Celebrating Diva becoming a Certified B Corp!

You may be asking; What is B Corp and why is it important?

As the category leader in the menstrual care industry, Diva International Inc., makers of the DivaCup, are doing something revolutionary. Becoming a certified B Corporation was the next step for a company that is viewed as one that challenges the status quo by redefining the experience of menstruation, with comfort, health and sustainability in mind. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.

B Corp is important for DivaCup because as a leader in the menstrual cup category and key player in the menstrual movement, we have a responsibility to you (our community) and the planet to be the absolute best. B Corp gives us the platform to be transparent and accountable. We have been doing the right things for a while, but now we have the ability to demonstrate it and something keeping us accountable to ensure we keep doing the good work we are doing.

Who is Diva as a B Corp?:

With over 2400 B Corps, spanning across 50 countries and 140 industries, B Corps meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. As a B Corp, Diva International Inc. is more than a business. We are part of a global movement of like-minded people who are using business as a  force for good™. Being a B Corp is not only about being the best in the world, but also the Best for the World®. We encourage and mobilize change from within our organizational walls.

“Being part of a global movement of purpose-driven companies that are changing the world, is our vision for Diva. This is why we voice environmental sustainability through both our product and our own company standards.”
Carinne Chambers-Saini CEO and Co-Founder Diva International Inc.

What is a B Corp?:

Think of it this way. Being B Corp Certified is like receiving a Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee. B Corps must adhere to higher standards of how business is done. Performance is measured through a comprehensive auditing process that evaluates a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment). Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders. The B Impact Assessment looks at Governance, Workers, Customers, Community and Environment.

When does B Corp accountability take a rest?:

Easy answer: it doesn’t. As a Certified B Corporation, the accountability and practice of certification never takes a break. It is not a sometimes, or quarterly initiative, it is an everyday thing. Considering the impact of our decisions and how they will influence everyone, and everything, is top of mind.

Where are these ‘B Corps’?:

B Corps are all around us, in over 50 countries around the world. They represent a variety of industries (over 140) who together are leading a global movement and call to action for businesses to be the best they can for the world. Chances are you have a B Corp near you or that some of brands you love (like the DivaCup) are a Certified B Corporation. Since B Corps keep “good” company with other B Corps, the change we seek® can be seen everywhere.

Certified B Corporations are committed to ensuring that everything we do meets the highest standards of verified performance, transparency, and accountability. We are not in this alone, over 2,400 like-minded businesses are doing the same thing and helping to keep each other accountable. It is about a collective impact doing good, helping to make everything better for everyone involved.

Why did Diva want this certification?:

We became a Certified B Corporation because we’re doing something revolutionary. If you’re a DivaCup user, you’re no stranger to the fact that we are challenging the status quo and have found a better way to care for your period. Not only are we a leader within the category, but we feel a sense of responsibility to take that further. And more importantly, this translates into empowerment for society, the environment, individuals within our organization and of course, all who experience a period.

How does B Corp come into play?:

Diva International Inc. was certified by the non-profit B Lab which helps businesses meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World® and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.

To become a Certified B Corporation an organization needs to complete the B Impact Assessment and earn a minimum score of 80 out of 200. If a score of 80 or higher is achieved, an organization is then required to undergo an audit of the assessment. This comprehensive audit evaluates impact in terms of governance, workers, consumer, community and environment. The measure of impact was developed by an independent, third-party Standards Advisory Council. After the audit, an organization must sign the B Corp Declaration of Independence and Term Sheet. While this may seem as the last step in the certification process, it is really just the beginning of the B Corp journey. B Corps must continue to practice out this commitment to be better in everything they do, every day.

7 Environmental Changes You Can Make

If you have already made the switch to The DivaCup, you may have made it for any variety of reasons. Maybe you were excited about the cost-savings or the 12 hours of leak-free protection, or maybe (like many of us) you found disposables bulky and uncomfortable and knew that there had to be a better way. Whatever your reasoning may have been, many of our Divas really start to notice the big environmental changes they are making by ditching the disposables. It is one small change, but it makes a HUGE difference. Here is a list of other changes you can make in your life that help reduce your environmental footprint. Though it may not feel realistic to tackle them all just yet, even doing one or two of them can make a positive change.

