At the dawn of a new year, most of us resolve to do things differently… and hardly follow through. However, there are women who successfully pursue and achieve their New Year goals. Soni Kanake talks to four such ladies.
At the beginning of 2018, Lilian Induswe, 47, had her eyes on four resolutions for the New Year. “I wanted to start a support group for women who are born again and their spouses are not, engage in an intense weight loss programme, get out of debt and de-link from negative energy,” explains Lilian, who is a teacher trained in special needs, a counsellor and mum of two young adults.
“Our church has various departments that accommodate the congregants in different seasons of their lives. For instance, some are designed for married couples, singles, widows or widowers. I had noticed that married women whose spouses did not accompany them to church always felt lost as they could not join any group – the one for the married requires both parties present,” she explains.
Lilian who renewed her marriage vows a year ago, felt compelled to reach out to these women. She started by forming a WhatsApp group. Then she got to understand what was ailing their marriages and offered to walk with them, encourage and pray with them. “Everyone needs someone to walk with in this life. I call it the ministry of presence,” she says. She feels she has achieved 70 per cent of this goal and keeps going.
“My second goal was to lose weight. I’m a chubby girl and having experienced a mild stroke in 2016, I needed to shed off some weight,” says Lilian who has dropped to 113kg from 120kg. “I have incorporated lots of running in my exercise regimen, slowed down on the sugars and stopped eating chocolate. I make a conscious effort to live healthy. Due to medical complications, as I’m at times forced by my body to slow down, I’m on 40 per cent with this goal,” says Lilian. Her third goal was to get out of debt, which she accumulated after she and her husband lost their jobs for about six years. “When it rains, it pours. We lost everything and to survive, we got into debt. We have put up a repayment plan and we are about 60 per cent there,” she says.
Lilian’s fourth goal of the year was to let go of negative energy and anything that was draining her emotionally. “On this one, I’m at 85 per cent. I chose joy,” says Lilian, who advises women to be realistic with their goal-setting. “Goals are not only for the rich, even with Sh50, one can start a ‘sukuma wiki’ (kales) business.” She advises women to have friends for accountability. “Be wise with your choice of friends and do not tell everyone what you are going through,” says Lilian.
The start of every year always comes with a new set of resolutions for Pendo Samson-Nyachio, an environmentalist and mum of two young girls. “My resolutions are usually divided into several parts; personal life as Pendo, my life as a mother, my life as a wife and my life as a woman, sister, daughter and a friend. I further break down then into finances, health, homemaking and social life,” explains Pendo.
“I had a number of the resolutions revolving around those areas. However, my three main resolutions were to have my company fully registered, open up a shop in CBD in a good location, increase our customers base and reach out to many people out there with our products and services.” Pendo runs a health, wellness, natural beauty and personal care products business. “We encourage people to make better choices in eating and feeding their children well and taking care of their families.
Pendo also set family goals. “I intended to spend quality time with my two daughters, be intentional on how they spend their time as children, become more spiritual and less religious, and be more mindful and aware of everything going on around me and in my household,” outlines Pendo, who says she’s achieved 80 per cent of all her goals.
“I did it by breaking the bigger goals into smaller goals and maintained a diary and two journals. I gave them a time frame using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) goals techniques,” explains Pendo. She advises on not being over ambitious while setting goals. “Ensure that you write down your goals somewhere where you are able to see them. Look for mentors and set daily goals which will translate to weekly goals and monthly goals and annual goals,” says Pendo.
“The business is doing well and we have been able to grow well, keep our stocks well and expand our customer base. On being spiritual, I spend some time alone in meditation and take nature walks alone in the forest where I can get some quiet time to rethink and reconnect. I also fast and this gives me mental clarity and focus. I also have an amazing accountability partner who also doubles as my mentor.”
Pendo says her greatest motivation is the feedback she gets from the clients and the love and support from her family. “Many times I felt like giving up but every time I feel like that I do something that brings my energy levels back and talk to my mentor and remember why I started the journey,” says Pendo.
Being an African Hebrew Israelite, Daniella Rahm’s community celebrates New Year at the beginning of spring, which falls around March. This, however, has not stopped her from making resolutions.
“My New Year resolution was to come to Kenya and start a vegan catering / restaurant. I was born in Jamaica but my family relocated to the US where I grew up,” explains Daniella, 48. “I have run a vegan restaurant for 23 years in Florida, US and wanted to replicate the same here,” she says.
The mum of one, a daughter, 31, who she got at 17, says the biggest challenge to fulfilling her goal was because veganism it is still a foreign and misunderstood concept in Kenya. “Most people think ‘veganism’ and automatically think salad or rabbit food. But we have a wide variety of food, including vegan ‘nyama choma’ (roast meat),” explains Daniella.
“My goal comes with sensitising people on the benefits of veganism. As a vegan we are plant-based eaters and do not eat animal products, which includes fish, chicken and dairy products. So, what I plan to achieve this year is get people to understand my product so I can officially open up a restaurant as I am currently catering from home. I do not want to get space before people understand my products. So I’m currently doing extensive research and educating people on veganism. Everything is coming up well and I would say I’m at 70 per cent,” she says.
“It is not an easy goal and every day I feel like giving up on it,” she confesses. “However, what keeps me going is because I have done it before and I believe I will succeed. I did it before in the US at a time when veganism wasn’t appreciated. It was slow at first as it was a pioneer project but it eventually picked and together with my family, we have been running it for over two decades. We had a great impact in our community and created wonderful relationships, which keeps me going,” explains Daniella.
“My advice to people on making New Year resolutions is to keep pushing. If you feel inside your heart and soul a certain thing is what you intend to do, give it your all. At times we have such big ideas that sharing them with others might abort before it matures to a project. Don’t stop. Face every obstacle in your way and overcome,” advises Daniella. “You should never allow obstacles to stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. Keep moving until you see the fruits of your labour.”
The start of the year always finds Dr Dorcas Musyimi, a lecturer and mum of two, with goals to pursue. “I have always made New Year resolutions, which I meet to satisfactory levels,” says Dr Musyimi.
“I draw my resolutions from my strategic plan. This year I had purposed to write three scholarly papers for publication in referred journals and to mentor at least five young married couples on Christian marriage. I am glad I met my goals by 70 per cent,” she explains. “There is a satisfaction that comes with even the smallest of achievements.
“I managed to write two scholarly papers and mentor three couples. I did this by putting together a plan of action which I faithfully followed as much as possible. This year I did something different because after completing my doctorate in Kiswahili Studies last year (2017), I opted to enhance my academic profile by engaging in research work.”
Dr Musyimi says she was motivated to keep going by the positive progress realised after every evaluation, which gave her the impetus to work harder. “I also had an accountability partner. I had a friend who added value to my efforts of remaining focused to my New Year’s resolutions,” she says.
Dr Musyimi shares her winning strategy in order to fulfil your New Year’s resolution. “One should formulate SMART resolutions – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound goals. Also, evaluate the level of achievement of the resolutions on a regular basis, especially after every quarter of the year,” she advises.
This is important as it enables you to see where you are at with your objectives and what you need to do, she says. “I did not once feel like giving up because I was keen to convert the challenges encountered to opportunities,” says Dr Musyimi, who has already set her resolutions for the coming year.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.