By Morenike Taire

If you never have any time except reactive time — things you must do for others — you don’t have a sense of control. You are interrupted all the time. Your brain has trouble resting even during sleep. Such chronic exhaustion increases the release of stress hormones, and your blood sugar rises.” If this is your normal state, then the physical consequences increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and memory problems. If that’s not enough to scare you into taking some time for yourself, consider this: The hormonal effects of always being on edge help deposit fat right around your waist.

The Families and Work Institute (FWI) found that working mothers spend both more time at the job and more time with their kids than their counterparts did 25 years ago.

There are more than physical benefits to getting off this treadmill. Taking a break will actually make you discharge your responsibilities better. There are surveys that show that people who are happiest at work are those who take time for themselves. If you shift your focus, you go back to the other areas of life with more energy, you’re less stressed, more satisfied with life in general.

*Do what you do like

It can’t be something you hate doing but feel you have to do. Take going to the gym, for instance. A lot of women use it as punishment for eating, or see it as an obligation. If that’s you, then exercise doesn’t count as Me Time.

Schedule your “Me” Time

Make your free time as important as the paediatrician’s visit, the conference call, and your meeting with the contractor. Treat it just like any other appointment. We’re very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it like any project. Try to find at least half an hour to an hour every day for you. It doesn’t have to be all at once. And before you decide what you’re going to do with the time you’re building into your schedule, promise yourself that you won’t waste it.

We’re a multitasking society. If we’re having a conversation with a friend, we’re thinking about the other things we have to get done. Instead, you need to be present in the moment. Whatever you’re doing for you, don’t be thinking about your grocery list or the PowerPoint presentation. There’s a lot of time in our day that we could be enjoying, but we lose it because we’re focused on what we have to do next.

*Try “Alone” Time

Sit outside with a drink  and the newspaper. Just watch the clouds go by. No phone or calendar allowed. Call a friend to chat. Just talk, without an agenda Get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around the block or up and down a flight of stairs.Breathe deeply. While you’re sitting in your office, car, or home, focus on breathing slowly and gently for five minutes. Don’t start planning what you have to do next — just follow your breath. If you have a pet focus for five minutes on cuddling with cat or dog. You’ll both feel better. Go for a walk.

*Read, Read, Read

Read one chapter of a book you’ve wanted to make time for. Keep a basket in your office or living room with a good book, magazine, crossword puzzle, or other short escapes.

Soak in the tub. If you’re a parent, make sure another adult is on duty to make sure no one’s going to yell “Mom!” Plan so you’ll have some fabulous bath goodies and a great book on hand. Don’t forget a glass of ice water or wine.

*Improve your Ambience

Putter. This doesn’t mean cleaning the house or organizing your kids’ clothes. Instead, it means doing little things at home that you enjoy, like trimming the rose bush and putting together a bouquet for your office or kitchen.

Make yourself Beautiful(er)

Get a massage, a facial, or a mani-pedi or simply take a nap. Get a new haircut, or splash an indecent amount of cash on that bracelet/sunglasses/perfume. Because you’re worth it, or whatever!


Add your own favourites to this list. Whatever you choose to do with your “me” time, make it relaxing and restorative.

If you don’t feel like it works for you, try something else. Shoulds are the enemy of relaxation. Don’t think about what you should do, but about what you feel like doing.

Stella Damasus
Stella Damasus

Women of Nollywood slam child marriage

Nollywood golden-girl-gone-international Omotola seized the opportunity to hold a mini press conference in the presence on top government and social dignitaries while she was judge at the recently concluded Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant  in Bayelsa.

In her now famous speech she said: “I am Today one of the Most influential person/people in the world because I wasn’t given off to marriage before the age of 18yrs. It scares and totally shocks me that the Senate in Nigeria (the most populous black nation in the world and Giant of Africa) would not be passing in a law ensuring that every child should compulsorily be enrolled in school.

A very alarming number of children today are on the streets Hawking or have been abused, Raped or are married to men/women who should be protecting them. Who protects the children of Nigeria? Would we wait for another Milala before we act? Should we now remove the parental caution on movies that say ‘Not for persons below 18’. This is a call for justice and Equity for children especially the Nigerian Girl child, who has the right to quality education, a childhood and the decision of whom and when to marry.

My Name is Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and I say No to paedophilia and No to the senate Bill endorsing Child marriage in Nigeria.

Controversial actress Stella Damasus Aboderin might be in the public doghouse right now, having married one man too many- the ex spouse of stunning Yoruba act Doris Simeon; but she still found her voice when it came to child marriage. In a video she released on social media, she fumes:

“It is just unacceptable in this millennium for some old men to be sitting down discussing how to marry teenage girls when they should be discussing pressing issues facing our country such as security, education, infrastructure, health and   corruption, instead they prefer to talk on this issue of child abuse as I call it. Shame on them!”

