MILLESIMAL MARCH 2023

Page 22

ABHREKHA JAIN SAHLOT ABHREKHA JAIN SAHLOT

Abhrekha Jain sahlot hailing from Rajasthan, India, has been software engineer for over 17 years at one of India's leading multinational corporations. Despite societal pressures for women in her culture to leave their careers for motherhood, Abhrekha made the conscious choice to be both a mother of two and an engineer. Driven to find a harmonious work-life balance, she now shares her experiences and offers advice to other women seeking the same.

Tell us a little about yourself, your background and your journey?

Hi, I'm Abhrekha Jain. I received my engineering degree from Mody Laxmangarh School in Rajasthan and was awarded a gold medal in computer science. As the daughter of an Army officer, I was fortunate to have a disciplined and responsible childhood full of exposure. I've been working for a multinational company for 17 years and am proud to be a mother of two boys.

I enjoy balancing my work, family, and personal passions, and I strive to make my life even more beautiful every day. I try to focus on the positive aspects of life and be grateful for what I have. My goal is to stay happy and motivated so that I can spread positivity and happiness to those around me. Additionally, I believe in sharing my blessings with others and helping people whenever I can.

Are there any women who have inspired you throughout your journey?

Well, there is no one specific source of inspiration for me as everyone has their own unique journey and challenges. However, I try to gather inspiration from the women around me, both in my personal life and in the workplace. My mother has been a huge influence in my life and I admire her strength and determination in raising us despite the difficulties she faced.

Additionally, I am inspired by the female leaders I have met throughout my life, particularly those who are calm and composed. For instance, my childhood encounter with Kiran Bedi was a testament to the power of women when they focus and strive to achieve their goals.

" For me, what truly made a difference was my focus and determination. I never gave up and always gave my best, without worrying about the outcome. In my opinion, persistence is the key to success and if you work hard enough, the rewards will come."

What do you think is the key to being successful at work and at home? And how do you stay motivated?

To be honest, there is no single key to success and everyone's journey and experiences are unique, depending on their circumstances and situations. However, for me, what truly made a difference was my focus and determination. I never gave up and always gave my best, without worrying about the outcome. In my opinion, persistence is the key to success and if you work hard enough, the rewards will come.

As for staying motivated, I find inspiration in meeting new people and talking to them, as their positive energy resonates with me. Additionally, I keep myself motivated by engaging in my hobbies and distractions whenever negativity creeps in.

Like any human, I too experience feelings of sadness or low morale, but I try not to dwell on these feelings for too long. Instead, I remind myself of my blessings and engage in activities that I enjoy.

I also try to be grateful for what I have and avoid focusing on what I lack. It is natural to have a tendency to focus on the 1% of things we don't have, but I believe it is important to appreciate the other 99% of what we do have. Keep your head held high and have hope, even if you are not able to achieve something right away, it will come eventually.

What does the typical work day in a week look like for you?

Every morning, I wake up at 6am and start by cooking breakfast for my children and packing their lunches. After that, I go for a quick walk. I then head to the office and, once my work day is finished, I take another walk and listen to music. In the evening, I spend quality time with my family, playing games, assisting with my children's studies, or just relaxing together.

Do you feel the expectations around being a working mother have changed much over the years?

The attitudes toward working mothers have undergone a shift in recent years. It is now acknowledged that women are not limited to being homemakers and should have time for themselves to relax. Although complete equality may still be a work in progress, progress is being made in some areas. For example, my partner is very supportive and accommodates my schedule. At work, there is a growing sense of equal opportunity for women to succeed and thrive. The changing landscape is enabling women to fulfill their potential.

What are the three lessons motherhood has taught you over the years?

Being a mother is both a challenging and rewarding experience. On one hand, I find myself having to teach my children, but on the other hand, children are so pure and honest, they only require love. I have also discovered that they are very organised and clear in their thinking. Sometimes when I am struggling with a decision, talking to them gives me a fresh perspective and helps me see things more clearly. Motherhood has taught me the power of love, as nobody can love you the way your child does. Additionally, it has honed my patience and taught me how to manage different personalities. I have two boys with opposite characteristics, and while it is not easy, I am learning every day.

