When was the last time you scheduled a break in between Working From Home? Not a lunch break, but an actual break providing you with much needed time to unwind – perhaps through stretching, meditating, or even napping.

While many (unconsciously) feel undeserving of a break until everything on the agenda has been completed, research has shown that your performance actually decreases the longer you concentrate on just one specific task. In short, another myth has been busted by Wild Ginger: working non-stop is not productive. Instead, to improve productivity, you should focus on resting and sleeping better.

 

Set Goals Prioritising Rest & Sleep

How exactly can you set goals that prioritise rest and sleep? Well, it’s important to know what type of rest you need, so take a moment to read this; then, set a SMART goal – a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This way, you know what you’re committing to and can hold yourself accountable. Remember, accountability is necessary when goal setting, but staying flexible will allow self-love through the form of kindness to permeate your being.

 

How To Rest Better

Now that you know what type of rest you need, here are ideas on how you can implement resting into your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule:

  1. Emotional Rest, Mental Rest, and Spiritual Rest (Non-Physical Rest)

Daily: While WFH, write down your to-do list to avoid feeling emotionally and / or mentally overwhelmed.

Weekly: Journal about everything and anything (try to remember if your colleague or client upset you, write about it).

Monthly: Find what helps you feel spiritually rested then do it (like listening to a sound bath, breathwork etc).

  1. Physical Rest, Sensory Rest, and Social Rest (Physical Rest)

Daily: While WFH, set an hourly or bi-hourly timer on your phone to remind yourself to readjust your posture and to close your eyes for at least a minute to avoid sensory overstimulation.

Weekly: Slow down your heart rate with a relaxing yin yoga class.

Monthly: Schedule at least one day (or maybe every Sunday) of the month for you-time.

  1. Creative Rest (Non-Physical and/ or Physical Rest)

Daily: Create a Vision Board and gaze at it, or add to it every time you feel uninspired.

Weekly: Set aside anywhere from five minutes to an hour to get creative (dancing, drawing, cooking etc).

Monthly: Explore Mother Nature to feel re-inspired by life!

 

How To Sleep Better

Besides your mental health being affected by poor sleep, your physical health is affected, too. Totally shocking: a study has shown how one night of poor sleep has similar affects as a poor diet over the course of six months. Before that fact keeps you awake at night, here’s how you can sleep better:

  1. Avoid Stimulants

Which of these three can be stimulating to the digestive system: chocolate, spices, and / or sugar? If you guessed all of the aforementioned, then you’re absolutely correct and should remember to avoid poor pre-sleep snacks. You can still indulge, of course, but until a certain time only – for example, cut back or omit the aforementioned after lunch. According to experts, preferred pre-sleep snacks would be complex carbohydrates: fruit, nuts, popcorn, wheat bread, and more.

  1. Limit Your Use of Electronics

There’s a reason why iPhones stop emitting blue light past a certain time, daily: blue light is not good for your circadian rhythm. If you have a tendency to scroll through social media or to just use your phone in general before sleeping, then know that that habit could be impacting the quality of your sleep. To improve your sleep, simply limit your use of (or don’t even use) electronics before sleep and set your phone / tablet to airplane mode.

  1. Set The Vibe

How you set the vibe is entirely dependent on what type of person you are and where you live, but here are some suggestions: a diffuser and lavender essential oil for those feeling stressed, high quality bedding for those with sensitive skin, ear plugs for those living near roads, blackout shades for those living near bright lights, and the list goes on…

  1. Familiarise Yourself with Several Strategies

What do you do normally do when you can’t sleep? If you do nothing but lie in bed, then it’s time to research sleeping strategies! Although getting out of bed when you’re attempting to stay in bed may seem counterintuitive, it may help you feel more sleepy – especially if you’re trying a guided meditation, deep breathing, muscle relaxation through body scanning, and other tactics that will help you feel calm.

  1. Regular Timing

The best is always saved for last (according to some, at least) so here’s the cherry on top of your new and improved sleep cycle: regular timing. By sleeping around the same time daily, your body will basically condition itself to feel sleepy during those times. In the long run, this means struggling to doze off will be but a distant memory – yay!

Global Running Day is an annual celebration of the beloved pastime that encourages physical wellness and community spirit. Held on the first Wednesday of June, it is an important reminder of the positives that running can provide and the power of unification, especially during these times. 