Tonto Dike joined fellow actress and singer, Stella Damasus in campaigning against child marriage in Nigeria via social network.In a broadcast, Tonto Dikeh described senators advocating such thing in Nigeria as “morally imbalanced and clueless”.

Tonto Dikeh said there are so many important issues of national importance that deserves attention rather than asking people to start defiling teenage girls in the name of marriage.

*Tonto Dike
*Tonto Dike

But  everyone has gone on about what the law says, what religion says or what contemporary culture says.  No one seems to care what the girl child herself has to say about her own life.

Actors Guild President Ibinabo Fiberisima  hit the nail straight on the head. “Why does the Girl Child have to see her paradise through the eyes of a paedophile?! Why should she not grow up like every normal child? Why should she not have the freedom to study and make her own choices! Why force her to forever depression? This is an absolute act of wickedness. No to underage marriage! Let her study, live life and decide her own paradise! Let her create her own paradise! Let her make her choices! Good or bad! She has that Privilege as a Human Being! Enough said!

Joining Nollywood’s ladies are those of the entertainment industry, notably dance doyen and daughter of Afrobeat icon Yeni Anikulapo Kuti, who summed it up when she said: “The people should take a definite stand against child marriage. If they continue to keep quiet, they will be taken for granted. The lawmakers should be made to understand that we voted them into power and they must listen to us.”

NGO advocates virginity as only solution to child marriage

The Virgin Girls, a Non Government Organisation (NGO) with focus on keeping and celebrating virgin girls in Nigeria has advised that the only solution to the child marriage controversy across the country is chastity.

The group which spoke through its medical consultant and veteran gynaecologist Dr Naheem Deen Ade Ekemode of Ekemode Memorial Hospital and Women’s Infirmary pointed out that it is very important that young girls keep their virginity before marriage, opining that such  will help curb incidents of early marriages in the country.

Ekemode, also the Medical Consultant-General of Muslin Medical Volunteers (MMV), who addressed journalists at a media briefing in Lagos Monday, said that culturally, young girls below the age of 16 years can be attached to their would-be husbands at early ages while they wait patiently till when they are ripe for marriage. He maintained that these young girls are not supposed to be involved in any form of pre-marital sex until they are fully mature for “real marriage”.

Dr. Ekemode further advised that while single young girls keep their virginity, it is equally important for them to marry early so as to avoid the problems associated with late marriages.

Also speaking at the media parley is the Founder and National coordinator of the virgins’ organisation, Princess Adediran Adunni who narrated how the organisation started. According to her, The Virgin Girls for four consecutive times, has held their Miss Virginity Pageant in Lagos. The pageants, she said were usually preceded by a virginity test conducted at a hospital in Surulere before the day of the pageant proper. “So far, we have kept and maintained over a thousand virgins. In 2010 alone, over 250 female adult virgins participated in that year’s edition of Miss Virginity contest.

While accusing the various tiers of governments and mothers of not giving her adequate support and encouragement, Princess Adediran equally lamented the lukewarm attitude of the religious bodies, explaining that they have kept a distance from the virginity project. “We have written to several churches across the country but we discovered they don’t have interest in what we are doing as none of them gave us audience”.

She however pointed out that the NGO got support from some well-meaning Nigerians such as the Lagos State governor who gave them financial assistance in 2008.

Princess Adediran who strongly believes in the virgin project as a tool to change society also appealed to mothers, parents and well-meaning Nigerians to come up and support the project so as to build a better future for the young girls.

One of the challenges of the NGO according the leader is acceptance from the society. “I tell you one of our biggest problems is accepting the initiative. I found out that in Nigeria people still find it difficult to believe that we still have adult female virgins in our mist. The impression is that the world is a civilised place and issues such as girls’ virginity should not be discussed”, she said.

Another major challenge, she said, is that the married virgins and even some of ones that lost their virginity find it difficult to identify with the organisation. This makes it difficult to keep records of members especially the old ones. “I think this has to do with the stigmatisation attached to virginity that makes the situation so”, she pointed out. She however hopes that the concept will be made very attractive and competitive such that the negative impressions tagged on virgin girls will disappear.

Appealing to Nigerians, the National Coordinator said that all she wants from Nigerians both home and abroad is to rise up and support her project. She equally, appealed for support from religious bodies, States and federal governments, parents, corporate organisations, international bodies to come up en-mass to support the programme which is the only better solution to the controversial early marriage that is topical in the country today.

The Virgin Girls is an NGO formed 7 years ago where female virgins are identified and celebrated alongside a lavish Beauty Pageant. Prior to the celebration, the young girls usually from 15 years old are tested by  veteran gynaecologist, Dr Naheem Deen Ade Ekemode of Ekemode Memorial Hospital and Women’s Infirmary in Lagos, Nigeria.


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