Emilie Jacob, 37, is a French interior stylist, mum of two (Stella, 5 and Teddy, 1) and the founder of Dubai-based interior design studio Stella + the Stars, which she runs with her business partner and interior designer Sameera Ameer. Emilie moved to Dubai in 2016 with her husband and lives in Umm Suqeim.
Stella + the Stars is Dubai’s most colourful and fun home styling service, and an award-winning blog, helping clients to make their home unique - no matter how deep their pockets are.
I am no expert in time or career management but running my own business from home for five years with two kids under five in tow has taught me a lot about this working mum malarkey. So here are my tips on how to manage a career and a family and feel great at both!
That could be my only tip to be honest. Balance is a utopia and I don’t think it’s achievable. You’ll have pockets of balance between family and work at times and feel on top of the world but it’s rare that these last for very long. I found, as a rule of thumb, that when success comes in my professional life, my ‘mum’ life suffers, and vice versa. There are weeks where everything runs smoothly at home, vaccination schedules are up to date, the fridge is full, meals are pre-prepared, kids are healthy and happy, I haven’t forgotten a school event or presents for a birthday party. These are usually times where I feel a bit uninspired or stuck at work, with projects not progressing as smoothly as I’d wish. The key is to simply accept it and move on as this will invariably swap around after a period of time. I learned how to ride the waves of unbalanced moments and just enjoy the ‘now’.
Your parameters of success will be completely different to anyone else. For me, having healthy kids and happy marriage and doing a job I am happy to get up for in the morning tick more boxes that I could ever wish to on my ‘success’ list. And everything else is just a bonus. I know other mums who are much more ambitious and want to excel at their job and I know others who revel in staying at home with their little ones. Success means something completely different to all of us so when I see other designers, for example, accomplishing what looks unattainable to me, I try to remind myself how far I have come and that where I am at right now is enough.
I started being intrigued by the power of manifesting earlier this year thanks to my business partner who’s converted me. It’s helped me set realistic and clear goals in every aspect of my life, from family to my husband to my business. It’s so easy to just forget all the amazing things we do and instead get bogged down by the handful of negatives and hurdles. So every three months, I send myself an email (to open three months later) where I list everything I want to happen (in the present tense) in various areas of my life. Usually 95% materialise within the timeframe I set myself and it’s amazing to look back at how overwhelming it felt then and the sense of achievement of the ‘now’.
When I retrained as an interior stylist and launched Stella + the Stars a few years ago, Stella was just 10-months old and I was looking after her full time. I fitted my studies and the launch of the blog and interiors business between naps, evenings and weekends. It worked at the beginning but as she grew it became completely overwhelming physically and emotionally. It was the most draining time of my life. I decided to be more frugal in some areas of my life and in return invest in some ad hoc childcare while I started my first projects and it was the best decision. Whatever the type of help; nanny, ad hoc babysitter, nursery or just family and friends; getting the right support to look after your little people while you focus on work is key to success in my opinion.
This is obviously much easier said than done and an ongoing effort to apply but one that will potentially save your sanity. Got that dreaded phonecall that you child is sick while in the middle of a meeting? Arrived at the school gate late for drop-off to realise you forgot the lunchbox? Try not to feel bad and just switch to problem-solving mode. It doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job, just that one of the balls dropped and you just need to get it back in the air without losing your mind. Focus on the bigger picture.
This has been a total revelation in particular at work. I used to say yes to everything: every opportunity, every project or client that came my way. For fear of missing out or because of the risk of that opportunity to be the last one, I suppose. Knowing our worth now and the feeling of being overwhelmed when committing to too many projects at the same time has taught us to be more meticulous and picky and say no to a lot of opportunities that arise. Because we know that if it doesn’t feel right from the beginning it never will. And that leaves space for the right client/project/opportunity down the line.
I really notice that when I am overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, and I have too much going on, I make everyone around me feel the same which is then a vicious circle of overwhelm, anxiety and stress! When I get the early signs of negative feelings or overwhelm taking over, instead of staring at my to-do list feeling helpless (which ends up with an hour of procrastination) I usually drop whatever I am doing (obviously unless I am in a middle of a client meeting!) and take 45 minutes of ‘me time’ (or self care - whatever you prefer to call it). It could be as superficial as getting a quick manicure without my phone, or simply sit in a café and listen to a podcast, or go for a class at the gym. Whatever is feasible on that particular day. It always work and I feel so much better for it afterwards and usually end up being more productive for the rest of the day.