 

Running has seen a boom during the pandemic – it was the #1 fitness trend of 2020 and continues to be in 2021 as gyms are forced to shut down and lockdowns limit other physical activities. People have become more health-conscious since the COVID-19 outbreak began and many took up running as a way to stay active and healthy, release anxiety, and cope with cabin fever.

 

In Malaysia, Brand New Waves Running Club has been promoting running and fostering community spirit since 2019. Founded by a group of individuals who believe in change for the better, they have successfully built a sense of belonging for like-minded members with a safe and empowering space that celebrates active lifestyles, music, fashion and art.

 

This Global Running Day, we connected with three captains from Brand New Waves Running Club for their advice on starting a running routine and staying motivated!

 

Tengku Adlina

When did you start running?

I started running 2 years ago, April 2019 specifically. I attended one of BNWRC’s Sunday morning sessions at KLCC park.

 

What was a misconception you had about running?

I somehow always thought that running is just something you can do. And if you can’t, it means you’re just not physically good at it. But I learnt that just like everything else, you can always get better. Everyone has a starting point. And I definitely started on my first day.

 

How has the pandemic affected your running – have you been running more or less?

Last year when the pandemic first hit, I definitely did not run as much as I did because I had to figure out how to run alone without the group. It’s not as motivating. But currently, I am running more now as I’m starting to find my rhythm and confidence in running alone.

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic?

It definitely is a huge part of how I cope with the pandemic. Since everything has shifted to working from home entirely for me since last year, I spend almost all day in my room. It’s a good way for me to get some fresh air and movement. Mentally, it has become my way of checking in with myself. Every run allows me to reflect back on my current wellbeing. If there was anything troubling me, it surfaces itself during my run and I allow myself to process it then. If I’m having a good day, it is also reflected in my run. If I’m not having such a good day, the happy hormones would naturally kick in by the end of the run hence elevating my day a bit better. It probably is my number 1 method for coping with the pandemic actually.

 

Although it has distanced us, the pandemic has also amplified our community spirit. How has your running club continued to support and empower each other during this time?

We still continue to encourage people to run with our postings and resharing other people’s post of them going for runs. We run events and campaigns – we had one early this year where we passed virtual batons to people (#BNWRCrelay). That was quite cool and got many people motivated to go out and run again even if they hadn’t in a while because a ‘baton’ was passed to them. The most important thing is staying relevant; to people’s emotions, what’s going on around us, and coming up with something for the community that speaks to what they might be going through.

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

Keep showing up and don’t overwhelm yourself with information about how to run. Just run first, and have fun with it. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.

 

Diyana Radzi

When did you start running? 

I represented my school’s track & field team as a sprinter and began road running at 15 years old. When I took an interest in exploring other sports and forms of exercise, I wasn’t running as frequently, but picked it back up right before our first lockdown last year.

 

Without the right focus, running can be hard at the start. What motivated you to continue running? 

Initially, running was my coping mechanism. It was my quiet time with myself, for me to give that mental talk I needed, for me to enjoy being outside and soak in its beauty and drown out the rest of the world. Then, I kept on running cause I loved how good it made me look and feel. Not that I’m the fittest person out there, and it doesn’t matter to me if I have the best abs or not, but running generally makes me feel good about myself, physically and mentally. I don’t necessarily love the feeling during running, but the feeling after is so good, it’s enough to make me want to do it again and again, (almost) every day. Yes please to that daily boost of endorphins!

 

What was a misconception you had about running? 

That I had to beat yesterday, every day. Be faster with every run. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. You’re only wrecking your body if you overdo your runs. Getting injured would be counter-productive to your progress. Enjoy the journey! You’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic? 

The world feels a little bit nuts right now to be honest. To me, running is my natural antidepressant. That boost of endorphins and serotonin really helps me stay sane, and keeps me in a better mood, which in turn makes me a better person. It’s a form of self-care, both physically and mentally, as long as you don’t overdo it. At a time where everything seems so scary and uncertain, running is the one thing that makes sense.

 

What are the benefits of running in a group? 

I love running in groups! If it weren’t for BNWRC, I don’t think I would’ve made running a habit. Group runs are a great way to keep you motivated. “Mana nak breakfast / minum lepas ni?” will definitely motivate you to finish your run! But on a more serious note, I started running in a group for safety reasons because at that time, I only had time to run at night and running with a group of people is definitely the safest strategy.

