The unprecedented event in the form of a Pandemic has pushed people to work from home. While what seemed like a good break from the traditional 9-5, work from home brought its own challenges. With the increased working hours due to the lack of clear boundary between personal and professional life, work from home did not prove to be a relief like it was supposed to.
According to the CMR study, the average screen time for Indians increased to 25 per cent. And 23 per cent complained about weaker eyesight due to extended work hours. Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science that works on creating a balance and treating the body in a holistic manner. Following are the key Ayurvedic herbs and practices shared by Ritika Krit, Founder, Kamree that one can incorporate in their daily lives to decrease eye strain caused by electronics.
Icing or Sheeta Satmya: Consistent use of electronics produces heat in the eyes and makes eyelids dull and tired. To counter the effects of overwork, soak cotton balls in cool milk or rose water and place it on your eyes for a few minutes. The exercise will give much-awaited relief to the eyes.
Palm Exercise: Palm exercise, known as palming, is an ancient Ayurvedic technique to massage eyes and provide relaxation. Rub your arms together for 10 seconds and place it on your shut eyes in a cupping gesture. Remember not to put pressure on your eyes. Do the techniques 2-3 times as you inhale and exhale slowly. The Ayurvedic exercise provides relief to your eyes and is also helpful for a goodnight's sleep.
Mudras: Mudras are simple hand gestures that are always defined as a healing modality. Most Mudras for better eye vision can be done lying down while breathing normally. Different Mudras have different effects on the body, and when combined with a breathing exercise, they can bring back balance in the body while strengthening all desired parts and healing them holistically.
One of the most common Mudra is Prana Mudra. In order to practice Prana Mudra, keep your spine erect and body relaxed with open palms placed on your lap. Join the tip of your pinky finger to ring the finger to the tip of your thumb and breathe normally for 15 minutes. The Mudra will promote healthy vision and heal irritable eyes.
Herbs for Stronger Eye Vision
Fennel- Rich in Vitamin A and C, fennel is good to strengthen your eye vision. You can either consume it in the form of tea or wash your eyes with fennel water as it cooling for the eyes.
Triphala- Three fruits - Haritaki, Amla, and Bibhitaki make Triphala which balances the energies in the body and is a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, which reverses the signs of inflammation and oxidative stress.
The Ginkgo Biloba- Native to China, Ginkgo Biloba is most effective in treating degrading eye vision.
Calendula- Also known as "Pot Marigold," calendula is an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial herb that helps in treating eye conditions such as redness, swelling, mild irritations,
Almonds- The most common ingredient to Indian households, almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, which promotes the growth of healthy tissues and great vision.
Splash water 3-5 times a day to active facial nerves and arteries.
Take a break from electronics during meals.
Practice calmness as anger and frustration can increase the flow of blood, which dilates pupils and causes eye strain. You can also exercise pranayama to bring more peace to your daily life.
Avoid hot water for showers which can cause the imbalance of fire elements in the body. Instead, use lukewarm water whenever necessary.
Wear preventive eyeglasses when using electronics to avoid direct contact with blue light.
Avoid reading or using electronics in a dark room.
Avoid rubbing your eyes harshly. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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COPD also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders is a group of lung diseases that blocks airflow and makes it difficult to breathe. The most common of these diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both of these conditions. Emphysema slowly destroys air sacs in your lungs, which interferes with outward airflow. Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchi. COPD is a condition in which the disease worsens over time and it makes it difficult even to breathe. Asthma or Bronchitis is a very dangerous condition during pregnancy which causes fatigue, resulting in energy being diverted from the growing foetus.
Asthma can be hard to diagnose. To find out if you have asthma, your doctor takes your health history, does a physical exam and listens to your breathing.. You also may get a lung function test called spirometry. This is a test that checks how well your lungs work. During the test, you take a deep breath and exhale (blow) into a machine called a spirometer. This machine measures the amount of air you breathe in and out. It also measures how fast you can breathe. When you're pregnant, normal changes in your body can make you short of breath. This test can help your doctor know if shortness of breath is a common complication of pregnancy or if it's caused by asthma.
Treatment: Breathing Exercises with COPD
Pursed lip breathing
Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing has a range of benefits:
It's been shown to reduce how hard you have to work to breathe.
It helps release the air trapped in the lungs.
It promotes relaxation.
It reduces shortness of breath.
Practising this technique 4 to 5 times daily can help. Here's how to practice pursed-lip breathing:
While keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath in through your nose, count to 2. Follow this pattern by repeating in your head "inhale, 1, 2." The breath doesn't have to be deep. A typical inhale will do. Put your lips together as if you're starting to whistle or blow out candles on a birthday cake. This is known as "pursing" your lips. While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don't try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.
