HOSPITAL BAG OF AN INDIAN MOM-TO-BE

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Pic courtesy : Quickmeme

I can still feel the excitement and anxiety of the day I was getting admitted in the hospital eagerly waiting for Baby V to arrive. Weeks of planning had gone into it and I would be happy to share the packing essentials for the big day.

  1. Photo ID, Insurance Info, Hospital Forms – First and foremost, important stuff to be filed in organized folders and kept ready at least a month before the due date. Insurance formalities can be a real pain if not managed properly.
  2. Cell phone and charger – You will need it to answer to all the wishes you get J
  3. Comfortable night gown – If you are someone like me who is used to wearing PJs and shorts, let me tell you that is not an option. Even mums who have been used to wearing sarees and salwar suits, you might like to choose comfort for a while J
  4. Headband – However trivial it may sound, it is an essential. Post my CSec I was asked to lie down without a pillow for straight 20 hours. I had taken just one clutcher which poked me all night through until the time I had to borrow a headband from someone else.
  5. Maternity Bra – Feeding a baby every now and then is no easy job. The only thing which can make things better for you is convenience. There are plenty of options in the maternity shopping section which can be explored.
  6. Hipster panties – CSec mommies will have to be extra careful with the stitches and avoid any friction on the incision. Hence, it is highly advisable to wear plus size panties which go all the way up to your upper abdomen.
  7. Breastfeeding cover – Indian friends and relatives do not hesitate to drop in generously once the baby is born. After all, our culture is such that we always rejoice and mourn together. For a new mom, it can get really hard and embarrassing to manage the crowd while she is still coming to terms with feeding a baby. So a good cover is a must (there are tons available which can be worn later in many different ways). P.S I still wear mine as a kaftan and sometimes roll it up as a scarf.
  8. Nursing Pads – Not everybody would need it right away but being prepared for leak protection will save you a lot of trouble.
  9. Adult Diapers – Heavy bleeding in the first few days comes as quite a shock to most moms but it’s all normal. Generally, recommend adult diapers which can manage heavy bleeding unlike the usual sanitary pads.
  10. Nipple creams – Sore nipples are going to be your friends for the next few months, applying good quality nipple creams could relieve some bit of pain.
  11. Toiletries and personal items: The must haves for every woman – Toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, contact lens case and solution. Travel size packs recommended as they are easy to carry.
  12. Comfortable loose maternity clothes and flat slippers for the discharge day- I had swollen feet for the most of my maternity. While it magically disappeared just after the baby was out but I would still recommend very comfortable slippers/shoes as you are yet to gain complete stability and control over your body post-delivery.
  13. Food – Your doctor will best prescribe what diet you should be following post procedure. Also, Indian moms tend to carry Shatavari and other Ayurvedic supplements for lactation supply, make sure your doctor is aware and okay with it.

Soon, I shall come up with a packing list for the Indian baby to arrive.

SUMMER HUES : FOTD

They said yellow eye shadow is the biggest trend this summer. From mustard to neon, my Instagram feed was flooded with great artists experimenting with the brightest and sunniest shades of yellow. So when I set out to explore the streets of Prague on a very sunny day, I decided to experiment with the bright hues of yellow. Thanks to my Huda Beauty Electric Obsessions, the color pop was totally worth it.

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I would not even have to explain what I used if you would see the palette for yourself. I started with a Bobbi Brown eye primer for the eye shadow to show its true colors.Basically, I used a mix of pink and purple in crease and base which are evenly spread out. I used the benefit concealer on the inner corner and spread it to the middle of the eyelids for the yellow to be as bright as possible. Then, I tapped the yellow color on the concealer and slowly blended it across the lids to even it out with the purple.

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Interestingly I had left my INGLOT AMC77 gel eyeliner(which I generally use) back home and I had no option but to use a lip liner on the eyes. I used NYX Maroon lip liner for the same and it did not disappoint me at all.

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As always, I was a little too shy to use a bright lip color with bright eyes and a very bright yellow top. Hence, I chose MAC twig, an absolute subtle and everyday wear lip color . Benefit brows and Benefit Roller Lash mascara as usual to complete the look.

More such FOTDs on my Instagram stories. Follow http://www.instagram.com/missvogueviolet for more!

SPEECH FEAR IS NO FEAR!

Recently I came across this word called ‘Glossophobia’ meaning speech anxiety or fear of public speaking. Honestly I did not even know such a word existed to describe the anxiety which each one of us have experienced for years. Most of us as children have faced challenges in becoming socially comfortable.This is what turns into social anxiety and speech anxiety when exposed to a large crowd. While being a fearless speaker is very rare, your fear can definitely lessen with time if the following points are kept in mind.