I wasn’t going to include this as it’s so cliché but it’s been life changing for me. I gained so much weight with my second baby and really struggled for months to get back to myself. It’s so hard when you are trying to do everything from ‘mummy-ing’, working, keeping a household running and a social life to find time for yourself on a daily basis but incorporating exercise into my weekly routine is literally the best investment I have ever made. I now book my gym classes like I book meetings. I don’t negotiate with myself and unless I am ill and bed bound, I don’t cancel it. It’s really hard at the beginning because I am very good at finding excuses to avoid going but it is one of the few things in my week that keep me sane.
The holiday treats begin flowing into our homes and offices, while we get ready to say goodbye to 2019… but the end of the year still approaches with its own truckload of "to do" lists.
So, if the smell of gingerbread and fresh pine trees doesn’t leave you feeling so wonderful, that's okay, you're not alone! It’s no secret that things emotions and introspection intensified around this season.
A study by Healthline found that 62% of people feel their stress level increase during the holiday season... And quite easy to see why!
To make it all a little more manageable, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite tips to help feel a little more content/in control.
A study by Princeton University discovered that money could (sometimes) buy happiness. Okay, okay, slow your roll... It's a little more complicated than that! The researchers observed that paying others to do chores one dreads may lead to more happiness. Thus, the trick is to use your money to buy time rather than things. So, if you're one of those people who doesn’t enjoy cooking and would instead order in, do it! Spend less time on activities that don't bring you joy, so you have more time for those that do.
We just want to make sure you don’t take our previous tip as permission to fill your fridge with calorie-dense junk food! Nah-ah! We’re still aiming for nutritionally balanced meals, everyone… Eating well supports our bodies and helps us better handle stress, which comes in handy during this particular season!
A constant march towards taxing obligations will wear anyone down. It may seem very counterintuitive to add in more tasks, but it's important to leave the world of responsibility for a breather to avoid burning out. You'll be no good to anyone in a state of hysteria! Rebalance, recharge and regain perspective. Go out for dinner with a friend, get a massage or lay by the pool! Anything that helps your mind slow down. (And you can rest assured your kids safe and entertained with EHN’s very best! )
Quit predicting negative outcomes. The steady drumbeat of hardship is so damaging to our wellbeing!
Researchers from Colorado College examined the results of being told you’re getting enough sleep, even if you weren't. The results showed that if you believe that you’re well-rested, you will perform better, despite the actual quality of your sleep. However, regularly expressing how tired you are, as so often happens in our culture, can be harmful to your performance. Therefore, continually telling ourselves that the world is making us miserable, will make us miserable...
So, when you’re tackling your truckload of “to do” lists, don’t be a hero, ask for help. Make sure you take those breaks and no prophecies of logistical nightmares! The Christmas dinner won’t burn in the oven and presents will make it under the tree just fine...
Salamah offers total piece of mind to busy parents in Dubai. Safety remains one of the most critical topics for any parent when it comes to their children.
If you are picking up and dropping off your children at nursery or school every day, unavoidably the day will come when you will not be able to make it, for any number of reasons.
School and nursery pick-up or drop-off is a carefully orchestrated endeavour. It is essential to be on time, prepared, and above all else, safe. So, if you are stuck in a meeting and can’t leave work on time, or if you are worried about your children using public transport alone, then Salamah services from Emirates Home Nursing and Careem is the perfect solution for you.
Safety of children on public transport and school buses is a significant concern for parents. Emirates Home Nursing is partnering with Careem to bring you a safe and reliable solution. Careem launched their Careem Kids car type in 2017 specifically to keep your child and family safe.
Our qualified and experienced childcare nurses will pick up from school, nursery or home and drop off your child(ren) in a Careem that parents can book with 30% discount on rides. This applies to Careem Kids where the car comes already equipped with a child's car seat. Unique Careem discount codes will be provided with your Salamah booking confirmation from Emirates Home Nursing.
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When you're a new parent, no question is too trivial. Emirates Home Nursing answers the 10 most frequently asked newborn care queries.
If mum has an oversupply of milk, it should be expressed at the start of the feed to relieve the pressure and prevent choking.
If it does happen, one of two extremely delicate first aid methods can dislodge the milk.
There’s not a lot of downtime in the life of a busy mum. Whether you’re juggling the responsibility of a newborn or growing young family with the demands of running a home, or you’re a working mother with workplace and family commitments, it can be a challenge to manage your time – and maintain your sanity!
