10 Period Myths That Must Be Broken

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When I was in college, I was hanging out with some of my classmates, and I noticed that a girl was feeling uncomfortable. I asked her openly that are you on periods and everyone's face was like they have seen an alien. The girl took me aside and asked me how you can say something like this publicly. And that's when I realize that this is how we have raised our girls. We have made them so guilty about periods that they don't want to talk about it.

The period is such a taboo subject that we are even scared of saying it aloud. So we came up with code names like lady problems. It has been around since ancient times, and we can witness in our history as well as our scriptures. You will get to see mentions like-

"Go away from women during periods because they are not clean."

"Whoever will touch her during the period will be unclean, and if you touch her, then you shall wash your clothes and take a bath."

"Contact with period blood will sour the wine. The crops will become barren. The seeds will dry up." And the list goes on...

A woman has around 500 periods in her lifetime. If we put it in an average, they go on bleeding about 3000 days in their lifetime. Taboos around periods in India is way broader. They are skipping school. They are forbidden from holy rituals. They are excluded from sports. For a few days every month, their life on hold.

Around 20 millions of girls drop out of school as soon as they start menstruating in India. And only 18% of women have access to sanitary pads in India. It is shocking to see the figures, but it is the truth.

Taboos around periods-

In India, taboos around periods are like the mother of all taboos. Some are so stupid and illogical that if you think about it, you will just laugh about it. But we have failed as a society to overcome such stupidity because we have never tried. Let's talk about the 10 taboos on periods which you will usually encounter-

  1. Celebrated yet an outcast- In some parts of south India as well northeast India, when a girl gets her first period, gets presents and are celebrated for this occasion. And still, they are barred from household works for a period of 3 nights.
  2. A menstruating woman is not allowed to enter the temple- Being born in a Hindu family, I had witnessed it month after month. When my cousin sisters were on periods, they were not allowed to be a part of any holy rituals. Now you can imagine how much shame it will bring to the girl that she will think and believe that she is not even accepted in God's house. She will hate herself for it.
  3. Nobody should touch a menstruating woman- I have heard this numerous times while growing up that I should not touch a girl or woman while she is on her period. One time I touched the hand of one of my sisters, and I was asked by my grandma to take a bath. Even I felt so enraged hearing such stupidity. I refused to do so. I got some scolding, but hey this is how you all should start in your family as well.
  4. Her touch will rot the pickle- Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds that if she will touch pickle during her period, it will rot. And women follow it religiously. I still can't get my head around it and aliens must be laughing about it and what a weird mental virus we have.
  5. Don't go near the Tulsi Plant- The tulsi or basil is considered holy in Hinduism and woman cannot touch it while she is on her period. Even her shadow will kill the plant.
  6. Don't wash your hair and don't tie your hair- This is again one weird and illogical taboo that women should not wash their hair while she is on her period. She has to keep her hair open. There is no trail of this that what is the reason behind it but it is still get passed on by older women to younger girls.
  7. Living in exile- In some rural parts of India and Nepal, Girl lives in a shed outside the house while she is on her period. This practice is called "Chhaupadi". Sometimes it leads to the death of some women. In the first-ever case, there has been an arrest in Nepal for such practice in the first week of December 2019.
  8. A menstruating woman should not enter the kitchen- In Indian households, a woman cannot enter the kitchen if she is on her period. This is as stupid as it sounds. The food will become bad if she will touch them. This is so discriminatory. As she should be free to do whatever she wants while she is on her period.
  9. Virgins should not use tampons- India has so much preached about the virginity of a girl. In some rural part, there is still a virginity test before marriage to see that if a girl is a virgin or not. And that has started a taboo that if you use tampons, you will lose your virginity. Scientifically it is not true at all and tampons are not associated with virginity in any way. It is so absurd and shameful that we give so much importance to virginity.
  10. Buying Sanitary pads is embarrassing- There is so much shame associated with menstruation that women, as well as men, are embarrassed to buy sanitary pads or tampons. Even medical shops give it in wrapped paper or brown or black bags. Women never ask a male member of the family to buy them pads or tampons. This is how we have built our society.

It made no sense to me while I was processing these as a child, but Now I am an adult, and I can understand that these taboos are deeply rooted in our culture. It will not go away until we, as an individual will start opposing it. I am hopeful for the younger generations that they will not pass on these stupid taboos to the next generations. And the older women are also somewhat responsible for this and if they will start speaking up about it.

I believe these taboos will go away because it needs to go away.

Feel free to drop a comment on what type of taboo around periods you have witnessed while growing up.

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Eating disorders and mental health in teenagers

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Eating disorder and mental health are two sides of the same coin. Depression leads to eating disorders and vice versa. Eating disorders among teenagers are very common. For instance, take Rache. She is a 14 years old girl. She finished her lunch in the school cafeteria. She is so upset with sudden weight gain that she went to the bathroom and forced herself to throw up. It might seem normal for starters that sometimes we throw up after eating food, but after doing for 5 to 10 times, and now it is a daily ritual for Rachel. And in the future, it will lead to serious health concerns, even death.

Jack is 16 years boy, and he was a chubby kid growing up, so he became obsessed to have an athletic body. So he started only eating salad and started running miles every day. After some time, jack became tall and thin, but he always felt tired and exhausted. One night he became severely ill with stomach pain and cramps. He was admitted to hospital and now undergoing various tests for his mystery illness.

Nowadays, millions of teenagers are affected by eating disorders, and most of them are girls. One out of every 7 girls are or were struggling with eating disorders. Of all the eating disorders cases, 90% of them are girls. Weight obsession is the main reason for this as all teenagers these days are obsessed with the perfect body.

Eating disorders can happen in many ways; some people don’t like to eat all then some do binge eating. Mainly, There are three types of eating disorders.

  1. Anorexia Nervosa - People having anorexia nervosa avoid food or eat very less amount of food. Even if they eat, they are very restrictive and selective of their food choices. Even if they are underweight, they consider themselves overweight.

Symptoms- Here are some signs and what it will lead to over a period of time.

  • Extremely restricted eating and in some cases intensive and excessive exercise
  • Extreme thinness
  • A never-ending pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy and normal weight.
  • Intense fear of weight gain
  • Poor body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced and shaped by perceptions and projection of body weight and shape

And these symptoms over time can develop in worse cases like-

  • Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • Mild anaemia and muscle wasting and weakness
  • Brittle hair and nails, dry and yellowish skin, Growth of fine hair all over the body
  • Severe constipation, Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
  • Damage to the structure and function of the heart
  • Drop-in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
  • Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time
  • Irregular periods delayed puberty and slow growth
  • Infertility, Brain damage, and multiorgan failure

Anorexia is a fatal eating disorder, and it can lead to sudden death. It has the most mortality rate among all eating disorders. People with anorexia often have a hard time remembering things. The thoughts and emotions they go through daily are- feeling alone, sad, or depressed, anxiety, fears about gaining weight and thoughts of hurting themselves.

  1. Bulimia Nervosa- People with bulimia often have a habit of overeating and then feeling guilty about it. After they go through with intense fasting or exercise or depends on pills. Their thought is that they are compensating for overeating. People with bulimia can be of normal weight or overweight.

Symptoms- Physical symptoms because of bulimia may include-

  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Tooth erosion and cavities
  • Swollen cheeks

The person having bulimia usually have emotions as -

  • low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression
  • alcohol or drug problems
  • Thoughts of hurting themselves
  1. Binge-Eating- People having binge eating disorder have no control over their eating, and they feel guilty about it. Still, they do not do anything like exercising or fasting to compensate for it, as people with bulimia do. That is why people with bulimia are overweight.

Symptoms include-

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, like 2 to 3 hours.
  • Eating fast and eating even when full or not hungry
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about eating

These symptoms lead to physical problems such as-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Fatty liver

People with binge eating disorder suffer from low self esteem and anxiety and depression. They have difficulties coping with strong emotions and to get away from that they just take it out by eating in bulk.

Cause of eating disorders-

There is no defined cause of eating disorders, As I would like to point out that there are many various factors which are responsible for it.

For example- The society where we grow up, from morning to evening we encounter things which flaunt perfect body image, but we don’t think for a second that it is real or not, and our kids get caught up in it. So it is influenced by the environment we live in. If we as responsible adults just pay a little attention to eat and teach our kids that they are perfect the way they are. So if you have a kid or any person who is around you and you feel that they are going through the same then don’t hesitate to talk to them.

Because if it is treated early, there are more chances to recover from it.

Diagnosis- Mental professionals first assess the problems and severity of it that how early or late it is. So they can prepare a meal plan with the help of a dietician and proper mental counseling.

So if you feel that you have any of the eating disorders discussed above then feel free to talk to elders, you trust and consult a doctor. It is not that difficult if you have a good support system, then it will be effortless for you to develop your self-confidence. Once you feel good in the state, you are and show love for the body you have. There is nothing in this universe that can pull you down.

Feel free to drop your suggestions and views in the comment section.

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Vaginal hygiene for teenagers

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The proper feminine hygiene is not that difficult. The truth is that the vagina itself does the job pretty well. The problem arises when we mess up with it. Just think about the old days when there was no internet, and you are a girl who just started her periods and sudden changes in the shape and size of her body. She had no idea what was happening to her, and she would turn up to her elders for advice and suggestions, and you know how difficult it was in the old days.

Then she would be scrapping for any information she could get, and she would get different types of opinions from different people. Then she would be so confused that she would hate herself for it.

Now we have the internet, but the problem persists. We fill our minds with all types of junk, and the innocent vagina has to suffer for it. People don’t talk about it. It is much more of a taboo than sex. And that leads to different problems like vaginal infections and various diseases.

But no need to worry I am here to break it down for you step by step and give you a very simple and clear cut guide to keep your vagina clean and if she is happy you are happy.

These are some tips you should know to keep your vagina clean and happy.

Vaginal pH

pH is how you measure the acidity level. And vaginal pH explains the acidity level of the vagina. The vagina naturally contains a balance of different bacteria, and they are the good ones, that protect the vagina from external bacteria and fungus. They provide natural disinfectants and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH of 3.5-4.5. And if your vaginal pH is in this range, then there is a perfect ratio of good bacteria (lactobacilli), and it is acting like a shield that is preventing overgrowth of harmful bacteria that can cause irritation and sometimes infection.

Smell

it is an absolute myth that all vagina smells the same, not it’s not true at all. Every vagina has a distinctive smell. If you think that your vagina should smell floral or fruity. It is just men induced agenda for their own satisfaction. You don’t need to bathe it with perfume or any fragrant oil. But if you want some fragrant, then I would suggest that use an organic fragrant oil and do not put it on the vulva or inside your vagina. Put it around your thighs.

Keeping it clean

Cleaning your vagina is very important to keep it healthy and in good function. Dead skin and germs can compile on your inner and outer labia as well as between your clitoris and clitoral hood. So it is essential to rinse your inner and outer labia with warm water. Lift your hood and rinse it with warm water too. Below I will Discuss an explained guide on how to keep it clean.

These are a few tips you can keep in check to keep your vagina clean and infection-free.

Discharge

Vaginal discharge is normal. Vagina cleans itself by this process. Discharge can vary in smell color and texture, depending on your cycle. So sometimes, when you see a thick white stain on your underpants, then do not worry. It’s perfectly normal. Sometimes where there is an overgrowth of bacteria, then the amount of discharge is more than usual. So if you feel that it is stuck in your vagina, then you can clean it by yourself in your shower. You can put your clean finger inside your vagina and move it from one side to another and scoop it out.

