16 days to go

Wow! Can you believe it? Just 16 days left!

How are we doing?

P1050892The morale is high; we are gearing up for the challenge of our life time (says Asim). I’m nervous and scared but also excited (says Tamreez). Yesterday we met our Kilimanjaro fellow trekkers at a dinner and we hit it off really well with the group. Also present at the dinner was Riaz, a person who had trekked Kili two years ago for FTCF, and it was good to get our random queries answered (“no there would be no shower facilities for 7 days of the trek”, “avoid using the public toilets”, “eat even if you don’t feel like it”). Talking to him we were reassured and excited as this sort of advice we don’t really get in guidebooks e.g. he told us to  pack with us lots of M&Ms or other sugary snacks (aka little doses of happiness that keep you going!), books and board games for the evenings because we would have plenty of free time to kill with not much entertainment around us. From within the group it was decided that we would bring boggle, articulate…and of course the Pakistani fav: LUDO!!

From all that he told us, the most inspiring to know was that while physical fitness is important, even more important is your mental state. According to Riaz, most people who didn’t make it to the peak had given up before their bodies had really given up. P1050910

Although our exercise routine hasn’t been very regular (Facebook par status kya daal diya ke we’re going to the gym in Ramzan, nazar hee lag gayi! woh din aur aaj ka din siraf aik dafa gym gaye!) but we have been trying our best to at least be as active as we can. For example, if we have to go someplace close-by we try walking it there. In the past two weeks, we had one proper gym session, a hectic day or two running around everywhere – be it for work or visiting friends and a few walks here and there. This Sunday we went for an all day touristy trip to Oxford with Fatima (we walked almost all day)—not sure how that would compare to Kilimanjaro but it counts as a practice session, right Fati?

As our friend N pointed out to us today, we have taken the Tesco slogan to heart, whether it’s fundraising or training, and believe that “every little helps”!

What’s left to do?

We promised FTCF that we will raise £6500 for them. We have managed a whopping £5183 (thanks to you all) but are still about £1317 short of our target.

Other trip related requirements that we still have to meet are:

  • Vaccinations (Yellow Fever for both of us & Hepatitis A/B for Asim)
  • Malaria Tablets
  • Remaining trekking equipment – sleeping bags, head torches, trekking poles, Tamreez’s jacket, water bottles and tons of snacks and little things such as a first aid kit
  • Lots of exercise – We will rest the last 3 or 4 days.

How can you help?

By sending us motivational messages (please start by leaving a comment here RIGHT NOW!). Reminding us to exercise (we really need to!). And by helping us in not just meeting but surpassing our fundraising target: www.justgiving.com/asimandtamreez.

At the end of the day, the only reason we’re doing this is because we believe education is the future of Pakistan and that TCF is one of the best organizations out there when it comes to providing poor children with quality education. This is our small way of making a difference and hope that you would help us in achieving our goal!

Stress – We can handle it!

Stress-ZebraStripes“I have too much work, don’t know where to start? I am stressed, don’t know if I can do it?”

“I have nothing to do, its stressing me out”

“God!! its stressful, I can’t handle it!!”

“I am too stressed, have lots to do for my exams”

At work, in social circles, within family, one of the most common phrases I hear day in day out is regarding stress. Stress is a fact of life and is actually a form of fear. Fear of what?? Well, that depends on what we are stressed about… We fear consequences, “all negative” in this case.

I personally think stress is a cause of negative thinking. It not only hinders our work, it can have a serious impact on our health too. Hence, it is very important to tackle it in time for a healthy mind and a healthy body. I am a believer in relaxation techniques. A state of deep relaxation actually counters the mental fear response, it decreases muscle tension (remember those stiff shoulders you get when afraid or stressed?), controls blood pressure & heart rate.

I’d like to share a few relaxation techniques I use for Stress Control, please try them and let me know of your experience:

Breathing techniques

Breathe properly; it’s really important. Stress makes us breathe in short breaths from high up in our chest. In all the relaxation techniques I have read, they always recommend breathing deeply starting from our abdomen i.e. fill in your abdomen first and then the top part of the chest to get more oxygen to our brain and muscles.

Try this simple exercise – Sit straight on a chair or lie down on your bed. With one hand on your abdomen, take a deep breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as you fill your lower lungs with air, then fill in your upper lungs. Hold your breath for a moment and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Get rid of all the air and along with it breathe out all the stress in your body. Yes, imagine doing that. This works for any aching parts of your body too. Focus on them when doing the exercise.

Repeat several times, until you feel relaxed. With practice, you’ll be able to use this technique whenever you feel stressed. I have used it. In fact I and Tamreez do these exercises sometimes with a relaxation techniques CD we have. It just takes a few mins and we are both sleeping :). Trust me it works!

Imagine yourself in a peaceful place

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a tranquil place… an island, a beach, your village, whatever you find peaceful. Feel your breathing and slowly relax yourself into the scene. Fill in the scene with details. What do you smell, feel, see and hear?

It takes your mind off stress and the body heals itself. Try it and let us know how it went.

Get out and exercise

Haha, I am saying it and Tamreez will laugh at me. I have become a lazy bum these days. Physical activity is a great way to get rid of stress. Regular exercise can improve breathing, blood circulation, concentration and energy level goes up, it also controls things like blood pressure and cholesterol etc.

I did a course in ‘Superworking’ a couple of years ago. This was one of the most important things highlighted for a healthy brain. It is recommended to do at least 20 mins of exercise everyday. It can be anything from brisk walking, going up and down the stairs etc. The key is to do it in one go i.e. 20 mins of exercising with no breaks.

Think about it, is your stress worth stressing about?

Each one of us look at the world from a point of view. These are the invisible goggles we are wearing that give us a different view of the world. Sometimes our stress is a cause of our perception of a situation rather than the situation itself. Reconsider the cause of your stress and ask yourself if you’re worrying unnecessarily. Talk to yourself, have an internal debate and reason it out. Sometimes it works!


Always works for me. Listening to relaxing music can help – Lata and Kishore work for me :) I also like listening to just instrumental music.

Hope these tips are helpful. Keep smiling :)