With a young family of her own, Sally Osman, General Manager, Emirates Home Nursing, tells it like it is. “I understand the guilt that a working mother might feel, questioning whether she is good enough at work, good enough as a mum or as a spouse.”
For Hannah Curran, Founder of plant-based nappy company, Pure Born, there isn’t one rule to fit all, as she explains: “You simply do your best, find what works for you and try not to mum guilt yourself along the way by focusing on the bigger vision - your child’s world of tomorrow.”
Planning is key to keeping life in check and that starts with a family calendar, whether it’s the shared Google/Outlook variety or a good old colour coded wall chart. We also recommend carrying a reminder journal – somewhere to jot down things for your to-do or don’t forget list, and review at the end of each day.
“Starting my day with writing everything down helps me think clearly and manage my time,” notes Sally, who also advocates setting realistic daily goals for yourself.
This one may have you rolling your eyes, but meal planning is essential for busy mums and simple tricks such as cooking double and freezing for later will easily free you up on those evenings when cooking is the last thing you want to do. Another great tip is to invest in a slow cooker for delicious one-pot meals you can come home to.
HELP AT HOME
Divide and conquer is the way forward when it comes to help with household chores, especially if you don’t have someone employed at home. Keep on top of the basics and put on a laundry load before work and put it away in the evening, rather than letting it pile up for the weekend.
Helen Farmer, founder of award-winning parenting blog, The Mothership, says: “The game-changer for me as a working mum was getting help that I really trusted. Everyone needs the peace of mind that their children are in the best possible hands so you can concentrate at work - and return to happy kids!”
Adds Sally: “This has helped me a lot. As a starting point it’s important to draw up a a list of criteria that are important to you and then schedule time to interview qualified childcare providers – and that person should be someone with extensive experience, the right qualifications and reliable references.”
It’s also great to get the kids (and your spouse!) involved at home, both to take the burden off you and as a valuable life lesson (pus it’s great pocket money incentive).
Says Sally: “I try to let go and delegate more. I’ve learnt to know when to let someone else handle a task, whether it’s a colleague at work or my husband at home, plus it’s ok to ask for help.”
The Emirates Home Nursing team is a big fan of online grocery shopping and although the UAE has been slow to catch on, one-click services such as Carrefour, Kibsons and Trolley provide a time-positive alternative to post-work or weekend trawls around packed supermarket aisles.
Says Sally: “Apart from groceries, I buy everyday necessities such as toiletries, baby essentials and even last-minute gifts online.”
Children and that cycle of birthday parties invites an endless rotation of gift buying and wrapping. Stock up by buying ahead with gifts that you know will please, and don’t forget to add wrapping paper and cards to the list. Add it to your holiday to-do list as well, as toys and other gifts ae invariably cheaper in our home countries.
Your role as an unpaid chauffeur also equates to lost hours spent running offspring between endless extra-curricular activities. If you need to pop into the dry cleaner, visit the salon or head back to the office to finish up, try and establish a ‘golden triangle’ of neighbourhood stores and services so you’re not clocking up endless mileage.
In an office setting, Sally says that limiting external distractions leads to better time management, as she explains: “In the workplace, I avoid long lunches that cut into my productivity, which allows me to focus on other tasks and leave the office on time - minus the guilt.”
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and leanin.org founder hit the nail on the head when she said that “guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers.”
First and foremost, stop trying to be Superwoman and making things look easy or taking on too much. If you try to do everything all the time, then no-one else is going to jump in and help. It’s also important to learn to say ‘no’. Try it and see.
It’s also important to apply the same thinking – and action – to your job. Don’t guilt-trip about leaving the office at a reasonable time and set boundaries from the beginning when it comes to family.
Louise Karim, Managing Director of online recruitment company Mums@Work, is a firm believer that “emails can wait for an hour or two,” and recommends scheduling in technology downtime to be more present with the family
Helen adds: “I have been known to sit in the car outside my house and clear emails before going in - it sounds silly but at least then I'm not distracted when we're together.”
Mums can all too easily be at the whim of the family and forget to take care of themselves, so schedule in some personal time every week, whether it’s ‘booking’ a Friday morning lie-in while your partner and kids cook breakfast or escaping to the park with a blanket and book for an hour.
“It’s important to remember that you are better placed to support everyone else when you are firing on all cylinders, so take an hour out for yourself every day, or whenever you can, to do something for yourself. For me, it’s a run or heading to the gym, which then gives me the energy to get everything done in my day,” elaborates Louise.
And, perhaps most importantly, make sure you have the support network of other mums. Not just to rely on to help ferry the kids around or step in when you’re stuck with a school project, but as a forum in which to whine, cry, laugh and celebrate.