1) Buy Vintage and Donate!
When it’s time to pick out some clothes or a cute outfit for an event, why not make the stylish and eco-friendly choice of buying vintage. Buying vintage is definitely the most stylish form of recycling! When you purchase something vintage, you are saving money, reducing the eco-footprint, and resources used up in new clothes production, processing and shipping. You also have a much better chance of finding a one-of-a-kind outfit that can really showcase your personal style. When you are done with clothes, be sure to donate them (or trade or sell them)! Someone will love your old treasures just as much as you did!

2) Go Bagless
So replacing plastic bags has definitely become a thing in various parts of the world where it is encouraged to bring and use reusable bags for purchases (like groceries), but why not take it a step further? Even though many of us may use reusable bags for our groceries, we still often grab the thin plastic produce bags, or perhaps small bags for bulk items, but did you know there are reusable options for all of these? It’s true. There are reusable produce bags made from materials like canvas, muslin, or mesh and you can use reusable containers in lieu of snack bags! Many bulk stores will also allow you to bring your own containers instead of using bags.

3) Replace your commute with a greener option
There are many green options for getting to work or school. If you are a commuter, with a long daily drive to the office, why not try looking into carpooling, the train, or busing? Long drives can be painful, boring, and tiring as well as come at a horrendous cost environmentally and to your wallet with the ever-climbing prices for gas. For many of us buying an electric car, or a hybrid, isn’t realistic. Sharing the ride can be a lot more social and environmental as can forgoing the car completely for some form of public transport. If you live close to work/school, you might enjoy walking, biking or skateboarding to get you there and back.

4) Reduce Chemical Use
When cleaning the house, your clothes, or even yourself, there are many options available naturally or commercially that help reduce the use of harmful chemicals. This is both healthier for you as well as better for the environment. As the cleaners we use wash down the drain and are flushed down the toilets, they can enter our waterways which can affect the quality of drinking water as well as compromise aquatic ecosystems. Other cleansers can contaminate our air quality and contribute to greenhouse gases. For these reasons it is important to read the label and be cognizant of what you are using to clean yourself and your surroundings. There are also many natural options for cleaning, such as vinegar, lemon, baking soda etc. There are a ton of articles online that can give you some tips to get started! Remember, DivaWash is a great option as a body wash and face wash… and guess what? It is 100% plant based!

5) Buy local
Buying local fruits and veggies is a great option for so many reasons! Not only are you supporting local farms, and the local economy but this deliciously green alternative has some amazing environmental benefits. By buying local produce, you are also cutting down on the fuel used in transporting, processing, and packaging the produce. This added to the fact that local product can ripen naturally rather than on a truck, boat, or plane, means that your food will taste better as well.

6) Replace paper products
If you ever break it down and think about how much paper products you might use, it can honestly be a little be daunting, but there are a ton of greener options that can replace these. Paper towels may make life easier sometimes, but a reusable microfiber cloth can replace most of these instances (and they work better), writing notes and shopping lists on a piece of paper can similarly be replaced with keeping them on your phone, or tablet (if you have one), even napkins at the dinner table can be replaced with reusable cloths which will elevate your entertaining and feel much nicer as well. Try reducing your paper use and make sure to recycle or compost (in the case of paper towel and tissue use) what you do use.

7) Ditch the Disposables
Did you know that close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped in North American landfills each and every year? If you are already one of our Divas then you know how good it feels to not have to worry about disposing (or purchasing!) pads and tampons by using The DivaCup. If you are still sitting on the fence about making the switch, then this may be the day to remember how much you will be reducing your eco-footprint and how much waste you will be diverting from landfills by switching to a reusable period care option!