Washing your vagina- You do not need any special product to keep your vagina clean. Most of the product marketed towards vaginal hygiene is full of chemicals and scents not good for the vagina. It can create irritation in the vagina and disturb its pH level and can cause a fishy odor. You can use a mild soap like Dove to clean your vagina. Do not put it inside the vagina, wash the outer side(vulva). Wash it gently with your hands, do not use any loofah. It can cause rashes in the vagina.

The vagina is not supposed to smell like peaches or strawberries. You should know that there are good bacteria inside the vagina that eats old blood cells and keep it clean, so you do not need to help her in that. When you are using the bathroom, you can prevent the bacteria from entering the vagina from the rectum by wiping from front to back.

Period Hygiene

This very important part of vaginal hygiene as every girl goes through this every month. Keeping your vagina healthy during your periods is very easy. Keep these things in mind during your period.

  • Always make sure you are changing your pads or tampons every 3 to 4 hours, even if you are bleeding less. As with time, it can become infectious.
  • Start your day by washing it properly, as I instructed above. If you don’t feel fresh, then before changing the pads you can use a baby wipe clean it.
  • Talk to your parents about which products work for you best, either its pads or tampons or menstrual cups.
  • Always keep an extra pair in your backpack, so if you feel the need to change while you are outside. It will be super helpful.

Diet

A proper diet also helps with good vaginal health. You do not need to follow a strict diet, but you need to include some things I am listing below in your regular diet.

  • You can add things like strawberries, pineapples, soy, and yogurt that can influence your pH balance in positive ways.
  • Beverages like water, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice are also proven to improve vaginal health and keep it moist and hydrated.
  • Adding a probiotic supplement to any part of your diet can increase the amount of “good” bacteria in your vagina called lactobacillus. So, eat healthy, and your vagina will really appreciate you!

One important thing you should know which most people do not know. That urinating after masturbation or after having sex reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the urethra, and it reduces the chances of Urinary tract infection(UTI) or any vaginal infection. So always remember to pee.

When you should worry

The vagina gives you warning signals when something is not right, just like any part of the body. Discharge is normal because the vagina is not a dry place. When the discharge is heavier, there may be an overgrowth of bacteria.

If the odor is foul, fishy, and if you are experiencing burning, itching, or bleeding while you’re not on your period, it is time to see a doctor.

So this was my on how to keep your vagina clean, it is really sad that we get to know about sex and our organs in our textbook but never how to take care of them. I hope I was able to explain it to you. Your vagina is wonderful, and so is you, so show her some love. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the comment box.

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8 Ways to stay positive and motivated during this pandemic

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If you are like me, you are probably experiencing more stress that usual. Work is different, the Wi-Fi is acting up, and your social life has come to a halt. Stability and predictability are two words that we are unable to resonate with anymore. After a certain point, all of this can get to you. Fear can make you feel powerless. While you cannot control your feelings, thoughts and the Wi-Fi, you definitely can shift your attention towards the things you can control and help restore your sense of confidence.

Make a list of things that you think are in your control (They could be uneventful or extraordinary) and work on them, every single day. I would like to share with you, my list:

  1. Start a virtual book/movie club: Start your own book club on WhatsApp. Add all the bibliophiles on your contact list. Or if you’re a movie buff, create a group to watch and discuss movies.
  2. Enhance your skills: Work on advancing your skill! It could be something as mundane as taking up an excel course or something fun like baking. Try to complete at least two online courses this quarantine!
  3. Work out: You probably saw this coming. But one cannot stress how important it is to work out especially during uncertain times like these, when your anxiety is at its peak and your thoughts don’t let you sleep. Learn new home workouts every day and let the endorphins and serotonin flow into your body.
  4. Interact (virtually) with your long lost friends and family: Life can get really busy and to be honest it has been. Until now. And we are unable to cope with all the time we have. Talk to all those people you lost touch with and wished you hadn’t (This does not include you ex. DO NOT TEXT THEM!).
  5. Learn a new make-up routine: I personally feel like, the time I spend wearing make-up is all for me. It is the time I have chosen for myself. It could take you fifty minutes or fifteen minutes. That is YOUR time, you are looking in the mirror and focusing on yourself. So create a new look and wear some mascara because, why not?
  6. Write a blog on Glo Community: You probably did not see this one coming. But really, put all your thoughts (happy or sad) into words, not only will it help you learn a lot about yourself, but also help you gain awareness of your reality. You will be helping contribute to the WHO Covid-19 fund!
  7. Limit your news intake: While it is good to be informed at all times, the amount of information can be a double edged sword. So be aware, but also learn to disconnect.
  8. Do your bit: Last but not the least, everybody reading this is probably doing their part by washing hands regularly and staying home unless absolutely necessary. Every small effort is going to add up and will have a huge impact.

Do not lose hope. Stay positive, stay motivated and please be safe. We are all in this together. 😊

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Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep Better

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Yoga can do wonders to your body and mind, but you probably already know that. I’ve been practicing for close to two years now, and I think it’s safe to say that it has changed my life. Yoga has SO many benefits and decoding each pose to know how they help your body lead to simpler goal-setting. 

With broken work schedules and irregular sleep cycles having affected a whole lot of people in this quarantine period, you might feel the need to get on track and make the most of each day if you’re anything like me. This article highlights 10 yoga poses that you can practice while at home, either first thing in the morning or at least 2-3 hours after a meal. The article merely consists of the poses to be practiced in order to sleep better/longer. If you're a beginner, you can follow step by step instructions given below

10 easy-to-do Yoga Poses that help you sleep better: 

1. Cat Pose  

2. Cow Pose

3. Bridge Pose

4. Big Toe Pose 

5. Corpse Pose 

6. Dolphin Pose

7. Downward-Facing Dog

8. Extended Puppy Pose

9. Plow Pose

10. Standing Forward Bend


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All You Need To Know About Health & Fitness Week

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Glo.community has officially announced the commencement of #HealthAndWellnessWeek starting the 27th of April in response to a lot of people’s interest in the same. Did you know that while the lockdown has several benefits to your health, a lot of adverse effects can easily be witnessed as soon as you step out of your homes once the lockdown is officially lifted?

This is the sole reason for experts urging you to build up your immunity while you’re at home. Besides, sitting at home can really take a negative toll on your food habits, eating and sleeping patterns, and everyone’s current nightmare (well, besides the novel coronavirus, of course) - submitting to the lifestyle of a “couch potato”. 

For all of these reasons and more, Glo has decided to bring to you: The Health & Wellness Week.

We have some very interesting conversations with health experts going live on our Instagram and a bundle of tips, titbits and articles launched each day to keep you up-to-date and answer all your health and wellness related questions. 

Some of the topics covered in these questions would be: At home workouts, tackling stress and anxiety, dealing with a lack of motivation to do things, mental health and women, eating disorders, the importance of healthy eating, and lot more.

If you wish to publish an article of your own, make sure to do so on our website

Until then, here’s some grandma verified gyaan on how to build immunity, that has seemed to work for a lot of people we know: 

  1. Garlic. Tastes disgusting but garlic bread is great, right?
  2. “Haldi Doodh” AKA turmeric milk never goes out of style
  3. Exercise, every day. Mopping floors has seemed to work for me
  4. Drink pomegranate juice
  5. Sleep for 7/8 hours - not more nor less

We hope you folks are staying home and keeping safe. 

 



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6 Ways To Boost Your Immune System in Lockdown

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With a lack of essential vitamins, stress caused by uncertainty and staying indoors all day rises the need for a boost in one's immunity. Here are 6 ways you can aim to boost yours in this lockdown:

1. Cold Showers
The ample benefits that cold showers have on your skin are all highlighted enough across the internet. Supermodels even go to the extent of dipping themselves in ice buckets to have glowing skin before important photoshoots. But what is not widely known is that cold showers have the capabilities of boosting one’s immune system. Wim Hof, a guru of all things cold explains that benefits of cold baths included speeding metabolism, reducing inflammation, improved sleep, and also improved a person’s immune response. Besides, it is summer after all, so this should be quite an easy step to follow this lockdown period. 

2. Sweat (or stretch) It Out
Most people are well-aware of the link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Regular exercise improves your mood, reduces stress, and also contributes to general well being overall. The benefits of yoga too, are understated, to be honest. With millions of free workout videos available to you and also made convenient by many apps, you must choose to incorporate at least 30 minutes of ANY exercise (Dance, Yoga, Jump Rope or Other workouts) in your daily quarantine routine.

3. Eat To Boost Immunity 
Your diet is an integral part of how you feel. How strong you are highly depending on the food you consume every day. Even with easily available ingredients, you can achieve a boost in your immunity if you choose to do so. Some foods that promote immunity: 
1. Garlic
2. Turmeric (Haldi)
3. Spinach (Popeye was onto something after all!)

4. Citrus Fruits like oranges, gooseberries, lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins

In addition to this, you must aim to cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, and eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, oily fish and nuts. It might sound like the obvious thing to do but most people struggle to even get these basics right sometimes. 

5. Fermented Food/Probiotics Are Your Friends
Food like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, dhoklas, and kefir are fermented foods that are rich in beneficial bacteria. A flourishing network of good bacteria in your gut helps your immune cells better differentiate between healthy cells and harmful invaders which decreases the likelihood of infectious diseases. 
If due to unavailability or other reasons, you don't wish to consume probiotic foods, you can always resort to probiotic supplements that are equally beneficial, if not more. 

6. Ditch Sugar For A While 
Research suggests that refined sugars and carbs could lead one to the path of obesity. How is this relevant to your immune system? According to a study, people with obesity who received the flu vaccine were still likely to get the flu, unlike people without obesity who received the same vaccine. Something to worry about, especially in this time of a world pandemic where health should be your number one priority. Although, natural sugars (found in fruit, honey, for example) and whole carbs can still be consumed in moderation. 

7. Stay Hydrated
Although hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from a virus as such, preventing dehydration is very important for overall health. Not drinking enough water (At least 2 litres a day) can cause headaches, negatively impact digestion, mood and kidney function and it is these complications that could potentially increase susceptibility to illness. So you must stay hydrated! 

Besides physical health, the lockdown can cause some people to have unusual stress and anxiety and this is as much of a concern to your immune system as your physical health. Practice meditation, get adequate sleep, laugh without reason, draw, doodle or do some yoga to help your mind relax. This too shall pass. 

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Why Vitamin D Is Important During The Lockdown

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First things first. Why does your body need Vitamin D? 

  1. Healthy bones

Vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining calcium as well as phosphorus levels in the blood. This, in turn, contributes to strong, healthy bones. You NEED vitamin D for your intestines to absorb as well as retain calcium and without it, one would be at risk of causing their bones to soften. In simple words, without sufficient amounts of this Vitamin, you could have poor bone density and weak muscles. 

  1. Promotes Immune System Health

Studies show that Vitamin D has a protective effect against the influenza virus. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) also suggests that there exists evidence pointing towards a connection between low vitamin D and an increased risk of allergic sensitization. Besides this, regular sources of Vitamin D also have anti-inflammatory benefits to your body. 

  1. Supports Brain and Nervous System

There is a correlation between winter and negative moods for a reason. The lack of sufficient Vitamin D from sunlight causes people to have increased sleepiness and sleep difficulties. This is primarily because Vitamin D helps enhance mood, and also promotes nervous system health. 

  1. Respiration and Cardiovascular Health

One of the biggest roles of Vitamin D is regulating the immune system. In doing so, the body is less susceptible to immunity-related conditions like acute or chronic respiratory complications. Respiration: the highest prioritized consideration of the human body requires Vitamin D. It basically helps you breathe better. Need we say more? 

What are some common symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency? 