Furthermore, I have learned to balance my priorities, ensuring that I don't miss important work meetings, while also attending my children's school events like annual days and sports days. This has improved my time management skills. The best part is that my children have seen me manage my time and responsibilities effectively, and they support my passions and interests.

So what does the future look like for you? And what are your future plans?

I take a laid-back approach to planning for the future and prefer to live in the moment as the future is uncertain. However, in a more general sense, I am eager to advance in my career. I am open to new opportunities that will allow me to develop and grow as an individual. Ultimately, I am optimistic about what the future holds.

If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for employed mothers, what would you change? employed mothers for now?

Although there are numerous policies in the workplace for new mothers, I believe that the concept of equality should be applied to all employees, not just working mothers. I don't advocate for changes that exclusively benefit women, but rather for adjustments that can benefit all employees. One such change could be the introduction of flexible work arrangements, allowing employees to work from home when necessary. This could improve work-life balance and reduce stress levels, benefiting not just new mothers, but all employees. Additionally, companies could also organise workshops or activities such as yoga, meditation, or sports to promote good physical and mental health among employees.

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Eating with joy Eating with joy and wisdom and wisdom

We’ve all been duped! We thought we were eating food when we really weren’t. According to Google, food is defined as “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.” Typical snack food like potato chips, soda, and donuts, for instance, don’t maintain life or growth. I take that back. They do make people grow in certain ways, but not exactly helpful ones.

It’s easier and quicker to see the harmful effects of soda, for example, on a plant than on an animal or human. Ever try watering a plant with soda? Give this experiment a try sometime on a plant you don’t love. Maybe an annoying weed you don’t want around? And see how long it takes before it’s gone.

The stats are shocking. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42% of adults in the U.S. are obese. Including those who are obese, over 73% of Americans are considered to be overweight. And these stats were from before the pandemic, before many stayed home for months, eating endless snack “food.”

There has been a huge surge in Type II diabetes which can result from being overweight. Other consequences include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, several types of cancer, breathing problems, and depression – which can all lead to increased mortality. A new book, Hooked: Food, Free Will And How The Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions, by a former NY Times investigative reporter, Michael Moss, documents how the food industry has purposely sought to turn us into overweight food addicts.

He explains in the book how the Standard American Diet (fittingly known as SAD) is designed by chemical researchers in the food and beverage industry to be addictive.

As with tobacco and cocaine, which are also very addictive substances, highly processed food is derived from naturally occurring plants, but stripped of the components, such as water, fiber, and protein, that slow its absorption into the bloodstream.

The most addictive “food” generally has large amounts of trans and saturated fat combined with an excess of refined carbohydrates.

This concentrated combination is not found in nature, where natural food may be quite sweet or fatty, but not both at once.

This triggers an abnormal spike in the pleasure center of the brain which can lead to cravings to overeat, similar to the spike that results from addictive substances like tobacco and opioids.

According to Susan McQuillan, M.S., RDN, a well-known food and health writer, “The addictive nature of other substances, such as tobacco and opioids, was denied for decades for some of the same reasons, and these products were heavily promoted to consumers, just like processed foods.”

The American Psychiatric Association defines an addiction as “the compulsive use of a substance or behavior despite its harmful consequences.” When we discover that two-thirds of all grocery items currently have added sugar in them, we can begin to understand how we are being set up to develop food addictions.

According to the CDC (the Center for Disease Control), 40% of all cancers are now attributable to obesity – that is 13 types, including colorectal, pancreatic, liver and kidney cancers.

As Dr. Jason Fung, best-selling author of The Obesity Code explains, “Cancer exists in our bodies all the time, but the immune system keeps it in check. Cancer is always trying to grow and spread, and the best defense we have is a healthy diet.”

I also read that our immune cells have receptors (which can be imagined as being similar to parking spots) for the vital nutrients we need, and they only function at full capacity when there is a daily supply of these nutrients.

And it takes about 400 repetitions to form new synapses in the brain, but it takes only 10-20 repetitions when done playfully, according to research conducted by Dr. Karyn Purvis. So what’s the quickest way to make positive changes? Joyfully! For lifelong fitness we get to enjoy eating food that is both delicious and nutritious – instead of food-like substances that are chemically manipulated to be delicious and addictive. An orange was designed with infinite intelligence and beneficence, while an orange-flavored Tangy Taffy really provides nothing good for us besides the immediate sensation.