10 Jarring Ideas

Mason jars are the best and we crafters and passionate recyclers are always finding new uses for them. Here are a list of ideas:

  1. Mason Jars make trendy drinking glasses.
  2. They can be used as vases for fresh cut flowers.
  3. They can be used for taking snacks to work or school.
  4. Set the mood by decorating your mason jar and placing a tea light inside.
  5. Label and use to store your dried goods like: flour, sugar, oats, rice etc.
  6. Make your own old fashioned candy jars by filling with sweet treats and decorating appropriately.
  7. Make your own at home spa, by using mason jars to store makeup brushes, sponges, cotton swabs, and even bath products like body scrubs, creams, and Epson salts.
  8. Use for office or desk organization as they are perfect for storing pens, pencils, rulers, paper clips, etc.
  9. Entertaining? Mason jars are great for sending home party gifts! Just fill with cookies, treats, or even be a bit silly and make your own bubble blowing solution to send home with your party guests.
  10. Turn your used mason jars into homemade snow globes! Glue figurines to the inside of the metal cap. Fill the jar with water (don’t forget the sparkles!), seal tightly and soon you will have the kitty cat, puppy, superhero, farm animal, pop culture, or holiday (the options are limitless!) snow globes you’ve been waiting for!

For more creative ideas on what to do with your mason jars be sure to check crafting sites and social networks like Pinterest!

Top 8 Repurposes for Disposables

Today’s the day. You finally made the switch to The DivaCup and are overly excited to start on your eco-friendly journey! The only problem? What do you do with your unused disposable fem care products? No worries! Our team has you covered with the top 8 repurposes for your unused disposables. 🙂

#1: Donate, donate, donate!
The first and most important step you should take when deciding on what to do with your unused disposable products is to donate them. Find a local charity, homeless shelter or women’s organization that is willing to take your disposable products. Not only are you saving the landfills, you’re helping menstruating people in need*.

#2: Nosebleed? No problem
Do you experience frequent nosebleeds that keep you stranded in the bathroom for 20 minutes, leaving the bathroom looking like a scene from a horror movie? Your old tampons can help! Take the tampon out of the applicator and put it in your nose to help absorb all of the blood. This will allow you to get your work done without having to worry about the mess.

#3: Makeup applicator/ beauty blender
Beauty blenders can be pricey and overrated. Now’s the time to take advantage of your unused tampons. Like a recent viral video illustrated, you can take the tampon out of the applicator and use it as a beauty blender. Apply your foundation to the tampon and distribute it in the specific areas. Watch and learn here.

#4: A Handy and Discrete Wallet
Going out for a night on the town or traveling to a foreign place? Hide your money and valuables in an unused pad wrapper. Remove the pad from the wrapper, without tearing the wrapper. Staple the sides of the wrapper, while leaving the top open. Store any light valuables in the wrapper and store in your purse or pocket.

#5: Absorbing Foot Pads
When it comes to washing the floors, the list of tools you need in order to complete the job is endless. With your unused pads, washing floors just got easier. Wash your floors with your preferred solution and mop. To absorb the residue, stick your unused pads to the bottom of a clean shoe or slipper and drag your feet across the affected area. Voilà, clean floors while having fun. Involve the family! Even the kids may enjoy skating through the house on pads, making cleanup a breeze and fun family activity.

#6: Backups
By now you should be DivaCup obsessed and all of your friends and family should be tired of hearing you brag about this life-changing product. But, you may have a few friends that refuse to give it a try (they are really missing out!). Store some unused pads and tampons in a spot where your friends can easily have access to the products if need be.

#7: Crafts
Your unused disposables can make for great holiday crafts. Grab some art supplies (googly eyes, food coloring, sparkles, etc.) and head to Pinterest for some fun and silly holiday craft ideas! Deck the halls with pads and tampons!

#8: Hair curlers
Who knew that your unused tampons could double as hair curlers? Well, now you do! If you’re looking to rock that ‘beached-wave look’ remove the tampon from the applicator and take smaller sections of hair and wrap the hair around the tampon. Just as you would with any other curling device. You can pin the tampons to the hair for more of a tight curl. Check out a tutorial here.

Do you have any tips for repurposing unused disposables? If so, share them with our team!

*Diva International Inc. donates to a number of organizations and shelters. Though, The DivaCup may seem like the best option for donations, it is not always feasible as The DivaCup needs proper education as well as care and cleaning amenities. Check out some of our initiatives here.

 

 

Girls In Robotics: Something for Everyone

Team 4678, the CyberCavs, is a high school robotics club from Woodland Christian High School in Breslau, Ontario. It’s part of a worldwide organization called FIRST Robotics Competition, or FRC. FRC is known as ‘varsity sports for the mind’; each year the organization devises a new competition, and teams are given six weeks to design and build robots that perform the competition’s tasks. These tasks include things like throwing frisbees, stacking totes, lobbing balls into goals, and maneuvering robots around obstacles. Teams attend regional competitions, and the winners of these competitions attend the World Championships in St. Louis, USA.