 

What advice do you have for new runners? 

Listen to your body. A good run is one where you feel good after, not dying for air with soreness everywhere. Set a targeted time to run then slowly increase it, and when you’re more comfortable, build your mileage gradually. Don’t worry about the pace, you’ll slowly get there (and yes, to run fast is a slow process. At least it is if you want to achieve it with a low risk of injuries). Run your own race (a really good tagline from BNWRC!). Don’t compare your progress with other runners cause it’s really not a competition.

 

Fatemah Shatar

When did you start running?

Around 3 or 4 years ago…I think.

 

Without the right focus, running can be hard at the start. What motivated you to continue running?

Rather than relying on motivation, which comes and goes, I prefer tapping into discipline. I know it sounds pretty stern, but it’s going with what you feel on that day. You can just do a short run with an easy pace, and even walk a little on low motivation days, but push yourself on days where you feel you can go total athlete mode!

 

What was a misconception you had about running?

Some people are just born runners and I am not one of them. Looking back now, it sounds as If I am putting myself down, but that was a serious belief I had back then. To be honest, there is no such thing – there is only practice, dedication and discipline that separates a good runner from a bad one (if there is such a thing!).

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic?

It helps immensely! Physically, it goes without saying that it helps improve my overall fitness and health. But what’s even greater is how it helped me mentally, because when I’m running I get to enter into this meditative space which is free of stress and noise from the outside world.

 

What are the benefits of running in a group?

Running in a group is pretty special. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness and that feeling that you are never alone, plus it helps you be more committed! When there is a planned run, you’re not gonna bail too many times as you would do if it’s only you.

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

Mentally…don’t be afraid, don’t be intimidated and don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you that you can’t do it. And on the practical side, do read about injury prevention and some basic information about running so that you can enjoy running for a very long time!

 

Get in on the action by following Brand New Waves Running Club on Instagram and Facebook for more inspiration, motivation and advice!

The persisting stigma surrounding menstruation can be seen by the many euphemisms that exist for the term: “shark week”, “code red”, “female trouble”, “time of month”, “Aunt Flow”…and these are just in English! While some may be entertaining to use, they are actually harmful as they reinforce the idea that having your period is something to be ashamed of and should be hidden from others. Because of this stigma and taboo, menstruation isn’t discussed as openly as it should be, and this leads to false information being shared from generation to generation. It’s now become crucial to have open conversations about periods, and dismantle cultures of misinformation and shame that have been around for centuries.

Let’s debunk these menstrual myths to prove how healthy and normal menstruation is:

 

MYTH #1
“EW, PERIOD BLOOD IS DIRTY!”

This is one of the oldest myths that have been around, and passed down from generation to generation. Period blood isn’t dirty blood. Period blood is simply a different form of bodily fluids (which is naturally secreted by the body) that contains a little bit of blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining and bacteria.

 

MYTH #2
PERIODS = WOMANHOOD

We’ve all heard the notion, “Once you get your period, you become a woman”. Now, throw that notion out the window! Not all women menstruate and not everyone who menstruates is a woman. Periods aren’t experienced by cisgender women only – they are also experienced by trans men, and non-binary, genderqueer and intersex individuals.

 

MYTH #3
“YOUR PMS IS NOT REAL / YOU’RE JUST BEING DRAMATIC”

For those who menstruate, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a naturally occurring monthly change in their body – not a mindset! Right before a menstruation cycle, the sex hormone (oestrogen and progesterone) levels drop drastically, causing emotional and physical symptoms such as mood swings, tiredness, painful cramps and headaches. When the human body experiences these changes, it is bound to affect their emotions and reactions to daily stressors. It is not made up or an excuse – it is very much real!

The next time your period causes you to not feel like your usual self, please remember that it is completely normal and perfectly okay to feel that way.

 

MYTH #4
“YOU WILL LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY IF YOU USE A TAMPON / PERIOD CUP”

The sanitary products developed for dealing with our periods are predominantly safe and won’t affect your virginity at all. These products, which are designed to go inside of you, may cause the hymen to stretch. However, they will not cause someone to lose their virginity. Check out our list of safe, eco-friendly and organic period products here!

