Laetitia Rebeckah, Author at AT THE HOME OF LAETS
  According to research, a considerable number of individuals find it challenging to strike a balance between work and personal life, resulting in very little time for relaxation.  Extended working hours, heightened job requirements, and the blending of work and personal life boundaries all add to this challenge. Work and family responsibilities are leaving around 60% of Europeans feeling deprived of leisure time, according to a survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights; and studies consistently showed that a certain percentage of American employees frequently didn’t take advantage of their paid time off. This was mainly due to concerns about their workload, the fear of falling behind at work, and the difficulty of disconnecting from work responsibilities. Worldwide, wellbeing data can differ greatly depending on the country.   collage of four scenes. young man in blue suit working on laptop. group of five seated around a dining table, sharing a meal and laughing. three individuals in a warmly lit room, engaged in a conversation. The central image has a play button superimposed on it suggesting the life story.   It seems like finding enough time for relief is a challenge for many. It’s a constant juggling act – work, kids, family, work, and money worries constantly on our minds. But amidst all the chaos, taking care of ourselves and finding ways to decompress is essential. So, how can we unwind, and why is it so important?

What is mental health?

When we talk about mental health, we’re referring to a person’s mental, emotional, and social well-being. It encompasses everything from our thoughts and feelings to our actions. Having good mental health means being able to deal with life’s pressures, being productive in our jobs and having fulfilling relationships. To me, mental health is about setting aside some time for oneself, engaging in interests which make you happy, unwinding, and simply savouring life.   A woman in a white dress sitting in a park on a blanket surrounded by a tray and basket of bread, cheese and wine, savouring the moment with her eyes closed  

Mental health and wellbeing

While mental health primarily deals with the absence of mental illnesses and having positive mental qualities, mental wellbeing takes it a step further and highlights the overall state of thriving and satisfaction in life, going beyond the basic requirements of mental health.

How to manage mental wellbeing?

Research studies commonly reveal that individuals allocate a substantial part of their spare time to occupations such as watching television, scrolling through the internet, partaking in hobbies, socialising, and bonding with loved ones. But what brings you joy in life? Do you have a passion for reading, singing, writing, or uncovering hidden gems? Doing things aiming to really have fun can ignite your passion and enthusiasm can lead to a greater sense of purpose, fulfilment, and happiness. There’s something magical about diving into things that particularly drive our passion. We enter a state of flow where time becomes irrelevant, and we’re completely immersed in the here and now. Engaging in these pleasures gives us a chance to express ourselves, unleash our creativity, and embark on exciting adventures. They enable us to delve into our innermost musings, emotions, and dreams, unlocking a world of possibilities.   woman gardening     Unleash your creativity and find joy in various forms of self-expression. Whether it’s playing an instrument; painting or gardening; immersing ourselves in the captivating world of a book; finding our voice and letting our emotions flow through singing; exploring the world of cooking or baking; sports like walking, running, yoga, hiking, fishing, or dancing; photography; learning a new skill; hang out in company of your loved ones and creating lasting memories by spending quality time together, whether by having a delicious meal, taking a leisurely stroll, or simply enjoying each other’s company; writing in a diary; indulging in a soothing bath; getting a good night’s sleep; treating yourself to a massage or spa day, helping you recharge and rejuvenate; our passions create a refuge from the demands of our daily routine and serve as a well of inspiration and renewal for our mind, body, and soul.   A serene and tranquil spa scene featuring a large, luxurious pool of water within designed tiles. There are lush, tropical plants surrounding the area and a beautiful mural of a waterfall on one of the walls. Soft, ambient lighting illuminates the space, creating a soothing atmosphere. Various spa amenities, such as plush towels, candles, and relaxation chairs, are scattered throughout the room.   By participating in these activities, you can explore your creative side and find a sense of calm and relaxation. Taking the time to nurture and develop our passions is vital for maintaining good mental health, and leading a satisfying and purposeful life.

