My first winter experience in Germany as a migrant from a warm country like India – tips which I gained over the years

I was born and brought up in southern part of India. It’s the place where the weather is always warm. Back then I felt cold in winter which was around 20 -25 degree Celsius but after experiencing winter in Germany I changed my mind from cold to warm ūüėč. In my home town even in winter we can survive without wearing any winter clothes. I always thought cold weather will be good as I experienced extreme hot weathers. Back then I imagined snow as a beautiful glaze of sleet, crystal, snow flake etc. Now after 5 years of living in Germany and after 5 winters, the thought has slightly changed in my mind. Even though I love snow and I always eagerly wait for the first snow and excitement I get to see the snowfall never went down, but getting into the snow or freezing weather on a daily basis has definitely proven wrong about my imagination which I had back then. It’s always beautiful if you are inside the home with heaters on and sipping a hot tea and watching snow or cold breeze through the window. On the other hand getting up at morning 6, where it’s pitch dark outside, me doing house chores and dressing with multiple layers of clothes which added extra kgs to the weight and dressing my kid in same way and taking her to kindergarten daily is not a joke.

I remember going out without covering my head in minus degrees, made my ears numb. I didn’t realise the importance of boots until I slipped in snow with sport shoes on. Went out without mittens in very cold weather which made my finger tips pain like someone prick with the needle. I am the person who never used chapstick back in India but here, after experiencing a bad lip crack followed by bleeding made me realise its importance in winter , which now is like an organ for me which always stays with me. In addition to all I got a best gift called sinusitis which says hi in all winters and it’s terrible. Over the years I learnt to suffer less from sinusitis. One by one I learnt how to survive winter, the skills got strong when I had my baby girl. Through all trial and errors now after 5 years I somewhat manage to adapt my body in this cold weather which made me to write this blog and help my fellow immigrants who lived their entire life in a warm country like mine and experiencing new winter weather. Here are few tips from my experience to you guys.

Stay active. I know when winter blows in, you want to pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep but there is no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when temperature drops. Actually there are advantages in staying extra active in winter.

  • As it’s not humid like summer which make you sweat more and exhaust soon so walking or running extra mile is added advantage.
  • Exercising more results in burning extra calories.
  • Great way to take some vitamin D.
  • Getting fresh air and exercising with intake of vitamin D boosts immunity from cold and flu.

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Dress in layers. Dressing in layers is the key to keep you safe from cold weather hazards. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation. Avoid layering in cotton because when you sweat, the inside moisture is trapped and will make you feel colder. Invest on moisture wicking fabrics and a good waterproof jacket to help to keep you warm in rain and snow.

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Stay hydrated. Winter never indicates us to drink water even though our body needs it. I always forget to drink water during the beginning years of winter season as I don’t get thirst and ended up in headaches. Keep hydrated as much as possible to maintain fluid balance. Symptoms of dehydration in winter are chapped lips, dry cough, nosebleed, headaches and acne.

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Avoid sickness during winter with household things and nutritional foods. I always struggle with sinusitis every winter. Over the years I learned some home remedies to prevent it and helped to ease if I got a sinus infection. The wise method is to invest on a good humidifier. It’s a life safer for me and my daughter during cold and flu. Second thing I noticed is to eat food which gives immunity during winter season like vitamin C rich foods, herbs and spices, yogurt, lots of vegetables like mushroom, dark leafy greens, broccoli and non veg like salmon, chicken soup etc. One thing which also helped is steam. Regular steam inhalation reduce the inflammation.

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Give some care to your drying eyes and skin. Best thing to take care of your eyes and skin is eating omega-3-fatty acid rich foods like fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, soy milk etc. Invest on good moisturizer during winter for your skin. Don’t forget the sunscreen, it’s important even for winter. As I said earlier proper hydration keeps skin retain moisture. Blink you eyes often to avoid dryness due to harsh winter weather.

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Fresh air. Let the fresh air circulate your home once in a while which is healthy for you as it takes away the trapped moisture inside the house which lead to mold formation. The fresh air circulation is always more comfortable and feel good. If you have a baby or kid who has not started kindergarten then just take them out everyday to get fresh oxygen.

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Invest on good boots. I remember falling down with my sports shoes walking on the snow melting ice. Walking on a melting snow is too dangerous that too with a flat base shoes hence, invest on a snow boots or even sport shoes which helps your feet keep their grip on the ground.

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I hope these tips are helpful for people like me who has been migrated to a different country with winters totally different from the homeland being super cold and snowy.

Stay warm and stay healthy

                                                                                                     wp-1506417234163.

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Hello new moms! Squash your worries and grab some happiness!!