 

MYTH #5
LATE PERIODS = PREGNANCY 

False! There are plenty of reasons why a period might be late. Sudden weight loss, stress, contraceptive pills and irregular periods can affect your menstrual cycle – hence, making your period late. If you’re worried, take a pregnancy test to ease your mind or visit your gynaecologist. Don’t forget to practice safe sex!

You can understand your period cycle better by downloading period tracker apps like Flo and Clue.

 

It can be extremely empowering to exchange experiences, information and ideas about menstruation. By encouraging candid conversation about periods, we are supporting the individuals in our lives, and breaking the taboos and myths around them. Having your period is a normal thing – as ordinary as having to go to the bathroom! No person should ever be held back just because they are on their period.

You may have skipped school because of period pain, or have gone home early because of a stain, but in many countries, including Malaysia, children have been missing school because they can’t afford menstrual hygiene products or are afraid of being bullied for having their periods. 

 

Period poverty is a global problem that affects up to 500 million individuals (more than 800 million people menstruate daily). They have limited access to sanitary products and hygiene facilities, such as toilets, handwashing facilities and/or waste management. This human rights issue is exacerbated by the lack of education on menstrual health and hygiene, and the prevailing taboos and stigma. As a result, millions of individuals are held back from reaching their full potential at school and work because it threatens their opportunities, health and overall social status.

 

In Malaysia, the pandemic has made matters worse. Individuals in poor urban areas were already struggling to find an absorbent substitute for unaffordable sanitary pads, resorting to paper, newspaper and ‘kain batik’. In rural areas, they’ve even had to make use of coconut husks and banana leavesNot only are these ‘alternatives’ extremely uncomfortable, the unsanitary conditions they provide put wearers at risk of developing infections, which can lead to serious health issues.

 

Period poverty doesn’t just affect girls and women, it is a global sanitation problem. According to UNICEF, 2.3 billion people live without basic sanitation services worldwide, and in developing countries, only 27% of the population have a hand washing facility (soap and water) at home. The lack of education on menstrual health and hygiene among boys and men also harms for those who menstruate, as it affects their confidence and social solidarity. 

 

Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global advocacy platform that promotes good menstrual health and hygiene for all. Their goal is to end period poverty and stigma by 2030 by raising awareness and breaking the stigma around menstrual health and hygiene, and engaging decision makers to increase action and investment in menstrual health and hygiene at global, national and local levels. 

 

Achieving menstrual equity worldwide will empower people to manage their menstruation safely and hygienically, with confidence and without shame. It will allow everyone access to menstrual products, proper toilets, hand washing facilities, waste management, and education.

Do you constantly feel overwhelmed, run-down or anxious? If you answered YES to at least one of them, it’s time for you to have some ‘ME-time’ and focus on your self-care.

Self-care is any behaviour, action, or tool that helps reduce a person’s stress level and possibly avoid health problems, mentally and physically. Our proposed ratio is 20:30:50. 20% for Future Relief, 30% for Instant Relief, and 50% for Basic Needs. All of it comes together to ensure you lead a well-balanced life!

 

20% : Future Relief

We should always strive to live in the moment as “now” is the only time that matters; but when we practice these healthy habits, we are helping our future selves to be more mindful, centered, and calm.

For future relief, you should utilize these ‘tools’:

  • Journaling

Keeping a journal helps to analyze your moods, problems, concerns, and fears. Tracking this daily helps you recognise your triggers and stressors, and you can find ways to better deal with them.

  • Resolutions & Goal-Setting

Align your focus and goals to sustain good momentum in life. This is an easy method of guiding you to your end target.

Feel free to check out our guide to making mindful resolutions for your life!

  • Therapy

Explore your feelings, thoughts, patterns of behaviours, and trauma causes through therapy. Learn new coping techniques and skills to manage daily stressors, as well as symptoms that may be associated with your diagnosis.

There are many types of therapy, explore which you would like to try out here.

 

30% : Instant Relief

There are plentiful ways to instantly raise our ‘happy’ hormone levels! Try these out when you want a little pick-me-up:

  • Turn Up The Music

Listening to happy music alleviates your mood and stimulates creative thinking. Shake your booty while you’re at it too! It doesn’t just burn calories, it boosts moods and body image. Here’s our fun self-care playlist that you must check out!

  • Laugh Out Loud

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Our mental and physical health improves when we let loose with a little laughter. Here’s a plan of action: Watch a funny movie or comedy series – those reruns of “Friends” and “Brooklyn 99” may actually be beneficial for your heart!