  • Repeated infection or allergies
  • fatigue
  • bone/ back pain
  • bad mood (that occurs often)
  • impaired wound healing
  • hair loss
  • muscle pain

Sensible sun exposure on bare skin for around 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.

It is natural that during the course of this nationwide lockdown, you can't get enough sunlight to get your daily dose of vitamin D like you normally would. Vitamin D deficiency can take a serious toll on your health. 

What can you do to fight a Vitamin D Deficiency? (Besides getting natural sunlight)

A list of foods that help boost Vitamin D are:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • egg yolks
  • cheese
  • beef liver
  • mushrooms
  • fortified milk
  • fortified cereals and juices

Below are some general guidelines for how much Vitamin D your body needs:

Vitamin D Recommendations

IOM

FDA

Endocrine Society

 

(RDA)

(RDI)

(Daily Allowance)

Infants

     

0-6 months

 

400 IU

400-1000 IU

6-12 months

 

400 IU

400-1000 IU

Children

     

1-3 years

600 IU

600 IU

600-1000 IU

4-8 years

600 IU

800 IU

600-1000 IU

Adults

     

9-18 years

600 IU

800 IU

600-1000 IU

19-70 years

600 IU

800 IU

1500-2000 IU

>70 years

800 IU

800 IU

1500-2000 IU

Pregnancy

     

14-18 years

600 IU

600 IU

600-1000 IU

19-50 years

600 IU

600 IU

1500-2000 IU

Lactation*

     

14-18 years

600 IU

600 IU

600-1000 IU

19-50 years

600 IU

600 IU

1500-2000 IU

Besides the consumption of Vitamin D rich foods, you can even resort to supplements if necessary: 

Two forms of vitamin D are available for supplementation: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Although they differ in structure and source, both are converted, by the liver, into the same form of vitamin D that is measured in the blood to determine a person’s vitamin D status. 

Vegans and others who prefer a plant-based source of vitamin D typically choose to supplement with vitamin D2, compared to animal-based vitamin D3 sources. 

Multivitamins, on the other hand, include either 400, 500, or 1000 IU vitamin D in the form of D2 or D3 or a combination of both. 

What every source you choose, ensure you don't go overboard fueled by the lack of sunlight. Vitamin D is important, yes, but it's imperative that the supply is in prescribed amounts only. 

We hope this was helpful. 

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Coronavirus Effects - How Your Menstrual Cycle Maybe Getting Affected

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Periods are painful, unwelcome, and quite frankly just annoying when they intrude on a lovely day. But as much as you dread them, it’s way scarier to not have your period show up on time, is it not? 

Turns out the stress and change induced by this deadly pandemic could be a reason your period is delayed. 

Here’s the thing: The feeling of being united together in these stressful times of a world pandemic, especially with social media acting as “man’s best friend” right now, is very temporarily soothing to the mind. But this doesn’t mean you’re not feeling any stress. You probably are, without even realizing it.

A 360-degree change in your routine - right from work timings, to eating and sleeping schedules and even socializing patterns - all broken in a span of a few weeks. This is bound to bring underlying stress to your mind and body even if you don't consciously feel it all the time. 

As a result of this stress, your body is bound to react - either in the form of breakouts, chest pains or even with causing havoc in your period cycle. 

Let’s get science-y

Stress activates a hormonal pathway that allows the release of what is known as cortisol AKA the stress hormone. Now the excess release of cortisol tends to suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones. This, in turn, leads to abnormal ovulation that disrupts your menstrual cycle. This is also why doctors claim that birth control pills might not be so effective at stressful times (especially if not taken at approx the same time every day). Even trying to conceive a child with abnormal ovulation may become more difficult than usual. 

Although these are some extreme consequences (and quite normal at these times), you may experience other, not-so-drastic changes such as heavy blood flow, longer cycles, or more intense pain than usual. 

How to try and bring back things to normal? 

If you’re a blessed soul with a cooperative uterus, good for you. But if you experience any of the above-mentioned abnormalities, acknowledge that it is mostly okay and not a reason to panic. You can use a period tracker like clue or flo to make note of your period dates, inconsistency in flow/cramps/duration, and set up a call with your doctor if the irregularities continue to remain even months after the lockdown. 

Other than that, since you’re now aware of WHY your period cycle is affected, you can aim to reduce cortisol levels in your body and bring down that stress either by practicing deep breathing/yoga every day, ditching negativity brought by news channels, getting sufficient sleep at normal hours and simply focusing on self-care. 

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Mental Toughness - How To Become More Resilient

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Developing a resilient mind

Sometimes the inspiration to build resilience is always present around you. You just have to open your eyes. Or in this case, open your mind. 

These have been some interesting times. Don’t get me wrong, the way the world is unfolding lately has been quite unprecedented. Adapting to this whole new kind of lifestyle, putting out a brave front, and steering your mind away from those negative thoughts are just few of the many challenges. But as the saying goes "Everything happens for a reason". Maybe this is our chance to dive deep into our inner selves and explore the deep seas inside us. These are the few tips that helped me build resilience. I hope this can be of help to you too!

1. Growing a plant:  Nature is the best healer and teacher.

If you can find a small corner in your room, that receives adequate sunlight. Try to grow a potted plant there. It's a worthwhile experience. Watering it periodically and watching it grow a little day by day can instill a feeling of happiness in you and sometimes inspire you. So much that, one day, like me, you might end up owning a jungle!

2. Laughing OUT Loud: When is the last time you heard the echo of your laughter reverberate through the hall? We all are so used to the emoticons that real laughter has become a struggle. Laughing out can help your mind ease out the stress and help you to break free from unwanted thoughts. Remember the good old saying -  Laughter is the best medicine!.

3. Noticing the world around you: How many times did you visit your balcony today? Did you notice the tree outside your house has greener leaves lately!. And oh! There is a nest too. How often do we take time to look at whatever little of nature you find around you? Did you know that listening to the chirping of birds and ruffling of leaves can have calming effects on our mind? Our minds are hardwired to read these sound signals are signs of safety and peace.

4..Taking Trip down the Memory Lane:. Sometimes Technology teaches us to more human when we get lost in our fast-paced life. AN irony of life indeed.

Taking the Parkinson’s law into account - "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion", we are indeed juggling with more self-imposed work than ever before. I was reminded today by the google photos that last year this day, I was enjoying a staycation amidst nature. It reminded me of some sweet memories that I almost forgot existed.

Seriously! Where is your embarrassing baby photos that your parents are so proud of!? The pictures of your milk tooth falling off and you roaming around the house naked and proud. These treasures are sometimes to be dug out for NO particular reason but to replenish your memory and me you smile in embarrassment.

5. Taking Care of Me for You: In Jim Rohn's Words :  “The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, "If you will take care of me, I will take care of you. "Now I say, I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.”

Incorporating this mindset is extremely crucial in these times. This is what the air hostess around the world have been signaling to us all through their life: Put your oxygen mask first before proceeding to help others.

There was a time when my mother worked incessantly, seldom taking care of her health, to make others happy. But that deprived her of her own health, as she allotted most of her time to take care of others. Taking care should start from you.  While the social construct of a Sanskari women is synonymous to Sacrificing. This is not true at all times. Prioritizing oneself is not an act of selflessness.

6. Abolishing Self Doubt. I have been there too. Initially, I was skeptical of writing this because I wasn’t sure If I was a good writer or if this would have a welcomed response. But then I was contradicting myself. Letting self-doubt breed was my biggest weakness and one I was determined to get through by this quarantine time. To all those out there, wondering if you can do it?. Just do it .(Thanks Nike!). Write it down, sing it loud, Dance it out!  Don’t do it for others, Do it for you!

Building resilience is a slow process, but a rewarding one. Hope these tips help you embrace positivity.

Wishing you a wonderful day ahead!

 

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Why Mental Health Is Important Especially During Isolation

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Empty shelves at the store, the exhaustion of self-isolating (especially for extroverts), and the very fear of contracting the disease, this pandemic has caused a lot of people to feel quite abnormal, so to say. Although it’s difficult for people to recognize their feelings and state of mind in such a situation, the center of it is mostly stress, anxiety, and in some cases, even depression.

Although altering the sudden external changes around you may seem like an impossible thing to do, there is in fact much you can do to cope up with the change. 

5 tips to take care of your mental health during this COVID-19 pandemic: 

  1. Reverse Your Approach towards things

Someone wise has once said, “It’s all in the head”. Now while this might not seem to be true for everything, this rule most certainly does apply to the circle of motivation. To stay motivated, you have to ditch an attitude that says “I’m stuck here” and use a rather different approach like saying “I finally have all this time on my plate”. Doing things that you have been setting aside for a long time is a great way to feel positive. Do one important task that is beneficial to your long term goals every single day, and you will feel more and more positivity in your thoughts each day. 

  1. Go on an “Anti-depression Diet”

All those diets you’ve been meaning to try out that do nothing but harm your body in the long run? Ditch them all. Go on a happy diet. There are certain foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and are also known to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain. These include eggs, cheese, nuts, whole grains, pineapple, tofu, salmon, berries and green leafy vegetables. Ensure you include at least some of these, if not all, in your diet to contribute to a healthy gut. After all, a healthy gut is the key to a healthy mind.

  1. Tidy-up your home (and your work ethic) 

We understand that it can be difficult to set routines and stick to them, especially while working from home. But a lot of people do it even without being forced to. Working from home and freelancing are not new concepts to have risen in various parts of the world. How do these people do it? It’s not easy, but it is simple. You need to have set stations for various activities. Don't eat in your bed, Don’t workout in your kitchen and do not work on your couch. Also, ensure that you’re home is organized and tidy or you’re just going to feel claustrophobic and unmotivated. 

  1. Therapeutic Sleep

A major cause of feeling depressed or anxious is a lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns. Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. Get some sunlight on your balcony/terrace first thing in the morning after waking up. To increase the quality of your sleep, you can also resort to cutting off screen-time at least 2 hours before you sleep. A good nights’ sleep goes a long way in helping you deal with any kind of stress-induced emotion. 

  1. Use the Exercise pill

A lot of clinical studies show that regular exercise produces chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in your brain that act as effective antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat milder cases of depression. Since most of you might not have access to a gym, given the current circumstances, create your own home workout routine. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 days of the week. If you do suffer from clinical depression, it can be hard to want to exercise, so start small. You could aim to begin with about 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day and then build your way up from there. 



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Coronavirus And Pregnancy - All You Need To Know

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As much of an exhausting period it may be for many people to stay at home for weeks together in this coronavirus pandemic, it is more so for pregnant women, especially those with due dates right around the corner. 

There are so many questions asked about pregnancy and about the impact on the health of the mother and her child. So we thought we would take this opportunity, do our bit of thorough research, and try and answer some of the most asked questions about pregnancy and the novel coronavirus. 

First and foremost, it is important to understand how the virus spreads. The spread occurs through respiratory droplets sent to the air when a person who has the COVID-19 flu coughs/sneezes. It can also spread if someone touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their mouth, the inside of their nose, or their eyes. Current evidence suggests that the incubation period of the virus is anywhere from 2-14 days. 

Now that this bit is clear, let's move to answer some of the most asked-questions and concerns that pregnant women have: 

  1. Does contracting the coronavirus increase the risk of miscarriage or other such complications? 

An increased risk of miscarriage or fetal malformations has not been documented in pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Based on data from other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that pregnant women who get COVID-19 may have a higher risk for some complications, such as preterm birth. However, this data is extremely limited, and the infection may not be the direct cause of preterm birth.