Now in its fifth year, the CyberCavs club boasts approximately 50 members, where one third are girls. There are many aspects to a robotics club…from designing, building, and programming robots to public relations and finance. The beauty of a club with varied departments is that members are given the opportunity to sample a variety of work. “I learned how to use power tools and take better pictures,” says Lauryn, a third year member who divides her time between the Build and Public Relations departments. “I’ve gotten good practice at designing documents and writing information about an organization,” says first year member Freda. Shae is in her fourth year, and looks forward to the coming season. “I hope to learn more about building robots. I look forward to supervising the team’s CNC milling machine and using a program called Autodesk Inventor.” Joy-Hannah, a team alumnus in her first year of university, says, “During my first year in robotics I helped out with building by doing lots of riveting, but mostly I have been a part of Public Relations. I worked on a variety of tasks such as gaining sponsors, sewing mascot costumes and the team standard/banner, as well as various other promotional aspects. I enjoyed this because it was a chance to show how interesting robotics is. It was an opportunity to demonstrate that there is a place for everyone in robotics, no matter their interests or abilities. I also acted as the photographer for the team at competitions, which got me the best seat in the house.”

In preparation for the 2017 season, the club invested in several VEX robot kits. VEX robots can be assembled, disassembled and reconfigured in a multitude of ways, and is a great learning tool for students who are new to robotics. Jean, a first-year member, loves programming the VEX robots. “If it doesn’t move as we expect, we can fix it to make it match our requirements. And if it works, we can try to make it better.” She hopes to have a career in programming, so the CyberCavs robotics club is a great way to help her hone her programming skills.

What would the CyberCavs girls tell other girls about robotics? “You don’t need to know how to build a robot to join,” says Shae. “It’s a lot of fun, with all kinds of opportunities,” says Freda. “It’s interesting and I’m learning a lot of skills,” adds Jean. “I don’t see it as a big deal for girls to be involved in our robotics club,” notes Catalina, while Helen sums it up: “It’s a great chance to be a part of a team, and there is something for everyone.”

Diva International Inc. (Diva) is proud to sponsor the CyberCavs robotics club. Diva is passionate about providing opportunities to youth, and supporting girls in science, math and technology. For more information on Diva’s initiatives, please visit divacup.com.

 

2016, You’ve Been a Blast!

It feels like yesterday our Diva team was wishing all of our Diva communities seasons greetings for 2015. What happened!? The holiday music is on every other radio station, you’re receiving goodies in the mail and of course, the parties are endless! happy-holidays

That being said, 2016 was definitely one for the books. Our Diva team had a blast being able to spread The DivaCup love to menstruating people around the world. From tradeshows to consumer shows, to all of our online love, we couldn’t be happier with the outcomes. Thank you to our amazing Divas for making this year one to remember. Your support, love, and loyalty is unbelievable and certainly one that cannot be beaten.

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all some of our favorite accomplishments from 2016! Our amazing CEO, Carinne Chambers, won EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sustainable Products category as well as the Industry Disrupter Award. Congrats Carinne, you’re amazing!

On social media, our Facebook page reached over 50,000 Likes and our Twitter page reached over 12,000 Likes!

In our dedication to women’s health, our team continued our partnerships with CeMCOR and the ROSE study as well as sponsored Endo What? A ground-breaking documentary on Endometriosis.

We also had the opportunity to partner with innovative and moving charitable organizations like Camions of Care, The Ali Forney Center, Native Youth Sexual Health Network, YWCA, and many others in North America and around the world who are working to ensure menstrual care access for those in-need.

We are excited to announce as well that we will be launching in Mexico in 2017, making The DivaCup available in 29 countries! Like our new Spanish Facebook and Twitter pages to stay in the loop on some exciting news and giveaways!

A Note from our CEO, Carinne Chambers:

Thank you so much to all our Divas for making 2016 an amazing year we will always remember! From our loyal Diva users to our new Diva users, thank you for taking the chance to join the Diva revolution. Your continued support is incredible and we couldn’t have done it without you!