  • Meditation

Practicing meditation proves that it doesn’t take a lot of time to do the body and mind good. Quieting the mind for just a few minutes helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you dislike the ‘typical’ meditation method of sitting cross-legged, fret not – There’s More Than One Way To Meditate – Find Out What’s Best For You!

 

50%: Basic Needs

Often ignored but extremely necessary, these Basic Needs are what make up the majority of leading and living a good life. Maintaining this helps us sharpen our physical and mental health through better stress management, better self-esteem, and overall well-being.

  • Sleep

Prioritizing snooze time is important for a healthier, happier you! Skipping out on shut-eye may hurt your productivity and reduce your abilities to make rational decisions – not to mention the imbalance of hormones it could cause. It is vital for you to allow your mind and body to rest and recuperate so you can function at 100%!

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Drinking enough water every day is crucial – the body needs it to perform its tasks well. From regulating the body temperature, ensuring your organs function properly, and preventing infections. When you’re well-hydrated, you also improve cognitive function, mood, and sleep quality.

  • Exercise

The benefits of exercising are bountiful – it decreases risk of diseases, releases stress, reduces feelings of anxiety, increases “happy” chemical levels in the brain, and many more! Sneak in a quick 10-minute workout or a 15-minute walk and get your body moving.

  • Fuel Up On Healthy Food

Indulging in ‘junk’ food is necessary self-care from time to time, however, you should fuel your body daily with foods that nourish you best. Consuming fewer sugars, salts, saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats ensures a healthier diet. Plan your meals and choose nutritious foods, so you can perform your best, every day. Healthy you = Happy you!

 

Assess which parts of your life require more self-care and attention; and reassess your life often! As your daily situation changes, so should your self-care needs. When you are caring for all areas of yourself, you’ll likely see an upgrade in many parts of your life – especially your health and relationships.

Have you ever experienced shavasana during a yoga practice? If yes, then you’d know how relaxing shavasana can be while simultaneously providing you with more energy, and clarity, after. If no, then here’s another method to feel the same: napping!

 

Why You Should Nap More

When thinking of ways to boost your productivity while working from home (WFH), napping is most certainly not the first idea to come to mind. In fact, most people view napping as an activity strictly reserved for children and / or seniors. To some, napping is even considered a waste of time – an interference to minutes spent productively. 

 

Yet, science has proven again and again how napping, regardless of age, is beneficial:

 

What Type Of Nap You Should Take

Considering the aforementioned benefits, it makes total sense to incorporate napping into your WFH schedule. However, napping will also be of benefit to you in these scenarios:

 

What To Keep In Mind 

As to really reap the benefits of a nap, timing is everything. For those unaware, while you’re asleep you move through various stages of sleep, depending on the brain waves you’re accessing and its effects on your eye movement. Without getting too science-y, here’s what you need to know:

 

With that in mind, the ideal length for an in-between work nap would be anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Napping within this timeframe is commonly referred to as a ‘power nap’ as it provides recovery benefits without any of the grogginess post nap. As for what time to nap, aim for the halfway point between when you awoke and when you plan to sleep. Reason being that if you nap too late in the afternoon or in the early evening then you may struggle to sleep – which you definitely don’t want!

 

Wild Ginger wishes you happy napping ahead 🙂

What is your definition of rest?

 

For most, rest is synonymous with sleep but here’s a fun fact: there are actually seven types of rest needed for the body, mind, and soul to feel truly rejuvenated. If you’ve been wondering why you still feel fatigued after sufficient sleep, then now you know!

 

But which type of rest have you been neglecting? Read on to find out what type of rest you need:

 

What Is It: A creative rest is when you stop chronically brainstorming idea after idea. Instead of pressuring yourself to think of solutions, you’re allowing solutions to naturally arise. A creative rest provides you with time and space to widen your perspective. 

Indicators: Feeling uninspired, creative blocks, and / or struggling to switch perspectives.

Solution: Surround yourself with inspiring images (yes, even at your work-desk), visit art galleries, and / or venture into nature.

 

What Is It: An emotional rest is when you stop avoiding your emotions. By understanding why you felt certain emotions, you can learn more about yourself and your triggers. After discovering your triggers, you can handle your emotions without feeling overwhelmed. 

