On Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression is real and new mothers often fail to recognise it and reach out for help. If you are a new mother or going to be one or know someone who is, share this article  of mine on the topic. Yes, once again on Mums Write. Don’t forget to show some love by liking the article (only if you like it) 🙂

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Who is holding you back?

I’ve been thinking a lot and philosophizing every aspect and detail of my life. I’ve been trying to figure out what is going wrong when really everything seems to be okey dokey. You know what I mean. Life cannot be perfect when there is a heap of dirty dishes in the sink, two loads of laundry waiting to be done and a hyper active child wanting to play with every darn thing she can lay her hands on. Need I say more? The house looks like a war scene on good days and absolutely apocalyptic on others. I’m still trying not to do it all, all the time. So okey dokey works well for me right now.

I am someone who likes having a fair amount of control. Like planning-executing, staying on top of my to-do list and in general feeling like I’m doing most of what I want to. And more often than not, things don’t go as planned. And I feel like I’m not up to it. I hold myself to some sort of standard and when I don’t live up to it I feel like I’ve let myself down. Which then leads to downward spiral of things and me.

In a lot of ways, I feel like staying at home is holding me back. I didn’t want to put it in words, for fear of it feeling like I’m accusing the child, because of whom I’m staying at home. But it isn’t. Neither of them is true. I’m staying at home not because of the child but because of my indecision. And all this overthinking has led me to finally unravel that staying at home doesn’t have to hold me back from doing anything. But it is. To put it in better words, I’m letting it.

I have stopped feeling passionate about writing or anything else that I used to be pretty ‘gung ho’ about. I have been thinking of getting serious about writing and didn’t want to put my heart out there, fearing what people would think of me as a writer (hah!) if I unravel my vulnerable self. I finally realized that it has been too darn long and not writing about what I really want to write about has doused the flame in me. I’m now scared of failure, scared of trying new things because I’m scared of failure, scared of changes because I’m scared of the unknown. And I’m done with being scared. No really, I don’t want to be scared anymore.

Staying at home didn’t mean I had to live an unhealthy lifestyle. It didn’t mean I had to just pass my time doing nothing, just because I could. It didn’t mean I had to stop dreaming. It didn’t mean I had to give up my hobbies. It didn’t mean I had to stop living my life, trying to make my child’s life perfect.

While I was at it, I asked myself what I would do if I wasn’t afraid of anything. What new thing would I try? Where would I go? How would it feel? And I was surprised at the possibilities that were right in front of me, that I had closed my eyes to.

So are you feeling down today? Have you been feeling down for sometime now? Why? Have you thought about it? If not I highly recommend doing what software folks call a “root- cause analysis”, which is self explanatory.

 

Life’s lessons in the form of a toddler

I have no idea when the terrible twos are supposed to begin. Baby A is 4 months short of being 3 years old and handling her is proving to be more difficult than I had thought. She is generally an easy child. She understands what I say and follows most of my instructions. Things started changing a couple of weeks back when she started becoming more wilful. She started resisting my instructions and doing things I have asked her to please not do. Now, it has reached a point where I am finding it extremely hard  to not scream my head off at her and lose it completely. Something that I end up doing at times.

Today as she kicked and kicked and kicked her high chair before I served her lunch, despite me asking her not too do so. I had to separate myself from the situation to cool my head enough to be able to see it dispassionately. I had already screamed at her and gave two time outs since morning. I didn’t want it to become a norm that she gets used to. The morning had already taken a toll on me. Now that I am calm enough to think about it, I feel that she too must have been frayed at the edges.

It is very easy to let temper take hold of you and do something that you can later blame on it. But the damage would be done and there would be no way to take back what you have already said or done. I am a staunch believer of seeing things from all angles to arrive at a solution/conclusion as to how to handle the situation or the people involved in it. So I took my own advice and left the room. I’m sure I confused her little mind by not saying anything and disappearing from sight. I just sat there in the living room, watching the sky from the window, breathing deeply and just thinking things out, while she thought I was punishing her and started her crying routine. But I wasn’t done gathering myself.

When I dissected the situation, I understood that it wasn’t her that was sending me off the edge. She did trigger my reaction, however it wasn’t the cause. There are a lot of things going on in my life that aren’t how I want them to be and it upsets me. And I have been doing useless things that would take my mind off those things (one of which is internet). And whenever Baby A does something that I think she shouldn’t, it makes me lose it. And her constant amma* this, amma that accompanied by whining doesn’t help either.