Let me tell a short story of mine. When I had my daughter 3 years ago, I thought my life has flipped upside down. I struggled from everything like mood swings, depression, loneliness, breastfeeding, cooking with baby, sleepless nights, felt useless and constant disagreement with partner. Totally unmotivated mom I could say. I felt heavy due to the demands placed on my shoulders each and every day. Even though, my husband helped me a lot in household chores, I felt some burden in me. I wanted someone to motivate me. Major stress built around me. The feelings I experienced was overwhelming and new, as I live away from family and friends it became more stressful.

As a new mom, I was constantly seeking answers in google. I googled the most ridiculous things. If people judge my parenting I started responding and felt guilt about my parenting. It continued for a year and finally my mind started changing when I started discussing with fellow moms through mommy groups and forums and read blogs about the struggles of other new moms and how they overcome it (in-between my ridiculous search in google, I even searched something good ūüėĀ).

I saw my child and hubby less happier with me. Then I realised something is wrong with me and not with them. I was constantly searching for happiness in life, whereas I totally forgot that I am not giving happiness. Happiness comes only when you share it with others. Happy mom makes happy family. I understood that and I started focus on building optimism, self-motivation and happiness which spread to my family. My daughter become more happier when she saw me happy. I saw my body in a more positive way. I realised how strong I am to do things that might have been daunting before. I would like to give some tips on how I made myself and my family happy.

Be real and not dramatic. Being grown in Indian household I was always taught that kids, husband and the house should be the first priority which I followed spiritually and ended up in stress.

  • Stop focusing on being a good mom or wife and focus on you (yes I mean your soul), being good only to others won‚Äôt make you good internally, it means you are cheating yourself.
  • If you expect your house to be always clean and your kids to always well behaved then you going to face stress and unhappiness.
  • Be realistic both doesn‚Äôt gonna be perfect. Sacrificing doesn‚Äôt going to work. At least for me. I know some may disagree with me.

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Give your precious time. The true happiness comes when you give time both for your kids and for yourself. It’s ok to take time for yourself to enjoy your interests. Enjoying doesn’t mean partying or clubbing in midnight. The tiny things in life will give more happiness if you do it whole heartedly. Say it from painting your nails, pedicure, makeup, reading a book, cook your favourite, peaceful work, a new haircut etc.. these things refreshes you and that will make you a better mom for real.

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Make a happylist. I know as a new mom, you have a huge list of things be done. But let the to do list turn to would like to do list. Make your work fun.

E.g., To do list

  • ¬†Clean the kitchen
  • Do exercise
  • Cook lunch
  • Clean bathroom

Would like to do

  • Clean the kitchen and get some cuddle with my baby
  • Dance in your kitchen
  • Cook lunch and take a pic and post in instagram.
  • Clean bathroom and do pedicure.

Embrace your post-baby body. Try not to compare your post-baby body to others. Comparing yourself to others will lead to negative thoughts. Focus instead on your body needs. Wear outfits that are comfortable and also make you feel confident. Use positive affirmations like ‚ÄúI love my body‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúI accept the way my body looks‚ÄĚ, ‚Äú I am grateful for allowing my body to grow and give birth to my child‚ÄĚ.

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Do easy exercises at home. Doing exercise is the best thing to make you feel better and improve your body image. As a busy new mom you may not find time to workout for hours or go to gym. Instead, try fitting in quick and easy exercises at home while baby is napping. Even a little time spent in excercise will make you feel more positive about your body. You will definitely feel more energy and happiness.

Pat on your back. Self-confidence is really important for new moms. Boost your self confidence regularly by appreciating each and every work you do such as mothering skills you learn everyday or your ability to simply get through the day with a new born. Give yourself a pat on your back when you accomplish some work as a new parent, this can help to increase your confidence level. Acknowledge yourself for your hard work raising a child.

Appreciate others. Appreciate others will make you feel good internally and also gives priority to you and others. Appreciate wholeheartedly every little thing which makes you happy. When you begin to appreciate it keep you away from dwelling on the negative. This attitude in you will definitely instill in your kids with a way of seeing the world that appreciate the good things. Your kids will carry this throughout their life.

Be thankful. If you believe in God then thank him for the precious blessing! Thank God for our mind to help mold, our body to nurture and our spirit to enrich. Be thankful for your body, try to see your body as better, not worse.

If you follow these things then for sure you doesn’t need any external factor to motivate you. Happiness is within you. Happiness is something you create and are uniquely responsible for. Search happiness in you, it will reward you with priority as I did. Believe you are beautiful and hold your head high.