Indicators: Easily triggered, prone to crying, and / or struggling to contain emotions.

Solution: Notice your triggers (caffeine, specific situations, specific comments etc.), embark on shadow work, and / or schedule time to emotionally express yourself to a friend or therapist.

 

What Is It: A mental rest is when you stop forcing your brain to work overtime. Instead of continuously overloading yourself with information, a mental rest creates time and space for your brain to actually process and store all the information you have been exposed to. 

Indicators: Forgetful, trouble concentrating, and / or struggling to sleep.

Solution: Incorporate a meditation practice into your day-to-day (even just for five minutes), schedule short breaks in between work, and / or jot down what you’ve learned / need to do / nagging thoughts etc. 

 

What Is It: Physical rest can be categorised into active and passive. An active physical rest focuses on improving blood circulation by stretching or massaging the body. A passive physical rest means literally resting by napping or sleeping. 

Indicators: Lack of energy, constant yawning, and / or struggling to stay awake.

Solution: If you feel physically sore or stiff then practice yin yoga or even Qi Gong, book a lymphatic drainage massage, an d/ or take cat-naps with an eye-mask (ideally up to 15 minutes).

 

What Is It: A sensory rest is when you intentionally deprive your senses of stimulation. Just like you can become mentally overloaded, you can become sensorially overloaded, too. Some examples of what can cause sensory overload: electronic devices, background noise, bright lights, flashing lights, multiple conversations at once,  etc. 

Indicators: Eye strain, headaches, and / or struggling to focus. 

Solution: Set a timer to remind yourself to close your eyes in between work, lower the brightness of your electronic devices, and / or limit your time with electronic devices (on Instagram especially!).

 

What Is It: A social rest is when you dedicate time to connect with yourself. Maybe for you, connecting with yourself is equivalent to spending time alone; or maybe it’s through meeting a friend who understands you and can guide you towards clarity. Just ensure that the person you’re meeting makes you feel revived instead of exhausted. 

Indicators: Feeling like you need a break from certain friends but not knowing why, feeling drained after socialising, and / or struggling with social anxiety.

Solution: Do something for just yourself, catch up with an old friend, and / or surround yourself with positive people.

 

What Is It: A spiritual rest is when you allow yourself time and space to feel connected to those around you and the world around you. By experiencing the power of unity, you will be able to uncover what life means to you and what you should do more of in order to feel fulfilled. If a spiritual rest includes religious elements is entirely up to you. 

Indicators: Feeling unhappy about your life, feeling disconnected from the world around you, and / or struggling to empathise with others.

Solution: Find a mantra (like: I am connected to my Higher Self) and repeat it daily, volunteer at a local NGO, and / or find your purpose through trial and error.

 

So which type of rest do you need more of? Whichever you need, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so keep coming back to this article if you need guidance 🙂

A certified pilates instructor at The Flow Studio, and a proud single mother of four, Siu Lim has always been into fitness – she frequented the gym as a college student and squeezed in time for pilates as a new mom. Eight years ago, she turned these exercise habits into a dedicated lifestyle, and now she’s a familiar face in the fitness space, connecting with the community as a passionate pilates instructor and a fun-loving content creator.

With Ramadan entering the second half of the holy month, we spoke to Siu Lim about her current diet and workout routine. If you’ve also been fasting, you may have noticed your energy levels pick back up as your body starts getting used to it. Read on for Siu Lim’s advice on how to start working out and boosting your energy during Ramadan.

 

 

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A post shared by Siu Lim (@siulim)

 

What is your exercise routine like during fasting month?

Quite simple and sweet. Every morning, after Fajr, I do some pilates and yoga. If I have some time, I do indoor cycling. I always stick to this workout routine because it gives me a lot more energy.

 

Ideally, when should one work out during fasting month?

There is no right or wrong time for a workout, it always depends on what’s best for the person. Personally, I prefer to workout during the day because I find that it gives me a lot if energy, whereas many would think that it tires you out. It’s like a replacement for coffee in the morning for me!

 

What do you eat to keep you energised during the day?

I do eat my carbs. I am anaemic, so I make sure I eat my sugars, but I eat natural sugars, like dates, and stay away from artificial sugars, like cake. This is probably one of the hardest times to avoid cakes and cookies because they are always coming around as Raya is nearing, but I built up my tastebuds during the year to not have such a sweet tooth – so the cravings are not really there for me. If I do get cravings or hungry, I try to eat more proteins. During fasting month, my diet is more nutritious and I drink more water. It is only then I realise how little water I drink (until I start fasting)!