My mom and I took a risk to lead the way pioneering the menstrual cup category and our success and growth since our inception in 2001 has been tremendous. Our team has grown close to 40 employees and we continue to grow and evolve every day. This year my mom Francine retired from the day to day business and is now Chairman of the Board.  Very exciting, and so well deserved!

My beloved Diva family and I are so looking forward to 2017. We have big plans. Plans to invest more time, money and resources into building up the menstrual cup category and to empower women around the world.

Divas, thank you for all your kindness and support! Season greetings to you and your loved ones. Get ready for an exciting 2017. We have lots in store and will continue on our mission to change the world one DivaCup at a time!!

From our family to yours…

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10 Ways to Navigate your Period over the Holidays

The holidays can be many wonderful things. They can remind us of what’s important, reignite friendships/relationships, encourage us to give back, fill us with yummy treats, and give us a chance to tell people how we feel about them. Still even with all these great pieces… as we all know the holidays can also be super stressful. You may be travelling to multiple locations, trying to get the kids the *it* (and of course sold out) toy of the season, praying you don’t catch the flu that everyone in the office seems to have, and perhaps even playing the buffer in some of the more volatile relationships around you. Between all these things it can sometimes be a little bit hard to carve out some time for yourself! Throw your period into the mix, and what’s a Diva to do?! Well, maybe some of these 10 tips can help….

1) Sleep Sleep

It sounds so simple, right? So why do we have such a hard time carving out enough sleep on the holidays?  Between holiday parties and late nights of shopping, wrapping, and decorating, it can be hard to get your eight hours. While this tip may sound like something easier said than done, if you can put that effort into tucking yourself in at a decent time, you will find the holidays and your period much easier to deal with.

2) Focus on the positives and laugh off the little things

The holidays can be stressful, but maybe some of those stresses can be laughed off and let go? Remember those picture-perfect holiday photos that are displayed on every single social channel? Each of these was probably proceeded and followed by complete and utter chaos.

So, try and focus on those positive parts of the holidays and laugh off the little stressful things the holidays can bring. This may be a challenge especially if you find yourself a bit snippy over the holidays or over your period, but trust us, it will lead to happier holiday memories for you and your loved ones.

Champagne3) Alcohol: Limit or Avoid

So school is still out on the debate of whether or not little to moderate alcohol intake has any specific effects on your period or vice versa. However, period or not, anything over moderate alcohol intake when faced with sometimes stressful family or social situations, just doesn’t seem like the best idea. Also remember alcohol is a depressant! If you are emotional due to stress or due to your period, alcohol will likely heighten these feelings rather than remove them.

4) Cravings: Indulge but Don’t Cave

The holidays can have a lot of yummy treats easily accessible and when you are on your period sometimes every cell in your body seems to be asking for sugar. It is ok to indulge in a few of these cravings, but remember to not go overboard! Junky and sugary foods actually tend to make us feel a little worse when it comes to our period symptoms. So, approach this with balance! If your achy uterus is demanding a gingerbread cookie, have one but maybe stop at just the one and try not to growl at you family as soon as they reach for the others.

5) A Holiday Walk

Need to cool down from the heat of all the ovens working overtime to bring you a holiday feast, or to step away from the heat of Cousin Janet and Uncle Bill talking politics?  Taking a holiday walk is not only great for the soul, it is wicked helpful for your cramps! Grab your favorite relative and take a stroll to enjoy the holiday decorations or even to marvel at how your town has turned into a holiday ghost land while everyone is inside celebrating. Some fresh air can ease your mood and even take away some of the stress induced holiday headache and the exercise will help ease your period cramps.

6) Hot Chocolate hot chocolate

It’s the drinkable equivalent of a warm hug and absolutely nothing beats a steaming mug of hot chocolate during the winter holidays! This perfect comfort drink not only warms the cockles of your stressed-out holiday heart but can even help with some of your period symptoms! For some great hot chocolate recipes with period relief in mind, check out our hot chocolate blog.