Says Louise: “As well as other mums, your husband, nanny and friends are all key to being able to balance work and family life. It’s important to communicate the demands of your workload with your network and ask for support when you need it.”
Life in a bustling metropolis such as Dubai offers plentiful opportunities to meet new people, explore different cultures and enjoy new experiences yet, for many people, living and working in a big city can also be incredibly isolating - and surprisingly lonely.
As communities have expanded from the small, neighbourhood model into geographical areas that span greater distances, traditional ties have also become stretched, whether it’s not having loved ones within easy reach for a social gathering or something as mundane as shopping for groceries in a soulless hypermarket rather than at your local family-run store.
This disconnect with people around us can cause anxiety and stress, which can lead to a sense of loneliness or isolation and can impact both our physical and mental health.
According to a recent news story in The National, more than 50% of people hide their feelings during the festive season in order to keep others happy, while a 2017 media report saw a local mental health expert suggest that around 15% of the UAE population is affected by mild depression, exacerbated by our fast-paced lives where work and achievement are a key focus and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life.
If you’ve ever felt this way, it’s reassuring to know that you are not alone.
Here, at Emirates Home Nursing, January is a time where we turn our attention to the issue of emotional self-care. We’ve all been there, so here are some of our suggestions on how to make 2019 the year of positive emotional wellbeing.
Set a daily intention (‘Today, I will make time for myself to do something I enjoy’) and work up to include some bigger long-term goals (‘By July 31st I will climb Jebel Hafeet’) to give you something to aim for and to create a ‘success moment’ to celebrate. Ramp up your positive achievements and boost your emotional health.
Tip: Keep a journal or jot down your intentions/goals in a notebook to keep you on track and as a way to review your achievements.
It may sound clichéd, but the practice of gratitude is an instant mood booster. Pick a quiet moment in the day, such as over your morning coffee or last thing at night and reflect on the good things going on in your life - past, present and future – and the positive emotions that come with them.
Tip: Make the most of the fantastic Dubai weather, go for a walk on the beach or in your favourite park and use this time to find things you are grateful for.
We all know it, but a good night’s sleep is essential for good physical and emotional health. Switch off all those devices that dominate your daily life at least one hour before bed; dim the lights, cool the room and snuggle down. Sleep is the time when our bodies release hormones that fight infection, repair cells and boost our immune system.
Tip: If you struggle to get to sleep, try a meditation/relaxation app or drift off to the sound of a favourite podcast.
Get social and expand your network outside of your work colleagues and friends by exploring other opportunities such as finding fellow enthusiasts or a new hobby through meetup.com, meeting other local people at an InterNations event (internations.org) or, if you are a solo entrepreneur or microbusiness owner, join a co-working community like impacthub.ae to meet like-minded individuals.
Tip: Joining a group to meet new people can be a little daunting and it doesn’t always click first time. Don’t make a judgment call after your first event; go back a second time, be a little more interactive and give people a chance to get to know you and vice versa.
Don’t bottle it up. If you are feeling lonely, anxious, stressed or depressed, talk it out. Friends and family are the obvious go-to, and we all have someone in our circle who is a great listener or shoulder to lean on, but the UAE is also home to a growing community of support networks staffed by caring and well-respected professionals and, in 2018, Dubai Health Authority launched its ‘Happy Lives, Healthy Communities’ strategy to focus on addressing emotional wellbeing. For professional support, we recommend checking out the wonderful teams at The Lighthouse (lighthousearabia.com), Priory Wellbeing Centre (priorygroup.ae)
Tip: If you’re not ready to go the professional route and don’t really want to chat with a family member or friend but would like to talk to someone who’s in the same boat, try Facebook or meetup.com where you can find local support groups.
For those of you who are primary carers looking after small children or a sick relative this takes its toll, and shouldering the burden alone is an acknowledged contributor to emotional and physical health issues. Consider calling on expert resources such as Emirates Home Nursing for added support to lighten the load. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours a day, this gives you a much-needed break and time to recharge.Tip: A change of scenery is a breath of fresh air for mind and body, so leave the experts in charge at home while you grab a coffee with friends, go for a head-clearing walk, sweat out your stress at an exercise class or just curl up somewhere quiet with a good book.
Physiotherapy is a treatment which takes a ‘whole person approach’. Therapists will look at the patient's health, wellbeing and lifestyle. It can help prevent injury, maintain good posture, alleviate muscle and joint pain, prepare patients to recover after surgery, and much more.