Tip: Pursed lip breathing is best for performing strenuous activities, such as climbing stairs.
Feeling short of breath can cause anxiety that makes you hold your breath. To prevent this from occurring, you can practice coordinated breathing using these two steps:
Inhale through your nose before beginning an exercise.
While pursuing your lips, breathe out through your mouth during the most strenuous part of the exercise. An example could be when curling upward on a bicep curl.
Tip: Coordinated breathing can be performed when you're exercising or feeling anxious.
Deep breathing prevents air from getting trapped in your lungs, which can cause you to feel short of breath. As a result, you can breathe in the more fresh air.
Here's how to practice deep breathing:
Sit or stand with your elbows slightly back. This allows your chest to expand more fully.
Inhale deeply through your nose.
Hold your breath as you count to 5.
Release the air via a slow, deep exhale, through your nose, until you feel your inhaled air has been released.
Exercise tip: It's best to do this exercise with other daily breathing exercises that can be performed for 10 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times per day.
When you have COPD, mucus can build up more easily in your lungs. The huffing is a breathing exercise designed to help you cough up mucus effectively without making you feel too tired.
Here's how to practice the huffing:
Place yourself in a comfortable seated position. Inhale through your mouth, slightly deeper than you would when taking a normal breath.
Activate your stomach muscles to blow the air out in three even breaths while making the sounds "ha, ha, ha." Imagine you're blowing onto a mirror to cause it to steam.
Exercise tip: A huff should be less tiring than a traditional cough, and it can keep you from feeling worn out when coughing up mucus.
The diaphragm is an important muscle involved in the work of breathing.
People with COPD tend to rely more on the accessory muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back to breathe, rather than on the diaphragm. Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing helps to retrain this muscle to work more effectively. Here's how to do it:
While sitting or lying down with your shoulders relaxed, put a hand on your chest and place the other hand on your stomach.
Take a breath in through your nose for 2 seconds, feeling your stomach move outward. You're doing the activity correctly if your stomach moves more than your chest.
Purse your lips and breathe out slowly through your mouth, pressing lightly on your stomach. This will enhance your diaphragm's ability to release air.
Repeat the exercise as you are able to.
Protect Your Lungs during Pregnancy
Since you're essentially breathing for two, take these steps to protect your lung health and your infant's health:
Tell Your Doctor About Any Shortness of Breath- There can be many reasons for shortness of breath in pregnancy. Pregnant women are no strangers to shortness of breath. Early pregnancy hormone surges and, later, the weight and bulk of your expanding womb restrict your breathing. If you're feeling short of breath, and you're worried about it for any reason, let your doctor know.
Ask for A Lung Function Test- While the parameters for the test might change as your pregnancy progresses, the simple, noninvasive lung test called spirometry can help your doctor check on your breathing.
Manage Asthma- Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy puts both babies and you at risk. If you've been lax about your asthma medications, it's time to update your routine for pregnancy and then stick to it.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke- Don't smoke, ban smoking at home, and avoid all environments where you are exposed to cigarette smoke.(Suryalakshmi Paleri, Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group Of Hospitals, Bengaluru (Malleshwaram))
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After a sombre year, people all over the world are finally ushering in the festive season with more joy and hope. For many, it will also be the first time they see their extended families and loved ones in over a year. Family gatherings obviously come with feasting, food and drink, however, if you are breastfeeding your baby, then there are some foods that you might want to steer clear of.
The key to a good breastfeeding diet is simply to be on a nutritious and healthy meal plan. After the rigorous process of watching what they eat, new mothers can finally relax and eat almost everything they had to give up for nine months. But this must be done in careful moderation because a newborn baby's diet is still entirely dependent on their mother's milk. Hence, it is important to make sure that mothers eat meals that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is long, but thankfully breastfeeding moms can eat almost anything as long it is in moderation. The following foods should be consumed in small amounts if a woman is breastfeeding.
All food items with alcohol and caffeine content should be kept to a bare minimum. Alcohol especially is tricky, because even after having waited for 2-3 hours after the consumption of a drink, a baby can be exposed to it through breast milk, and this could potentially harm an infant's development, growth, and sleep patterns. And as for caffeine, while it is much safer than alcohol, it is recommended that nursing mothers limit their intake to about 300 milligrams per day.
Chocolate can be included back in the diet, as long as it is consumed in small quantities. This is because chocolate does contain theobromine, which is a stimulant and there is a small possibility of it leading to a breastfed infant being restless and fussy. Since any nutrient from the food the mother consumes gets transformed into breast milk, care should be taken to consume avoidable food items in very small amounts.