 

 

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A post shared by Siu Lim (@siulim)

 

How do you stay motivated?

I am a very competitive person, so that means I always follow a person or a group. This year, Lululemon had a running event by Goodspeed Run Club. I joined that to make sure that I kept up with my running, otherwise I would slack off and just be like, “no one is watching me, it doesn’t matter, it’s only a month”. So it is important to be part of a group or have some friends  to stay active with – it doesn’t matter what you do, just continue to be active!

 

What advice do you have for those struggling to stay healthy during fasting month?

Avoid eating fried foods, salty foods and high-sugar foods. Instead, Include foods from all major food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, rice and alternatives, and meat and alternatives.

 

You can book a pilates class with Siu Lim at The Flow Studio here or DM her on Instagram to join one of her own workouts – she’s always down to workout with people and provide motivation!

Sexual violence refers to all unwanted, forced or unconsented: 

by any person. These include, but are not limited to:

 

Throughout the world, women, children and men are affected by sexual violence. It has a profound impact on the psychological, emotional and physical health of the survivor. Although victims and survivors have unique experiences and different reactions, sexual violence can have a lasting effect on their everyday lives. This also involves their social wellbeing as individuals have been devastatingly stigmatised and ostracised by their own families and communities for being a victim. 

 

Some of the impacts of sexual violence include, but are not limited to:

Psychological

 

Emotional

 

Physical

 

Although there are some commonalities, it is important to remember that victims and survivors respond to sexual violence in their own way – there is no “right” or “wrong” reaction. Some victims may keep their feelings to themselves for days, weeks, months or even years after the incident (if they ever choose to share their story), some may express their emotions right after and tell others what happened. These are both normal and common reponses. We must respect each survivor’s choice and way of coping with their trauma, and support them by:

 

Many victims of sexual violence withhold or withdraw allegations because they are afraid of not being believed or having their experience brushed aside. We must take all complaints of sexual violence seriously. If they entrust you with their story, provide them with assurance and support. Let them know that you believe them and are behind them.

 

Listen to the survivor without judgement. Put your opinions aside to allow them to share what happened and how it made them feel. Acknowledge their feelings with empathy and compassion. They need a space to be heard and feel understood.

 

Victims of sexual violence have had their boundaries violated, so it is crucial to let them have control over their decisions. Even if they ask for your input, respect their boundaries and be a willing listener. They’ve experienced a loss of control and need to re-establish it.

 

There are a lot of myths and misinformation regarding sexual violence that puts the blame on the victims and survivors. These are extremely harmful. You must educate yourself to provide informed and compassionate support. This will also allow you to recognize acts of sexual violence, such as rape jokes and locker room banter, and call them out.

 

Sexual violence is a community problem – we all need to work together to address it. You can start by allowing victims and survivors to feel safe, respected and empowered. Showing support can make a difference, and have a positive impact on their healing process. Take them seriously, make them feel seen and heard.

 

If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual violence, you can contact the Women’s Aid Organisation Hotline at 03 3000 8858 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 .

Before reading any further, I want you to notice your posture. 

If you’re thinking ‘really?’ then yes, really. 

I’ll help: Are you hunching? Are your shoulders close to your ears? Are you tilting forward more than necessary? Maybe tilting backwards? 

To return to a correct posture, plant your feet onto the floor with your weight evenly distributed and roll your shoulders back while simultaneously lowering your shoulders away from your ears. If needed, lean backwards or forward so that your upper body is directly above your hips – don’t arch your spine or tilt sideways either, just keep the spine and body neutral. 

Congratulations!

You’ve now improved your posture. Although it seems like a snooze worthy topic, it’s actually shocking how important posture is. A brief run-through: 

 

The Side Effects of Bad Posture

 

Yoga Poses To Improve Your Posture

As a Yoga Alliance certified teacher, I will always highlight returning to a correct posture during my classes. Why? Physically, to reverse the side effects listed above. Metaphysically, because yogic text states that the spine is the spiritual centre of the body and that kundalini activation starts at the base of the spine. 