The treatment can help restore movement and muscle functions to someone who was affected by an injury or illness. Anyone can benefit from physiotherapy at any time in their life.
Here at Emirates Home Nursing our in-house physiotherapists are able to help you from the comfort of your home. DHA licensed physiotherapist, Surya Lenvin, offers some advice on how to prevent injury.
If you do get an injury, consider getting treatment as early as possible. Physiotherapy will help you to decrease pain, improve joint mobility, and increase strength and coordination. Waiting until your body stops hurting or stopping exercise all together can lead to further injury.
Whether you are living with a chronic illness, recovering from a sports injury or suffering from back pain; we can all benefit from home physiotherapy.
Call us now for a free consultation.
As we count down to the end of 2018 and look ahead to a new year, we’d like to take this opportunity to share some of Emirates Home Nursing’s milestone moments and community experiences
Now in our ninth year as a leading care provider in the UAE, 2018 has been another year of positive growth and experiences for the Emirates Home Nursing family.
This year we introduced 2,096 new families to our services, providing care across a broad range of nursing and home care support services.
That translates to more than 674,542 hours of home care in 2018, ably supported by a 50-strong team of highly qualified healthcare professionals located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Key to our success, these wonderful individuals bring passion and dedication to their respective roles, and we ensure that each and every new team member is pre-screened through a series of intensive interviews to determine their fit with our team – and your loved ones.
Training and development of the team is therefore crucial and helps us ensure that we deliver the highest standards of patient care and support. The team has delivered and completed a total of 36 different Dubai Health Authority-accredited training programmes, comprehensive in-house courses and workshops in 2018.
Physiotherapy is an area where we are seeing increasing demand, so much so that our amazing team physio has a full appointment calendar but, as part of our commitment to support wellbeing in the community, we are doing our best to accommodate all enquiries for home physiotherapy sessions.
‘Physiotherapy also requires a lot of physical and mental strength conditioning. That’s why I believe that exercising in familiar surroundings gives my patients the comfort they need. Physiotherapy at home helps keep the mind relaxed. I have helped many patients recover from pain in 2018 and I am looking forward to help more people in 2019” Surya Levin, Physiotherapist
We’re also delighted to report that Emirates Home Nursing’s babysitting service is proving to be the preferred choice for Dubai’s upscale hotels, with our services in demand from more than 32 properties this year (including Sharjah).
This is just one example of how we support families through at home and external childcare services, with our newborn care programme also extremely popular with new mums everywhere.
‘I am really looking forward to helping more new mothers in 2019 as they take their first steps into motherhood. It’s always exciting to be there when we give a mum’s newborn their first bath, when I help her change the diaper for the first time, and when I see her becoming more confident while handling her new baby.” Davinderjeet Kaur, Newborn Care Nurse
When it comes to clinical care, our high-profile hospital partnerships continue to grow, and we are working with the top hospitals in Dubai to provide their patients with the post-discharge nursing care. This ensures the seamless transition from hospital to home, and our team works closely with treating physicians to improve post-operative recovery time.
‘I’ve been able to help many elderly people in 2018, and most of them want to stay in their homes as long as possible and avoid going back to hospital. It’s what is familiar, and I make sure that their home is where they are comfortable. I feel proud and happy knowing that I helped them get the nursing care they need at home.” Ruby Giri, Senior Care Nurse
OUR CLIENTS SAY…
“Nurse Jenny was everything we expected. Attentive and friendly, we were very impressed with her patience and we came home to two sleeping babies!”
“Ren was great – a lovely, engaged and friendly lady. We couldn't have been happier.”
“Sarju is amazing and we feel comfortable leaving her with our children. Our girls really enjoy being left in her care. We can't wait for her next visit!”
“The nurses were great, very friendly and professional. I’ll definitely request your service every time I come to Dubai - and recommend you to people.”
“Lana was so amazing; our children literally cried the next morning because their friend wasn’t there!”
COMING UP IN 2019
We all love having family and friends visit us here in Dubai, but if ill health or childcare issues are putting them off getting on a plane, Emirates Home Nursing is here to help
The last two months of 2018 are a time for celebration, from Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, in November through to UAE National Day, the Christmas period and the excitement of New Year.
For many of us this also heralds the arrival of our nearest and dearest, whether it’s parents and grandparents flying in for the festive season to spend time with little ones, large-scale family gatherings to mark important festivals, or friends with their own families visiting for some winter sun.