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Gestational Diabetes – My travel and tips

First three months of pregnancy was bit rough for me. I had continuous vomiting and nausea, but I¬†survived that and pregnancy was smooth until my 24th week, yes I failed my Glucose Tolerance test and confirmed with Gestational Diabetes after second screening. It was so devastating for me, as I never heard any Gestational Diabetes stories before and no one in my family had undergone that. I have always been on the smaller side, so even we little people can get diabetes. When my Diabetologist told my numbers was not too high and I can control it through diet, and no need for any oral medication or insulin shots if I maintain the sugar levels, I felt bit relaxed hearing that. As I was an Indian and living in Germany, my doctor who was obviously a German couldn’t give me an exact diet suggestion which I needed. He told me to cut of the rice as I am an Asian, as Asians eat rice more (yes, of-course as a South Indian, I cannot live without eating rice). I came home with the determination of controlling my sugar levels through proper diet. But, the problem is I doesn’t know what to eat and I ended up starving. I remember calling my husband and crying who was at work, as ¬†I was hungry and couldn’t know what to eat. Then, I started my research and made a diet plan suitable for me. Once I started the diet, I just fell in love with it which made me follow till now.

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With my experience on Gestational Diabetes I just want to share some tips as follows,

Don’t over think. For those who diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes , it’s not a walk in the park but it can be managed. Calm your mind first. Depression and stress will only harm your health and baby, so put your mind at ease. Healthy diet during Gestational Diabetes will not make you to gain more weight which is more helpful to easily lose that extra kgs post delivery.

Carbs are not an enemy.¬†Carbs eventually turn into glucose so it’s important not to be excessive, but at the same time avoiding it totally will make you weak. However, Carbs should be included in every meal. Glucose in the blood is¬†necessary¬†because it is the fuel for your body and nourishment your baby receives from you. A reasonable portion doesn’t raise your blood sugar level. Starch is definitely a source of energy, which is totally needed for a pregnant women.¬†You need to eat a consistent and moderate amount of carbs regularly through the day.

Monitor blood sugar level.¬†Immediately after diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, the doctor will suggest to get a Diabetes Kit,¬†which includes needles to prick your finger and a little machine that reads your blood sugar.¬†Check first thing in the morning to get your fasting rate and then an hour after you eat each meal to make sure your blood sugar stays in a healthy range. It’s definitely an empowering feeling when our blood sugar reading is good as we made a healthy food choice.

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Sugar free diet. Avoiding unnecessary carbs such as sugar, which includes carbonated drinks, lollies, soft drink, cordial, fruit juice and sugary substances. You can give yourself some treats at times for self-appreciation, but you should never over do it.

Have an exercise routine. Go for a walk or take the stairs after a meal to lower your glucose levels. It’s ideal to go for a walk at-least 30 min to an hour daily apart from after meal walk. Doing meditation really helped me to focus and reduce stress. Yoga is another good choice during a general pregnancy and especially during Gestational Diabetes.

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Eat healthy. Never skip a breakfast. Your blood glucose levels are most likely to be out of whack in the morning , so skipping a breakfast will definitely put you and your baby at risk. Eat a good breakfast with proteins and limited carbohydrates avoid fruits with breakfast. Distribute your foods between three meals and two or three snacks each day. Eating on a particular time each day helps you to monitor your blood sugar level. so, make a time for all the meals and snack that you take.

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Sleep well.¬†Insufficient sleep will make blood sugar level to go high. I know it’s hard to say a pregnant women to sleep well but, good night sleep will keep your numbers normal. Exercising and being more active will definitely give a good night sleep.

Keep a diet plan.¬†Keeping a track on what we eat will help a lot in getting an idea of what makes the numbers go high. Once you master that you can make a diet plan and eat accordingly so that you are not stressed of thinking what to make for each meal. Add lots of proteins in each meal, it helps a lot to make your tummy full. Eating home-made food is the healthy for you and baby, so try to make your own food. I didn’t say food at the restaurants are not healthy but we can’t go wrong with home-made food. When you doesn’t have anyone to cook for you and if you feel overwhelming just go out and eat. Eating out occasionally is not a big deal.

Gestational diabetes can be easily managed through proper diet. I never felt hungry, i ate carefully planned meals and snacks on a strict schedule. I kept my glucose level in check and delivered to a healthy baby in full term without undergoing c-section. By the end of my pregnancy I gained 11 kgs, which is now all gone since I continued my diet after having my baby girl. GD (Gestational Diabetes) actually forces women to eat healthy and exercise. With the right education Gestational diabetes can be easily managed. Some food items that agree well with someone else who is pregnant may not be good for you. If so, please consult your doctor or a nutritionist for advise.