Stress producing foods or high calorific foods should be avoided: Carbonated beverages, Caffeine, packaged fruit juices with excess sugar, Peppermint or gums, salad dressings with high sodium should be completely avoided. Processed foods are quick and easy to prepare especially when you have a baby.
However, these foods contain preservatives and additives that are toxic for the baby which should be avoided. An expecting mother is suggested to get proper rest and keep stress at bay. While postpartum stress affects many new mothers, experts suggest that managing stress and anxiety is crucial to the well-being of both the mother and her infant. Stress may lead to reduced lactation and breastfeeding issues.
Avoid binge-eating during this time, despite the erratic hours that new parents are bound to experience. Carbonated drinks and junk food cravings should be substituted with healthier food options like nuts and fruits.(Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics, Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
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Travelling calories don't count but it's important to keep yourself in shape. Working out has become more of a lifestyle than any leisure activity. It indeed gets difficult to maintain timely eating habits. But there are always some ways out if you are willing to choose healthily. Dietician and Nutritionist Sakina Mustansir shares few ways to keep a balanced diet:
Try to Eat Homemade Food/Cook Your Own Meal
There is an old saying, "your mood changes when you eat according to the person's mood who made it." Even when you cook unhealthy food it becomes healthy when it's made at home. It's always convenient to carry food from home rather than eating at roadside vendors or unhygienic food. So, try to cook your own meal wherever possible. Also carry munching snacks like nuts, dried fruits, peanut butter sandwiches or whole wheat/multigrain bread sandwiches, protein bars etc.
No amount of soft drinks or hard drinks will subside the need for water in our body. It's always recommended to be hydrated. Research shows when you are dehydrated it results in forced hunger cravings. You confuse hunger with thirst and get sugary food cravings or indulge in binge eating. Do you know? Drinking water before every meal cuts the portion size and you end up intaking fewer calories.
Don't Skip or Avoid Breakfast
Most of the people skip breakfasts on the trip which makes them more lethargic which enables them to follow healthy eating patterns. If you eat a healthy breakfast your body fills up the nutrients and proteins it requires for the day and starves the carvings off. Buffet breakfast is a trap, don't indulge in overeating either. Cater to the energy your body needs at the moment. While travelling, never skip breakfast. Always aim for a good healthy breakfast so as to avoid hunger pangs and binging on unhealthy snacks later during the day. Also carry some uncut fruits or boiled eggs or chickpeas from the breakfast table for later, to keep you energetic for the exploration.
Avoid Alcohol or Sugary Beverages
The calories in beverages are more reactive as compared to the calories in solid food. Being on a vacation doesn't mean your liver is on a vacation as well. Cutting on calories or alcohol fat is more difficult than cutting down the vacation fat. Avoid sodas if that's convenient.
Usually the most authentic local cuisine also happens to be the healthiest. So while traveling, always try the country's authentic cuisine rather than fast food joints and processed foods. This will not only keep you healthy and give you more energy to explore but you will have an opportunity to taste different cuisines and experience their culture.
Don't Stress About Treats
Give yourself a break, don't keep a count on everything you eat. You always end up eating more if you stress about what you eat all the time. Having a healthy relationship with what you eat is important. Plenty of vegetables are healthier than you are aware of.
Any weight you gain while you travel is most likely to be water retention or constipation. You are most likely to reduce this in a span of one week when you're back to your lifestyle. Be diligent with your exercise or walks while travelling.(By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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Migraine is a debilitating neurological disease, ranking consistently among the top 10 leading causes of years lived with disability, worldwide. The main symptom of migraine is an enduring headache, along with symptoms such as severe pain on one side of the head or throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. Despite being a very common headache disorder that affects roughly 15 percent of the adult population worldwide, it remains inadequately understood and most neglected.
In Delhi, approximately 25 per cent of the population suffers from migraines, every year.
While migraine is an invisible condition, it can severely impact individuals across personal, professional and social domains, thus affecting the overall quality of life and productivity. Work-from-home, or the 'new normal,' has drastically impacted the lives of people suffering from migraines from an inability to concentrate at work to missed workdays. It has become even more urgent to ensure that individuals have the understanding and tools to effectively manage migraines.
There is a lack of understanding amongst people about the severity of migraines. In a study we recently conducted, about 50 to 60 per cent of migraineurs were undiagnosed, despite recurrent headaches. Because migraine falls on a spectrum, ranging from infrequent or mild attacks to recurrent ones, many pass it off as merely a headache'. With busy work-from-home schedules, paired with fear of contracting COVID-19 infection and difficulty in accessing in-person care, people are avoiding seeking medical help for the condition, instead attributing symptoms to associated comorbidities, such as stress or depression."
