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Yoga for working women and hectic life

Do not practice this pranayama if you are constantly feeling tired, anxious and panicking because exertion can be harmful to the lungs and the heart. Always practice under a Professional Yoga Teacher…writes Dr Deepak Mittal

Setting one’s needs first and making time for relaxation, meditation, or exercise are just a few of the straightforward self-care practises that can significantly improve a woman professional’s quality of life. They communicate to the rest of the family that this is their “me” time and that they should not be disturbed by others by establishing personal boundaries. Only by beginning with such modest acts of self-care as yoga can women reclaim some of their own time for vital self-care.

Some women have hormonal imbalances, which increase their risk for physical, psychological, and emotional issues. By forming a habit that enhances body strength, hormone balance, and self-acceptance, yoga helps women manage their life. 30-45 minutes of yoga, when combined with a breathing exercise like pranayama, can lower stress, increase the quality of sleep, and regulate vital bodily processes like the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, among others. Simply carve out sometime in the morning or evening from their hectic schedules.

Navasana (Boat pose)

How to do:

Begin by lying down on the floor on your back. Keep your hands at your side and your legs together. Now, slowly lift your legs without bending them. Also, lift your upper body off the floor and stretch your arms towards your legs. Hold this position for about three minutes and then return to the original position.

Contraindications:

Do not practice this yoga pose if you have low blood pressure, severe headache, or migraine, or if have suffered from some chronic diseases or spinal disorders in the recent past. Asthma and heart patients are also advised to avoid this pose.

Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

How to do:

Start in a plank position, shift body weight into the right hand, wrist under shoulder, drop heels to the right side onto the mat, rotate the body to face left side, and lift left arm into the air at shoulder height and twist. Raise hips as high to the ceiling as possible.

Contraindications:

People with an injury to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, back, knees, or ankles should avoid the practice of the Side Plank Pose. Any injury to the muscles of the legs, back, and arms are contraindications, and people should avoid the same.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)

How to do:

Start by lying on a mat with legs extended straight behind the body, front of legs resting on the floor, and upper body propped up in the air by pressing palms down into the mat. Extend arms to straight and lift thighs and shins off of the floor.

Contraindications:

It is always safe to take practice this pose with ease if one is suffering from a slipped disc or better still with the guidance of an experienced teacher. The deep stretch at the upper back including the neck and head, may not suit people having spondylitis. It is safer to go slow or take guidance from an expert.

Bhramari Pranayama

How to do:

Do preliminary conditioning in Sukhasana or any other meditative posture. Sit on a firm chair with an erect backrest, if unable to sit on the floor. Keep the body above the waist straight and the spine erect. Inhale fully and then exhale slowly, smoothly and continuously in a controlled manner from the nostrils with a little force, making a humming sound like the black bee. Keep your mouth closed throughout the practice. The sound need not be very loud but should create vibrations. Practice 5 rounds/session, with pause in-between rounds.

Contraindications:

Bhramari should not be practised by pregnant or menstruating women. It is also contraindicated for individuals with extremely high blood pressure, epilepsy, chest pain, or an active ear infection.

Anulom-Vilom Pranayama

How to do:

Close your eyes and sit in Padmasana. Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Inhale slowly through the left nostril, taking in as much air as you can to fill your lungs. Remove the thumb from your right nostril and exhale. While exhaling, use the middle finger to close your left nostril and inhale with your right nostril. Remove the thumb from the right nostril and exhale. Perform for 2-5 minutes.

Contraindications:

It should not be practised by those people who are under medication for blood pressure. The same can be done without holding the breath within, and immediately exhaling out.

The Magic of Yoga for Working Women(IANSLIFE)

Ujjayi Pranayama

How to do:

Begin by inhaling and exhaling naturally. Bend down your head, blocking the free flow of air, and inhale as long as you can, making a sound from your throat. Hold for 2-5 seconds. Close your right nostril with your right thumb while exhaling, and breathe out through the left nostril. Repeat 10-12 times in as much time as you need.

Contraindications:

Do not practice this pranayama if you are constantly feeling tired, anxious and panicking because exertion can be harmful to the lungs and the heart. Always practice under a Professional Yoga Teacher. Beginners should not practice this breathing for more than five minutes a day.

Kapalbhati Pranayama

How to do:

This breathing technique involves passive inhalation and active exhalation. So inhale normally, breathe in as much air as possible, and exhale forcefully. Try to pull your stomach muscles as closely as you can towards the backbone during exhalation. Perform for 2-5 minutes.