  1. What can a pregnant mother do to avoid catching the coronavirus? 

The most important step is to practice excellent hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose. Public health officials urge people to tightly limit gatherings and to stay home as much as possible. Social distancing is important to limit the spread of the virus. It’s safe to go out for walks — just try to remain six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with you.

If you have a mild cough or cold, stay at home and limit exposures to other people. Sneeze and cough into a tissue that you discard immediately, or into your elbow, to avoid making others sick. Hydration and adequate rest also are important in maintaining the health of your immune system.

  1. What is the risk of passing on the virus on to one’s fetus or newborn?

Currently, only small studies reporting on a limited number of cases are available to answer many questions, including this one. Most of the women in these case reports had COVID-19 during the third trimester of pregnancy.

  • A study of nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies was affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk.
  • Another study of 38 women infected with COVID-19 found that none of the newborns tested positive for the disease.
  • Two case reports of infants born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated that the infants had elevated levels of antibodies to the virus but did not demonstrate any clinical evidence of infection with the virus (see here and here).
  • Another case report analyzing 33 pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 found that three of their newborns were also infected with the virus and had clinical signs of infection, as well as confirmation of COVID-19 infection. It is unclear whether these newborns were infected while in the womb or if these infections were acquired after birth, as the newborns were tested when they were days old. The possibility of vertical transmission (passing the virus from mother to baby) has not been ruled out.

The risk of passing the infection to a fetus appears to be very low. Currently there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.

If a woman has an infection with a high fever during the first trimester, it’s safest to use acetaminophen to lower temperature to avoid risk to the developing fetus.

  1. Will all the doctors be diverted in case of a COVID-19 emergency situation and is it possible that there might be no doctor available at the time a woman has to deliver her baby? 

Hospitals are responsible for making contingency plans for emergencies that might require diverting hospital staff. Ask your obstetric team about contingency plans at your hospital. They should be able to keep you updated on any change in plans. At our hospital, there is currently no plan for obstetricians to be redeployed. Obstetrics is an essential component of health, and it is likely that a physician trained in obstetrics will be present at the time of your baby’s birth. Ask your health care team about this.

  1. Could spending time in the hospital after delivery increase the mother’s risk of exposure to COVID-19?

Hospital staff and your obstetric team are trying to minimize the number of people who come to the hospital. There are rules to make sure that anyone who needs to be evaluated for COVID-19 will be isolated from other patients. All medical staff are working hard to ensure that your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is low.

In the hospital, many precautions are being taken to minimize exposure risks. If you choose to do so, it may be possible to go home sooner than you normally would after birth, as long as you feel well and your birth was uncomplicated. Talk to your obstetric team about this.

  1. If the mother is tested positive for COVID-19, can she still breastfeed her baby?

Currently, there is no evidence of the virus in breast milk. Given that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, mothers should wash their hands and consider wearing a face mask to minimize infants’ exposure to the virus. The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists recommends that mothers infected with COVID-19 express breastmilk to allow someone else to feed the baby. (Be sure to use proper hand hygiene and cleaning of breast pump parts.)

However, the CDC states that handwashing and wearing a face mask should minimize risks to the infant.

We hope you found this article useful :) 





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The Story Of A Breast Cancer Survivor

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Story of a Cancer Survivor

We’ve all heard of or witnessed at least one case of cancer around us. Why do people think of cancer as a battle? Well, because it is. A significant part of surviving cancer is displaying the qualities of bravery - just like on a battlefield. 

The story of this 55-year-old woman says it all. 

Meena Bijlani, a woman, a wife, and a mother of two living in New Delhi had detected a lump in her breast on July 1st, 2013. The very same day, after consulting with her partner, she rushed to the doctor to get it checked.

After the reports came in, she saw her worst fears unfold in front of her. She had a 2.3 cm long cancerous growth in her breast. Now, her instant response to finding out about her illness was very naturally a wave of sorry followed by tears. But she knew she had to immediately start surgery and get rid of the problem because cancer demands immediate action. She had witnessed this first hand as she personally knew of two other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had been cured of it too. 

On 19th July, Meena had an operation to remove the cancerous lump followed by 6 chemotherapy sessions. It was not an easy 7-month journey, she admitted. Her husband and sons were more than alert at all times and helped her get past the difficulties of chemo. They would stay at home on weekends to avoid plausible contraction of any other viruses/infections due to Meena’s now low immunity and together, look forward to someday having the same life that they all once did. 

And naturally, 7 months later, Meena was completely cured. In her own words, the secret to success in the battle against cancer - “Go to your doctor as soon as possible. I want to tell any woman who finds a lump to not feel scared but deal with it immediately. This is a curable disease.” 

South-East Asia alone has over 1.7 million new cancer cases every single year. Cancer of the breast and cervix are the most common ones reported among women. Reduce this risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle - avoid smoking and drinking, exercise every day, and eat a healthy balanced diet. 



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Top 5 Misconceptions About Women's Health: Busted!

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There are so many rumours floating around that make many women anxious about issues relating to their health. This scoop aims to bust some of the most popular myths there are.

Myth 1: Bras causes breast cancer

The Truth: Wearing a bra most certainly does not cause cancer. If you wish to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer, you must aim to eat a healthy diet, stay within a healthy weight range and avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases your chances of developing breast cancer. Getting a mammogram regularly (once every year) after you turn 45 is a proven way to detect breast cancer early and stop the spread.

Myth 2: Excruciating Period pain is normal

The Truth: Although mild discomfort is normal, the pain should not be debilitating. If the pain is intolerable, do consider calling your OBGYN to make an appointment to check if the pain has underlying causes like endometriosis or fibroids.

Myth 3: Cranberry juice cures UTIs

The Truth: While cranberry juice might taste delicious, (we’re sorry to burst your bubble) but they don't actually cure UTIs (i.e, any bacterial infection that causes burning urination and pelvis pain) If you do happen to get UTIs often, consider making an appointment with a gynaecologist who can prescribe antibiotics and suggest treatments to reduce your chances of getting them.

Myth 4: Your water has to break in order to be in active labor. 

The truth: All these movies have made us think of going into labour as a supremely dramatic event. In reality, about 10% of women have their membranes rupture before labor begins. It is (clearly) not a great indicator of whether you are in labor or not, so pregnant women should focus on the frequency of contractions instead. 

Myth 5:  You have to take a birth control pill at the same time every day.

The Truth: Your health provider/gynecologist probably tells you this so that you REMEMBER to take your pill. It is suggested solely for the purpose of preventing the event of missing your pill. But there's no real evidence to prove that this is medically necessary. 

This was one piece in our myth-busting series, stay tuned for a lot more!



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All That You Must Know About A Menstrual Cycle

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All you need to know about Menstruation

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The comprehensive guide on Menstrual Cycle

 

As much as you dread your “time of the month”, periods are equally scary when they don’t show up. So embrace them, own them and wear your period like a trademark of being a woman. 

Even with countless “sex education” seminars in schools and colleges, there are still so many unanswered questions that need to be attended to. Females grow up with periods and aren’t even fully aware of the things that happen in their own bodies. The lack of knowledge leads to a rise in doubts. Doubts convert to fears. And guess what? These very fears revert back to hormonal changes that (drumroll) messes with their period! 

This article aims to cover all those unanswered questions about having your period in a concise “all you need to know about a menstrual cycle”. 

Menstrual Cycle and ‘The period’ - Explained

Even though it might sound correct to use the words ‘period’ and ‘menstrual cycle’ as synonyms to one another in conversations, they don't actually mean the same. 

While ‘a period’ is that part of a menstrual cycle when a female bleeds from her vagina for 2-7 days (on an average), a menstrual cycle is the time from day one of a female’s period to the day before her next. Depending on hormones, a new menstrual cycle begins every 28 days although some women’s cycles could last anywhere between 21 and 40 days. 

It is important to note that girls are taught these as ‘facts’ in biology textbooks at very young ages and panic when their periods don’t live up to such accuracy. Reality: For the first few years of a young female starting her period, it is very normal for her period to come irregularly and stabilize in a couple of years. 

What actually happens in the female body during a menstrual cycle?

First things first. At the start of a menstrual cycle, ovulation takes place, when the levels of a hormone called estrogen starts to rise and signals for an egg to be released from a female’s ovaries. You get your period after the ovulation. 

During the process of estrogen rising, progesterone (another hormone) also rises and signals the wall of the uterus AKA ‘the womb’ to thicken. This is like signaling the uterus to be prepared to receive a fertilised egg. The egg travels from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and right into the (now ready) uterus. 

Under normal circumstances, two things can happen here on. One, is that the egg gets fertilised by a sperm which in turn, leads to a pregnancy. In case the egg doesn’t get fertilised by a sperm (within approximately 24 hours) then the egg gets reabsorbed by the body and everything else reverses. Levels of estrogen and progesterone fall back, the womb lining breaks and leaves the body through the female’s vagina - hence ‘the period’

Periods are usually heavier on the first 2 or 3 days, during which the colour of the blood is red. As it lightens, the blood may become pink, brown or even black. (again, totally normal) 

Periods usually last between two to eight days. The average age for a female to start her period is 11 years old, but of course, some start earlier and some later than this too. 

Menstrual Cycle- Signs and Symptoms of Periods and PMS 

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the very purpose of menstruation, let's get into the visible changes that occur in your body before and during your period. 

If it were just the lining of your uterus flowing out as blood through your vagina, it would probably not affect your body and mental health as much. Maybe just an occurrence of physical changes in your body and that’s about it. But since this sadly isn’t the case, and changes much larger such as rising hormones (estrogen and progesterone) take place a couple of days before your period starts, females do experience symptoms - both physical and mental. 

There are close to a hundred known symptoms attributed to menstruation and these might differ with each cycle and gradually even change over a period of time. Some women experience close to no symptoms, while some sadly experience too many and all at once. 

Symptoms of Menstruation

The most common symptoms of a period include: 

  • Tender breasts
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Acne
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bloating/Fluid retention
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Lower back pain
  • Low energy/fatigue 
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight gain

 

 

PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome) 

Since most hormonal changes in your body occur even before the egg enters the uterus, it is natural that changes start to take place in your body before you start to bleed i.e, before you get your periods. Most women get at least some signs of the arrival of their period (tender breasts and food cravings), but some suffer from rather severe symptoms or Premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms are similar to those of a period with added emotional and behavioural signs such as anxiety, depression, anger outbursts, mood swings, forgetfulness, loss of focus and feelings of overwhelm. 

Given an option to unsubscribe from this monthly catastrophe that pops up like a calendar event - a lot of girls would cheerfully opt out. But that’s not how the female body works, is it? So it’s best to be prepared for something that you’re going to witness month on month. 

Dealing with Periods and PMS Symptoms like a bawse

There are a lot of known ways to manage your periods and reduce the pain and mental stress that come with it. Some of them that seem to work for most women, (and what you can do too) are as follows: 

  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes. Fun Fact: women who are sedentary and do not get regular exercise typically have heavier and more painful periods.
  2. Eat healthy meals consisting of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Contradictory to popular beliefs of ‘giving in to your cravings’ and ‘pampering your taste buds’ during your period, eating a balanced diet helps with more than just fixing your mood at this time of the month. 
  3. Hot showers and hot water bags do wonders to calm those abdominal cramps, even if it's just for a little while. 
  4. Try tea therapy - Chamomile to relax your mind and peppermint to help with period bloating. 
  5. Avoid alcohol, smoking and salt. 
  6. Although this should be your last option (if all else fails), try over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen and be sure to follow the dosage instructions as mentioned on the label.
  7. Lastly, get enough sleep. A lack of restful sleep reduces your pain threshold and this is not what you want when you already have cramps attacking you in the middle of the day. 

