#SWAAYthenarrative

Why I Ran A 10K Dressed As A Tampon

4min read
Lifestyle

I ran a 10K in Boston this past October because sometimes you just have to put yourself out there—way out there.

Through podcasts, self-help books, and countless articles, I have always heard, "We all have the power to make a positive change!" I love it; we all do! It's inspiring. But I thought it was up to other people to do it. I mean, I was very busy.


I had a big career, a great husband, two healthy kids, a dog, a fish, six chickens, and a home in a beautiful seaside town. It's a lot to handle, but how could I have been unhappy? Well, I was in a soulless job with a fat paycheck and a pension. I was more empty than unhappy. If anyone at a party asked what I did for a living, I quickly changed the subject; it just didn't interest me.

Oprah once said, "There are only two emotions in this world, love, and fear. Which one do you want to come from?"

I was at a job that had me traveling two or three nights a week, working insane hours, and becoming more and more detached from my family. And it was all driven by fear.

But, what if my career choice came from a place of love?

It worked for Oprah. So, what if I can do something I love and make a positive change? Why not me? It was my brother who finally convinced me to take the leap into entrepreneurship. He believed in me more than I believed in myself, and for that, I am forever grateful.

My first website didn't even have a photo of myself as the founder. I was too afraid to put myself out there. At the advice of a friend, I started by adding my story to the website. I slowly became my brand—speaking endlessly at every sporting event, meeting, and party about the importance of organic menstrual hygiene products. I hosted period parties at my home, and even now, I can't believe people came!

Then my friends started to host period parties (Titos, Tacos & Tampons, it's a thing!), and the buzz began to grow. Women have realized that when we lift each other up, amazing things can happen. It was for this reason that shortly after my launch, my cousin Denielle, who I had not seen in over 25 years (long story), found me on Facebook and asked what she could do to help. She is now my co-founder and magical unicorn. I cannot imagine doing this with anyone else.

She also had a big career and was at a crossroads in her life. Could we really leave these high paying jobs to see if we can make it as social entrepreneurs?

The regrets people have in their last days are the things they did not do, the risks they did not take. We decided to swing for the fences and change the narrative around menstrual hygiene. It is a category that has been controlled by two big companies in the US with little innovation, no transparency, no environmental or sustainable choices, and no one speaking up for the one in five US women who experience Period Poverty.

We are mothers of daughters, and we were going to do something about it—for our girls and for all girls.

As a self-funded startup, we nearly decimated ourselves and our bank accounts, building our direct-to-consumer business. Blissfully naive about fundraising, we spent several months on the venture capital circuit and didn't raise a dime. We almost closed our doors, but something about our purpose and the momentum we could feel from the women around us wouldn't let us give up.

Denielle bought a pink glitter unicorn headband, and I bought a Tampon costume from a Halloween website. It was time to dig deep. The unicorn headband brings us good luck, and Denielle wears it every day in the office. The tampon suit is just really funny, and luckily other people thought it was too.

First, we posted photos of me in it.

Then we made YouTube videos.

Then I ran the Reebok Boston 10K for women in the tampon suit.

And then we got noticed by retailers, by investors, and (most importantly) by women everywhere.

Denielle and I both had strong Mommas, who were trailblazers met with a lot of criticism for working outside of the home. We were very fortunate to grow up in the next generation, where many women went to college and had great careers. However, the women we came up with professionally were, simply put, mean. They were mean girls competing for board seats. Why weren't we working together? The men didn't tear each other down to get ahead. The guys laughed all the way to the board room, slapping each other on the back.

Our daughters are growing up in a time where women are supporting each other. We can be role models and show them the magic that can happen when women build each other up. We are not just changing the narrative about menstrual care. We are changing the culture of how to build a business for good.

You have to believe in the power of unicorns; you just have to put yourself out there. We can all be that person who lifts someone else up, and we all have superpowers to make a positive change in the world—sometimes, it just takes a unicorn headband and a tampon suit to start.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.