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If You’re Feeling Stressed, Anxious Or Panicking, Here’s How To Cope With The Lockdown

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or panicking, be reassured that this is a very normal response Representational image.

Locked at home, no outings, not meeting friends, nothing seems exciting. Haina? Even having a haircut or getting your eyebrows done feels like a far fetched idea in these times. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or panicking, be reassured that this is a very normal response. All you need is some self-care, some TLC (tender love caring).

In simple words – self-care means caring about yourself – emotionally, mentally and even physically. But how do you do that? We have got a few things for you to think about (covered in this article) and a few things to do (covered in a separate article here). Shall we begin?

  1. Choose positivity: Wake up to your favourite song each morning, or just sleep an hour or two earlier at night to ensure that you are not too groggy in the morning. Hug your parents, sibling, partner or anyone you like (can be your pet too!) when you wake up.
  2. Mind your words: All the locking in and not going out can make you feel frustrated, so it’s normal to get angry. We all have bad days, but how you choose to speak to others ricochets back to how people will speak to you. Count till ten when you get angry. Learn to hold back hurtful words.
  3. Speak up: Did not like what your mom said about your friend? Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have? Talk about it rather than holding up your feelings inside. Holding up feelings inside you will only lead to you getting frustrated and angry. So, speak up! The other person will not know how you feel unless you talk about it.
  4. Give space to yourself and others: You don’t have to be with your partner and family all the time. Take out time for yourself – alone. Do things you like to do – reading, catching up with your friends/colleagues over the phone, gardening, or even just sleeping. It will help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
  5. Don’t hold back: This may be a tough period to express or act on sexual desires. But hey what about the good old masturbation – and sexting (if you have a partner and they consent). Don’t hold yourself back (as it will only lead to unnecessary frustration), but do be as discreet and respect other people’s privacy.  Go to a separate room of the house and satisfy your desires.

How To Stay Sane – Mentally!

yoga
Whether it’s an evening run or power walk, yoga, or just following a 5-minute dance workout on YouTube in the comfort of your home, get your body moving. Representational image
  1. Have a routine: This is the first thing you have to do. Make a schedule for yourself. Working professionals anyway have work-from-home commitment to cater to. Students can use up this time to read, learn and practice. Also, consider getting on with a home work-out routine. It can work wonders to keep your mind calm, and of course, transform your body.
  2. Stay active and exercise: Yes, gyms are closed and we cannot go out for a walk in the park but when you need inspiration – go to social media. Your favorite Bollywood celebs like Katrina Kaif, Mandira Bedi and many others are telling you how to work out at home! Endorphins (hormones released by exercise) naturally reboot our body. Whether it’s an evening run or power walk, yoga, or just following a 5-minute dance workout on YouTube in the comfort of your home, get your body moving.
  3. Meditate, yes you!: I know most of you will say – Nah! Not my cup of tea. But trust us, this is the best way to calm your mind. Have an excuse that you do not know how to start? Well, take tips and tricks from this helpful guide on how to start. You can also practise mindfulness. Now you will ask – ab yeh kya bala hai? Well, do you like drinking chai or coffee?

So next time when you’re having a cup of tea, pay attention to your senses – the smell of the adrak/elaichi in the tea, the smell of coffee beans, the froth in your coffee,  the warmth of the cup in your hand, the taste, the vapours on the outside of the cup etc. Bas this is mindfulness! In simple words, it is our ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing; focusing ourselves on one task without any distractions – no matter how small the task is. Mindfulness helps calm your mind and also improves your focus.

  1. Gadget detox: Spending all day with your gadgets – like TV, mobile phone, laptop etc can also make you anxious. Set up some rules of no gadgets for particular times. Using any electronic devices before bed suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.So start with no gadgets during meals and finally graduate to no gadgets before your sleep time.
  2. Take a break from the news and social media: Yes, you heard it right. No Raveesh Kumar, Rajat Sharma or Arnab Goswami for evening! Same applies to news on WhatsApp. Don’t trust everything you see and hear. Read or see what’s really important and to stay up to date. You don’t need to hear endless debates! And social media – that’s on top of the anxiety inducer list these days. Turn off all notifications on the phone, log out from Facebook, mute your WhatsApp – even if it is for a couple of hours. Have no self control? Installing a website blocker can help as it does not allow you access to Twitter.
  3. Connect with Maa and Papa: So our very own Doordarshan is TV programmes like Ramayana or Circus? And it’s no doubt making your parents feel all nostalgic. Why not join them for a feel-good trip. Or take a trip down the family memories. Get those old albums out. Nothing works to beat stress like laughing over that those old tales within the family.
  4. Learn something new: Our favourite actor Hrithik Roshan has challenged himself to learn piano in 21 days while Katrina Kaif has mastered the art of washing utensils. How about you? It’s time to forget all excuses and learn something new – cooking, baking, gardening. YouTube has great free online tutorials for almost everything!
  5. Pamper/Massage at home: Salon closed, but what about just sitting down on a mat and giving that bottle of oil to your partner, sibling, or anyone in the family for a good old champi ! You can also offer to give a head massage to your mom or dad after a long day. Same way you can also take a bucket of hot water, put some shampoo in it and dip your feet in it. Put on some nice music and feel nirvana at home.
  6. Declutter: Not just your mind but your home and shelf too – yes that book shelf, . Start with one shelf a day. Here is a tip – discard almost all the stuff that you have not used at all in the last one year.
  7. Check out our forums/Let’s talk: And let’s but not the least. If you’re feeling (or literally are) isolated, need help on matters on love, sex and relationships and don’t know where to seek help, Love Matters hai na! We also have an online forum called Let’s Talk where you can ask your queries and we will try to reply to you soon!

And last but not least. If you’re feeling (or literally are) isolated, need help on matters on love, sex and relationships and don’t know where to seek help, Love Matters hai na! We also have an online forum called Let’s Talk where you can ask your queries and we will get back to you soon!

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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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