For more such interesting period hacks you can check out this article.

How do you know when there’s a possibility of a problem: 

Normally, all the discomforts associated with getting your period should be manageable enough that you’re able to carry on with normal day-to-day activities. However, some females experience severe symptoms that make it difficult for them to carry out even the most basic tasks. 

Even though most of these symptoms might seem normal, it’s better to consult a GP in case things seem to go out of hand:

Painful periods

Although mild pain caused by periods is normal, the kind that gets in the way of your daily life should be consulted with a GP. Period pain can be relieved with the help of exercise, taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If it’s the kind of pain that is intolerable, it might be a cause of concern (dysmenorrhea) and should be looked into. 

Heavy periods

Some women naturally have heavier periods than others, but for periods so heavy that they impact daily life, a GP should be consulted to investigate further into the abnormally heavy bleeding.

Irregular periods 

Irregular periods can be common during puberty or before menopause and can consist of a variation between time of periods (arriving early or late), the amount of blood lost (heavy/light), and the number of days a period lasts.

Stress too, acts as a factor that messes up your period cycle. A lot of women have been experiencing this now more than ever given the current COVID-19 situations and the nation-wide lockdown. If you’ve been experiencing the same, this pandemic might be taking a negative toll on your monthly cycle here. 

Most of the time, irregular periods are nothing to worry about, but it’s best to get yourself checked nonetheless. 

Endometriosis

This is a very painful condition that occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Not all women who have endometriosis have serious symptoms but it could impact heavily on some females’ lives by causing painful periods, pelvic pain, pain while passing urine/excretion, nausea or depression. Although there is no cure to endometriosis currently, treatments are available to manage symptoms.

Problems that seem normal (but might not actually be) 

Sudden changes like periods lasting longer or getting lighter, bleeding between periods, bleeding after having sex, or bleeding after the menopause NEED to be consulted by a doctor. There might not be anything wrong, but it should be investigated to rule out an infection, abnormality or in rare cases, cancer. 

The Menstrual Hygiene War: settled once and for all 

Menstrual Hygiene

Sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups - which of the three is the better option for you? Although no single answer could be true for every situation, weighing the pros and cons of all these menstrual hygiene products can sure help you pick what personally suits you best. 

Sanitary pads

The oldest of the three, sanitary napkins have evolved so much in the past years to become slimmer, get wings and turn liquid to gel to help you have an easy, stain-free period. Although they have a variety of pros such as no painful insertions (or any insertion at all), no risks of Toxic shock syndrome and no stains - because they happen to be the most absorbent of the three - pads have their own usage restrictions. 

For one, you can't wear a thong, so bye-bye favorite party skirts. Swimming too, is really uncomfortable with a pad on. But besides this, sanitary pads are a cause of concern for many other reasons: 

  • Pads contain bleach that could increase the risk of cancer
  • If not changed regularly, you’re at risk of developing an infection
  • If you happen to be active, the constant chafing between your legs can give you a rash
  • Pads take about 500 years to fully decompose(!) so they’re basically horror stories for the environment 

Tampons

Females who would rather suffer the initial discomfort on insertion if it means not having to feel a diaper stuck to them for 5 straight days, usually opt for tampons. 

Again, tampons too have their pros and cons. It allows you to wear what you feel like (you can literally grab the most body-hugging dress in your closet with nothing to worry about), keeps the blood from getting outside your vagina, and is so discrete to carry around. 

But just like pads, tampons come with a bundle of problems associated with their usage: 

  • Because tampons have the ability to soak up your vagina’s natural lubrication, there’s a risk that they may lead to TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Tampons, much like pads, contain bleach that could lead to cancer
  • Inserting discomfort, or general discomfort associated with first-timers is an unavoidable problem (especially with societal stigmas like ‘loss of virginity’ stuck to them) 

Menstrual Cups

Beating the cons of both pads and tampons, more and more women are moving toward using menstrual cups in an attempt to go eco-friendly. 

There’s no risk of TSS, it's a hundred percent chemical-free and requires very few changes. Menstrual cups are non-messy and don’t pose a threat to the environment like pads and tampons do, so they’re clearly in the win here. 

If you are a new owner of Menstrual cup and are not sure how to use it, watch a few instructional videos on youtube, and you’ll be good to go.

We vouch by OrganiCup’s in-depth instructional video  How to use a menstrual cup

Our favorite Youtuber Dolly Singh’s real take on Menstrual cups, in case you don’t want to do it the normal way: Dolly Singh's views on the menstrual cup

The only con of using a menstrual cup (besides the fact that some women might resist insertion) is that the cleaning of one is a little cumbersome considering it has to be sterilized after every change to avoid any chance of infection.

Now that you know the pros and cons of each of these menstrual hygiene products, making a choice is relatively easy. Although menstrual cups seem like they should be the winner, it's not a widely accepted product yet. People are still trying to find their ways to get comfortable with inserting something that is literally called a ‘cup’ into their vaginas and this switch is going to take time. Besides, if you’re already suffering from an infection, insertion of a tampon or a menstrual cup - not a great idea. In such situations, a pad is an ideal option. 

Whatever you choose, place your comfort before any other factor. After all, there’s enough discomfort caused by your periods itself, so the products you use must be ones that make your period more bearable. 

More on menstrual hygiene 

FAQs on Menstrual Cycle

1. When do periods stop?

The menopause is when a woman stops to have periods and naturally becomes unable to get pregnant. Until this period of menopause, periods continue. (Bummer, right?) 

The average age of menopause is 51, however, some women can reach menopause earlier or later than this (as early as 30s or as late as their 60s). Periods may become less frequent over a few months or years or may stop suddenly. 1 in 100 women experience premature menopause and will reach menopause before the age of 40.

Not all women experience menopause in the same way but many common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood and anxiety, reduced sex drive and problems with memory and concentration.

A GP can offer treatment and suggest lifestyle changes for severe menopausal symptoms that affect day-to-day life.

2. What are the reasons for a missed period? 

However, some women will not have periods for many complex and diverse reasons. Just a few examples may be because of medical issues, some may undergo early menopause (when a woman stops having periods and becomes unable to get pregnant naturally), some may have had a hysterectomy (when the uterus is removed for medical reasons), some may be transgender, or some through complications because of eating disorders.

Stopped or missed periods: Some common reasons for why a woman may miss her monthly period include pregnancy, stress, sudden weight loss or gain, extreme over-exercising, an eating disorder, hormonal problems, pregnancy, breastfeeding and reaching the menopause, though there may be many more reasons also. Speak to a GP about stopped or missed periods.

3. Can I get pregnant if I have sex during periods?

It’s highly unlikely that you could get pregnant if you had sex during your period. Although, there's a small chance that the sperm survives in your body for 5 days. So it’s safe to say that it’s risky business to have unprotected sex towards the end of your period since you might be ovulating a couple of days after the end of your monthly cycle.

4. What are the benefits and drawbacks of period sex?

Unless it causes you discomfort or pain, there’s no reason to avoid having sex during your period. It's safe for both partners, although it can sometimes get messy. It is important to understand that while it is fine to have sex during your period,  you would still need to use protection. You’re more vulnerable to STDs, and pregnancy is still on the list of possibilities. Respect your body and stay safe with your partner.

Pros of having sex on your period:

Reduced Menstrual Cramps: A natural way to get rid of that period pain as opposed to painkillers is having an orgasm. When you orgasm, the muscles of your uterus contract. Then they release. This brings relief from period cramps. Orgasms can also release endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. Boy, did you ever think sex was the answer to all your problems? Well, it is. 

Natural Lubrication. When you have period sex, blood acts as a natural lubricant and is one of the biggest perks of having sex while on period. 

Shorter periods: Having sex during your period can shorten its duration. (It’s true!)  The contracting of your uterus during an orgasm could speed up the shedding period of your uterus lining.

More pleasurable sex: You’ve probably already noticed a change in your libido around this time of the month, so you might as well put it to good use!

Cons of having sex on your period:

Things can get (pretty) ugly: When you have sex while on your period, things could get messy real quick. There’s a chance that blood could get on you, on your partner, and the sheets. There’s also the fact that period blood can emit an unpleasant smell. So if you’re the kind of person who’s going to be living in constant worry of this ugliness, you’re probably not going to enjoy sex as much. 

Possible risk of an STI: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having sex on your period could increase your risk of getting or transmitting an STI, such as HIV. The virus may be present in your period blood. For this very reason, doctors strongly recommend that you use a condom to decrease the risk.

5. Will my hymen break if I use a tampon? 

Tampons work just as fine for girls who are virgins as they do for girls who have had sex. And although using a tampon could occasionally cause your hymen to stretch/tear, it doesn’t cause you to lose your virginity because only having sex could do that.

6. Is clotting during periods normal? 

Women often worry when they see clots in their menstrual blood, but it’s perfectly normal and very rarely a cause for concern. These blood clots are nothing but a mix of blood cells, tissue from the lining of the womb and protein in the blood that helps regulate flow.

7. What is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects how a female’s ovaries work. The three prominent symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods, excess facial/body hair due to high levels of testosterone or ‘male hormones’, and polycystic ovaries where the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles). There is no cure for PCOS, although symptoms can be treated.

8. What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden, potentially fatal condition caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of bacteria called staph, which is found in many female bodies. Toxic shock syndrome primarily affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons. 

While instructions on a tampon box encourage women to change their tampon at least every 8 hours, sometimes people forget to change them or occasionally even tend to lose them. Leaving a tampon in for longer than 8-12 hours increases the risk of infection or possible TSS. 

With this, it’s also important to note that the availability of free information on the internet today does not necessarily give it a credibility stamp. A lot of it circulating might be false and misleading. Some of the facts put out on content websites are a result of age old myths that have existed but are utterly absurd!  Some of these myths have passed on for generations and people just happen to blindly believe them. You can read all about these popular myths that are believed to be true even today on PMS myths  & Period Myths

Be sure to look for information (especially) relating to women's health and menstruation only on credible sources to avoid ridiculous rumours that are only here to hoodwink you. 

 

 

 

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): How To Treat It Naturally!

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All you need to know about PCOS

Highlights

This article discusses everything you need to know about PCOS, how to treat it naturally, and the common myths surrounding it. 

 

There’s so much conversation about PCOS (Short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) today that it’s becoming quite a challenge to decipher what the facts of this condition really are. There are so many symptoms of the syndrome that are not easily identifiable or may seem unsurprising and knotted with symptoms of other conditions like PMS, menstruation, or various mental disorders. 

Many women who have PCOS aren’t even aware of it. In a study conducted, 70 percent of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed. This is primarily why a fact check on the topic is the need of the hour and we’re here to do it for you. 

Read along as this article discusses everything you need to know about PCOS, how to treat it naturally, and the common myths surrounding it. 

Doctors have been trying to fully uncover the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in women since the 1700s. Yet, here we are hundreds of years later with the underlying reasons for this common women’s health issue - has remained a mystery.

Although the subject still remains vastly researched, there is new evidence found by experts in endocrinology that help discern the causes of this condition and offer a great deal of direction to achieve a rather advanced cure.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, popularly known as PCOS is a common hormonal condition (affecting as many as 1 in 10 women in their childbearing ages) that causes females to produce higher-than-usual amounts of male hormones. An imbalance in reproductive hormones causes problems in a woman’s ovaries - the organs that (almost) solely regulate a healthy period cycle. As a result, women who have PCOS tend to have irregular/missed periods and find it difficult to get pregnant. Irregular periods, besides being the leading cause of infertility, are also responsible for the development of small fluid-filled sacs called cysts in the ovaries. 