     1.You are the winner

Preparing mentally minutes before speaking works really well for me, may not work great for you but what is for sure is a good audience engagement.Visualizing yourself at the venue and  looking your best through the eyes of the audience contributes greatly to your confidence.Believe that you are delivering your best, you are giving in your 100 percent and you are winning the show.

  1. Breathe

Nerve control comes from the breathing pattern. Deep breathing helps calm the nerves and gives more power to your communication . It gives a major boost to your confidence and credibility in the concerned forum.

  1. Rehearse , rehearse and rehearse

Rehearsing for a performance acclimatizes you to the environment of pressure. Research says it has a neurological impact which helps convert your thoughts to words and actions more clearly.

  1. Skill can be developed

Public speaking is a skill and like all other skills, it can be developed with practice. To be successful in developing a skill, it is important to not just devote time but constantly seek feedback from people around oneself. So, pick up topics and start engaging in group conversations with friends and colleagues.

     5.Focus

It is one of the primary tools as a speaker who knows how to engage audiences. It is natural for irrelevant thoughts to intrude into your mind, just let it float and move away. The more consciously you try to dissuade it on the stage, the more evident it becomes to the audience. Just let it be, that is the way to speak effortlessly.

  1. Body Language

If you stand still at one point, the pressure automatically builds. The stress hormones are dealt with movement. It is important to use your body movements to express your thoughts with animation.It helps you fight the pressure and makes you appear more confident.

  1. Be yourself

The last point but the most important one. Being natural gets you brownie points everywhere. You may choose to act but your audience can sense personalities. Hence, it is best and easiest to be just yourself.

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Image Source – Business-Superstar.com

FIGHT THE MONDAY BLUES

 

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Monday blues are for real.Period.Yes and it’s not just me saying this but thousands of other working professionals believe that they feel the lowest on Monday mornings. It might sound funny but I actually read a few statistics which proves the fact that the starting of work week might even be hazardous to our health if we continue to hate Mondays. Researchers say that most heart attacks happen on a Monday , most people do not smile till noon on Mondays and almost everyone feels groggy on a Monday morning. But, don’t let Mondays pin you down, fight back and here are 7 ways how you can do it –

  1. Avoid keeping pending work for Monday – Mondays will always be more stressful if there is a long pending list of tasks even before you start with something afresh. So,leave that unnecessary stress out by completing the work in the week itself and start Mondays with fresh tasks which you can look forward to.
  2. Stick to the Sleep schedule –  Do not over sleep on weekends, stick to a schedule through the week.Rather,go to bed a little earlier than usual on Sunday night so that you can wake up  early and allow your mind and body to relax and adjust to the Monday morning instead of feeling rushed.
  3. Don’t live for the weekends – If you are unhappy at work,you naturally tend to be much happier when you are not working on the weekends. So try to spread out the plans through the week like a dinner out on a Wednesday, a family time on Tuesday or maybe a movie on a Thursday?
  4. Plan your Monday- Plan and prioritize to create a clear plan to get more productivity. If you can, plan a gym session before you start the day or even an elaborate breakfast – either way, it will up your endorphin levels or add further energy to your day.
  5. Dress up and show up – We all know that if we look good, we feel good. So, save the best dress for a Monday and your confidence will increase manifold.
  6. Love what you do – If you love your work, you will look forward to go to your workplace. If you feel miserable every day irrespective of what you do to combat the feeling, you possibly need to change your career plan.
  7. Smile: Always carry an attitude of happiness with you. Be a source of positivity for people around you. Compliment someone at work, acknowledge your team’s efforts or thank someone for their contribution. A happy environment will not just help you but also make others feel better.

Happy Monday People!

DEALING WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY

As a working mom, dealing with V’s separation anxiety has been tough for me. Although I am well aware that it only speaks of an attachment and is a completely normal behavior, my heart breaks each time she cries her lungs out while I leave. With time, I learnt a few tricks and tips for surviving this anxiety. It demands preparation, brisk transitions and a lot of time. The fact is we parents suffer as much as our children do when we leave. The first time I stepped out for an overnight work trip without V, I kept mourning the parting whole night. While the next day I tried to keep myself as busy as I can to avoid the guilt and thoughts about her, I realized I will have to consciously work towards make it easier for both of us. And months down the line, after a lot of effort I could successfully stay away for a week last month. Here are few tips that worked for me and worth giving a try –