Pretty brilliant, eh? Something that seems like you have no control over, just after a few minutes seems so completely, logically workable. It is not her fault that she is strong-willed. In fact I want her to be strong-willed, in the right way, so that she doesn’t get bogged down later in life. I don’t want her to learn to blindly follow what someone in authority says. So it isn’t fair to ask her to blindly relent to my wishes. It is her right to know why she is being asked to do something, so it is only fair to explain it to her. It isn’t easy. It will never be easy. But it is the right thing to do. I should know better than to exploit my authority as a parent. And to do that, I should first get the irritants out of my life. Those that aren’t letting me see things straight.

Thank you little child, for teaching me something wonderful, something worth learning and something important to remember throughout my life.

I will make changes in my life through this coming week, that I believe would help restoring the health of my mind and body. And it starts with “Disconnect and Detox

I plan to disconnect with internet and social media for a week (to begin with) and detox both physically and mentally. Alongside I also want to cultivate some new habits and break the old ones. Of course, I will be back to tell you how it went.

So wish me luck. And see you around later.

PS: And mums, don’t beat yourself up if you do lose it once in a while. Scream if you must at that time, but always ALWAYS apologize and talk about it when when the both of you are calmer and saner. I bet I will lose it again at-least once in the coming week.  It is going to be alright.

*amma is mom/mum is Kannada

The joys of healthy eating

So my dears, I finally got back into the groove. Thank heavens I did. A little late actually but never mind that. Late is better than never. Right?

Now, what does it mean that I am back? I am back to my radical and practical self in my mind and my new mind right now is busy being astonished at the amount of tummy fat increase over the couple of months. Don’t remind me of the discontinued challenge. Yes, me is very sad about it.

Let us leave all that old and sad stories behind, shall we? And proceed towards new beginnings. Where I get back to thinking health almost all the time in the day. It is also the time where I started drinking ragi-ambli. The age-old formula of strength and fitness. I’m sure the health gurus might be sniggering at my late discovery of it. Or, on second thoughts, the health gurus probably don’t even read this blog. Ha!

Ragi was incorporated in my diet since my childhood. We used to have ragi-mudde and ragi-rotti. But that was all. And it gets boring after a point eating those two things. Especially when ragi doesn’t taste all that great. But I love it and hence wanted more of it. Mudde and rotti are difficult to make and take up a lot of time. So I looked up for the malt and got a simple recipe which I have linked above. I made it and had the version with added curd and salt. And holy cow, it is DELICIOUS! Only, avoid drinking at night as you might get sore throat due to curd.

Now, I have included it in my diet as a fitness drink. Only, I make it so thick I need to use spoon to eat it 🙂 You can add butter milk and make it thin and drinkable.

Now the other healthy eating plans that I have are to eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And I’m quite happy to say that I enjoy eating all of them and can convert them into different forms for variety.

Eggs: boiled, omelet, vegetable omelet, spinach omelet, scrambled, egg sandwich, bread omelet.

Whole grains (grams): soaked and salted, soaked and mixed with vegetables with salt and pepper, soaked and tempered, boiled with salt. Mixed pulses masala idlis, mixed pulses masala dosa.

Vegetables: Half cooked/stir fried with chapati, raw salad, pulav/biryani with lots of veggies and less spice, vegetable fried rice.

Fruits: least one fruit a day and mostly 3 fruit juices a week.

I am so happy to get back. Finally. And I am pretty sure I am going to stay right here, on track. Because I need that tummy tucked in by November. Also trust me, eating healthy elevates your mood and keeps your happy. Also increased metabolism drives your day.

And here is the food pyramid everybody should know about. And hey exercise mat, feels good to meet you again.

 

Steps towards health and healthy eating

Healthy eating

Whenever we think of healthy eating, we think of home-made food. Most of us, being working people, find little time to cook a light snack at home leave alone make a three course dinner.

For kids, parents make sure they are eating well and eating healthy. They keep a track of what they need and provide it. We all remember of the times during our childhood where we HAD to eat a certain thing which we thought was disgusting back then. Now we know it is healthy and very important in our diets. Mostly people with kids tend to eat healthy to set examples for their children but not all elders think of their own health. But it is mostly the young adults and couples with no children, who ignore their health in a very big way. Include me in the second category.