Symptoms of PCOS

Earlier in this article, we spoke of how PCOS symptoms are a wee bit tricky to discern. So while some women start to notice symptoms around the time of their first period, some only discover they have PCOS after gaining a whole lot of weight or have a hard time getting pregnant. If you happen to notice any or most of these symptoms, it’s best that you get yourself checked as a precautionary measure. 

Common Symptoms of PCOS include: 

Heavy bleeding at the time of menstruation: Since the lining of the uterus takes longer than usual to build-up, it is likely that you will have heavier bleeding than normal. 

Irregular  (or no) Periods: The lack of ovulation prevents the lining of the uterus from shedding every month. While some women might have fewer than 8 periods a year, some don’t get their period at all. 

Excess (Body) Hair Growth: Fueled by male hormones, females with PCOS tend to have excess hair growth on their face and body - a condition known as hirsutism.

Hormonal Acne: Male hormones result in the secretion of excess oil that is likely to surface as acne on your face and upper back. 

Weight Gain: This is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Over 80% of women who have PCOS are overweight/obese.

Hair Loss/Thinning: While body hair grows in excess, the hair on your scalp starts to get thinner - again, as a result of all the male hormones. 

Headaches: There are many hormonal changes that happen to women who suffer from PCOS which can trigger headaches.

Skin Darkening: It is not uncommon to find dark patches of skin in women who have PCOS - especially on the neck, groin, and under the breasts. 

Who is likely to get PCOS?

Given how common PCOS is, it still remains undiagnosed and unmanaged in many women who have it. Of those who have it, about 7 in 10 may go undiagnosed - a soaring cause of concern. 

PCOS affects around 5-20% of women (often) between the age of 15 to 44, i.e, women of child-bearing age. It can happen at any age after puberty. Although PCOS doesn’t target particular ethnicities or racial groups, obesity can increase one’s chances of developing the same. 

While the causes of PCOS are still sort of vague, there is enough evidence to prove that certain factors do play a significant role in contracting the syndrome. 

  1. Genetics

PCOS sometimes also runs in families. A woman with a family history of PCOS is often more likely to be at risk of developing the condition. 

This suggests there may be a genetic link to PCOS, although genes associated with this condition have been identified.

  1. Insulin Resistance 

Insulin is produced by the pancreas in order to control the amount of sugar in the blood. It’s the hormone that helps in moving glucose from the blood into our cells, where it's then broken down to produce energy.

Insulin resistance, as the name suggests, means that the body's tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. In such a situation, the body would have to produce excess insulin in order to compensate. Higher levels of insulin lead to the production of excess testosterone which in turn tows with the development of follicles - preventing normal ovulation in women.

Insulin resistance may also lead to excess weight gain, which makes the symptoms of PCOS much worse because excess fat causes the body to produce even more insulin.

  1. Higher levels of androgens

Androgens,  also known as  "male hormones," are produced in some quantity in all women. They control the development of male traits, such as body hair growth, male-pattern baldness and back and chest acne. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens than what is considered to be normal. Higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent ovaries from releasing an egg during each menstrual cycle and is a common cause for infertility in women. 

PCOS and Infertility

Women who have PCOS often find it difficult to get pregnant. This is an obvious result of the condition since high levels of male hormones curb with the monthly ovulation process. But even though PCOS causes infertility, you can get treated for the same by eradicating a few of its symptoms. 

With a combination of the following, you can aim to naturally increase your chances of getting pregnant:

  1. A change in diet that aims to decrease fat percentage in your body - even a mere 5% weight loss has shown significant results in women
  2. Healthy Eating
  3. Regular Exercise 
  4. Monitoring ovulation timings to pre-plan sexual intercourse 

If you’re unable to get pregnant by simply making these lifestyle changes, you can either get treated with medication, surgery (which includes removal of a small amount of tissue producing the excess male hormone) or Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Although, in most cases of PCOS, lifestyle changes are sufficient to get pregnant.

PCOS and Pregnancy 

While getting pregnant might seem like an easier battle to overcome for someone who as PCOS, pregnancy itself can involve a risk of complications that include:

  • Miscarriages
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Premature Birth
  • Diabetes

PCOS is also shown to increase the likelihood of needing a cesarean delivery because the baby might be larger than normal for their gestational age. 

Babies born to women with PCOS would also have a greater risk of dying at the time of delivery or being admitted to a NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit)

All of this suggests that you must talk to your doctor before considering pregnancy with PCOS to be aware of the risks associated and discuss ways to better manage complications as well. 

Diet Do’s and Don’ts for PCOS

There are plenty of meal plans available online for women with PCOS today. Although, some basic do’s and don’ts as part of a PCOS diet are as follows:

What to Incorporate

Foods that are high in fiber help with insulin resistance by slowing down the process of digestion. This could be highly beneficial to women with PCOS. 

High-fiber foods to incorporate in a PCOS diet include: 

  • Fruits like apples and berries
  • Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, Brussel sprouts, lettuce and kale
  • Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Bell peppers
  • Beans and lentils

A good protein source is also important as part of a healthy dietary option. Aim to include lean protein sources such as:

  • Tofu
  • Chicken 
  • Fish 
  • Eggs

Another category of foods that are underestimated are ones that possess anti-inflammatory properties to help women with PCOS. These include: 

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries and Strawberries
  • Nuts including almonds and walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
  • Kale

What to Avoid: 

Foods that cause inflammation and worsen insulin resistance best be avoided or completely cut-off if you have PCOS. Refined Carbohydrates not only cause inflammation but also exacerbate insulin resistance. These include:

  • White bread or anything made with white flour
  • Wheat pasta ( a good alternative is pasta made from bean or lentil)
  • Sugary Desserts (Sugar, in general, is high in carbs and must be avoided) 
  • Breakfast Pastries like muffins or croissants 
  • Pasta noodles that are made of durum flour or semolina
  • Sugary sodas or juices

Food labels to look out for: (To be avoided) 

  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose
  • High fructose corn syrup 

Inflammation-causing foods to avoid: 

  • Fried food
  • Margarine
  • Processed meat or red meat 

PCOS and Thyroid - Are the two connected? 

There's a growing consensus in the medical research industry that hypothyroidism and PCOS might be closely linked - although this is not yet proven to be true. A popular research paper was published discussing the emerging relationship between PCOS and Thyroid disorders. 

There are many overlapping characteristics of the two most common endocrine disorders.  The issue with PCOS/PCOD and a thyroid disorder is that both of them often display symptoms that are very similar and many times, one may look like the other. After all, both are changes in hormones that result in common symptoms including weight gain, irregular periods, infertility and hair loss. 

Often, a doctor will first carry out necessary thyroid disorder diagnostic checks to rule out any thyroid disorder while diagnosing you for PCOS. This also helps to find out if there is any sort of link between the two and assess the kind of treatment plans that are best suitable for you. 

In case you happen to be tested positive for both, your doctor may suggest a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes, such as following a proper sleep routine, choosing foods with a low glycemic index (GI) score, reducing stress, adding some form of exercise to your daily routine and prescribe supplements (or medication) if necessary.

Common Myths about PCOS- Busted!

Myth 1: PCOS is Rare

It is estimated that between 5-20 percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS, which makes it one of the most common hormonal disorders among women of reproductive age.

The only problem is, less than half of these women with PCOS are actually diagnosed, meaning that millions are still unaware of their condition.

Myth 2: You can’t get pregnant if you have PCOS

As mentioned earlier in the article, this isn’t true. Most women can treat symptoms either naturally or with medication/surgery in order to get pregnant. A number of medications stimulate ovulation - tackling the main issue that women with PCOS face. 

Other fertility treatments for women with PCOS include assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilization.

On the other hand, if you’re not trying to get pregnant and you have PCOS, it is unsafe to assume that you don't need contraception. It might be harder than usual to get pregnant with PCOS but it is still very possible. 

Myth 3: PCOS only affects women who are overweight

Although many women who have PCOS are either overweight or obese and this can make PCOS symptoms worse, the condition can also affect women on the leaner side.

The relationship between weight gain and PCOS is attributable to the body's inability to use insulin properly, hence it is recommended to get into the habit of eating healthy and exercising as part of most treatment plans.

Myth 4: Every woman grows hair where she doesn’t want it 

A common symptom of PCOS is hirsutism, which is excess hair growth in women. Due to an excess of androgens, women with PCOS can spot unwanted hair on their upper lip, chin, or chest - but not every woman will have this as a symptom. 

Myth 5: You don't have to worry about PCOS if you’re not looking to get pregnant 

PCOS doesn’t just tow with a woman’s fertility, it has an impact on overall wellness for the rest of her life. More than half of the women who have PCOS also suffer from diabetes or prediabetes and are more prone to high BP, poor cholesterol, stress, anxiety, depression and endometrial cancer. Irrespective of whether or not you’re looking to get pregnant, if you have PCOS, you must seek to get treatment for the same. 

Myth 6: Insulin Resistance causes weight gain

While this may sound just about true, in reality, even experts aren’t sure why women with PCOS are often overweight. Many people think that it is because of insulin resistance, but while weight gain may cause insulin resistance, insulin resistance doesn’t necessarily cause weight gain. 

Myth 7: Women with PCOS can lose weight like others

While it might be possible to lose a modest amount of weight, women with PCOS don’t find it easy. They often would have to exercise more and eat less than most people even to maintain their weight. Unlike other people with no hormonal imbalances (where weight loss is as simple as calories in vs calories out), it is far more complex for women with PCOS since a whole lot of factors contribute to their weight loss. 

Supplements for PCOS

Supplements recommended for PCOS are often ones that help with hormone regulation, insulin resistance and inflammation that in turn considerably reduce its symptoms. 

Cinnamon: Cinnamon extract is shown to have a considerable effect on insulin resistance and also helps regulate menstruation.

Chromium: Chromium supplements improve BMI (Body Mass Index), which could help with PCOS. Moreover, they might also stabilize insulin resistance by helping the body to metabolize sugar. 

Turmeric: Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that is proven to be promising to decrease insulin resistance. Besides, turmeric also happens to be a popular anti-inflammatory agent. 

Inositol: Inositol is a B vitamin that is shown to reduce insulin resistance and also help with fertility in many cases of PCOS.

Zinc: Zinc is a trace element that is shown to immensely boost fertility and one’s immune system. Excess hair growth can also be treated with zinc supplements. 

Foods high in zinc include beans, red meat, tree nuts and some types of seafood that can be incorporated in a PCOS diet plan. 

A combination of Vitamin D and Calcium: Both of these happen to be vital to a woman’s endocrine system. Most women with PCOS are found to have a Vitamin D deficiency and supplements of the two in the right amounts are proven to improve irregular periods.

Berberine: A popular herb in Chinese medicine, berberine too helps with insulin resistance along with ramping up your metabolism. 

Evening Primrose oil: Primrose oil treats many symptoms associated with PCOS including irregular periods, cholesterol levels and stress. 

Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil supplements consist of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D and A - all of which contribute to regulating periods as well as aiding fat loss. 

The mentioned supplements are proven to help women with PCOS but you must speak to your doctor before taking any, as some of them might interfere with other PCOS medications.



Disclaimer: The author and publisher of Glo.community have used their best efforts in preparing the article. They make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this article. The information contained in the article is strictly for educational purposes and we do not endorse any product mentioned in the article. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in the article, you are taking full responsibility for your actions.