  1. Familiarity: Familiarity always breeds comfort. Sometimes, it gets difficult for adults to adjust to unfamiliar situations, leave alone the little ones who consider their parents to be their whole world. It is very important to keep one familiar person constant, be it one of the grandparents or a caregiver. It is inevitable that your absence is bound to make a difference in the mood of the baby, but good news is babies forget everything too soon if they are comfortable with the surrounding. So, if there is a routine around a constant person, it makes things easier. Also, keeping security objects close to the baby (any favorite toy, blanket etc) makes them feel secured.
  2. Reassurance : As a practice, I have played the game of “Peekaboo” with V right since she started being cognizant of her surroundings. The whole idea behind it was to reinforce the idea that even if she cannot see me for a while, she would know that I will be back. Also, when I am home and my husband is in office, I make video calls to him and let V interact with him(although she would any way get to see him in the evening) so that when I do the same while I am away on work trips, she doesn’t long for me and wouldn’t cry during the video calls.
  1. Good bye Rituals: Good byes should be kept short and sweet. If you linger , the transition time will linger too and make things more difficult eventually. As a practice, I try to keep my departure at the same time every day. So, we follow a ritual of her bidding me goodbye at the door and then she heads out straight to the bath. Gradually, she has realized that there is something to look forward to after Mommy is off to work.
  2. Keeping promises: We all feel heartbroken when promises are not kept, don’t we? These little darlings are no different and rather more vulnerable. So, whenever you promise that you will be back by 6 pm, try to keep it. If you promise to come back with a toy, then do it. This mostly makes a difference to toddlers because they understand what you say and actually look forward to your commitments. Keeping promises helps build trust and credibility with your child.
  3. Customized approach: Every child is different. What works for my baby may not work for you and therefore, you need to keep trying until you are successful. Lot of people insist on letting the baby sleep in a different room in order to build a sense of independence. It never worked with me and I never had the courage to let her be out of my sight through the night but if it does for you, go for it. I have believed in attachment parenting and I always ensure someone is around her at all times until she maybe learns to speak for herself.
  4. Practice distance: Even when you are home, try and practice staying apart while the baby engages in fun activities. I typically like to send her for playdates with other toddlers (of course under supervision of adults) or leave her with grandparents for an hour or so. This helps in adaptability with new faces and gradually they learn to enjoy some time off familiar faces.
  5. Do not impose the concept of “No crying” – According to me, crying is not a negative trait by any means. It is just a way of expressing an emotion and babies have every right to express their displeasure regarding something, The ability to be aware and express the feelings itself is a major milestone and an important emotional foundation. While, we mothers can’t stop feeling guilty about it, babies outgrow this feeling very soon(unless the baby is sick or has any other problem). So, next time the baby cries when you are stepping out, give her a tighter hug and say ‘goodbye’. She will be fine with the care giver, trust me. Just make sure she is comfortable with the care giver on normal days.

While I am no child psychiatrist, I can say that most of these things worked for me and the suggestion are purely based on personal experiences.

KEEPING PRIVATE LIFE PRIVATE!

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Keeping our personal lives private is such a difficult task. With the social media bang, it’s so flattering that people genuinely love to follow and comment on the lives we are living, the work we are doing, who we are sharing our lives with, what are our relationship moves and how we are getting to our life’s goals. We add fuel to the fire ourselves by the information we share on social media platforms and then have to face the repercussions. If you’re possibly looking for some ways to get off the grid , the next few lines might help.

Let’s talk about few points on why private life must be kept private –

  1. Low key profile – We live in a constant struggle to make our presence felt by people around us and to do the same, we try to share as much as we can. Well, I feel giving too much of yourself away in a way allows others to feel like they can define your personality and once they do, it’s hard to feel like you can ever deviate from not what you project but how they have defined you.
  1. Peer pressure – Social media has done this to us. We see the happiest of faces of people around us – a projection of life they DO NOT lead and guess what? Our brain compels us to share similar projection of ourselves to the world. We perceive it as a need to tell the world that we are happy because everybody else seems to be happy. We must not give in to such pressure because after all, it is just a part of someone’s life, not the all of it.
  2. Work life balance– Don’t let your professional life drive all over your personal life. Respect your personal relationships and schedule your personal activities so that you can dedicate specific time for personal activities. This way, you can ensure there is a clear demarcation between what the people at work can expect and what your family and friends can expect from you.
  3. Element of mystery – There is a theory around this. People who do not open up about themselves frequently are found to be more attractive. So, basically there is a constant curiosity in the minds of people to know more about the individual. So , next time you want to draw attention to yourself , do not just give away the whole of you 😀
  4. Move On – When you share your intimate details with everyone around you, it gets more difficult to move on. The other day, I heard someone share a story about how he got terminated at multiple workplaces due to unethical practices. The next I knew, the interviewer of the next job opportunity was someone who already knew of this history because he had made it public. This not just killed his confidence but also got him caught in his own trap.
  5. Opinionated world – Yes, the world will judge you, always. If you give people more opportunities to peek into your life, they will get more reasons to point their fingers at you. So, build your core group and value opinions of people who matter to you and trust me, they are the ones who will be a phone call away, not people who would be checking your social media accounts.
  6. Profession – As bloggers, we feel it is a self-imposed duty to share useful information from our personal experiences with the world. I agree, the best content comes from our own personal perspective and point of view but personally, I always draw a line. You will never see me dish out the nitty gritty details of my everyday life but just as much as required for people to understand and resonate with me.

