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How To Get Away From Your Devices And Into Your Imaginative World During Lockdown

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Creativity is the most precious asset of the human mind and innovation is the decisive characteristic of our history.

Masterpieces of many great geniuses creative people were completed in silence. Creativity flourishes in solitude; it can’t be expected to come in a chattering room or while being surrounded by people or gadgets.

Certainly, you can benefit from interacting and brainstorming with others, but awesome creative work can be achieved only by shutting out the outside world, whilst you insanely focus on your craft.

But in the current scenario, focus is the biggest challenge for human beings. When we are not engaged on call on this miniature computer that we all carry restrain us with never-ending personal and news updates? We all have experienced how a quick glance at the notification turns into a 30-minute session. That’s why techniques to stay focused are the hallmark of every spiritual tradition.

Modern communication technology and social media have taken the game to a whole new level. Now we have all the information, updates and news in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, while we may think that constant content consumption is making us smarter and faster, the reality is just the opposite. Why? Research has shown that the brain is like a muscle — it changes and gets stronger when you use it. And like any muscle, if you focus only on information input and no practice, it becomes difficult to force your brain to produce any output.

Credit: Pixabay

Psychologist Jonathan Smallwood measured this imbalance in a research and found a troubling link between distraction and creativity. Thus, it is important to balance the input and output. His research demonstrates that rather than being in a moment of idle fancy and focusing on input, one should decouple their attention from external information. Hence, focus on self-generated thoughts and feelings when the environment is not demanding.

In other words, mind-wandering augments creativity, particularly “divergent thinking” or being able to come up with novel ideas. As a more recent study found, mind-wandering improved people’s creativity above and beyond the positive effects.

So, a wandering mind, once thought to be a detrimental characteristic of the unfocused, is actually one of the traits we need to encourage of each other. 

Always fascinated by human behaviour, I have a habit of observing people, in fact, everything. It helps me reconnect with myself and my thoughts, and provides a huge boost to my writing ability.

I spent most of my life around kids. So, my observation is usually around them. In fact, I believe in: ‘look around and you will see life’s learning at each step’.

Recently, I had the chance to stay with my niece for quite a long time. Due to the lockdown, my six-year-old niece had nothing much to do, and TV and mobile had taken a huge space in that period, apart from her study time. One day, my sister took all the gadgets from my niece, she also switched off the TV, and wanted to give her a break from all these things. For quite some time, my niece sat idle and starting saying, ‘What should I do now? I am bored.’ But her mother was firm on her decision.

After some time, from what I saw, all the toys came out of the cupboard. The kid started playing on her own. Instead of playing games on the screen, she started playing games physically. She pondered the options of cycling and playing with toys. She even created a nice house for herself and her dolls.

To my surprise, she created her own imaginary world. She opened her toy-laptop and started working like her mom. Then, she called her friends from her toy-phone and started talking like we do with our friends. She created her shop and was running a fantastic business. She knew everything from selling to marketing. Thus, whatever she learned from seeing and observing, she was now applying.

I would suggest you to try this with your kid, too. I am sure, you will be amazed to see what all things they already know. And why only kids, try it on yourself, too. Switch off all the input sources for some time and see what the outcome of it is. Unleash your creative and innovative side by self-generating thoughts and feelings.

Say no to others, create that space to produce and feel good about oneself doing something. This is also at the heart of a poem by Charlie Chaplin:

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people,
things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself.
At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is ‘Love of Oneself’.


To summarise, when we decouple ourselves from external information, we start self-generating thoughts. We are poured with new ideas and new ways to do something. So, it will not be wrong to say that staying away from constant content consumption leaves us with more space to be intrinsically motivated and take creative actions.

For some time, if you can resist the temptation of the sweet, jolly and sugary-like notifications on your phone, and give your mind the balanced diet it needs, you will find you have far more creativity than you imagined.

Moving into solitude, at times, can be a good start to unleash your creative and innovative side. That’s why the ideas you have in the shower are so different from the ideas you have at work — you’re a pinch more close-minded at the office.

You would have noticed this during the lockdown. Creativity and innovation were ringing aloud. A quote by Warren Buffet precisely summarises this screamingly obvious yet often ignored fact:

‘The difference between successful people and really successful people is those really successful people say no to almost everything.’

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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