7) Load up on Veggies

The holidays can be full of rich and delicious foods, but sometimes these don’t line up with the kind of foods to support a menstruating body. Though we aren’t saying to completely avoid the creamy mashed potatoes or the little bit of deeply fried goodness, make sure you are reaching for some of the safer (yet just as yummy options). Leafy greens are great for your period, so push past the candied yams and grab some spinach or kale. The iron in these vegetables will help you be your holiday best while on your period. Veggies like broccoli also have a high fiber content and can actually help with bloating!

8) Some water please and make it hot!

Taking a hot bath may not be realistic during this time of the year, but boy if you can make it work, it is the absolute best. Otherwise, try and remember to pack a hot water bottle on your holiday travels. This portable little bit of period relief can really take the edge off your period blahs during the holidays.

Model 29) Complain Exchange!

Sometimes the holidays and your period just make you want to vent! This is totally understandable. Talk to a close friend or relative before the holidays and become each other’s venting outlets. Seriously, a complaint exchange can help you get things out instead of bottling them up and then you can let things go, giving you a better holiday and period experience.

10) The DivaCup

This one should be obvious! Can you imagine navigating the holidays anyway else? Who has room to pack disposables when you are carrying all those presents? Plus traveling on the holidays is grueling whether it is by plane, train or automobile, at least with The DivaCup you can worry about reaching your destination and not your period.

 

Holiday Traditions from The Diva Team

For many of us, the holidays consist of parties, food and socializing, but there are many traditions that are near and dear to every family. The Diva Team came together to share a few of their favorite holiday traditions.

Paige

Oh, the holidays. My favorite time of the year! Who doesn’t love the endless amounts of sweets, dinners and family gatherings? For my family and I, we’ve had the same tradition since I was born. Every year on Christmas Eve we head to my grandparent’s house for presents, food and of course a ton of laughs.

The same things happen every year when we arrive at my grandparent’s house. We greet our family who drove hours to celebrate the evening with us. We catch up with cousins, aunts and uncles and we open presents! My favorite part of our tradition is seeing everyone gather together and celebrate such a joyous holiday. But, as the years go on, and my grandparents’ age, the tradition will soon have to change. This holiday season will be the last year celebrating Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house. It’ll be bittersweet seeing my family and I gather around such a sentimental place for the last time. Just because one door is closing, doesn’t mean another can’t open. Our family will have to start a new tradition and gather at another family member’s house and continue our tradition for years to come!

Kristen

For my husband and I, the holidays are all about spending time with our loved ones. Our tradition is pretty simple, but to us, it’s something we look forward to every single year. On Christmas Eve, we spend time with my husband’s family. Being from a small town, it makes it easy to go from one house to the next. The party is usually the same every year, food, presents and more food!

When we get back home, we always take a photo of our house. We love to look back and remember if it had snowed or not (can you tell we’re Canadian, eh?).

Christmas morning is extra special to me. My husband and I wake up and exchange our gifts. It’s nice to be together without the chaos of all our family members. Once gifts are opened and we’ve spent time together, we gather at my parent’s house for Christmas dinner and our classic Christmas crackers and paper crowns!

Shelley

I know that the idea of movies and Chinese food for Jewish families on December 25th is not a new one, but I have got to say that my family kills it! We don’t watch *a* movie, we go to the theater and watch 4-5 movies. Planning our movie adventure starts days in advance includes a lot of help from friendly cinema employees, and necessitates a lot of flexibility. For my family’s holiday movie fest, it’s always quantity over quality and so when you are trying to see as many movies as possible, scheduling is absolutely everything!  ticketsThough websites and newspapers can give you the start time what you need to get from the theater itself is the actual film start times (you know after all the car commercials and previews) as well as the end times, and screening room proximities. It’s good to try and get about 10 minutes between the end of a film and the start of the next for washroom breaks, popcorn refills and navigating massive multiplexes, but this does not often work out. Most of the time we are jogging from one screen to the next as soon as the credits begin to roll.

It’s the perfect kind of holiday chaos. We may not have a tree, presents, or a turkey… but we spend the day together and boy do we ever have fun. This is how my family has been doing December 25th since I was a kid and I couldn’t picture spending the day any other way!

Kobi

Part of being a millennial means I was raised almost entirely by television. Some of my fondest childhood memories are avoiding holiday hysteria by sinking into the couch with the company of Rudolph, Frosty, and the lovably depressing Charlie Brown. For me, the holidays can’t begin until I’ve blown off my Christmas shopping for a few hours of hot cocoa and holiday classics.