Reasons
Initial phase of new job, new location, new friends and new-found independence do no good when it comes to food. All things which were previously out of reach suddenly become available and reachable to you. You think eating at McD and Pizza hut is cool and more importantly time-saving and easy as you won’t have to sweat in your hot kitchen. What more, you can order-in from restaurants as well. All those paneer butter masalas, cheese/butter filled parathas and maida filled naans look very tempting. Chips and fries become TV time snack. And who doesn’t like variety everyday? I myself am guilty of having done all these.

We rarely cook at home; I don’t have the energy to cook in the mornings because I am not a morning person and in the evenings I’m just too exhausted. Then I started analysing a pattern to find out why I get so exhausted in the first place. Many do the same job that I do, which should derive to everybody being exhausted. Yes, full-time jobs are tiring but not so much that you don’t have time to spend time with your family and have a family dinner. It shouldn’t be. That is when I thought, may be I am not putting enough nutrients into my body because of which I feel tired. I might need to add more energizing things to my meals and snacks. I really observed that most of what I eat everyday are not particularly healthy, even though they are filling. Eating had already become a chore and cooking non-existent.

Making the transition
Now that I am past the hurdle of knowing the reason for my bloated tummy and lower immunity, my next step would obviously be to remedy it.

1. First step is to avoid unhealthy foods. I am consciously avoiding foods that are of no nutritional value. That doesn’t mean that I don’t pay attention to taste. My taste buds are hyperactive and I would rather eat a small tasty healthy meal than a large bland healthy meal. Of course I do go out once in a while, but I am making sure I don’t eat out every other day.

2. If you can’t avoid eating out because you don’t and can’t cook, my suggestion is to hire a cook if you can afford one. Many of my colleagues have one and are happy with the arrangement. Another option is to find an outlet where you can buy home-cooked food. Places like darshinis are good for daily out-eaters which prove to be cost-effective while being pretty good on your stomach and health. Though most of the food we buy outside are not particularly enriching. In this case, it is advisable to take supplements in the form of fruits and vegetables or multivitamin tablets.

3. If you can cook and are willing to, nothing like it. You just need to break the lethargy. Paying close attention to your body will reveal what it might be lacking. Getting tired, body ache, low strength, problems in vision, headaches, irritation, low patience, skin problems, bowel problems etc are a few of the things which you can keep a watch on. Once you start noticing that your health is deteriorating, you’ll realize the value of nutrition. I did. So try to have small meals packed with nutrients. Eat healthy snacks like nuts and raisins,  use brown bread in your sandwich with less butter and cheese, fruit cubes, smoothies. Wash down everything you eat with plenty of clean water, preferably luke warm.

4. Read about health and nutrition and find out how toxins are formed in the body and what hinders nutrients from being absorbed. Information will be in your mind and slowly slid into your subconscious so you can make wise decisions every time you are presented with dubious situations of choosing between a cheese burger and roti subzi.

5. Make health not only a habit but a lifestyle. I am still in the phase of making it a habit in which I can say that the challenge I took helped a lot. So go ahead challenge yourself to a goal and treat yourself once you accomplish it. Once it becomes a habit, it’ll take not much time to become a lifestyle. You’ll automatically make healthy choices in everything.

Withdrawal symptoms

All this sounds so easy, isn’t it? But is it? Definitely no. People who have tried to be on a diet know how difficult it is to be to abstain oneself from those yummy calorie rich foods. When we try to avoid something, suddenly all our thoughts are filled with it. I started craving more burgers once I thought of avoiding them. So much so that I had to go to McD on two consecutive days and binge. So do intelligent avoiding. If you really feel like it, go have it but see if you can share it with a friend so that way you can taste it as well as half the calorie intake. Going forward, minimize the intake to bits and bites. I have started tasting stuff when I go out and sharing food. If it is not my favourite dish, I tend not to eat it in full. Even if it is my favorite dish, I share if I see that I have been eating out a lot.

Also, drink a soup or juice or milkshake half an hour before meal. That way you will be forced not to eat too much as your stomach is already a little filled. I find soups very healthy, tasty and filling. Just ask without cream. And most importantly, don’t think much about your change in eating habits when you are making the transition. Make a list of what you’ll eat and store it in your mind and go about your business of daily activities.

Ultimately, you will lose some to gain some. You WILL have to make an effort in this case to lose the unhealthy  for the healthy.