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Changing bad habits

Dr Boima

Every now and then when a person assumes a patient role and goes to a Doctor's room, the expectation is to get relieved of the pain they are feeling, to get an answer (diagnosis) to the symptoms they are having, to get prevented from or treated and/or cured of a certain disease, or merely to get a Doctor's opinion or advice about a certain concern.

Fortunately Doctors can meet most of these expectations but sometimes there is just not enough time to address all the concerns or dwell into small details. As Doctors, we tell patients everyday about what they need to do or not do in order to stay healthy and disease-free. We assume and hope patients will figure out the best method that would work for them in maintaining such a clean life. Some manage, some fail.

I recently had a privilege of working with a final year medical student, visiting from USA in my clinic. In the two weeks that she was shadowing me, I got fascinated at how she patiently tried to give time to address the 'how' part of changing bad habits to all our patients that I even asked to feature her in this week's column. This is what Danielle Dougherty, who is just about to graduate from University of Michigan Medical School had to say;

'Changing bad habits is always a challenge. When we go to visit our Doctor we are always told what we need to do in our everyday lives in order to become healthier people. Some of us need to exercise more, others need to quit smoking, others need to eat more healthily. Although most of us desire to become healthier people, it is very difficult to make a plan and take action.
Often we set goals that are ambitious and then we fail because the goals were not reasonable or because they were vague and we were unable to monitor them. For example, quitting smoking suddenly and completely may not be reasonable for you. Telling yourself you will “exercise more” is vague and does not allow you to see your progress. These goals may work for some people, but for most of us it is better to introduce good habits gradually. Below I will outline a way to make positive change in your life by making a plan that is reasonable, able to be monitored and thus may be more effective for you.
1.      Identify what you want to change – Do you want to quit smoking? Do you want to exercise more? Do you want to eat more healthily? In this example, we will use quitting smoking.

2.      Reflect on when you practice your bad habit – For example, if you are a smoker, think of all the times throughout the day that you have a cigarette on a regular basis. Perhaps you always have a cigarette with your morning tea, or when you take a lunch break with a certain friend. Go though all the times in the day that you regularly have a cigarette and make a list in your head.

3.      Then, identify just one of these times in which you will eliminate the bad habit – For example, you could set your goal for the week as: “I will not have my morning cigarette with my tea” but you will allow yourself to have the other cigarettes that you normally have during the remaining times of the day. At the end of the week, look back and see how many days you were able to skip that morning cigarette. The ability to easily look back and count the number of days you achieved this one goal is what makes the goal measurable. The fact that you are only eliminating one cigarette makes it reasonable. If you were able to skip the cigarette at that one given time every day for a week, that is great! You are a step closer to quitting and you can now choose a second cigarette time to eliminate.
This method can be applied to exercise and eating healthily also. For example:

–        For exercising: you could start by saying you will take a 20 minute walk on Saturday. Once that becomes easy, choose another day to start walking, and so forth until exercise becomes a regular part of your lifestyle.

–       For eating healthily: choose one or two days a week in which you will replace your regular meal with a very healthy meal. For example, your goal could be to eat a salad for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The rest of the week, you will continue to eat the regular meals that you always eat. Try this for a few weeks and see if you can measure how many times you were successful to eat a healthy lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once you are successful, congratulate yourself and move on to more days of healthy eating.
Overall, changing our bad habits into good habits is a difficult process. Hopefully these examples will help you introduce healthy change into your life in a way that is easier and makes you feel good about yourself. It will be worth it!''

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200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020

After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.

On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.

The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.

Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.

The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.

At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.

“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”

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AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020

The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.

The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.

The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.

However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.

Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.

Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.

“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.

“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”

Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.

Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.

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Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.

Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)

Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.

“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”

For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”

“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.

Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.

“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.

When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.

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