By Denrele Animasaun
In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible -Marcus Tullius Cicero
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018) is Stress, in particular, stress in the workplace. We often hear people say I am under stress or I am stressed and think nothing of it, and it is dismissed as one of life’s activities and no more. Stress can be very serious and a gateway to many other illnesses or afflictions. So, if we tackle stress, then we can reduce so many other ailments that plague us, such as migraine, back pain, and other secondary physical illnesses that intensify as a result of stress. If we can tackle stress, we can help improve our mental and physical health.
Workplace stress is a systemic and harmful physical and emotional response that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands -Canadian Mental Health Association, “Sources of Workplace Stress” Richmond, British Columbia it sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? In the workplace, people often manifest physical symptoms; fatigue, muscular tension, headaches. Heart palpitations, sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia, gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation. Dermatological disorders.
Recognise that you are feeling stressed, pay attention to your physical health, are you getting headaches or anxious when you are about to go to work or when you are at work, are there demands at work that are causing stress? Whatever it is, there are somethings you can do alleviate the stress, delegation of tasks, taking a break, how to relax, not saying yes to everything or everyone, have an interest outside work, talk to your boss and colleagues, see your doctor, learn to breathe and smile more. If your work becomes unbearable, then you might consider changing jobs if you can or move to another department -a change is better than the rest. Take care of your health, you only have one.
Time for change
Time to change the old guards, it is not cruel, it is simply a pragmatic and forward thinking to have younger people take the reins of power. The old chestnut simply won’t wash, that young people do not have experience, perhaps the realisation here is how will they have experience if they are not allowed to participate?
Forget the sleight of hand tactics, where the old guard ‘leaves’, and is replaced by his heir. Old wine in new bottles, the country calls for new approach and thinking. It is lunacy to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results; this is why there is little shift in changing the narrative of the nation’s direction.
Now the big question is: are the young people ready? Nobody knows as they have not being tested but we need to take the leap of faith, we have tried everything else. Our former and illustrious politicians were young people who not only fought for independence but helped in building the nation and they were in their twenties and thirties. Having said that, they left legacy of good education, ambition and stoic moral compass. This maybe a bridge too far but it is crossed for the sake of the nation and generations to come.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi , a young man himself is an exemplar new broom and unfortunately, he received the arrogant and belligerent reception from the old guards who refused to accept a young man in a major role. He has maintained dignity and earned respect both nationally and intentionally for opening and promoting the Yoruba culture.
The Ooni also lent his voice and called on government to give more to growing cultural value in the country, stressing that no nation grows without value for its cultural heritage and young people, he stressed that young people in the country make up 60 per cent of the country’s population, and the government needs to ensure that they were fully engaged; “Youths of this nation owns this country. This country does not belong to the leaders and elders of this nation. Let the youths takeover, go and rest and rest very well.”
He stated that it is about time for the youths to have a sense of ownership by rising up to what belongs to them naturally, saying, “Very soon, the youths would start claiming what belongs to them as this country does not belong to anybody else except the youths. “The youths of this country should please come and take charge. We should all come together and say enough is enough. You cannot tell us what we should be doing, we would tell you what we want you to do.” Admonishing Nigerians who make their money in the country and take such monies abroad to invest, the monarch said: “Stop making money in this land and continue to spend it outside the shores of this land. It is not good, it is not adding value to this nation, and it’s not making any impact in this nation.
“It is a big shame because you are not laying good example for the youths that own this country. You spend the money that you are making outside the land that is blessing you. Let us believe in this country, we do not have any other country or anywhere to go. The Ooni said and rightly so. After all these decades, it has been same of same. It is really not getting anyone anywhere. The trouble of course is that the argument has been that the young are not ready? Seriously, when will there be time be for the young to let go of the apron string and go out.
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan in a recent speech alluded to the same; that the current poor politicians of Africa is as a result of old aged men in power. It was diplomatic of Kofi but it was said to inspire Africans to choose a younger and better men and women into power rather than old men.
He is right. He said; “Africa has great values to depend upon, Africa could be independent, but we have too many old men at the presidency, some are above 70yrs, and what do you expect them to do?’’.
This is the fact that most African politicians must learn to retire at a minimum age of 70yrs, and the population must also refrain from choosing old men as leader, old does not mean leader material. Time to draw the line, old men should be chased before they step down, better still they should give way to younger and current ideas for the digital age. It is really their time.