Contraindications:

Individuals with high or low blood pressure, heart disease, hernia, gastric ulcer, epilepsy, vertigo, migraine headaches, significant nosebleeds, detached retina, glaucoma, history of stroke should avoid this yoga pose. For anyone who has undergone recent abdominal surgery, it is recommended to practice this pose under the guidance of an expert.

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

First impression matters…

It is important that you look, amiable, confident and calm. Smiling is another important aspect; it shows that you are enjoying being with others…reports Asian Lite News

Each organization has its own culture, eccentric drama and politics which can be overwhelming on the first day at work. But it need not be – and it is here that your first impression matters!
As much as a job is about the quality of your work, it is also your interpersonal relationships that can help take you a long way. Therefore, it is essential to build the right contacts at the very beginning of your time at an organization.
The following are some basic suggestions to help you tip-toe your way around the pitfalls and build your network:

Know the territory
Talk to the people who work or had previously worked at your new organization. Learn a trick or two, combine them with your previous work experience, and give it your best shot accordingly!

Be present
Your mental presence is as important as the physical one. Catering to your cellphone more than the environment right in front does not only make you seem unavailable but is also a sign of professional truancy. Body language
Your body language is the very first thing that is noticed before you even utter a word. It is important that you look, amiable, confident and calm. Smiling is another important aspect; it shows that you are enjoying being with others.

Share plausible personal details, do not overshare
Sharing personal details about yourself like your interests, pets, and hobbies is a great way to help keep the conversation light, while also creating a sense of authenticity and warmth. Any controversial topic or comment should be avoided.

Ask for help
If you are unsure about a thing at work; ask! It will not only help you to avoid landing yourself in an unnecessary mess but will also help create a network. People like being a helping hand, and hate know-alls!
Remember, it’s easier to make a good first impression than to correct a negative one. (ANI)

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

How to balance work and life

This is why it becomes very important to be able to differentiate life from work, successfully, because success means nothing without self-satisfaction and happiness…reports Vineeta Singh

Needless to say, being an entrepreneur is immensely fulfilling because of the complete freedom you get from pursuing what you truly believe in. But that also comes with long, erratic, and vigorous hours that can be taxing because you are the one making all the decisions.

Lines between personal and professional lives start becoming blurry, and before you know it, non-existent, and the drive and motivation with which you first began, can sometimes start to fade somewhere along the way owing to never-ending work.

This is why it becomes very important to be able to differentiate life from work, successfully, because success means nothing without self-satisfaction and happiness.

To me, the family has always been a source of my happiness and spending time with them always takes my stress away! Even when I started my own company, my family were my biggest cheerleaders and that continues to date, but I always ensure the right amount of balance between quality time with them and work.

My mom has always and will be my inspiration in life. Just growing up with her has made me look at the world with such a sanguine perspective, and I’ve tried imbibing all of her traits to the highest potential, though I’m sure I cannot achieve the level of perfection with which she has led her life. She has absolutely never let her work come in the way in which she has always supported her family and I think when you grow up with such an ideal role model, you start to easily see right from wrong.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I realise the effort that goes into maintaining that balance can be quite tricky and can lead to slip-ups ever-so-often if you’re not extremely mindful. So, I too, am continuously trying to be the same mother to my kids, albeit not as nonchalantly! In my personal life, I practise a few lessons to maintain this balance. Like, when I’m on a trip with my family I ensure that I don’t let work-related stress or even work calls for that matter take me away from being present in that moment, additionally, I try to not check emails post 8 pm unless absolutely essential. I manage my time effectively and get the most done during work hours so I can just as effectively spend quality time with my husband and kids at home.

Entrepreneurship comes with its own set of challenges. For example, as is the case when you’re starting anything from an idea’s incubation, building it up further requires a lot of your time. This means weekends usually look lonely, the hours in the day feel insufficient compared to the quantum of work, the inspiration tends to start running low when you’re not seeing adequate results in the short-term and this can lead to frustration to a point of sometimes even giving up. Having sailed in the same boat, I can vouch that a family’s encouragement and presence on a bad day make all the difference. If there is one thing I endorse, it is not losing yourself in the process of building something new because it would’ve been all for nought.

A few tips to ensure striking the optimum balance would be to structure and plan the day better with the goal to achieve maximum output in between work hours so you can utilise the rest the way you’d like. Another would be to remove a mandate on ‘me-time’ during the day. For me, it would be my morning runs and workout time. Lastly, spend as much time with your loved ones as you possibly can. Nobody will have your back as they do!

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Food Lite Blogs

How food linked with productivity at work?