Yes, we were duped, but we don’t need to be anymore. With wisdom, we can now joyfully aim to keep our wondrous immune systems strong, doing what is within our power to lead healthy, happy, and long lives.

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DR. NEHA MEHTA SHEDS DR. NEHA MEHTA SHEDS LIGHT ON MENTAL HEALTH LIGHT ON MENTAL HEALTH POST COVID 19 AND POST COVID 19 AND MORE... MORE...

Tell us a little about you?

Hi, I'm Dr. Neha Mehta, a clinical psychologist registered with the RCI. I have been in practice for over a decade and specialise in child, marital, and relationship counselling. I am proud to have received three national awards, including a gold medal for saving the life of a rape victim. I am certified by the American Psychological Association (APA) and NIMHANS.

I work with individuals who are struggling even after trying various treatments and medications. My goal is to raise awareness and provide support for those in need. I have a large following on my YouTube channel, with over 1.5 million subscribers, as well as a Facebook page, where I offer a safe space for people to share their personal and mental health issues.

How has the pandemic affected the psycho-social health of children?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the psychosocial well-being of children. Prior to the pandemic, school provided a safe haven for children where they could escape any issues at home and be supported and loved by their teachers. However, the pandemic has forced children to spend more time in front of screens, leading to increased screen time and digital toxicity. The constant talk of COVID19, which many children do not understand, has added to their stress and confusion. The lack of social interaction has also hindered the children's development in areas such as communication, language, and motor skills. Some children have even fallen behind in their studies by two to three years. This is not a problem with the children themselves, but rather the environment created by the pandemic.

COVID-19, an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, has affected people in various ways — financially, physically, emotionally. What kind of myriad mental health issues has it led to?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on individuals' finances, physical health, and emotional well-being. The social isolation and financial stress caused by the pandemic have led to an increase in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. People are bombarded with negative news and unable to connect with others in the same way they were before, which exacerbates their mental health struggles.

However, the Sushant Singh case and other events during the COVID-19 pandemic have heightened awareness of mental health and its importance. People now understand that mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical health and that having a support system, such as family, is crucial for overall health and happiness. The pandemic has emphasised the idea that money is meaningless without good mental and physical health.

Mental health seems to be emerging as a big concern. How can it be tackled knowing very well that not many people seek help for mental illness in the country?

Mental illness is a prevalent issue, but many people don't speak up about it. It's important to understand that mental health problems can happen to anyone, including healthcare professionals. If you are dealing with mental health issues, there are several things you can do to help yourself. Writing in a journal or keeping a diary is a good way to communicate with yourself and work through your thoughts and feelings.It's okay to reach out to family members, but if you feel uncomfortable doing so, writing down your thoughts can be a helpful alternative.

Taking care of yourself through meditation, exercise, rest, and self-care activities such as reading a book or taking a vacation can also be beneficial. Encouraging others to seek help from the right professional is also important. Online counselling sessions are available, and talking to a trusted individual or therapist can also help. Listening to others and creating a supportive environment for them to open up can also help improve your mental well-being. It's crucial to find the right solution and not simply brush off mental health issues, as they are real and can have a significant impact on one's life.

Drnehaofficial Drnehamehta.com

How do you see us addressing the needs of today’s young adults—Generation Z—that might be different from older generations such as millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers?

It appears that the millennial generation may be reluctant to discuss their mental health issues, but generation X is more forthcoming about it. They are now more knowledgeable about depression and therapy, and there is a growing effort to normalise therapy. Going to therapy for mental health is as normal as visiting a gym or salon for physical health. Generation X is more accepting and aware of mental illness than millennials, although parents may be preventing their children from seeking therapy.

It is normal for individuals of any age to experience depression or mental illness and it is crucial for parents to recognize where they may be going wrong. Seeking the assistance of a mental health expert does not equate to being insane, but rather it shows a concern for one's mental well-being and a desire to improve it. It is perfectly acceptable to attend therapy sessions or courses with a psychologist to better one's mental health.

