my ‘fix’, so to speak.

But, you know that thing about clouds and silver linings. I found mine. Books and e-books. I went back to reading what I could and when I could, without any pressure. It’s also a reminder that I need to let go and be happy with doing what I can and when I can.

The other golden lining? It’s having a spouse who willingly steps in and takes over most duties at home. Without that help, I wouldn’t have gotten back on my feet.

*I’m kind of tickled by the fact that I’m writing this post on his birthday. What better day to express gratitude for this man in my life!


When July began I set out on a writing project, akin to the NaNoWriMo. Filled with good intentions and spurred by the success of two 30-day challenges back to back (May and June are detailed here & here), I told myself that I could do this.

To be fair, I did get a fair amount done before health took it out of me. By the 24th though, I was way behind on my personal goal and I felt miserable. I felt that I’d failed myself. I shut myself away from social media and stopped updating on Twitter and Facebook. I’d lost the will to talk about anything.

Then I realised that I was pushing myself too hard considering everything else going on in my life. That swollen ankle got worse and while it didn’t vastly impede walking, it did affect my Yoga routine. My daughter had her mid-term exams and I needed to be mentally and emotionally available for her. So I did what I should have done all along: I forgave myself.

I lauded the fact that I did get some writing done and hey, tomorrow’s another day. More on this project when I finish it, I promise.

Social Media

I’m grateful for social media. Let’s not make any mistake about that. I wouldn’t be where I am today, professionally, if it weren’t for this tool.

However, this month I looked back at a couple of things that changed my perspective on this medium. For one, I had begun to complain. Even the updates where I was apparently talking about how well my husband cooks, I was tempering it with my annoyance at the act of cooking. Essentially, I was feeding the idea that cooking was bad. It isn’t. It’s a life skill.

But being negative about it, even in a humorous way, can make you believe that it is a negative thing. That made me pause.

Second, I noticed that the more negative the updates were, the more likes they got. So if I complained more, even marginally ranted a little more, it brought in more reactions. Social media is a clever beast. It lets you feed into this loop of gratification and validation. Whereas, if I chose to consciously shift the narrative towards the positive and focus on that instead, that would be better for me in the long run.

I don’t mean you should only paint a rosy picture of your life or that you never post an update that speaks of the negative. Just observing the tilt towards one more than the other can be beneficial.

So I find myself, as July draws to an end, back where I should have been all along: a space of balance. Moderation is what helps me. Time I applied that to every aspect of my life and see where it takes me.

I hope your July was filled with gratitude as well. Do let me know in the comments.


*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock

Linking up with Vidya Sury’s Gratitude circle for July


14 thoughts on “Learning & Growing: A constant process

  1. You have been through quite a many ups and downs with your health in the past months. I am glad to know you are doing better health wise at present. I wish you good health, always. I used to draw motivation from you and your Facebook updates to keep up with my walks. I went one step further to work on my fitness levels by starting training with a Gym instructor and I can feel the difference after one and a half months. The ‘not liking cooking part’ is true for me too. I don’t leave any occasion to mention about my disinterest in cooking although I agree it is a life skill. For me, there is no so saving grace. I have to cook no matter what the circumstances are (given the kid who will insist on eating home cooked food only apart from pizza). Thus, it would make sense to fall in love with cooking within my limitations 🙂 Wish you a wonderful August.

  2. The flu is the absolute worst, but you, like me, seem to have a wonderful support system at home, one which makes the good days better, and the bad days more tolerable. Nonetheless, I am glad you are feeling better now, and I hope you have a much much better August.

  3. Glad to hear that you’re feeling better now. Health should always be our priority as that is the base for everything else that we do. Writing helps us heal when done right. Social media is indeed a clever beast who I have now learnt not to take seriously.

    Hopefully, we are able to meet up this month 🙂

  4. These days we have a really high expectations on ourselves, which is not at all wrong. But in case if we couldn’t meet them, we should be able to forgive ourselves and move forward rather than making that failure affect us. And I completely agree with the social media. Even I’m a culprit in the same, esp in my blog. But these days I try to bend towards the positive side more.

    Hope your health is back in track and you also. Hugs 🙂

  5. Right? I think we don’t even realise it on most days. It’s more a knee-jerk reaction than anything else. Time to cut the ties to social media and just be happy as much as possible :)As for the can’t speak, I think people around me were happy, since I tend to talk and lecture a lot 😉 And you ALWAYS make me feel better when I come back on social media. You have a gift for making people feel good. Thank you for being on my side. Every single time 🙂

  6. Yes, that’s one thing I never cut myself any slack: writing. I really should let go. It’s hard wired into my psyche, unfortunately. So learning little by little. Thanks for the fitness wishes 🙂 I hope I can mop up some of your energy and enthusiasm soon 🙂

  7. Agree, Naba. It was very tough for me to manage without speaking but I did it. Yay! I know how you feel about social media and especially this month has been quite the revelation. So glad it happened too. Bless everything, as my dad says.

  8. That last bit spoke to me so much Shailaja – that bit about the ‘negative tilt’ on social media as you call it. It does get the most likes but it can perpetuate the feeling of negativity. Not denying that it’s good in small measures because it lets you vent and speaks for many many people but in the long run, it’s makes you focus on the negative. I’ve been falling in that trap of constantly writing about my worries on my blog. I think I need to step out and look at the good things. So that’s a great reminder on a Monday morning – keep things positive. Let me marvel at the fact that you couldn’t speak for three days – I don’t think I’d survive – I’d probably be croaking out at the kids.
    Glad you’re feeling better and nice to see you around on social media.

  9. I am happy that you are feeling better now and that you enjoyed some good time with family. Social media is a constant learning experience. And the one learning for me is to spend as little time as possible on it. 🙂 July was a month of illnesses for me as well. Glad to have that behind us. About writing, you are being really harsh on yourself. I wish you would cut yourself some slack more often. The reason why we have goals is to be more organized and not to stress over or beat ourselves up when we don’t fulfill them. So go easy on yourself especially when you are unwell.
    One thing I wish for you is regularity in your exercise. I hope you can achieve that soon. Have a great August.

  10. Losing voice is terrible. I know because I constantly keep suffering from a sore throat. I hope August treats you better health wise and otherwise too. Don’t worry about the personal goal for your project. Like you said forgive yourself and things will fall into place. About social media, you know already how I feel. Don’t let it affect you too much, I mean the negatives of it 🙂

  11. Ha ha, so true. Family and love are all we need. Once that’s sorted, everything else falls into place. Thank you, Raj 🙂

  12. Losing voice is terrible… It happened to me last month. I hope you got your voice back. I am so sorry to hear about your swollen ankle… But glad that you have a supporting family that is making you feel loved every moment 😀 and that’s all you need after all. Don’t worry too much about your assignments… Jaan hai to jahan hai 🙂

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