Looking at the larger picture, the change that the pandemic has brought in has enabled people to have a positive outlook towards healthy eating, which was considered dull and boring…writes DRE Reddy

People across all walks of life are experiencing a change in their day-to-day lifestyle; among all, corporate employees have seen a major transformation due to work from home setup. People now are inclined towards prioritising their health like never before. Hence there is an immense amount of innovation happening in the corporate kitchen to make the food at work exciting as well as healthy at the same time. The organisations are recognising the importance of employees’ health and how food is linked to their productivity at work.

Food items that are served educate them with the number of calories it carries along. The workplace should encourage employees to buy foods that have been physically and chemically modified, such as salt-reduced cheese and skimmed milk, supposedly to make them healthier. This is mainly backed by the dual reason of ensuring good health of employees and enabling optimum productivity at work.

Looking at the larger picture, the change that the pandemic has brought in has enabled people to have a positive outlook towards healthy eating, which was considered dull and boring. Foodservice providers have included ingredients like milk with turmeric or masala milk with dry fruits to keep the cold at bay, deserts with honey and ginger to keep the itchy throat in check, tonic water to keep your stomach from indigestion, provide healthy soup options for snack time to avoid employees indulging in unhealthy eating habits or mix dry fruit sweets to keep the sweet craving in check and many more similar ingredients or recipes are prepared to keep the employees’ health in check considering the pandemic.

A healthier food menu not only makes the employees happy; it increases their productivity level, so they feel more energetic and motivated. Kitchens should prepare a food menu that includes healthier options that are not heavy on dairy, pasta or fattening sauces, include grilled, broiled, baked or steamed foods, and limit items that are fried or sauteed have been shown to help people be more productive for longer.

As a practice, the variety of food served at the workplace is now limited as compared to the pre-Covid era and more importance has been given to the nutritional value. Along with food, varieties of teas and a healthy concoction of herbs to strengthen and calm the immunity, wherever applicable. Portion control is also essential for employees as it is one of the most lethal factors that causes almost every health problem.

As we foresee, there are a plethora of innovations we expect to come up in the next few years where there will be more importance given to individual dietary preferences that will be mapped through artificial intelligence. Going ahead every food service provider will highly consider the health and wellness of the employees while they are curating foods along with dietary solutions as it has a big impact on the workplace.

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Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

Sanjana changes priority amid Covid

To help people deal with the pandemic, Sanjana started a mental health campaign titled Here To Hear. She has teamed up with Save The Children offer support in remote parts of India with the mission “Protect A Million”…writes Anjuri Nayar Singh.

Pandemic has affected the lifestyle and routines of every individual in society including the stars of the film industry. Actress Sanjana Sanghi says trying to concentrate on work has been challenging at a time when the country battles the second wave of Covid-19. Work, she adds, is not top priority in her mind and focusing has been a challenge.

“Creatively, to zone in has been a challenge. Reading a script while I am pivoting programmes and trying to get oxygen concentrators to a tribal area has been a challenge that I haven’t experienced before. So, the focus has been shifty for sure,” she told.

She adds: “Luckily, somehow the last lockdown taught us a lot, that was the first time that we from our relentless hectic schedule from being in different cities and being on set all the time, we experienced what it’s like to be how to be locked in at home. That was tougher. The second wave came out of the blue to a degree that somehow the work aspect of it has not been the predominant thought. All my actor friends are focusing on making sure that family is safe, they are safe and it’s one of those times when you know you will get back up when time is right. Taking on anxiety on that is no benefit because it’s our responsibility to get back to work only when it’s absolutely safe.”

To help people deal with the pandemic, Sanjana started a mental health campaign titled Here To Hear. She has teamed up with Save The Children offer support in remote parts of India with the mission “Protect A Million”.

“When the second wave hit, it felt completely natural to pivot into figuring out how to extend and contribute. I saw that everyone was coming together and doing incredible work. Hear To Hear was to fill this gap. I felt that amidst all this, we were being able to help with supplies, but the emotional aspect will be devasting in the long term. With this programme, we have been able to achieve that,” says Sanjana, who starred opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in the actor’s last film “Dil Bechara” last year.

She adds: “There are stigmas associated with psychological help or even anxiety. The response to the programme was overwhelming. Within three to four hours, the slots filled up and we had to double up on manpower. It hit where it was intended to. With Save The Children, it’s a grander mission, over a period of time. We are focussing on cities and there is chaos in the interiors of India. We don’t know the extent of their misery. These are communities where basic food, shelter is tough in normal times. So, with the virus has made it worse.”

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Health Lite Blogs

Are you sleeping on time?

80 per cent of the respondents said they do not sleep on time due to mindless scrolling on smart phones. The ideal sleep time would be around 10 p.m….writes Puja Gupta.

