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Wellbeing critical for workplace performance

The MidweekSun Admin



Developing balance and mindfulness of the connections between mind and body was hot on the agenda at a CBET wellness day, organised to promote full body health and wellness of its employees on Friday.

Held at the FNB Park, Broadhurst under the theme, “My Health & Wellbeing: Key to Performance’, the day included simple yoga exercises that anyone can do, breathing techniques, health talks by Embrace Emotions Support Network (EESN), a dietician, as well as various health tests including HIV.

Botswana Guardian and Midweek Sun News Editor, Tlotlo Mbazo said of the event; “It is a great day to take time out from hectic work schedules and reflect on our wellbeing, have a little fun, regroup and refocus to better performance going forward”. On her first yoga experience, Mbazo, a staunch Christian admitted that while she had always been wiry of the practice because of its association with middle Eastern religions like Hindu, she was surprisingly fascinated by the breathing and stretching exercises that go a long way in improving concentration levels.

The company last held a similar event in 2012. CBET General Manager, Eugene Mukomeza emphasised the importance of employee wellness for effective work performance. “In order for employees to perform optimally, they need to have complete wellness,” said Mukomeza as he encouraged employees to take advantage of it and take part in activities available.

Yoga Experience
A representative from Art of Living, Pauline Sebina started off sharing timeless wisdom from the world ancient yoga and the different types which her organisation has combined for maximum benefit. Yoga, she said was not about one’s ability to be flexible but rather about unity and being present in a moment. “A physical yoga practice is more about developing tools to calm the mind and work on the breath, it is a much more rounded discipline than simply being flexible.
“More flexibility, strength and better health are lovely side-effects of yoga, but really are not the end goals,” said Sebina as she began her exercise routine with the CBET staff. “When a person is not caught up in their thoughts, they are more able to be focused and productive. They are also less emotionally reactive and more proactive, productive and efficient, “ she explained.

A healthy mind
Poor mental health is associated with both higher absence and presenteeism rates, with job conditions and societal pressures being contributing factors, according to Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Institute of Health Sciences in Lobatse and Co-Founder of Embrace Emotions Support Network (EESN), David Mangwegape.

Mangwegape explained that not all mental health conditions are easily detected and many employees may not even recognize their own conditions. Worse, given the stigma associated with mental illness, some employees may be reluctant to seek treatment or even take steps to conceal their difficulties.

As such, he advised CBET management to be sensitive and supportive to changes employees go through. He however also urged the staff to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing by being organised to avoid unnecessary pressures, being passionate about their work, practicing mindful meditation and sharing their problems.
“We all have a role to play in mental health, “ he stressed.

Importance of food to overall health
Keitumetse Makuku, a dietician from Bonatla Wellness Solutions at AO Clinic debunked a popular belief that dieticians are just about helping people lose weight, instead she explained that they are really about using a scientific and food-based approach to evaluate an individual’s eating habits and to create a personalized dietary plan.

“As dieticians, we guide our clients toward eating fresh, natural foods, and offer accompanying education to further promote healthy eating,“ she stated. She advised staff to eat healthy, include vegetables and fruits into their diets, drink lots of water, exercise regularly to ward off non-communicable diseases.

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Mental Health Series

The effects of dagga on mental health



Recently the South African Supreme Court legalised the private use of dagga. Individuals are allowed to consume dagga in private and also grow for private use. The judgement brought mixed reactions on the issue and further fuelled the debate on dagga.

There are those who have used this judgement to the detriment of their own health. The crux of the matter though is that adverse effects of dagga cannot be underemphasised as far as mental health is concerned. Dagga use is quite popular amongst the youth which ostensibly explains the prevalence of dagga related disorders amongst them.

Effects of dagga are instant upon use. When dagga is smoked, it gets into the blood stream and then blood –brain barrier. This results in depressed brain activity, the end result being production of a dreamy state manifesting as delusions or hallucinations.

Delusions are altered thoughts whereby one may think he is a president when the reality is he is not. Hallucinations on the other hand is when an individual has distorted perceptions of reality like seeing a lion when it’s not there!