Soul Journey Retreats: Soul Journey Retreats: Get Away To Get Back Get Away To Get Back To You To You

Life can become messy and complicated. People forget themselves and the purpose of existence: to love, be loved and create with The Divine Creator. Humans are raised to believe the stories told to them about the meaning of life and how life ought to be lived. Their original understanding of their individuality, experiences and path become unclear and forgotten leading to lack of fulfillment, peace and joy. Oftentimes people end up depressed and barely treading water to get by every day.

Soul Journey Retreats offer a little escape to look in the mirror, examine what no longer serves them and step back on their soul’s path. Because there is so much noise in everyday life, you cannot hear the whispers of Spirit calling you back to that road, the road less traveled. You only feel the effects of going off road: the bumps, the potholes, the blocks. Those negative experiences can lead you to take a good hard look at giving a Soul Journey Retreat a shot.

March 2023 Soul Talk

As an intuitive soul guide who hosts several transformational soul journey retreats a year in Sicily, watching the lightbulb go off when those who attend experience the simplicity of life is amazing. These retreats offer deep meaningful “ah ha” moments, which are one of my greatest pleasures as a leader. Helping people to learn what it means to live “a Blue Zone life,” to become ok with themselves, and to find a profound sense of purpose is the crux of my soul journey retreats. Feeling the emotions surrounding these enlightened moments helps people adopt these practices at home because it is experiential, a moving of the heart, not just words heard in a workshop or class.

Here are a few outcomes one can expect post-retreat:

A deeper understanding of self: Knowing who you are, what your purpose is, specifically on a personal level, and how freedom is the foundation for a full life.

What self-care really means: Extreme self-care is the bedrock of intimacy, healthy relationships, and boundaries.

What love of self entails: We are created from Divine Perfection which can only mean we are already perfect. Allowing that to sink in over eight days and bringing that home means authentically loving those in your world.

Healing your life begins with the first three and continues in daily life: The entire experience is therapeutic and curative. Once you are on the healing path, you can continue this in your everyday life.

Finally be OK with you: Evolving and personal growth begins on the retreat. The opportunity to level up is extended here and is the start of the soul’s path offering peace, love, joy, contentment, and a fun life with less stress.

Connect with Spirit in a practical, real-life way: Learn how to adopt a spiritual practice and the benefits of saying “yes” to The Divine every day.

Taken together, these pieces can change your life faster than anything else you could try. Honing in on who you are, what you want, and what makes you feel good is the start of deliberate manifestation of the life desired. Learning how to feel into what you desire, alongside the guided coaching, healing, and personal growth creates a catalyst for change in your life.

When you’re truly connected to your higher self and Inner Being, you will discover which activities light you up and contribute to your soul's calling. Does your soul need some time to recharge? Does it crave the company of loved ones? Getting in tune with yourself through a retreat allows you to create the changes you need in your life once you return home.

I love Soul Journey Retreats to Sicily because it’s such an easy setting for massive, radical transformation. It’s one of those countries where the way of life is slower, people are happy with zero stress, and the food is exceptional. There are certain areas of the world dubbed Blue Zones, where people tend to live longer due to the quality of life, and Sicily essentially offers that kind of life. I find people gain ‘soul clarity’ by learning from the ancients and living life the way people used to, even if it is only for a week.

Meeting the needs of your soul is unique to you and looks different for every person. Results are as individual as each person who attends. Regardless, a soul journey retreat is always transformational for all those who desire an aligned life, are coachable and take the leap of faith. I encourage you to plan a soul journey retreat for 2023. Do not waste another moment in complacency. Make this the year you live life on your terms without regret.

If you’re interested in joining me in Sicily in June, take a look at our itinerary, and apply!

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THE BEST PLACES TO ESCAPE FOR A DIGITAL DETOX

Was your New Year’s Resolution to spend less time looking at your screens?

You’re not alone - according to recent research by Reviews.org, the average Australian spends over five hours a day on their phones. That’s more than 17 years across a lifetime! And over in the USA almost half (47%) of Americans say they’re addicted to their phones. Luckily, there are plenty of places around the world that are perfect for switching off and enjoying a detox from all things digital. Looking to get off grid? Let’s go!

THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, NSW, AUSTRALIA

Just 90 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Australia’s biggest city - Sydneylies the tranquil, swaying eucalyptus trees, quaint little villages and Dreamtime stories of The Blue Mountains. It gets its name from the blue haze that sweeps through the vista, and is part of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. You’ll be immersed in nature from the moment you arrive. Whether you want to stroll the streets of quirky Katoomba, enjoy a silent meditation retreat in Wentworth Falls at Happy Buddha Retreats or enjoy one of the many, many bushwalks on offer, the last thing you’ll want to do is sit and stare at your phone all day. Listen out for the local birdlife; cockatoos, king parrots, crimson rosellas, currawongs and kookaburras are all common sightings in the Blue Mountains, as well as wombats and kangaroos.

Don’t miss: Seeing The Three Sisters - a sacred site for Indigenous Australians and a spectacular rock formation.

KATHMANDU, NEPAL

Despite Kathmandu being a loud, busy and bustling city, it happens to also be the perfect place for a digital detox thanks to its strong links to meditation, yoga and mindfulness - and of course, its proximity to the awe-inspiring Himalayas. Pop into one of the many yoga studios in the city for some serious downward-dog detoxing, or sign up to a local meditation class. It’s quite a nice juxtaposition of the chaos of the city blended with the tranquillity of yoga and meditation. Get an almost birds eye view of the city from the Swayambhunath Temple - one of Buddhism’s holiest sites. Just watch out for the monkeys! Plus, Nepalese food is delicious! Try momos, curries and naan bread washed down with a fresh juice.

Don’t miss: Kathmandu’s Garden of Dreams - a serene oasis ‘hidden’ in the heart of the city.

QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

Looking to replace the ho-hum of scrolling Facebook with some adrenaline? Look no further thanNew Zealand’s action-adventure capital, Queenstown. Whether you want to try bungee jumping, skiing and snowboarding on New Zealand's Southern Alps, rafting through the icy whitewater rapids of the Kawarau River, or hike the Ben Lomond Walkway, there’s plenty to do to get your heart racing (and your mind off your phone). For something a little more relaxing, you can soak in the hot tubs of the Onsen Hot Pools, embark on a scenic helicopter flight or simply indugle in the local food and wine scene.

Don’t miss: nearby Arrowtown, an old gold-mining town where you can give gold-panning a go!

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

The tagline for Tasmania is ‘Come down for air’, and it couldn’t be more true (and perfect for a digital detox). Escape the mainland of Australia and head down south to a land of sweeping views, rugged cliffs,world-famous hikes, amazing beaches, gourmet food and wine, art galleries and museums, distilleries, orchards and fresh seafood. Whether you’re a foodie, a hiker, camper or just want a break from the hustle and bustle, Tasmania is the perfect place to switch off and immerse yourself in, well, whatever you’d like! There’s no shortage of things to do to keep you busy, whether you want to relax with a glass of local wine, or hike the incredible Cradle Mountain National Park.

Don’t miss: MONA, Tasmania’s premiere Museum of Old and New Art, located in the state’s capital of Hobart.

UBUD, BALI

Channel your inner Elizabeth Gilbert and head to one of the most well-known places to enjoy a digital detox - Ubud. Tropical leafy green palms sway above you, wind chimes soundtrack your relaxation as you look out across beautiful terraced rice fields. Bali is synonymous with relaxation (well, certain parts of it, anyway). While you’re there, check out the Bali meditation centre, embark on a sunrise hike up Mount Batur, book into a yoga retreat, take a cooking class, go snorkelling, or simply enjoy the food, drink and hospitality Bali is famous for.

Don’t miss: The Ubud Palace, one of the top attractions where you can often watch evening dance performances, or simply check out the stone carvings. The area is famous for its community of artists, too.

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EVEN IN TODAY'S MODERN EVEN IN TODAY'S MODERN WORLD, WORLD, DOES A WOMAN DOES A WOMAN NEED RIGHTS.... OFCOURSE NEED RIGHTS.... OFCOURSE SHE DOES!! SHE DOES!!

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