Sleep apnea is a common disease in the modern era of technology. Sleeping post 10 p.m. is clinically declared as an inappropriate time to go to sleep and it triggers a change in the sleeping pattern that leads to sleep deprivation. This is irrespective of the number of hours of sleep. However, a recent study has revealed that although a majority of Indians are aware that sleeping at 10 is an ideal time, they tend to give excuses when it comes to actually following it.

A study conducted by Godrej Interio across 1,000 Indians living across the metros found that seven out of every ten respondents cites ‘binge watching’ as an excuse to not sleep on time.

Around 56 per cent of the respondents admitted that “work for home” which includes the household chores could be delaying their sleep time while 80 per cent of the respondents said they do not sleep on time due to mindless scrolling on smart phones. The ideal sleep time would be around 10 p.m.

Commenting on the findings, Anil Mathur, COO, Interio Division, said,”We at Godrej Interio are committed towards health of the nation and ‘Sleep at 10’ is an initiative which promotes right sleeping habits which is beneficial for overall health and productivity. The study was conducted to emphasise on how health is becoming more important and how sleeping on time is quintessential to leading a healthy life.”

According to the sleep data, collected by the survey 20 per cent respondents indulge in mindless texting on smart phones. Similarly, 29 per cent cites ‘pajama partying’ as an excuse to not sleep on time. Also, 44 per cent respondent’s mentions “work from home” which includes the official work as the primary reason to not sleep on time.

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Read More-Home remedies to overcome Sleep Apnea

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Food Lite Blogs

Mindful eating while work from home

While snacking may help in keeping your energy levels up, in a sedentary environment it also aids your body in storing unnecessary fat…writes Puja Gupta.

Snacking while working is a habit for people. Amongst the zillion other things that this pandemic has changed in our lives, it has changed the way we eat. This means different things for different people.

While many of us used the time at home to turn to cooking and baking and completely did away with ordering in and takeaways — thereby eating cleaner and healthier; there were also those who had to juggle WFH and household chores and didn’t find time to streamline their diets.

On the contrary their lifestyle became more sedentary and eating habits more disorganised. Not to mention the physiological reasons for turning to food when the world has turned upside down.

In short, people are struggling with their eating right now and probably in different ways than they’re used to. An expert on Tata Sky Family Health, Mona Johar, Functional Integrative Nutrition and Co-Founder Mechanism Wellness, lists down ways of mindful eating in the time of Work from home.

Structure your day

Not having the usual comfort zones like socialising, travelling to work or spending time outdoors in nature, has pushed us towards eating disorders in the last one year. And of course, the havoc caused by the absence of a routine. It is important for people to carry on with a schedule, to try to wake up at set times and go to sleep at certain times. This will give them a purpose and do away with ‘pandemic boredom’. Once there is a structure, things like diet, exercise and sleep will automatically fall into place.

Desktop diet

Nutritious snacks.(pixabay)

When life revolves around a table and chair for most parts of the day, thanks to homeschooling and WFH, the obvious conclusion is meals on the desk (read more snacking)! While snacking may help in keeping your energy levels up, in a sedentary environment it also aids your body in storing unnecessary fat. One should have a combination of either low calorie and high protein snacks or low calorie and high fiber snacks. Plan your meals in advance and keep them as fresh and organic as possible.

Eat mindfully

Mindful and intuitive eating practices are not diets. They are mindsets that require you to trust your natural instincts and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is about rethinking food choices and practices; going back to traditional ways of eating and engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and taste. Work your way up to eating mindfully every day and forgive yourself when you don’t. It can take weeks, months so be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of building a stronger mind-body connection and improving your relationship to food.

Start an intuitive journey

Honour hunger: Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant.

Don’t eat for the wrong reasons: Get in touch with your feelings and don’t let food become an excuse for not dealing with emotions such as anger, anxiety, or loneliness.

Make peace with food: Buy food you feel like eating. Listen to your food cravings, it is alright to indulge every once in a while.

Stop when full: Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full.

Don’t over-exercise: Check in with your body, do not exercise hard when exhausted, opt for a gentler routine. Have a variety of workouts at your disposal and pick and choose based on how your body’s feeling.

Exercise and move for enjoyment: Not expressly for weight loss or calorie burning.

Eat nutrient dense food: Notice how you feel when you choose healthy, high-quality food. Take stock of your physical, mental and emotional responses.

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

A change from routine work life

Writing, designing, creative visualising and ideating aren’t functions that can be dictated to work for 12-hour stretches…writes Puja Gupta.