Embracing the Potential of Positive Thinking

Have you ever tried practising positive thinking? It’s a game-changer when it comes to improving your mental wellbeing. It’s amazing how practising positive thinking can really boost your mental wellbeing and help you embrace a more positive perspective on life. It’s like having a superpower of a nature that can make a huge difference in your overall happiness and vision on life. By cultivating a more optimistic outlook on life, you’ll be amazed at how much happier and fulfilled you can feel. Try using positive affirmations to cultivate a more positive self-image and attitude. Repeat statements like ‘I am capable’, ‘I am deserving of love and happiness’, or ‘I see the good in every situation’, to counter any negative self-talk. Fill your circle among individuals who bring out the best in you and motivate you and find environments of the kind that cultivate positivity and optimism. Surrounding yourself with positivity can really strengthen your optimistic stance. When you encounter challenges or setbacks, shift your focus to finding solutions instead of getting stuck on the problems. Approach obstacles using a problem-solving mindset and be open to opportunities for growth and learning. Let’s not overlook the importance of celebrating small victories. Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, even if they may seem insignificant. Recognise the strengths you possess and the progress you’ve made, and don’t forget to give yourself credit for all the effort and achievements you’ve made along the way. Don’t let negative news, social media, or any other sources of negativity get to you. Instead, make a conscious effort to seek out inspiration, motivation, and positivity to keep your thoughts and your feelings optimistic. Remember to show you some kindness and practice self-compassion. Treat yours employing the same care and empathy you would give to a friend dealing with difficulties. Keep in mind that your worth goes beyond your achievements. By incorporating these suggestions to your everyday routine, you can enhance your mental well-being and develop the strength to handle whatever life throws your way. Go after your goals, do things that bring you happiness and fulfilment, and feel a connection to something larger than yourself. Just keep in mind that taking care of your mental health is an ongoing journey.   A serene, abstract digital painting depicting wellbeing.  
Candle in the shape of a naked woman

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) means the sectional or a complete extraction of the female external genitals or other wounds of the female private parts. FGM is put into practice by some communities throughout Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Australia. Female Genital Mutilation is an ecumenical issue.

What does the Genital Mutilation of Women represent?

Tribes view FGM as a traditional cultural habit, a rite of femininity, or a precondition for spousal relationships. Some also observe it as a religious tradition. In reality, FGM is linked with typical discriminatory gender.

Who?

200 million women and girls everywhere in the world are touched by folklore. FGM is a dereliction to women and girls, and it makes a stronger discriminatory sexist conviction apropos of the confines of a girl’s fire in her belly and sexual instinct.

What are the damages?

In the short term, FGM results in haemorrhage, infections, and deaths, and in the long term, the survivors encounter sexual, mental, and obstetric complications, such as infant lifelessness, occurring between the onset of labour and delivery, or neonatal mortality, meaning that deadness arises within the first 28 days of the life of the newborn.

COVID-19 makes worse

COVID-19 has made things worse for young girls. FGM has been neglected. In general, the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for sexual and reproductive health promises prompted basic help to wounded women, but information from Nigeria, India, and Malaysia relayed that health and rights have been diminished, even abandoned. A similar situation arose during the Ebola and Zika epidemics in 2013 and 2016, and there was more destruction of GMF women than deceased from the outbreaks.

In Malaysia, family planning clinics have been reduced or stopped, to provide support related to COVID-19. What type of solutions? When survivors of excision needed these SRHR services! In Indonesia, shelters were closed; and we have no information on the state of girls in Asia, where no laws exist to protect them.

In East Africa and the Horn of Africa, there has been a 31% heighten in FGM crises in Somaliland, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sudan, compared to the pre-COVID period. Confinement was the perfect opportunity to excise girls: in Puntland, Somalia, lockdown enabled FGM to proceed with no worries, while the non existence of one in Hargeisa, allowed for the ‘cutters’ to hit seven houses a day to carry out extractions.

Break in the clouds, the COVID-19 provoked calls off FGM rituals in Indonesia and Malaysia camps, ensuring necessities rather than overpriced red tape.

The other side of the picture is that the lack of money affects some parents to give their daughters in exchange for a little food.