So, here are five of my favourite yoga poses to perform to maintain a healthy spine:

 

At The Desk

Ardha Chandrasana (Standing Crescent Moon Pose): The reason I recommend this posture is because below your rib and above your pelvis is a muscle known as the Q.L muscle. When weak, it contributes to bad posture and thus, back pain. By stretching and strengthening the Q.L through Standing Crescent Moon Pose, you can alleviate back pain. Note that I’m referring to the Bikram version of Ardha Chandrasana. 

How To:

 

On The Mat

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Dog): Personally, Downward Dog cracks my cervical spine every time I need a relief. While this may not happen to you, benefits include: opening the hamstring, back, chest, & shoulder, strengthening the nerves and muscles in the limbs and back, and stimulating circulation. 

How To:

 

Vyaghrasana (Tiger Pose): Everyone is familiar with Cat-Cow Pose but there’s a less popular pose that’s even more effective. Tiger Pose requires bending alternately in both directions which loosen the legs, hips, and back while simultaneously toning the spinal nerves. It’s ideal for anyone with sciatica as it relaxes the sciatic nerves as well.

How To: 

 

In Bed

Sarpasana (Snake Pose): In the textbook provided to me by the school I went to, it literally states that Snake Pose helps to correct the posture. In particular, it can rectify rounded shoulders. By performing this posture 2-3 a week, the back muscles will really strengthen, too. 

How To: 

 

Balasana (Child’s Pose): When you wake up in the morning or before you attempt to sleep, perform Child’s Pose. There’s a reason why it’s a go-to resting pose and that reason is because it regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands. In terms of posture, it releases pressure along the vertebral column as it can separate the individual vertebrae from each other. 

How To: 

 

You can join me at Hot Yo Studio in Desa Sri Hartamas or Nadi Tenang in Shah Alam for classes structured around realigning your body, mind, and soul through correct cues and breathwork!

Forward-thinking feminine care brand, Libresse, has just launched SensitiV – Malaysia’s first-ever hypoallergenic-certified and dermatologically tested feminine care range with 0% common allergens, fragrances and dyes. Here’s what makes their new pads, liners, intimate wash and wipes gentle enough for the delicate vulva and V-Zone:

 

“With the launch of Libresse SensitiV, we hope to trigger fresh conversations about vulva care and health, with support from our partner experts such as Dr. Patricia Lim who will be offering her medical expertise for our comprehensive V-Zone education roll-out on social media. This includes a monthly “Ask Libresse” session on Instagram and a dedicated hashtag, #vulvavisdom, that women can use to share their knowledge or experience on V-Zone health and guide others along their womanhood journey,” said Deenie Ong, Marketing Manager, Feminine Care, Vinda Malaysia.

 

Libresse SensitiV pads, liners, intimate wash and intimate wipes are now available nationwide at all hypermarkets, supermarkets and pharmacies, ranging from RM3.90 to RM20.30. You can find more information on their website and follow them on social media at Facebook and Instagram.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). For the past 20 years, the global campaign has fought to raise visibility about sexual assault and share how it can be prevented. Sexual violence is not a personal problem – it is a public health, human rights and social justice issue. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. SAAM aims to end sexualized violence and achieve a world free from abuse through educating communities and individuals on healthy sexuality, consent and bystander intervention.

 

This year, SAAM is bringing awareness to the shadow pandemic after seeing a significant increase in online sexual harassment and domestic violence during COVID-19. Themed “We Can Build Safe Online Spaces”, the campaign is focused on preventing sexual abuse online and providing survivors with trauma-informed spaces. Lockdowns moved harassment from the streets to social media, causing the same psychological damage. Victims have been left feeling unsafe with cyberviolence having the potential to lead to physical harm.

 

In Malaysia, the Sexual Harassment Bill has still not been tabled although online sexual harassment continues to rise amid the pandemic. An Anti-Stalking Law has not been passed either to protect individuals from both offline and online stalking and harassment. Among the increase in digital misogyny and harassment, local online searches related to intimate partner violence has grown by almost 50% and searches seeking domestic violence has grown by 70% since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented.

 

We must work together when it comes to ending sexual assault, harassment and abuse. Join us this Sexual Assault Awareness Month as we raise awareness, show actional support to survivors, promote equality and change social norms. We all share the responsibility to create safer communities, online and offline, that are free from sexual violence.

 

If you or anyone you know is a victim, you can contact the Women’s Aid Organisation Hotline at 03 3000 8858 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 .