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Bad Habits A Hurdle To Your Well-Being? Here’s What Should You Do

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Habit; the word is known to us all. I became acquainted with this word in my childhood days when my parents invariably would say “such a bad habit you have of waking late”. Now, without much ado, let’s get straight into the topic of discussion. Habit is an action that consciously or unconsciously gets incorporated in your daily schedule. Are you struggling with bad habits that create a hurdle to your way of well-being?

Fortunately, you are not alone. It’s a common human tendency to include bad habits first. For instance, checking your phone quite often, procrastinate until the deadline comes and stir up your adrenals. Craving junk food and stuff your tummy with toxic ingredients, permit lethargy to avoid the gym. All these are relatable right? I am quite sure these are.

Now the question is: how do you uninstall a bad habit from your system and download a good one instead? It’s not easy, but not impossible. But there’s no quick fix. Remember these habits took months or even years of repetition to get installed into your system. Likewise, they would take time to leave you. But it depends on you how you replace them with good habits. Let me give you a clear idea of how you can attain it.

To simplify your task, you may keep a journal and jot down the list of old habits that you want to eradicate from your system and include those that would spark up your life.

Morning habits: Most of us have the cringe habit of sipping tea or coffee on an empty stomach after waking up. Though it gives you an instant stimulus to kick start your morning, it’s toxic. Instead, the first thing you should do after rising is to do some exercise, be it yoga, pranayam or freehand. It will give a boost to your blood circulation through pumping your heart faster. After that, you can intake a glass of lukewarm warm water with lemon, which will cleanse your system.

Indian street food
Street food has become a part of a majority of Indians lives.

Food habits: That roadside Hakka noodles, delicious momos, saliva secreting panipuris — arouse the taste buds and hit the dopamine instantly, right? Do these thoughts come into your vision when you think about food? Then you are on the wrong track. Stop binging those. You have no doubt, become a junkie. Stay away from processed foods and junk foods. Sometimes you can have these. But the foods that you intake regularly should be unprocessed, whole grains and homemade.

Include veggies and fresh fruits into your plate as much as you can. One common mistake that we are still making is eating carbohydrates in large quantities. Half of your plate should include food items other than carbs. Make it a habit and you will see a gradual change. Changing your diet will change many health problems. Ancient Ayurveda says 50% of your health problems originate from the stomach.

Mental health: Mental health matters a lot in daily life. Your mind is like a shrine. Do you keep your shrine dirty or unorganized? Not hopefully. Then why congest our minds with clumsy thoughts. Cleansing your mind is equally important as cleansing your body. Eager to know the ways? Let me tell you then.

First, I will highly suggest meditation. Meditation is the ancient practice of mental tranquillity. Regular practice of meditation makes you calm and poised. Second, clean and organize your surrounding. Recently I have gone through a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. There I came across a line saying, “When you clean something you cleanse your soul”. The line touched me to the chore. The practice of cleaning your surroundings is a spiritual habit and I suggest you incorporate this into your life.

Third, reading books. Reading books is always better than binging on Netflix or meaningless whatsapping. When you read a book, you engage your mind to think. It’s a mental exercise. It will enrich your vocabulary at the same times. But be selective while reading a book. There’s so much cringe flooding the market. So choose prudently. Now, you have to be persistent with any new habit you pick up. Do not give up midway no matter how dull they are to stick by. Little changes gradually lead to a big revolution; history has taught us.

To conclude, I would like to quote the famous laureate, John Dryden:

“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”

So choose wisely and don’t be chained and doomed by your creation.

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

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

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

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

Read more about his campaign.

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

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

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

Read more about her campaign.

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

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

Read more about her campaign. 

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

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

Find out more about the campaign here.

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

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

Read more about the campaign here.

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

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

Read more about the campaign here.

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

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

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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

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

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

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

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

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