I would love to get your comments on where do you draw the line!

HOMESICK DURING VACATION?

So, I am writing this post in the middle of a holiday as I think of my darling little V who is having a ball of time back home. Generally, home is far from the top of my mind when I travel to a new place. I am always busy exploring and soaking in the experience yet I always look forward to going back when it is time to return.

A quote that I relate to –

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 I love coming home after being away. Do you feel the same way? Read on to find out 7 reason why –

  1. Family: Whatever said and done, there is no substitute to the warmth of a family and if you got fur babies, I know you just can’t wait to get back home and cuddle up.
  2. Comfort: I know all you fashionistas love to wear the best of clothes and shoot the best of pictures in vacations, but hey, secretly we all want to go back to our pajamas and slump in the couch, don’t we?
  3. Back on track: Yes, holidays are the time when all your new year resolutions, diet and workout goals go for a toss. So, coming back to home gets you back on track with clean eating and increased focus on health.
  4. Creativity: Sometimes you get so many fresh ideas in a holiday that you can’t wait for the surge of creativity to step out of you and implement them in your lives.
  5. Familiarity: When you are in a different country, after a certain period of time, you practically long to communicate in your own language, eat your home cooked food and feel your usual neighborhood.
  6. Routine: Yes, you went on a holiday to escape the usual but people like me long to get back to routine after a few days. A routine just makes life easy, you know exactly what you’re going to do next.
  7. Sleep: After an activity packed vacation and before you start going back to work, you would want to get some good sleep(and what better than your own bed). You can catch up on all the episodes loss of your favorite series. So, all you GOT fans, please don’t plan a vacation when Season 8 is aired!

Don’t get me wrong, I love vacations as much as you do but I also really do LOVE coming back home 🙂

 

SAY “YES” TO “NO”

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Picture Source: businessinsider

All my life, I have been constantly working on this area of “Saying NO tactfully” yet I have not mastered the same. As simple as it may sound, saying “NO” is probably one of the hardest things to say to people we deal with in our daily lives. When I started out in my HR career, I realized I am getting into a habit of saying “Yes”, often in haste which gives me absolutely no time to evaluate, align or calibrate the options I get. Slowly, I tried to work on it and a lot of introspection is what it took to arrive at the 7 reasons where I found a solution in “NO” as an answer.

  1. The clichéd reason: Be yourself – Yes, everyone on the internet and in your real world has already told this to you. It is the single most important reason why you should learn to say “NO” because nothing deserves more attention than your priorities and personal interests. Do not lose yourself in the battle to win hearts.
  2. Balance: The universe demands a balance, so does your mind and body. It is impossible to strike a balance if you have your hands full at all points of time. So, you must know what to accept and what to clearly reject in order to lead a less stressful life.
  3. Being assertive : It is a myth that saying “YES” to everything makes you a popular person, a team player or a go getter. Often, employees take all instructions from the manager in order to project themselves as superheroes who can “do it all”. Well, as Indira Nooyi said “you can’t have it all” and you should not strive to have it all as well. God forbid, you might even be perceived as a submissive person and this may lead to other free riders exploiting you for their own benefit.
  4. Command respect: Respect is a virtue which cannot be demanded. A strong personality is one who has the cognizance of his strengths and areas of development. He/she knows which task will help him leverage his strength and which one will help him overcome his weakness. The world respects such people and they are definitely not the ones who pick everything that comes their way.
  5. Set your boundaries: When you have your priorities right, you have fewer unwanted intrusions and even fewer distractions. Setting boundaries by saying “No” makes your intentions firmer and is one of the most important skills required for personal and professional growth. When you are saying “No” to things that do not interest you, you are creating a space for things to say “Yes” to.
  6. Deal with confrontation: Most people prefer not to say “No” to avoid an unnecessary conflict. They feel the relationship might stagger with a negative answer. Believe me, dealing with confrontation shapes you more as a person because a conflict helps you improve your resolution seeking skills. So, muster the courage and explore seeking solutions by confronting the people and issues you have been hiding from.
  7. The truth : Saying “no” shows that you won’t succumb to pressure and you abide by the truth. While it might make you feel vulnerable, once you make it a habit it actually helps you evolve into a more liberated and stronger personality.