Work life has entirely changed after pandemic and India Inc has joined the global chatter on the four-day workweek. A recent announcement about the much-talked-about new labour code suggests that organisations may be allowed to offer the option to employees. However, the ministry keeps the 48-hour cap on the workweek “sacrosanct”.

Much before the pandemic, remote work and flexible work policies became a part of our lives, companies around the world had begun litmus testing a three-day weekend for employees.

Zahara Kanchwalla, co-founder & COO, Rite Knowledge Lab, lists down a few things to consider if you’re giving the four-day workweek a thought for your workforce:

More hours in exchange for extra off

One of the primary arguments in favour of the four-day workweek is that the extra time off leads to better productivity at work. However, look closely and you find that it’s only when a four-day workweek is accompanied by reduced weekly work hours that the concept bears fruit.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based company, the first to grab headlines for testing the four-day workweek in 2018, asked its employees to work 30 hours a week and paid them for 37.5 hours. Similarly, Spain experimented with the four-day workweek in response to the pandemic, asking workers to clock in 32 hours a week. Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, has floated the ambitious idea of 6-hour 4-day work weeks.

In effect, the employee continues to work between 8 to 10 hours on working days and enjoys an extra day off from work. However, in India, the weekly work hours remain 48. Adding the option for an extra day off by stretching out the other four days of work is counter-productive at best and threatens employee well-being at worst. One must consider that it’s adding almost 50 per cent to the average 8-hour workday. It’s a drastic shift for employees to switch into.

Longer hours means less focus

The brain is known to concentrate for 2-hour stretches with 15 to 30-minute intervals in between. Employee focus is usually at its peak at the beginning of the shift with concentration levels gradually dipping as the hours pass. By the 8th or 9th hour of the workday, workers are fatigued and unlikely to be at their productive-best for the additional hours they now have to clock in. It also raises the likelihood of mistakes, errors and accidents.

Just like one can’t make up for sleep lost in the week by sleeping for 48 full hours, the additional day off may hardly matter when one works a 12-hour shift for four consecutive days. Add to that an average of three hours of commute to and from work, makes it a total of 15 hours a day that the employee is out of their home for work.

Creativity can’t be clocked

In a digital agency where a majority of the roles are of a creative nature, twelve-hour workdays are impractical. Sure, pulling a caffeine-fuelled all-nighter a day before an important pitch may get those creative juices flowing but that’s just the pressure of the deadline in action on a creative brain.

Writing, designing, creative visualising and ideating aren’t functions that can be dictated to work for 12-hour stretches. Besides, one can only focus on the same project for so long before mental fatigue and the infamous creative block sets in.

To be able to look at the same problem afresh, taking breaks at regular intervals throughout the day is a crucial part of the thinking and ideating process. It cannot be crammed into four days and switched off for the other three.

Always connected

Beyond the creative functions of a digital agency, the nature of the business itself is interdependent on many external factors and stakeholders. As a digital agency, by default one has to be connected to what’s happening in real-time and be of service to clients. Twelve hour-long shifts can be demanding on those in customer-facing roles too, with the possibility for poor judgements and reactions graver in the final hours of the shift.

In addition, like the rest of the services industry, in these hyper-connected times, one is also expected to be available to clients at all times. A company may put a rotational system in place but that means a further restructuring of the workforce. Work from home inspired many organisations to finally embrace flexible work policies. If your company already allows its workforce to tailor their work schedules around their personal lives, a four-day workweek may not add further value.

A long break is priceless

Having said that, a long break away from work is indeed priceless. Employees have long grumbled about the two-day weekend passing by in a blink. On the flip side, a four-day workweek could prove as motivation for the long weekend. Knowing that the workweek is now shorter may encourage employees to complete tasks faster. The promise of three full days to oneself may inspire employees to focus fully while at work.

Besides, a three-day weekend allows one to plan longer holidays out of the city. It may also open up opportunities for employees to engage in long-forgotten hobbies, sign for an upskilling program or take up gigs on the side!

Long weekend or mid-week break

While some companies may make Thursday the new Friday by giving employees a three-day weekend. Some may place the extra day right in the middle of the workweek, on a Wednesday, for employees to return afresh to face the latter half of the week. Companies that want to stay available to their clients and customers through the week will put their employees on a rotation system.

As long as the length of the workday remains the same, the four-day workweek seems to bear sweet fruits. So, you may think announcing a three-day weekend may position you as an attractive employer but giving an extra day off by adding lost hours to rest of the workdays may just end up being like repackaging the same thing in a new gift wrapper. Make sure you take into account all aspects of the decision. Ultimately, if your workers are tired, it’s your product and business that will suffer.

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