Others effects include:
panic attacks
Impaired coordination and balance
Impairment in learning and memory

Various research studies have shown that heavy use of dagga facilitates the development of schizophrenia and substance use disorders. The amount of the drug used and the age at first use often place an increased vulnerability to develop these disorders. This explicitly explains why there are many youth who are having substance use disorders in our country.

Those using dagga may develop amotivational syndrome which basically means they have lost the willpower to do meaningful activities in life! This is basically the stroke that breaks the camel’s back, as other mental health problems may manifest from this.

Those whom are already diagnosed with mental health disorders can have symptoms of their conditions worsening when they use dagga. Depression and anxiety are often made worse by use of dagga. The false perception that taking dagga has a calming effect often predisposes those having mental health problems to take it in order to deal with their illness burden.

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Sun Health

Lymphedema Management Part II Post Breast Cancer



Lymphedema can occur to individuals who have had breast cancer treatment with radiation and/or surgical intervention with or without lymph nodes removal usually in the arm pit.

Lymphedema is a special type of swelling that occurs when there is excessive build of fluid that is rich in protein that is to become lymph due to an impairment in the transport of this fluid anywhere enroute to its final drainage site in the neck.

Lymphedema management is divided into two phases: Phase I Congestive/acute phase whose goal is to achieve the greatest decrease in volume of lymphedema and Phase II Maintenance phase, whose purpose is long term maintenance to ensure sustenance of goals achieved in Phase I.

Components of Phase I are, a) patient education about the condition, self management strategies. The patient will be advised to avoid certain medical procedures to be done on the affected side, e.g. blood pressure readings, pricking to withdraw blood.

These procedures especially the pricking will result in minor injury which in a normal functioning system is insignificant. The normal bodily response is that the body will respond as there is injury with insignificant swelling.

In the case of someone with risk to lymphedema this can be a trigger to full blown swelling, b) Meticulous skin and nail care to keep fungal infections and cellulitis at bay, c)Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD).

This is specialised manual (hands-on) technique whose purpose is to improve fluid removal from congested (swollen) areas where there is impediment of flow to using alternative routes to de-congest the areas.

For example, if there is lymphedema in the right arm from right partial mastectomy (breast tissue removal) with eight lymph nodes removal in the right arm pit. The alternative routes to drain) the right swollen hand/arm is to re-direct fluid to drain into the left armpit, right groin and maybe right breast bone areas.

Following this during a treatment session, d)multi-layered Compression Bandaging is used. Here special bandages are used which come in different sizes. Which technique to use when bandaging is influenced by the degree of swelling and staging of lymphedema.

The bandage system is tighter at the wrist and progressively becomes looser towards the arm. This creates graduated compression which facilitates fluid to flow from the wrist towards the armpit.
Initially the bandages are worn 24hrs/day at a time.

If there are wounds which is not as common when compared to the leg(s) preference is to co-treat with nursing care for them to manage the wounds while I manage the swelling concurrently. Immediately the patient does, e) therapeutic exercises to further drainage of fluid from the wrist to the armpit.

This phase I duration can be anywhere from three weeks to eight weeks and more if needs be. During this time the patient is taught to self bandage, gentle self manual lymphatic drainage, prepared for wearing and taking off of compression garments.

Phase II: Maintenance phase, this is initiated when there has been maximal limb (arm size) reduction in Phase I. The patient is fitted into a compression garment. This can either be custom made or off the shelf. Compression garment may be arm sleeve, glove with or without fingers.

The compression garments come in a variety of compression (Class I to IV). The therapist advicss on the compression garment class. Most patients use compression Class II and III. Ideally the patient is encouraged to wear the compression garment all the time.

From time to time there will be a relapse, that is, swelling starts and Phase I will need to be initiated. There are a number of treatment approaches that can be taken. Factors influencing choice include cancer disease stage, type of cancer, location of lymphedema, patient mental status.

It is not just lymphedema that needs to be treated. Other things to treat include scarring, pain and decreased function. If you suspect you have lymphedema bring it to the attention of your oncologist who will refer you to someone trained to manage this condition.

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