Penny

Skating We live in a small town, so one of our holiday traditions is to drive into the city. We may go to a musical or a play, or we may just visit something fun like the aquarium. I like taking my son somewhere to have an experience, like learning something new or simply seeing something new. The city is neat to visit at this time of year. Sometimes it’s busy with people ice skating at City Hall or walking around, and sometimes it’s like a ghost town (maybe because the city dwellers are driving out to small towns like mine to visit family).

We would love to hear about your holiday traditions! Share them with us below or on our social media channels.

 

Guest Post: Essential Oils for Period Care

Aromatherapy, the practice of using essential oils for improving or maintaining health and beauty, is a wonderful and yet often misunderstood form of alternative health care. It is both a practice that people can dabble in at home and at the same time is a form of treatment practiced by professional Aromatherapists.

Whether you use essential oils at home or seek the care of your local Aromatherapist, integrating Aromatherapy into your life is a fantastic act of self-care. Of course, we could all use a little more self-care in our lives, but as women dealing with so many external expectations and pressures, the practice of taking time for oneself is particularly important – especially during our periods! 43157468_l-smaller

Essential oils are effective in treating some of the discomforts associated with the menstrual cycle in two ways: first, essential oils can be inhaled (eg. diffusing) and are absorbed directly into the olfactory system, ultimately assisting the hypothalamus to control hormone production. Second, essential oils can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin to be absorbed into the body’s tissues (muscle, blood, etc.) which can help with physical discomfort.

In North America, essential oils can be found on store shelves due to a lack of regulation over the product. This means that many different oils can be purchased and used at home; however, it’s important to remember that essential oils are a natural health product that affects every body differently and should be used with care. Overuse or improper use can tax the liver and cause severe adverse reactions. The reality is that not every oil is safe for every body, and so the absolute best way to understand the spectrum of oils that are safe and effective for you as an individual is to seek the care of an Aromatherapist.

If you’re keen to find a DIY solution to eliminate the discomforts associated with your period, the good news is that there are a few essential oils that are safe to use at home.

Here are four ways to use essential oils at home for period care:

  1. Lavender in the bath for relaxation and sleep: if you like to take baths, you can mix 10 drops of Lavender essential oil in with 1 cup of Epsom salts and allow this to dissolve in the bath. Alternatively, you can just add the 10 drops to your bathwater. Soak for at least 20 minutes and enjoy the calming, soothing effect on both mind and body. If you suffer from period-related sleep issues, this is particularly helpful to do just before bed as lavender is an effective oil used to treat insomnia.41101925_l-smaller

  2. Diffuse a blend to improve your mood: using a hydro diffuser (one that you fill with water and does not heat the oils), take a little time to sit and relax, perhaps with a good cup of tea. Drop in 5 drops of your essential oil blend and turn on the diffuser nearby, sit for at least 20 minutes for maximum benefit. Lavender + Sweet Orange is an effective blend for helping you relax while also uplifting a low mood. Sweet Orange + Grapefruit is a great blend to help energize you if you’ve been feeling a bit lethargic, and Peppermint is excellently stimulating if you’ve been feeling a bit of a brain fog.

  3. Tea tree to treat the skin: for hormonal breakouts, there’s no better essential oil for skin than Tea Tree. In a small container, mix 2 tbsp of alcohol-free witch hazel with 5 drops tea tree oil. You can dip a cotton swab or cotton ball (dip only once to prevent contamination) into the mixture and wipe on areas of concern (face and/or body) to help soothe and dry the breakout. If you are worried about or dealing with acne scars, Lavender is one of the best topical healing oils and could be used in witch hazel or in your regular toner or moisturizer to speed healing.

  4. Peppermint for hormonal headaches: if you experience hormonal headaches during your period, Peppermint could be a life-saver. In a small container or dropper bottle, mix 2 tbsp of carrier oil (liquid coconut, grapeseed, avocado, or sunflower oil work well) with 5 drops of peppermint essential oil. Using your fingers, rub a bit of the oil into temples and onto the back of the neck right at the hairline at the first sign of a headache to stop it in its tracks.

