Stress is just hype; only simple daily habits can defeat it

Stress has become a very common factor that is found in working professionals, many youngsters and even teenagers. Having the spirit to excel and giving your best is one thing and worrying about it all the time is another. When it comes to stress, it is only YOU who can help yourself. It’s as simple as accepting the fact, problems won’t stop occurring if you stress more. You will never be able to remove stress from your life completely, issues are going to creep up every now and then, and people around you (your parents, siblings, colleagues, seniors, managers)are going to expect higher and better performance every time.

It all comes down to how well you manage your stress.

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This may not sound simple but in reality if you sit down and think, you will come up with a list on your own. The real reason of stress is not always obvious and more than often you tend to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You are aware that you are constantly worried about work deadlines but the real reason may be your procrastination that lands you in a soup.

Stress management comes with practice, you need to exercise habits. Your to-do list is never going to be complete and more tasks will keep adding but there is one task that should never come off your to-do list: Relax.

The following tips if practiced daily may help you manage your stress. Just a mere couple of minutes from your schedule and you’ll be fresh and energized to take what the day brings!

Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to help you ease anxiety. Research has shown that when you meditate daily the neural paths in your brain may alter making you more pliant to stress. Meditation is a very simple process, sit up straight with both feet on the floor (you may also sit cross legged on the floor the bottom line is to sit up straight). Once you get comfortable, focus your attention on reciting a mantra loudly or silently that makes you feel positive. It can be anything like “I feel at peace” or “I am the strongest”. You can place your hands on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths.

Just Breathe

Every time you feel you are worked up or beginning to stress due to the work load, take 5 minutes off and focus on your breathing. You can do this sitting at your desk in office, all you have to do is take deep breaths, inhale and exhale fully. Taking deep breaths releases stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.  5 minutes may seem a lot when at work but even if you try focusing on work you will be less productive. So take time off and just breathe!

Be Present

Live the moment, it’s as simple as that! You rush through dinner, hurry to reach the destination; you are running the race to strike off another to-do from your list. For a change try something different, try to slow down. Focus on the thing you are doing right now! If you’re having food, enjoy the texture and taste of every bite, notice how air feels on your face while walking or driving. When you are working concentrate on the task at hand and not about the problems that will arise in the next task. When you start to spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel the relaxation that grips your body and be more productive.

 Reach out

Very often you hear people saying, “Those were the golden, carefree days when we talked so much!” One of the major reasons that add to stress is not talking to family and friends. Take time out from your “busy” schedules to catch up with friends. Talk about worries that are troubling you and it will surprise you that talking out loud to your friends can do wonders to your mood. A good social support system plays a major role when dealing with stress. Meet friends face-to-face and spend time with them without talking or thinking of the to-do list, just have a good time! Having a good laugh is a great way to better manage whatever is stressing you out.

Listen to your body

Whether you believe it or not, your body is constantly talking to you, giving you signs to handle it with care. One of the best ways to manage stress and stay fit is to take up a sport of your choice – anything that requires physical involvement. Join a gym and more importantly go regularly, participate in a physical group activity you love whether it is cycling, running, football, table tennis or badminton. Just sweat it out at least for 45 minutes once in a day. You will be surprised by the wonders working on you. After continuous practice, you will see and feel the difference in you and your reaction to tension.

– By Shraddha Barde

The Family Physician – An Idea Lost to Time?

At our healthcare innovation enthusiasts meetup this weekend we followed up with an important question for all our attendees. What do you do when you just need simple medical advice? One of our attendees who migrated to Pune only recently surprised us by sharing that he calls his family physician back in his home town Satara. That feedback connected together a series of discussions that we’ve been having here around our direction for Savetime.

Many of us don’t have the equivalent of a family physician. It isn’t that we’re invincible, I guess we simply never made the time. Instead, whenever needed we rely on recommendations from parents, friends, especially those who we think know the city better than we do. While their recommendations work well there’s something missing from the larger picture.

Any diagnosis is founded on at least three key factors – your symptoms, medical history and the prevalent medical environment at that time. We’re all accustomed to asking and answering questions about our physiology so that we can get better treatment. A series of questions can help uncover everything from the smallest to the largest of ailments. That’s how primary care works. We rely on this approach as it would be expensive and even undesirable to prescribe all possible tests for every observed symptom.

What sets apart the family physician is the combination of in-depth knowledge of your medical constitution and training across specialties. In many cases, she is aware of the patients medical make up since birth. When a treatment is ineffective, or a diagnosis incomplete or incorrect, she serves as a key part of the puzzle in prescribing the relevant tests, referring you to the right specialist, or coming up with a new line of questions. Even in the case when you don’t have an ailment, as our meetup attendee pointed out, the family physician is there  to answer any questions too trivial for a visit to the clinic.

Recording medical histories digitally can’t fill in the gap left by a family physician entirely. Think of your medical history as if it were a globe. Medical histories depict what the land masses are like. But we still have no clue about the oceans. In other words. What are you like when you’re well? Or, when you’re not seeking medical care? Do you have any conditions that might be mistaken for the symptom of an ailment? Or worse. Do you have a condition that does not have any visible or verifiable symptoms? How does your physiology change throughout your day? Until we figure out how to track and store what easily runs into terabytes of information, the best alternative is always going to be human intuition and a checklist of questions that can help confirm or invalidate the physicians hypothesis.