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5 Natural Remedies For Insomnia You Can't Afford To Miss

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Natural remedies for Insomnia

 

We have all heard about counting sheep till you fall asleep, but are you the one who is counting the number of likes on your Instagram posts instead, just because you don’t fall asleep easily? Worry not, as we have compiled a number of natural ways to deal with your Insomnia.

Insomnia is a common issue nowadays and as many as one in four adults have been reported to be suffering from one or another form of sleep issues. A chronic lack of sleep may be linked to a number of health problems such as Diabetes, High blood pressure or Depression. Thus, instead of popping over-the-counter sleeping pills, it is always recommended to consult your physician to avoid any major health hazards. But first, we should understand why Insomnia occurs so that we can arrive at a solution accordingly.

Whether it is for a temporary period or for a longer period of time, you would definitely agree that Insomnia is unpleasant. The cause of Insomnia could be stress or any major change in your life (e.g. getting married, a new job, having a baby, etc). These factors can be temporarily causing Insomnia and you can easily revert back to your normal sleep cycle once you address the issue.

No matter how long your Insomnia lasts it is always advisable to find out the root cause to get the right solution(s).

1. Exercise: 

Being physically active is a major solution to temporary sleep issues. So instead of binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix why not spend 30 minutes daily on basic exercises like squats and burpees.

2. Light to promote Melatonin Production

Since prehistoric times humans have synced their sleep cycle with sunlight. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight has a major role in telling our body when to go to sleep by producing melatonin which is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. Hence an outdoor walk during the day for a couple of hours may help you get a deep sleep.

3. Managing Stress: 

If you consistently find yourself lying on the bed shrouded by thoughts, stress might be the cause behind your insomnia- resulting in an irritable mood when you wake up the next day. In fact, this irritable mood may again lead to further random thoughts- finally leading to a vicious cycle. Hence it is important to manage your stress levels.

So you can start by sitting at one place and focussing on your breath, but if your mind starts to wander we can recommend a few other relaxation techniques to manage your stress, as suggested below:

a)Keep a journal:

 Why not write down all your thoughts that have clouded your mind in a diary. Not only it will help you to release any negative thoughts but you might be able to track any irrelevant thoughts and deal with them.

b)Visualization: 

Imagine yourself on a sea-shore enjoying a scenic view, a warm breeze gushes against your skin. Feels great right? This is visualization. It involves a detailed imagination of a sanctuary of your own. Involve all your senses to get a more effective result, like trying to smell the flowers or feel the breeze.

c)Yoga:

There is a common misconception that yoga is very difficult and you need to have an athletic built to practice it. But this is not true. In fact, there are simple yoga poses that can help you to relieve stress. Yoga combines the techniques of breathing, relaxation & exercise to bring about holistic healing.

4. Eating the right food:

The things that you eat and drink has a major role to play in terms of your sleep cycle. Many food items contain chemical properties that aid you in your sleep.

So you should incorporate those food items in your diet to get better sleep.

a)Foods that help you sleep:

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps in the production of the hormone- serotonin, which your body needs in order to feel relaxed and sleepy. Cheese is something that you can consider. But avoid consuming a double cheese pizza or it may end up giving you heartburn.

You can also include food rich in Vitamin B6, found in bananas & wheatgerm. Bananas are also rich in sleep prompting tryptophan. Consume milk before bedtime, as milk is a high source of calcium which helps in your body’s melatonin production.

b)Food that disrupts your sleep: 

There are certain foods that you should avoid to save yourself from Insomnia & heartburn. Caffeine rich food can disrupt your sleep cycle and coffee can stay in your system for as long as six hours.

It means that if you have a cup of coffee in the evening, you will eventually end up feeling more energetic rather than drowsy at the time of your sleep. The golden rule is to avoid any high caffeine food after 5 PM to get a good sleep.

It’s a good idea to spice up your monotonous life but too much spicy food can backfire especially if you consume spicy foods before going to bed. Apart from Insomnia, you can also suffer from stomach discomfort due to spicy food.

Although alcohol can make you feel drowsy initially and help you fall asleep early, but it can also lead to disturbed sleep patterns including midnight wakefulness.

5. Lifestyle Changes:

So by lifestyle change, we do not intend to tell you to change your entire wardrobe collections, though it might help you in terms of retail therapy than sleep therapy.

There are a few lifestyle changes you can incorporate in your day to day life to help you to sleep better.

1. Reduce screen time:

The blue light emitted from your phone or laptop is a major deterrent to your sleep.

It leaves your mind feeling revved up instead of relaxed. Consider shutting off your laptop, one hour before you sleep. Try listening to relaxing music instead, like nature sounds that create a peaceful atmosphere too.

2. Warm showers at night:

A pre-bedtime shower not only relaxes your nervous system but gives a signal to the brain that it is time to slow down. You can also have a relaxing bath with Epsom salt and relaxing herbs to relax your muscles.

3. Chamomile Tea:

Substitute your cup of hot chocolate with a cup of refreshing chamomile tea after dinner. Chamomile tea reduces muscle tension, soothes digestion and even reduces anxiety.

4. Make your bedroom “sleep ready”:

If you do not have a comfortable bedroom, you might end up tossing and turning all night and you might end up doubting all the remedies discussed so far.

To make you your bedroom more sleep ready consider making the following changes-

i) Turn down the temperature to around 21 °C to ensure that you do not spend the night sweating. It is recommended to have a slightly lower temperature for better sleep.

ii) Dim the lights in your bedroom as the presence of too much light may reduce your body’s production of Melatonin. You can also try putting on an eye mask while sleeping if you cannot switch off the lights.

iii) Ensure that the noise levels are low in your bedroom. You can also use ear-plugs to reduce noise from outside.

iv) Also, ensure you have a clean and comfortable bed as you do might not want to wake up with a sore back in the morning.

 Final Thoughts:

Think of Insomnia as a ‘wake-up call’ to any potentially serious illness, hence it is always advisable to consult a physician in case of chronic sleep disturbance.




















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20 workouts you can do at home

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Workouts you can do at home

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Being quarantined at home does not have to stand in the way of you and achieving whatever goal you set out for your body. Let's explore the 20 workouts you can do at home (According to your fitness goals):

 

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”

Michael John Bobak

While Bobak may not have intended for his line to target a fitness regime, it sure does sound right to butt it in here. Mainly because people are the most uncomfortable during a workout. But at least it’s the kind of discomfort that gives you a rush of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid - all of which are chemicals associated with feeling happy, confident, capable, and even in less physical pain. So in a way a comforting discomfort, if you will. 

It's ironic how not many considered working out as a mandatory checkbox on their daily task lists when gyms and parks were open, when going for a jog around the neighbourhood didn’t require you to wear something resembling a helmet and schools persuaded students to take P.E. more seriously, but now that the world is at a halt, the feeling of running at full speed seems to be playing on repeat in all of our minds. Whether it’s to build immunity, smash a long due fitness goal or simply begin to start working out — I’m here to tell you that 

  1. Running on a treadmill is not a prerequisite to lose weight, contrary to the popular belief, and;
  2. Being quarantined at home does not have to stand in the way of you and achieving whatever goal you set out for your body. 

20 workouts you can do at home (According to your fitness goals):

Full Body Workouts for Beginners 

If you’re new to working out, make sure you don’t overdo it. Pick a set of exercises that target the whole body and repeat this circuit about 3 to 4 times a week to break a good sweat. As you get better, you can increase the number of sets or repetitions and begin to challenge yourself with each new month. 

This is (close to) what a good full-body circuit for a beginner would look like: 

Upper body exercises: Pushups (you can start off with wall or knee push-ups if you’ve never done a pushup before), dips and deltoid rotations

Lower body exercises: Front and back Lunge, Squats, standing leg raises

Core exercises: Plank hold, elbow plank, side plank, crunches 

You can start adding more intense exercises to your circuit after 3-4 weeks of working out. Burpees, jumping jacks and side-to-side shuffles are great cardio additions to get that heart rate up.

Animal Flow Workout

Animal Flow has been on top of everyone’s list of novel “must-try” workouts that can be done at home with zero equipment for quite some time now. For those of you who are alien to this form of exercise, animal flow consists of bodyweight movements that combine ground-based movement with elements of various other body-weight training disciplines to create a fun, challenging flow that emphasizes the fluidity of the body. 

All animal flow movements place the body in a four-pillar position with your hands and feet touching the floor. By using animal forms of exercise, you’re going to be able to experience a whole multi-planar movement - which makes this exercise more fluid rather than compartmentalized. 

Animal flow has been the toast of every fitness town for a while now because its benefits are plenty. It takes into consideration the evolution of homo sapiens from hunter-gatherers to desk workers and hence boasts of mobility, flexibility, core stability, muscle power and improved neuromuscular communication as its key benefits - which is what makes it ideal for former fitness addicts to adopt in this current work from home scenario. 

Ab Workouts at Home

Abs are made in the kitchen but ab definition is most definitely built on the mat. 

More than targeting the mere size of your waist, core workouts are essential for building overall body strength and balance. 

Your core is your support system. We unknowingly rely on this star muscle group for most of our day-to-day work including getting out of bed, bending over to pick up things and more importantly- standing back upright. Working on your midsection at least 2-3 times a week is hence important for better balance and posture. 

How to build a strong core? 

A good core circuit comprises of exercises for a) Lower abs b) Upper abs and c) Core and Obliques. The following list will help you pick out 2-3 movements from each and form your own core circuit.

Exercises for Lower Abs: 

  1. Flutter Kicks
  2. Frog Crunch
  3. Mountain Climbers
  4. Lying Crunch
  5. Scissor Kick
  6. Toe Touch
  7. Bird Dog
  8. Standing Knee Drive 

Exercises for Upper Abs:

  1. Basic Crunch
  2. Sprinter Situp
  3. Bicycle Crunch
  4. Plank to toe touch
  5. V-up
  6. Plank Knee-to-nose
  7. Inchworm
  8. Jackknife Pullover

Exercises for Core and Obliques:

  1. Bicycle Crunch
  2. Seated Russian Twist
  3. Rotating Side Plank
  4. Spiderman Push-up
  5. Cross-Body Mountain Climber

Make your own core circuit by including at least 2 exercises targeting each region of your midsection. A good practice to adopt is to continue each exercise variation for 50 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeating the whole circuit 2-3 times to feel a solid burn. Everybody is a bikini body, only hidden momentarily. 

Leg Workouts at Home

Everyone dreads “Leg Day” - that feeling of numbness as your wobbly legs barely make it from the gym to your car without wanting to collapse a couple of times in between. But we all know it’s worth it. Strong legs can take you far. They literally carry you through life and that’s why we all need at least one dedicated “leg day” every week to pay tribute to the biggest muscle group in our bodies. 

What we don't realise is that oftentimes the most simple exercises at home are indeed the most effective ones. Whether your goal is to tone, strengthen or build lean muscle in your lower body, these exercises are proven to be some of the most effective ones: 

Body Weight Exercises for lean, toned legs: 

  1. Bodyweight Squats

  2. Reverse Lunges With Knee Lifts

  3. Plié Squat Calf Raises

  4. Squat Jumps

  5. High Knee Toe Taps

  6. Side Lunges

  7. Single-Leg Calf Raises

  8. Curtesy Lunges

  9. Side Leg Raises

  10. Inner Thigh Leg Raises

  11. Single-Leg Glute Bridges

Arm Workouts at Home

I personally know of women who are terrified to wear something that exposes their upper arms just because they tend to have accumulated arm fat. And while this is very normal for women - that little flab that hangs from our arms or sticks out from our bras - it can tend to be a sore spot for most women that make them conscious of their entire bodies. 