Laws against the practice of female genital mutilation are not respected

Kenya’s anti-FGM law makes the practice illegal, with divulgation obligations, and the implementation of extraterritorial jurisdiction. It is supposed to be one of the most impenetrable and uncompromising enactments, but in spite of that the inhabitants living at the frontiers regularly traverse towards surrounding states to perform the rite; West Pokot media indicated a substantial augmentation in acts of female ablation, with 500 during the lockdown time.

In the Rift Valley and Samburu, bands use male circumcision ceremonies to cut out girls’ private parts in secret; and in Kuria East, seniors set forth COVID-19 is gods-sent punishment for leaving traditional culture, including female circumcision, and declared to the crowd that a return to cultural rites will conciliate them and put a stop to the pandemic.

The same issue in Somalia, whereas FGM is illegal, Plan International, a humanitarian organisation across the world, advancing children’s rights and equality for girls, has described finding out from the public’s phone calls about rogues going door to door to offer their works. Conservative and religious groups protest, forbidding meting out punishments to miscreants; 98% of women have suffered from these infringements.

Fear of abandonment

In the United Kingdom, it is feared that women may not have been able to access health care due to the decline in events: between July and September 2020, 635 cases were reported, compared to 1,010 over the same period in 2019.

How to put an end to this iniquity?

In 2020, plan international instituted the ‘Decade of Action’, a global call to accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges: inequalities, poverty, and discrimination; and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. What’s this load of rubbish? By sustainable, does this mean, sustainable over time, viable, or cost-effective? Profit-making methods and resources to fight against equality, poverty, and discrimination?

I quote, ‘But with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – school closures, service disruptions and rising household monetary poverty have increased girls’ risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation and impeding progress towards meeting SDG target.’ I find this statement simply revolting.

Listen up to, ‘Two million additional incidents of female genital mutilation may happen over the next decade as COVID-19 shutters schools and disrupts programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice. Even before COVID-19 upended progress, the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending female genital mutilation by 2030 was an ambitious commitment.’ This statement is just shocking! Do you think this is an ambitious commitment when you take into account the number of women who may die in-between times?

Once again, ‘Far from dampening “our ambition…”’ Gosh! … ‘However, the pandemic has sharpened our resolve to protect the 4 million girls and women who are at risk of female genital mutilation each year’. You’re too kind.

Be all ears, ‘Even in countries where female genital mutilation is already declining, progress needs to increase ten-fold to meet the global target of elimination by 2030. This will require some $2.4 billion over the next decade, which breaks down to less than $100 per girl’. This is a very small price to pay for preserving a girl’s bodily integrity. ‘Indeed! ‘… her health and her right to say “no” to violations!’ I think they already said no, before being excised, and indeed, it was their ‘natural right’ as the owner of their body, to do so!

‘However, most of this money has yet to be raised.’ Uh, let me think, who could help us? $ 100 per girl, it is a good value for money! Maybe a collection from the celebrities, they might be happy to help us, or maybe we could appeal to companies around the world, so they can include this in their Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) goals, and maybe we could end it and save lives by 2050, a brilliant action plan, isn’t it?

I cite, ‘We must act, quickly, decisively and on many fronts simultaneously.’ I confirm, we must!’

‘Let us encourage the leadership skills of adolescent girls and their male peers and inspire their power to speak out and say “enough” to all forms of violence, including violent assaults on their bodies.’ Adult male peers, let’s put them in jail.

Over the past decades, FGM has been recognised as both a human rights violation and a form of child abuse, with around 59 countries having passed laws against it, including 26 African countries. Attend attentively to what will come after, only 0.12% of global humanitarian funding has gone to essential assistance between 2016 and 18!

According to Plan International, ‘Simply put, if gender equality was a reality, there would be no female genital mutilation. This is the world we envision, and the Sustainable Development Goals chart the path to get us there’.

From my perspective

It seems to me that if human beings showed humanity or just common sense; the mothers loved their daughters rather than selling them to men who treat them as pieces of meat; if the already existing laws in some countries were maintained and if some were quickly enacted wherever there are none; and those transgressions were punished, we could simply eradicate this stupid and inhumane activity and stop murdering women, girls, and newborn babies, tomorrow!

Sexist ideas are certainly the basis of their actions, but it is above all a pretext, supposed grounds that we furnish to the madness of these men!

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