In popular culture, the television show “House” is a recognizable parallel to this role. The brilliant eccentric Dr. House is the head of diagnostics at a prominent hospital. In order to be on his team (a much sought after position as the show would like us to believe), House requires his doctors to be ok with breaking into the patient’s house to search for clues. As House says, patients Lie about their histories more often than you’d expect, even if they’re dying. While the show is a work of fiction, the practices shown in the show are not entirely so even if they’ve been amplified for dramatic effect. Moreover, House is literally the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of diagnostics and is presented with incredibly hard medical cases to solve. To have any credibility, coincidence or luck can hardly be convenient crutches for the story writer.

I’m not sure why the family physician isn’t as popular as it has been in the past. Perhaps a busy migratory life discourages the effort that cements this valuable one on one relationship. At this point, a few questions beg to be asked. What if we could reinvent that relationship? Take it with us wherever we go? What if she were accessible 24×7 over phone, sms or email? What if she had the best in class tools and technology to track our physiology? Wouldn’t that be a different, better world?

Santosh Dawara, User Growth at savetime

Santosh drives user growth at savetime and is a tech-entrepreneur. He enjoys creating products that help users think, create and achieve amazing things with the web. An industry veteran, he’s played roles with BlackBerry smartphone makers, Research in Motion and has taken India’s first online movie tickets aggregator live.

Do we care enough?

As an employee at a major multinational in the United States, I remember my first visit to the doctor’s office. I had woken up to a sore throat and visited the doctor the same day. The doctor checked my breathing, took a throat swab, prescribed an antibiotic and sent me on my way. I thought nothing of the visit until I checked the bill to my insurance provider. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my provider would be paying $110 not including the cost of my medicines, or a little more than Rs. 5,800. It left me with an incredibly unsettled feeling and many questions. Nine years after that visit, today a routine primary care checkup in the US costs $176.

As an Indian, I appreciate that a visit to a doctor here in any city costs anywhere between Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 ($10). Incredibly, the quality of primary care we deliver is still the same. I’m also willing to bet that a significant portion of those dollars paid went towards an unnecessary but mandatory test of my throat swab and indemnification of the doctor against the remote chance of me initiating a lawsuit. Such is an environment where fear of legal retribution commands a premium from exactly the same people who it was supposed to protect in the first place.

Which is why it’s a little disturbing to spot a new trend here in India where we irresponsibly name and shame our doctors. Social media and other forms of participative media encourage patients to share their experiences with doctors. Unfortunately, popular review sites are also breeding grounds for negativity where the posters share only their negative experiences.

Mainstream media too plays a significant role in attempting to shame doctors and their profession. I recall an episode of Satyamev Jayate where host Aamir Khan interviewed a family who had lost a dear one to alleged medical malpractice. What was sad was that the Star TV team did not make an effort to ask the doctor at the center of the accusation for his version of what had happened. This isn’t an isolated incident.

Of course, we shouldn’t excuse our doctor’s for their mistakes. Instead, I ask but a simple question- why shouldn’t we investigate and represent facts for what they are before embarking on a public campaign that could destroy a career? My argument is not meant to protect doctors who intend to harm, but for the doctors who had only the best of intentions and have made a mistake. If we judge going only by the outcome, then many of our doctors are guilty for simply practicing their profession. Such is the nature of what they’ve been asked to do.

I’ve known doctor’s to get attached to some of their patients even when it could mean going against what they’ve been taught. The patient could be a newborn, or someone suffering from a terminal disease. Similarly, when all other avenues are hopeless patients can only place their faith in their doctor. Through the eyes of the patient, the doctor truly must play the role of God. How can we expect them to be perfect? In fact, I can imagine that many doctors have a personal ‘near miss’ story where they compromised the well-being of their patient, but a colleague or simply good fortune intervened and the error was found out before it was too late. No one can be expected to humanly perform at the highest levels. Software engineers write bugs, doctors make errors and even voters occasionally regret their choices in leaders. People do fail, and when we do we reflect on our mistakes and feel terrible about them- thankfully.

Here at Savetime, we realize this fact full well. Patients have come to expect our doctors to have the cure, so much so that a job well done is now ordinary. We don’t agree. To fulfill our vision of creating India’s largest platform to bring doctors and patients together – we’re creating tools that will help you share both types of stories- the ones that will give you goosebumps, as well as those stories which you won’t get to hear. Tools that will hopefully help patients relate their experiences carefully. We won’t pretend that we don’t have a role to play. We believe the impact of our work will be felt in raising the overall intelligence of the patient community, better protection against malpractice and most importantly our confidence in the part of the healthcare system that is working well.

We wish all our doctors on Savetime the best for doctor’s day.

Santosh Dawara, User Growth at savetime

Santosh drives user growth at savetime and is a tech-entrepreneur. He enjoys creating products that help users think, create and achieve amazing things with the web. An industry veteran, he’s played roles with BlackBerry smartphone makers, Research in Motion and has taken India’s first online movie tickets aggregator live.

