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Dear Women, Breathe! Take Charge Of Your Mental Health

Women suffer from depression more than men do. It is because of societal, environmental, biological and genetic differences, explains Psychologist Ekta Khurana

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New Delhi: The alarm blares in the bedroom next door. While I put another pillow over my ears to block the noise and disappear into my little world of dreams, my mother begins her day, sharp at 5:30 am. Watering plants, moping the house, cooking meals for the family and leaving for work – she does it all in three hours.

For over 30 years, she has balanced work and family, yet carries a tinge of guilt when she admits she’s ‘not in the mood to cook’. I’ve never witnessed her taking a day off because she ‘felt like it’. In her narrative, the concept of ‘pause’ seems foreign, a testament to the selfless dedication of mothers, of women who often forget to prioritise themselves and their healthcare needs.

Also Read: Young India Is Anxious! A Deep Dive Into A Young Mind With Agastya Nanda

“Women silently carry the pressure of being a perfect mother, wife and daughter,” says Psychologist Ekta Khurana. She adds,

There exists a societal checklist for women – the right age to marry or the kind of jobs they should take. My father always suggested I become a teacher since it provides women with the convenience of balancing work and home. The expectations restrict women from confronting and expressing their needs and wants.

Mental Health And Women

Ms Khurana explains that more Indian women suffer from depression than men, because of the societal, environmental, biological and genetic differences. Look out for common signs of depression:

– Sadness
– Increase or decrease in appetite
– Insomnia and hypersomnia
– Fatigue, a feeling of constant heaviness in the body
– Feeling irritated and guilty

If these signs last for two weeks or more, a woman could be going through a phase of depression and should seek professional help, if needed, says Ms Khurana.

Watch: All About Government Programmes Addressing Mental Health

Talking about how hormone fluctuation affects mental health, Ms Khurana adds,

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone cause mood changes during the pre-menopause phase, periods, and even after childbirth. This can affect serotonin (happy hormone) levels.

Further talking about another mental illness, Ms Khurana said,

Being anxious is a normal part of human behavior whereas if you feel anxious every day and have panic attacks, then that is anxiety. It is a sign of a problem – be it at work, home or in a relationship.

Time For Mental Well-Being:

– Sleep better
– Eat healthy
– Exercise
– Pause
– Maintain boundaries
– Breathe

The biggest lesson we all need to learn is to step back and say no. You can’t make everyone happy, nor should you try to, says Ms Khurana.

Also Read: “There Is No Health Without Mental Health”, Says Dr Pratima Murthy

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

Highlights: Banega Swasth India Launches Season 10

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India’s Unsung Heroes

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