Whilst it’s always a delight to welcome family and friends to Dubai, it can also be a stressful experience, with the added responsibility of not only having your own daily routine – and family – to take care of, but also looking after visitors. Add elderly or infirm relatives, or friends with young children into the equation, and your festive plans may run you ragged.
A support system beyond the confines of family is something worth considering with third-party assistance removing some of the burden of care from your shoulders - allowing you to fully enjoy the season and quality time with your visitors.
You may not be aware, but Emirates Home Nursing can support you in a number of ways.
Best for: Grannies and grandads or elderly/infirm relatives who need a little support
As we age, we sometimes need a helping hand especially if recovering from a major illness or even just a little unsteady on our feet. Our qualified and super friendly team can ease the pressure with senior care services that focus on supporting their independence while taking care of daily lifestyle requirements.
A gentle touch is key, and we can help with bathing/showering, grooming, oral care, nail care, meal assistance, medication reminders and mobility assistance, either in the comfort and privacy of your home or should you need an extra hand if you’re out and about.
Our clients tell us that one of the biggest benefits of having an Emirates Home Nursing team member for support is the value of having a ‘by your side’ companion who can boost their confidence and wellbeing.
Best for: Visitors with little ones in tow (and mums who need a break!)
Finding a childcare service that fills you with confidence can be a challenge, and entrusting the care of your baby, toddler or preschooler to a third-party is a big decision.
We all love our kids, but looking after them (at any age) is incredibly time intensive, and when you’re trying to get ready for the holiday festivities, having a qualified carer on call can be a lifeline.
Our lovely team of personable, professional, certified and highly experienced carers have the welfare of your child as their top priority and will step in to help out with anything and everything from daily assistance with a newborn to babysitting duties. So, go out and enjoy that Christmas company party or New Year’s Eve gala dinner with guaranteed peace of mind.
Our clients tell us that as well as at home care, the fact that we also provide childcare support for family and friends with children staying in hotels over the season, is an added bonus.
Best for: Support for your own family travel plans
If you are the one doing the travelling and heading overseas to see family, Emirates Home Nursing offers travelling nurse support should you have a member of the family who is unwell or recovering from illness.
Our team of highly experienced and well-travelled nurses travel with you to support the patient and their medical needs throughout the journey, and this can be extended to offer hands-on care for the duration of your trip.A busy time of year for all of us, Emirates Home Nursing care support services are in high demand as we count down to 2019. For more information or to request nursing or childcare assistance, call us on 04 454 2330
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the team at Emirates Home Nursing is urging women across the UAE to get serious about breast health
The most common cancer affecting women globally, but with a survival rate of up to 90% if detected and treated early, breast cancer can be beaten.
Here, in the UAE, approximately 4,500 new cancer cases (all types) are detected each year, and by 2021 the Emirates hopes to reduce cancer fatalities by close to18% as part of the country’s National Agenda
CHECK IT OUT
For women over 40 years old, a mammogram every two years is the standard recommendation, or earlier – and annually - if there is family history, in addition to regular clinical breast examinations.
But for all women, the first step is monthly self-examination. Why so often? It’s only by regular examining ourselves that we learn how our breasts feel on a regular day – and therefore the chances of noticing something irregular are heightened.
WHEN SHOULD I DO IT?
Six to 10 days after the first day of your period (when your breasts are super tender or swollen). If you are post-menopausal or have had a hysterectomy, it’s a good idea to examine them on the same day each month.
If you do find something unusual, don’t panic (yes, we know that’s easy to say). It could be a fluid-filled lump, called a cyst, which are commonly found in the breast and benign.
CALL FOR SUPPORT
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or are going through treatment, it can be a long, lonely and emotional experience.
The number one thing to remember is don’t tough it out alone and you are not alone. Reach out to family, friends, peers and local support groups for shared experiences, a listening ear, to get more insight into treatment options and to hear positive recovery stories.
In the UAE, there are several active groups to lean on for support from the non-profit Emirates Cancer Foundation, which offers information about all types of cancer; treatment to Breast Cancer Arabia, which also operates an online community support system.
Abu Dhabi based Bosom Buddies, which was set up over 15 years ago by a group of breast cancer survivors, holds monthly support meetings and Dubai based Brest Friends, which was founded by Dr Houriya Kazim, the first female UAE surgeon, is a go-to resource for information and support.
Pink Caravan, a pan-Emirates initiative does amazing work in spreading awareness and has an active calendar of events open to all. It also works to provide clinical check-ups and follow-ups for all female UAE residents.
THINK PINK WITH EMIRATES HOME NURSING