But here’s what's important to note:  Women (thanks to our high estrogen levels) tend to store more fat than men. On average, we carry about 6-11% more body fat than men do - and for good reason. Women require a certain amount of fat to be healthy (a minimum of 12%). So instead of beating yourself up for not doing enough about those arm rolls, embrace your body because the fat is only doing you good. 

Now that that’s cleared out, what are some simple exercises you can use to tone your arms and give them that extra definition that not only makes them stronger and leaner - but even helps reduce some of that stubborn arm fat? 

Body Weight Exercises for lean, toned arms: 

  1. Pushup
  2. Tricep Push-up
  3. Plank to push-up
  4. Tricep Dips
  5. Tricep Dips with single leg extension

Dumbbell Exercises for lean, toned arms: 

  1. Dumbbell shoulder press
  2. Hammer Curl
  3. Bicep Curl
  4. Lateral raise
  5. Overhead extension
  6. Dumbbell kickback
  7. Dumbbell Punch

Cardio Workouts that Beat Running

When you’re short of time and still want to burn off excess fat with a quick workout, the first thought that pops in your head is to get on a treadmill and allow the machine to do all the work. Now, there’s no place to sprint inside your room, running outdoors is risky and running with a mask on is simply suffocating. 

But did you know that most Hollywood personal trainers don't think that running is necessarily the most effective form of cardio when it comes to burning calories? 

Here are some alternative cardio exercises that you can do at home and that are proven to provide the same (if not better) results than running: 

Skipping

Do you still relate skipping to an exercise for children in the playground? Well, it’s time to debunk this notion. Skipping burns up to a 1000 calories an hour - almost twice as much as running does, so it’s a great way to get in a quick yet super effective workout in a limited time period. Skipping also engages your whole body including your arms, legs and core so you can say hello to a lean, athletic physique within no time after adopting (a few minutes of) this miracle workout in your daily routine.

Running the Staircase

People pay thousands to enrol themselves into a step aerobics class or rent out an aerobic stepper when they could just as easily utilize the stairs at home to get a great stair running workout. (provided you have stairs nearby, of course). Apart from being an exceptional calorie burner, this cardio exercise gets your heart rate pumping and strengthens the muscles in your lower body as well. You could challenge yourself by alternating between regular stair runs and sideway runs to break a swear quicker.

In place Jogging 

Something you don’t hear often is that while running outside or hitting the treadmill is great for cardiovascular endurance, so is jogging in place - and almost as much, too. It might be boring at first, to jog on the spot for long, but you can always pair in-place jogging with a few functional training exercises or even cardio exercises to design an excellent program. 

At home Exercises for Weight Loss

While people often simplify the process of weight loss with the equation of “calories in minus calories out”, the science of it can oftentimes be more complex than that. Losing weight depends on a number of factors and exercise plays a crucial role in one’s weight loss journey. It increases metabolism, enhances your mood and also makes you stronger and more agile - all of which then have a positive impact on your weight. 

A bunch of exercises you can do at home for weight loss include:

  1. Burpees (burns over 100 calories in 10 minutes)
  2. Jump rope (burns approx. 120 calories in 10 minutes)
  3. Jumping Jacks (burns approx 100 calories in 10 minutes)
  4. Squat Jumps 
  5. Kickboxing 

Perform a combination of 3 or more of these exercises to get a great weight loss-cardio session. 

At home Exercises for Fat Loss

It's important to note that burning fat requires a combination of full-body strength training along with cardio, so in case time isn’t something that's on your side, you can resort to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that use short bursts of very intense moves to amp up your metabolism, burn fat, and build lean muscle to some extent - most of which require no equipment at all. (besides a floor mat of course) 

Some exercises that burn the most fat include burpees, jumping lunges, lunges with leg raises, jackknife crunches, jumping squats, push-ups, side plank with leg raises, lateral jumps and mountain climbers.

Zumba

On some days you do a whole push-up-deadlift-burpees circuit and on some, you just want to let loose and do something fun. A workout doesn’t necessarily have to be an arduous task - and definitely not with the current (sometimes stressful) global pandemic. Dancing lets you vibe to your favourite playlists and brings you a kind of unmatched energy - all that can be transferred into a great sweaty workout called Zumba. Although Zumba was originally recognised as a Latin dance workout routine with repetitive/monotonous beats, you now find this popular workout concept localised according to different music preferences - there are Kpop dance workouts, BollyZumba and a lot more fun workout videos available that you can just play on loud with your hair tied up and your best foot front to achieve a massive calorie burn. Trust me, it’ll feel like a mini-party. A really sweaty party. 

Youtube channels such as liveloveparty.tv and Redstudio are great places to begin your Zumba journey. After all, there’s nothing like feeling the burn and enjoying it all the same! 

A fun but intense form of aerobic exercise you can do at home is a staircase workout - with resistance. Did you know that climbing stairs not only helps strengthen your lower body but also keeps your leg’s arteries flexible, allowing blood to move more freely? And everyone knows that better blood flow in your legs equals a healthier heart and body. Besides, research shows that climbing stairs might even do a better job to wake you up than a small cup of coffee.

Step up (quite literally) your workout routine by incorporating the following staircase exercises: 

Step-ups

How to perform the exercise: 

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-distance apart in front of a step. Tighten your core and place your left foot on the step while keeping your spine straight. Shift your body weight onto your left foot. Breathe out, and press through the left heel, moving your body up onto the step. Place your right foot entirely on the step. Breathe in, and slowly lower your left foot onto the floor. Return your right foot to the floor to come back to your standing position. Continue leading with the left leg until you've completed your desired number of repetitions, then repeat the same on the opposite side.

Stair lunges

How to perform the exercise: 

Facing the opposite side from the stairs, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Move your left leg back to rest it on a step. Inhale, bend your knees, and then lower your body. Exhale, extend your legs, and return to standing upright. Your front knee should be exactly above the centre of your front foot. Don't let your knee bend beyond your foot. (this will cause pressure on your knee, and be quite counter-productive) 

Stair crawls

How to perform the exercise: 

Start at the bottom of the staircase, on all fours. Your arms must be under your shoulders, knees below hips, and your feet resting on the ground. Slowly come up on your toes, lifting both your knees off the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Begin to crawl up the staircase by moving your opposite arm and leg forward at the once to the next step. Keep alternating between this cross-body pattern till you feel like you’ve got a good number of repetitions.

Stair hops

How to perform the exercise: 

These are basically mini-squats. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart on the first step. Face towards the bottom of the stairs. Lower your hips and back by bending at your knees. Be sure to engage your core muscles while doing so. Jump forward onto the front step with both feet. As you land, bend your knees to try and distribute your weight on the ball of your foot. Work on landing softly. You can try to stabilize your balance by swinging your arms forward. Don't allow your knees to collapse inward as you land - this might cause a knee injury. 

Crab walks

How to perform the exercise: 

Begin at the top of your staircase. Sit at the top of the stairs with both your feet 2 steps below you and about shoulder-distance apart. Bring your arms behind you and place your hands on the step above. Slowly raise your hips off the ground aiming to tighten glute (thigh and butt) muscles while you do so. Press your hands into the step to prevent your shoulders from rising upward. Begin to slowly crawl down the steps by moving your opposite arm and leg forward at the same time onto the next step. Alternate this crossbody crab walk down the stairs to get in the desired number of repetitions. 

 

Yoga Poses (Especially Good For those Working From Home) 

Practising yoga even once every week has countless benefits to both your body and mind. Apart from increasing flexibility, yoga also helps increase muscle strength and tone, improves respiration, brings up your energy levels and maintains a balanced metabolism.  Besides, working from home has caused a lot of us to be more prone to back and neck aches and in some cases even serious spinal injuries.

 

10 Yoga Poses To Undo The Damage Caused by Your Desk Job:

  1. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  3. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
  4. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  5. Cat & Cow Pose (Marjaryasana & Bitilasana)
  6. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
  7. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  8. Half Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
  9. Child's Pose (Balasana)
  10. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Working from home can also sometimes impact your sleep timings and disrupt a good sleep cycle. You can practice yoga for many reasons including Yoga to cure insomnia. 

You can find other means to cure insomnia or help eradicate its symptoms faster, naturally too. Click here to read our article on 5 Natural Remedies For Insomnia You Can't Afford To Miss

A list of some of our favourite Influencers/Channels you could follow to get your timely workout inspiration and even help bust some of those myths surrounding women workouts: 

Instagram

1. Shweta Rathore – @ishwetarathore

2. Yasmin Karachiwala –@yasminkarachiwala

3. Gurbani Judge (A.K.A Bani J/ VJ Bani) – @banij

4. Namrata Purohit – @namratapurohit

5. Swetha Dev - @sweatyswetha

6. Radhika Bose - @yogasini 

7. Sonali Swami - @sonali_swami

Youtube Channels

  1. Yoga With Adriene

  2. Kayla Itsines

  3. POPSUGAR Fitness

  4. Blogilates

  5. Nikki Blackketter

  6. Sarah Dussault

  7. Pamela Reif

Reminder: While fitness might be important to achieve your body goals, improve your health both physically and mentally and de-stress the mind, it’s basically in vain without the right nutrition. The 8-hour sleep and 8 glasses of water a day don’t just compliment your workouts, they make or break them. So eat right, sleep right and with a little sweat and a whole lot of positive thought, you’re sure to reach your fitness goals eventually. 

For a healthy self, Heal Thy Self

 

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8 Surprisingly effective ways to stay positive during the Isolation

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We are all aware of the famous saying, ‘There is no place like home’. We all agree that a home is a place where we can find serenity and peace. But being at home for an extended period without human contact especially during this lockdown has unleashed a plethora of issues for us - Anxiety, overthinking, and a snowballing negative mental state.

Many people are becoming victims of what we can call the ‘Loneliness Epidemic’.

The biggest reason is of course staying far away from family due to job opportunities in big cities or they are simply trapped in metro cities due to fear of contracting Covid-19 during travel.

Human beings are social animals and we are not wired to staying alone for extended periods of time. That’s why human beings always look for human connections whether in personal or professional lives. We sure have escaped from direct interaction with one or the other toxic colleague/friend but believe it or not our lives have become more mundane nowadays without any drama.

It's time we break the monotony and the loneliness as we have some surprisingly effective ideas up our sleeves. Once you start implementing these ideas you can bring a huge change in your life.

1. Develop a new hobby: 

It sounds really easy and we might already have many ideas regarding which hobby to pursue. But the main thing is to be consistent with your hobby.

Do not try something just because of FOMO. It should be something that you are really passionate about. So spend a day contemplating upon the hobby you want to pursue wholeheartedly. 

Once you have made up your mind, the next step is to search for online classes as you cannot enroll yourself for offline classes in this current situation. There are plenty of sites offering classes & workshops which you can choose from. The aim is to not only keep you occupied but also help you nurture your passion.

2. Get some fresh air:

The catch here is you can also get some fresh air without going out on the streets.

Studies have proven that sunlight helps us to uplift our mood. So why not spend some time tending to house plants on your balcony or taking a walk on your terrace. This way you will get your daily dose of vitamin D and some fresh air too.

If you're fortunate enough to have a garden, now is the best time to get out there. Whether it's spending some time weeding, buying some new plants, or just sitting outdoors with a refreshing drink and enjoying your outdoor space.

3. Keep your brain active:

It's convenient to spend the entire day enjoying a new TV series or watching a movie, but it's important to keep your brain occupied by other things as well. Some indoor games that you can do apart from binge-watching on Netflix include doing puzzles, colouring or investing your time on activity books, such as word searches and brain teasers. All of these would also be helpful for people who struggle with anxiety as their symptoms tend to increase during loneliness.