He continued, "Financial worries due to job loss or salary cuts also contribute to aggravated migraine attacks, which is more noticeable recently. The effects of migraine on one's quality of life also reportedly worsened, particularly for many migraineurs working as essential healthcare workers at this time.
Symptom neglect and failure to treat the condition can lead to migraines becoming chronic. A fundamental need is to recognize migraine as a serious condition with severe disability and adopt a holistic treatment approach. Early detection can be a key enabler of a smoother patient journey and an improved quality of life."
Here are 5 ways to manage your migraine while working from home:
Identify Risk Factors and Monitor Triggers
Migraines can begin at any age but tend to peak during one's prime productive years. Moreover, women are three times more likely to be affected than men, with prevalence peaking between the ages of 25 and 55 years.
Long hours of working from home, along with longer screen times, disrupted sleep schedules and irregular eating habits can increase stress levels. For migraineurs, such changes can become migraine triggers, exacerbating their condition. Identifying personal triggers can help individuals manage their migraines better.
Make The Right Choice for Diet and Lifestyle
Working from home can be hard, but a daily routine that optimizes your physical and mental health can help keep your migraine at bay. Eating healthy meals at appropriate times or consuming small, frequent meals throughout the day are associated with less frequent migraine headaches. Taking breaks from work at regular intervals can help you eat right and reduce eye strain owing to excessive screen use. Making modifications to your lifestyle, including smoking cessation and reduced alcohol consumption, and maintaining optimal sleeping habits and exercising regularly can be key to manage migraines. These also benefit migraine prevention and treatment.
Talk to An Expert
It is important to consult a medical specialist when you are experiencing severe headaches that disrupt your daily routine. A lot of migraineurs hesitate to seek medical help. This could be due to several reasons lack of understanding of migraine severity, lack of time due to hectic work-from-home schedules, or recently, due to a reduction in-person clinic consultations owing to the fear of Covid-19 infection. However, consulting a neurologist, even via teleconsultations, is a necessary step to diagnose your condition and understand the available options for acute and chronic management of migraine, including preventive treatment. With evidence-based information on effects across migraine intensity reduction, quality of life and ease of use, neurologists can guide you on the most suitable treatment option to prevent or reduce your migraine episodes.
Track Your Migraines
It is a good idea to maintain a diary (or download a migraine tracker app), to record the time and severity of your migraine attacks, symptoms, daily diet, exercise routines, and medications and side effects. This can help identify triggers and patterns. It can also prompt meaningful conversations with your doctor, contributing to a more holistic treatment plan, personalized to suit your work schedule.
Seek Support From Your Family, Friends or Colleagues
Living with migraines can make one feel helpless, distressed and misunderstood. But talking to your friends and family will help them understand your condition better. Having an open conversation about your migraine with your employer is a good idea, particularly to work out a schedule, with specific routine adjustments to mitigate triggers. This can help you be productive and healthy while working from home. Employers can also take the initiative -- arranging wellness programs for employees to raise awareness about migraines and how to effectively manage them at work and enhance productivity.
Migraine attacks can be challenging. Changes to your daily routine and active communication about your condition with your employer, after consulting a neurologist, can help you better manage migraines as you work from home.
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New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The Covid-19 virus may reach its endemic stage after a while, just like influenza, and the vulnerable population may have to take the vaccine shot annually, said Samiran Panda, Head, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)."Mutation is normal for all viruses when they proliferate. Experts suggest that the Covid-19 virus will reach its endemic stage like influenza after a while and then the vulnerable population may have to take the vaccine shot annually," Panda said.He explained that influenza, commonly known as flu, was a pandemic 100 years ago but today it is an endemic. "Similarly, in case of Covid-19, we expect that it will gradually become an endemic from its current state of being a pandemic. Currently, we recommend the elderly to take annual flu shots. As the influenza virus keeps on mutating, we simultaneously make minor changes in the vaccine. So, there is no need to panic. The vaccines available now are largely effective against the new variants of Covid-19," he said.Panda explained that the vaccines are not infection preventing, but disease-modifying. Experiments at the ICMR have proved that the vaccines presently available in India are effective against the new variants as well. However, the efficacy may differ for different strains, he said.People are wary that the vaccines that they are receiving now may not be effective after a while, as the virus is mutating rapidly. However, Panda said that it is futile to go for anti-body tests as the immunity does not depend only on anti-bodies. The anti-bodies that are seen using the commercial kits available in the market are not necessarily the anti-bodies that can protect a person from Covid, he added.Panda also said that breastfeeding mothers should get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19 without any hesitation. The anti-bodies that are developed in the mother as a result of the vaccination get passively transferred to the baby while breastfeeding and could be helpful to the child, he said.--IANSmiz/arm