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Do We Do the Diva Cup?!?

Do We Do the Diva Cup?!?

The famed Diva Cup is the best known in a variety of menstrual cups on the market designed and marketed as a financially and environmentally friendly alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products.  It touts an impressive 4.5 stars as reviewed on Amazon–averaging the opinion of over 2000 users; and the math has come in very clearly and repeatably that even at it’s $40 price tag it beats tampons and pads in our check books every time.

However, CUC, one of the almost 100 negative reviewers on Amazon warns, “doesn’t work for everyone, apparently,” and Alex Logan wrote an entertaining and informative piece called, “An Ode Of Hatred To My Diva Cup,” where she describes in graphic and animated detail her every qualm with the product, which involves seven points from the high price tag, to the gory consequences of dropping the menstrual product on the floor, to finally the cup being lost to the auto-flush gods of public bathrooms.

These unfortunate women have a point–don’t we as consumers deserve to be educated on all of our options before committing to one because it’s most accessible?  That is really the only asset the Diva Cup has over it’s competition.  It’s sold in health food stores, it’s just as easy to buy on an impulse as a chocolate bar or magazine on our monthly or weekly trip to Whole-foods.  A quick search on Amazon or Google of the term, “menstrual cup” will show the variety of other options, all touting an impressive user rating–even our normal everyday tampons rock 4+ starts!

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Some points to consider as you evaluate your options:

1. Are you ready for a thorough knowledge of your lady flower?

Getting intimate with one’s body isn’t for everyone.  Some people are really comfortable with tampons because they come with applicators and then offer a dangly string for extraction.  No such luck with the Diva Cup.  Part of the instructions involve holding the cup that is inside of you with your fingers and rotating it to ensure proper placement.  For those of us who aren’t comfortable with digging around our lady parts but are still committed to the environment, there are also reusable sanitary pads on the market, such as GladRags or New Moon Pads (there are way more than that, these were just a few of the first that popped up upon searching).

2. Location, location, location.

Cleaning a reusable device designed to collect blood can be a scary scene, literally.  Since switching to menstrual cups, I am constantly surprised at the view in the toilet bowl as I dump my monthly’s contents for cleaning.  Another legitimate concern is the use of public bathrooms, if the instructions say to rinse the cup every time you take it out, how comfortable will you be taking it to that public sink at work?

3. What happens beyond the bathroom?

With the adventurous new trend of spending our days off and away from the convenience of flushing toilets and sinks, for example, going camping or for the extremely extreme, backpacking.  The Diva Cup seems unable to stand the test of the our outdoorsy women who do not have access to more than a bottle of hand sanitizer and a facial tissue.

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4. User friendliness.

Ease of use is the concern that comes up most often while doing research.  To insert a menstrual cup, you have to fold it into a little origami pellet and let it open inside the vaginal canal where it can sit under the cervix.  Depending on your anatomy, some cups may be easier to use than others.  The Diva Cup has complicated instructions (as noted above, a woman would be expected to fold it up, place it, then go in and rotate it for proper placement, every time).

5. What is our period protection made of?

One of the concerns women have with tampons is the drying effect, and this is the reason they switch to a cup.  However, flexibility of the silicone used to make the alternative plays a big role in how easy that product will be to use.  The Diva Cup is notoriously pretty firm and inflexible, other products on the market such as the Lunette are said to be much more flexible which eases insertion and tends to be more comfortable.

6. What about when the cup is full?

Then there is the ease of taking the cup out.  The Diva Cup has a tiny hollow stem to assist with pulling it out of the vagina–again, a very intimate process, it may be easier to bear down and engage my abdominal muscles and then grab the cup itself instead of pulling by the stem.  Most, if not all of the other cup products on the market have a longer and differently designed stem to assist with taking them out.

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7. Did they say 12 hours between empties?

A majority of menstrual cups, including the Diva Cup, state that they can be left in place for up to 12 hours without changing, this is because they hold up to or around 30 ml or an oz of fluid where tampons, depending on the size, even Supers can only handle up to about half of that!  So if you tend to have pretty heavy periods and are changing your tampons every 2-3 hrs, you can expect that you’ll need to clean out the cup every 4 to 6 on those heavy days.  That’s right, that 12 hour promise is pretty well known to be inaccurate for many users, anyone who is new to the Diva Cup will want to empty it more frequently on their heavy days (especially at special occasions)!

8. How discreet can a menstrual cup be?

The Diva Cup comes with a purple Diva pouch to carry it around in when you are expecting to start your flow.  That’s right, a bright purple pouch which has the words Diva Cup all over it, imagine taking that out of your purse at the gym, or the bar, or the dinner date when that monthly visitor comes a’knockin’.  Quick mention of the genius design of the Lily cup compact, which collapses into a small disc and comes with a carrying case but still offers the environmental and financial benefits of using a menstrual cup!

9. Comfort.

Despite the company’s claim that the silicone softens in the warmth of the female body, it has been found that due to its inelastic nature, the Diva Cup has inspired more than a few complaints about feeling it on the inside or like something is not in place, or irritation from the stem, the list goes on.  Women all have their individual anatomy and each vagina may prefer a softer material or a larger or smaller diameter of cup.

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All of that said, the Diva Cup does work well for a lot of women.  The take away point being that just because it is the only alternative to disposable products that we have heard of, and the most popular, does not make it the best of these products.  If you are in the market for a replacement to those pesky pads or tampons, do some research and find a product that will work for you and your lovely lady flower!

Featured photo credit: Menstruationstasse (DivaCup) mit Stoffbeutel via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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