Startup soldier? You need to pay more attention to your health

“Wow! what a work environment?”, we all said after reading an article about how global software product companies are creating cool office infrastructure to promote innovation and creativity.

However, when we peel the layers on this, we find engineers often slogging – either stuck with a specific issue that no one else has solved or meeting a release deadline to stay aligned with marketing efforts.

Welcome to startup world! The degree of stress that startups have remains unmatched for:

– the entrepreneurs who are trying to do everything from coding to selling to dealing with the plumber for a broken faucet

– the team members who are constantly reshaping their learning curves and dealing with new work challenges every day

Your health in this type of a pressure cooker environments begets even more attention. No wonder, great companies try to create a fun-loving and stimulating environment to act as a stress buster. But we as individuals need to do more as well. Here are some tips that could help:

– Take a walk at least every 30 mins, go say hi to your colleague. It not only improves blood flow in your system, it increases your social presence

– Do standup meetings, especially if they are setup after lunch. We are sitting all day long and feel lethargic after lunch. Standup meetings keep us alert and active

– Keep your workspace exciting. Pictures of family, friends can be a huge source of excitement and happiness at work place. A souvenir from your favourite destination or your favourite sport item are great appeasers.

– Participate in office activities, in fact – take lead on making arrangements for everyone if hosting a team lunch or an outing, etc.. This gives a great tangential setting to bust work stress and you come back to work with a sense of accomplishment and happiness if your efforts get appreciated.

– Eat healthy. It is easier said than done but being conscious about what you eat can be a good first step. And being conscious of frequency and quantity of your meal can be a huge second step.

At Savetime, we are trying everything we can to make the work environment exciting, fun and healthy. We would love to get more ideas on how to make work places better especially for a startup environment.

Mitesh Bohra, CEO & Co-founder

Mitesh is CEO, Co-founder at savetime.com. He has been working in the industry for over 16 years and this is his 3rd startup after InfoBeans and Infosignz. Mitesh is a BE in Electronics from India and has dual MBA from Columbia Business School, New York and Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, California.

Building the Patient Community – Join us, Join the Revolution

A lot has been said and written over the years about the state of the patients in India and about the Medical Industry as a whole.

How patients suffer due to non-availability of doctors in remote areas, negligence of doctors, due to adulterated drugs/bad manufacturing practices, not being able to afford the medical costs, etc.

Every day when you open the newspaper or switch on the news channel there is some or the other story about the patient’s plight, government ignorance towards medical malpractices and such.

Near home or another scenario is a friend or family member falls sick and suddenly we need to find the doctor. And the word doesn’t stop at that, we don’t only need to find the doctor but there is a need to find the ‘right‘ doctor when it comes to our near and dear ones. How many times you think before taking your old parents to a doctor? How scary is it when you have to take your two year old kid to an unknown doctor for vaccination?

Will the doctor be good? Will he treat my parents with compassion? Will he put my kid at ease before the vaccination? Does the doctor specializes in treating the condition for which we are reaching out to him? How much will the doctor charge? Will there be unnecessary tests that the doctor will recommend? and hundreds of other such questions come to our mind. Probably the most important of them “Will the doctor be able to cure me soon?”

So faced with many questions before choosing a doctor to go to, the only solace we can find is if some of our friends, or family have been to the doctor before and if they can share their experience with us. How many times have we ask or have been asked this question or a similar one “Yaar kisi acche ENT ko jaante ho kya?” And if even one person knows a good ENT and suggests, that’s the best that you can expect as of today.

Though the patient community in India is huge it is also unorganized. The information flow except for the traditional word of mouth is absolutely nil. Even with the advent of social technologies and leaps in communication media in the country, there is a dearth of information and interaction within the patient community.

And due to the lack of information the patient community suffers. A person who is looking for the ‘right‘ pediatrician for his kids ailments finds himself alone with no information and tries out his luck similar to a gambler in a casino, with whichever doctor he finds. He has no clue if the doctor is well qualified, if he is affordable, compassionate or what are the experiences of other people with him.

The time has come when “We the Patient Community” should rise, should get together and start a revolution to end this era of information drought, fight against the malpractices, painful experiences with the existing medical system, help bring to justice the wrong doers because of whom we or our loved ones have to suffer sometime or the other and most importantly we help and collaborate with fellow patients to make their lives easy and arm them with information to take the right decision when it comes to doctors or any other medical service(s).

Savetime.com is trying to support this revolution by building the first ever platform for patient community where patients can interact, share their experiences, favorite doctors, help out fellow patients and contribute in many other ways to the community.

Your participation in this is requested. To start with you can go to Savetime.com, search for the doctor you have been to and share your experience in the ‘recommend‘ section for community to benefit from it and being able to take the right decision. And if you consider your doctor to be the ‘right‘ doctor for you, do mark that doctor as right as well.

As this age-old video brilliantly displays the concept of ‘ekta‘ Oneness, or Solidarity, we will also need to practice the same. We will need to be ‘One‘ in this journey, help out each other, fight against malpractices, injustice as one then only we would be able to make a difference.

Abhinav

Abhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.