These at-home treatments are easy to whip up with just a small collection of essential oils. There are many more oils that can be used for period care and treating symptoms such as muscle soreness, cramping, and other mood fluctuations. For best results, an Aromatherapist can create specific blends and products tailored to your individual experience.

 

kateKate Murray-Fuerth, B.A., CAP

Kate is a Kitchener, Ontario-based Aromatherapist who is passionate about helping people to better understand how to use essential oils safely and effectively. She works with clients both in-person and via Skype on a variety of health and skincare concerns and specializes in women’s health – particularly Aromatherapy for pregnancy and motherhood. She is also the creator of NB Naturals, a line of professional aromatherapy products and certified organic essential oils. For more information or to book an appointment, contact her at kate@nbnaturals.org or visit www.nbnaturals.org.

Finding the Right Gynecologist

finding the right gynecologist The DivaCup

 

Your gynecologist and you share a special relationship – and not just because they are checking out your vagina regularly. Your gynecologist is someone you trust with your health so it is important that you find the right gynecologist for your body and your health concerns.  For this reason, it may not be as simple as calling up the first gyno’s number you see in the phone book. There are many factors that play a part in finding the right gynecologist and the tips below are a great place to start.

Make a “Must-Haves” List

Every gynecologist should meet certain requirements, no matter who you decide on. Every gyno should be certified and educated, experienced with a number of years in the industry under their belt (hehe) and, depending on your body specifically, you can also look for gynos that have a certain expertise. For example, if you are living with endometriosis, you may look for a gyno who focuses on patients with endo.

After these initial must-haves are checked off the list, you should consider the following:

  • Is gender important to you? Everybody has different preferences and experiences, so think about whether you would feel more comfortable with a female or a male gynecologist. This can help you narrow down your list significantly from the get-go.
  • Where are they located? Obviously, you will want to know how close or far your gyno’s office is from where you live and the implications that may have. If you’re willing to have a gyno that is further away, keep in mind that you may not be able to get in for emergency appointments. Take into account your drive time, whether there is public transport stops close by or whether parking will cost you an arm and an ovary.
  • What is included in your health plan? Be mindful that there may be gynos or treatments not affiliated with your benefit package or health plan and ones that are, which may limit your options when it comes to coverage.
  • What are their values? Finding a gyno that shares your views and values is too often overlooked and is actually super important. Whether you are into alternative methods of birth control or really like a gyno with a sense of humor, these are important things to determine before you sign over your vagina to them.

Ask Around

Obviously, walking up to a stranger and asking who they recommend for your vagina may not be the most effective, but getting referrals is an easy way to narrow down your search. You could speak with your regular physician about gynecologists they recommend and get a referral appointment that way, or you could ask family, friends and trusted co-workers if they would recommend their gyno. It’s also important to ask if there is anyone they wouldn’t recommend, which could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Do Your Homework

Remember, this is your health so don’t just take someone’s word and leave it at that. Do a little homework and look up your gyno candidates’ credentials, ensure they are properly certified and maybe even look at reviews online from trusted websites.

Make a Consultation Appointment

Narrow down your top choices and make a consultation appointment with each of them. This won’t be an exam, but rather a chance to sit and get to know your potential gynecologist. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Prepare a list of questions you have, from the general to the very specific, and ask each candidate their thoughts. It is important to ask about things that are important to you, whether it is alternatives to the pill or STI testing, so you can get a feel for how you and your potential gyno will groove.

Follow Your Gut

You know yourself better than anyone so don’t feel ashamed of turning down a gyno that seemed perfect on paper but that you just aren’t sure about. There is no shame in putting yourself, your comfort, or your health first. So if something isn’t sitting right with you, keep shopping around. Mindy Lahiri may not actually exist but the perfect gyno for you definitely does.

You Aren’t Stuck

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a permanent relationship. If you end up deciding to go with a gyno and later on find that things aren’t working out the way you had hoped, whether that is because you two have different values or wait times are too long, you are allowed to find a new gyno whenever you see fit.

Are you ready to #GetToYourGyno? Don’t be nervous – you are taking a big step in the right direction for your health. What are some tips you have for finding the right gyno? How did you know when you found her/him? Share your experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!