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6 Lockdown Lessons You Might Want To Learn

Life is a lesson in itself. The daily experiences, challenges, and people that you face have a hidden message and purpose. Situations come and go, but the cycle never breaks. By the term cycle, I mean, life goes on.

In this “life goes on” sentence, do we ever keep some time to reflect?

Whoever we are and whatever we do, there is always a particular element in our lives that takes away the whole of our mind-space. Representational image.

The COVID-19 pandemic that we are witnessing, has compulsively made us awaken. Nobody signed up for this. Suddenly we were made to sit at home. Our home is our comfort zone, but we were actually out of our comfort zones.

Living in anxiety, stress, worrying about what will happen, nowhere to go, and escape our existence altogether. It is very easy for me to sit at home and write this article. What is happening with people and how they are undergoing it on ground zero is something that none of us can fathom.

What the world is facing, many people in the positions of caretakers, doctors, nurses, watchmen, daily wage workers, customers, essential goods and services providers, police, collectors, high-end officials and many more are working during this time.

This struggle is real.

Then what is the kind of struggle that we are facing?

1) Umm, Getting bored at home?
2) Not understanding what to do when our life was consumed with work and a heavy social life?
3) When we will get to meet our loved ones?
4) Adjusting and fighting with the people with whom we are living?
5) Feeling impatient, anxious, worried because of overthinking? (Also because there is nothing to do)
6) Handling our unhealthy, pre-COVID addictions and ways of living?

And the list gets very subjective for all of us.

The times that we face and the challenges we encounter provide an opportune moment to see, feel, and reflect on what we have been doing and what we should do to enhance our lives. It is a breather, a good break from everything. So when you get out of it and live a new normal, you can focus on the below 6 lockdown lessons that can serve as the guiding lights in your journey.

  1. At Times, A Miracle Is Just A New Thought

“You can change the experience of your experiences.”

Whoever we are and whatever we do, there is always a particular element in our lives that takes away the whole of our mind-space. No matter how beautiful or bad our lives are, there is something that has so much weight to bring us down. Dwelling on it, we go mad.

The lockdown period has actually exposed these things and laid it bare in front of us to see and deal with it. So tired, that we pray and ask God or the universe to do something about it (not challenging anybody’s faith). We wait for miracles to turn the tables. In short, we rely on an external force. Then what can we do internally?

We can change our thoughts and give a good try to have a different perspective. This exercise can completely change the experience of the whole situation. Just a tweak to your thought process and mindset can get you out of your head and finally get you ahead in your life.

2. NAPS (Necessary Allowance For Personal Solitude)

It is not in the nature of all the human beings to practice NAPS but it is definitely doable. NAPS is a medicine to your mental and physical body to relax and stop the speed of your life. It is about spending time alone to introspect and know yourself better.

10 minutes to 1 hour just with your thoughts can help reboot your mind, solve problems effectively, and increase productivity and concentration. Not only that, it helps you go deeper into the very existence of you.

3. There Is Something Beyond You And Your World

At times, we get too much into ourselves. Yes, it is in human nature to be selfish, avaricious and think about survival. But when we get into a calmer place in life, we can open our eyes to see the world around us.

It isn’t the community of human beings alone but also about working for the environment, plants and trees, birds, and animals, the coming generations and building future generations together. It is helping one another and becoming an instrument to reach out to people in need. It can be in any form, tangible or intangible.

It is needless to say that we are all one. Everything is interconnected and has a ripple effect. We are nothing without the entire planet. Getting aware and spreading even a single message can be your contribution.

So look around. You never know you might have a greater purpose.

4. It Doesn’t Really Matter What You Are On The Outside

Yes. How you look doesn’t have much weight compared to what you are made of.

The pandemic has revealed much about our resilience, health, and immunity to fight back. Many perished while many survived. And this is not the last pandemic. Scientists talk about new epidemics that can happen in the future.

So the question arises, what we can do about our health and adopt a healthy lifestyle?

Building your inner strength and power doesn’t only happen by eating good and working out. A complete shift in the lifestyle like:

-Not sitting too long while working/studying
-Reducing screen time
-Taking walks in nature
-Meditating
-Connecting with people in real life
-Keeping life simple and thinking wise
-Practising mindfulness and many more!

You can create this list for yourself the way you want. It is just that we don’t need another pandemic to realize this.

5. Digital World: Both A Life Savior And Illusion

Have you ever imagined what will life be if there were no social media handles?

There are no phones, laptops, the businesses that are working online, nothing.

Today’s world is heavily dependent on digital technology. It has become a necessary part of life. We are daily surrounded by these, even if we decide to reduce our screen time. All our resources are connected digitally. And we can’t do much about it. It is a life saviour in the best ways.

But when we talk about it as an illusion, it is created by human beings. Just like money and material things, it has no value unless we give in to it. It is just a channel in the physical world. The real connection is when we go out in the physical world and live life for what it is. Out of this digital world, there is another world. We just have to create a balance between these two.

A balance that is not addictive but self-regulated.

6. Gratitude Is The Best Attitude

“It’s just another day in paradise.”

Whatever we have and whatever we want, we all should practice gratitude. We are more than lucky to have the basic of the basic things to live and enjoy. It is so much to develop the life we want.

“It is not the cost of living that is expensive, but the cost of the lifestyle that is expensive.”

Today is the time to look around and be grateful for the people, things, and circumstances you have and you will realize that it is no less than a paradise.

So, I feel it is too much to take in one bite. The lockdown has paved the way for us to know that we don’t do anything in life until we feel pain and an invisible push.

Henceforth, it is your choice to choose.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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