Procrastination Isn’t Wisdom

Surabhi KARIGHATTAM responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire: 

Your view on beauty?

The definition of beauty and/or being trendy has changed, or metamorphosed, all through history. While corsets, bonnets, and petticoats were the rage in the late 18th century, they seamlessly transitioned into the iconic flapper dresses in the 1920s, a look culminating in a stylish bob. ‘Trendy’ today seems more like mom jeans, crop tops, and bucket hats.

Yes, the exact picture of beauty has changed, yet the quest for that one true answer is, as yet, unabated. In other words, our innate desire to feel beautiful has been rooted for several millennia, with no conclusive answer. So, what is admirable, even desirable, regardless of any time frame? Confidence, grace, and kindness, in my view. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to partake in fashion trends and care about your appearance; in fact, it’s the opposite. Clothes and make-up are a fun method of self-expression, also art by itself. Yet, it’s not the end-all, be-all, to be beautiful. As the legendary Sophia Loren, who immortalised beauty, said, “Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

Your ‘take’ on fitness?

I think exercising is not just a physical activity, but also mental. Working out and eating healthy builds muscles and keeps your body fit; it also does wonders for the mind. Committing to going to the gym regularly is a habit that builds perseverance, resilience, and determination, not just a six-pack. Building healthy routines takes time, but doing an activity, I like, makes the process easier. My exercises of choice are marching band and taekwondo. They are good fun for me, not only because I enjoy the activities, but also because I get to see my friends, whenever I go to class, or rehearsal. What’s more, finishing such a session keeps me in good shape physically; it also jazzes-up my mental health. To be fit, I feel, we need to have a healthy balance — the best of both the worlds.

Your view of health and wellness?

Our bodies are complex systems with countless pieces that ought to be working in perfect synchrony, just to do something as seemingly simple as breathing. Health and wellness are what we do to make sure each part of the machine is fully functional. We prioritise physical health to keep us well and free from sickness. Yet, the fact is — mental health is arguably more important, because it is our brain that powers our entire body. We need to take care of it, just as much as our mind, the driving force behind our every action. Getting enough sleep makes sure that we’re [re]charged and ready to tackle the day. Socialising, talking to people about our little ‘battles’ and disconnecting from our mobile devices help us to keep our spirits at a higher level as well.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance?

Achieving satisfactory work-life balance is a tricky juggling act. I would argue that taking time for oneself requires discipline than working non-stop. Many times, putting our foot down and saying, ‘enough is enough,’ looks like we’re just wasting precious time. I think the pandemic has only heightened this element, because working from home blurs the lines between study and relaxation — since they all happen in the same place. It’s now easier than ever to overwork, because there’s no geographical barrier between home and work life. I feel one way to work around things, in the new normal, is to set boundaries for yourself, using timers, if necessary. Committing to work, for example, only until 5:00pm during weekends and spending the rest of the day with family and friends is one good idea. You’d also set aside a dedicated ‘me-time’ for yourself; this helps you to achieve that coveted work-life balance. It also improves your mental and emotional health, including productivity.

Your mantra to beat stress?

Let me be honest — this is still ‘work in progress.’ As a student, most of my stresses are school-related. For example, let’s say in two weeks, I have a major pre-calculus test over a topic I have been uptight with. Seeing ‘study for math test’ on my to-do list is intimidating, also painful, so I naturally avoid it by doing something enjoyable. The more I procrastinate, the more stressed I get and the less likely the focus on my studies. I’d also inevitably get pushed forward week by week until it’s the night before. I’m now frantically climbing my mental Mount Everest, but in vain.

This ‘cycle of procrastination’ is a phenomenon I’m sure most people experience at some point. In my experience, the best way to avoid such stressful situations is to break down the task. Doing 20 practice problems is a much simple proposition. The outcome? I’m less likely to procrastinate, as opposed to ‘study for pre-calculus test that is worth 30 per cent of your grade.’ Breaking down our tasks gives us the sense that we are achieving more milestones; it, therefore, improves our mood. Scheduling time across multiple days to complete little tasks means I’d be prepared for my test — and, not just because I’ve reviewed the material. I’d, in so doing, be confident of my abilities and relaxed on the day of the exam. This method, although not exactly a mantra, is, I believe, an effective strategy that I often use to combat my day-to-day stress.

SURABHI KARIGHATTAM, a Second Year High School Student, is a polyglot — right, or, well almost, from the time she grappled with her first syllables. She believes that this has, in more ways than one, fostered her life-long love for languages. Music is one such language, no less. She plays the flute and piano too. Her idea of a perfect Friday night is to curl up on the couch, drink a cup of chai, and read/watch a mystery. She lives in the US.

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