Reading Your Way to Wholesome Living

Reading will change your life

First Thursdays in March are World Book Days, set aside to promote literacy. Reading in many communities is majorly done for school but there’s more to it than that. It could be used for fun, growth, company, as a complement to healing, bonding, and fostering strong communities.


An avid reading lifestyle keeps the brain active and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is an activity that increases your cognitive ability thus delaying the onset of memory loss as you age. The effects are more pronounced when it is a lifelong habit.

There are many more benefits a good book can add to your overall health. Have trouble sleeping? A book may be what you need. Reading a couple of chapters of a physical book regularly builds a pattern that improves the quality of your sleep. Ebooks are not included as they expose you to screen time just before bed which interferes with sleep.

In building your vocabulary, it helps you to gain better conversational skills. The wealth of experience you gain from being an avid reader flows into your social skills as you have more topics to discuss with others. This helps some people to build confidence and overcome anxiety in social gatherings.

Reading a couple of chapters of a physical book regularly builds a pattern that improves the quality of your sleep.

In this regard, book clubs are an excellent platform to meet new people from billionaires to authors to artisans. Creeds, tribes, races , nationalities joined by one spark- the love of books. It is one of the best chances humanity has at unity and peace.

In reducing the effects of stress, a good book helps you to bear the rigours of ill-health. This benefit can be unlocked just after about 10 minutes of reading. When I feel stressed about something, I find reading to be helpful in relieving the tension.

Other benefits include improved overall mental ability, increased attention span and an increase in empathy found among readers. Exposure to different scenarios in fiction, following characters through their journeys makes us understand that there are many perspectives to life based on different experiences. This makes us more welcoming and less judgmental. Looking to build a better world? Invest in libraries and book communities.

Children shown the wonders of the world with books are less likely to have time for disruptive activities. It is an activity that fosters cooperation rather than vicious competition among them. Their bonding improves, their language skills grow faster , they are able to communicate clearly and just being busy with this may make them less inclined to petty crime later on. Buy more books for them.

Now that you know reading makes you a healthier, smarter and better person, what book are you picking up next?

Dr Mariam Toye

050320

Book Reviews With Oumissa 11: A Life Elsewhere by Segun Afolabi

From the title, it is evident that this is a collection of immigrant stories. The entire work traverses the varied experiences of black people in the diaspora. For the most part, the setting of their new abode is England.
Most of them were written from a male viewpoint while the inner workings of a female mind can be strongly felt in the remaining. The age range of the characters is diverse. We find people at the end of their careers and young children analyzing their immediate environment in that intelligent yet innocent tone peculiar to them. In capturing all demographics, the author delivers a well rounded view of life as a foreigner. The common background however, appears to be South West Nigeria as heavy Yoruba presence is seen in the names, customs and memories.

In one story, a diplomat mother grapples with the cold austere winter in Japan while raising two young children. The author goes ahead to illustrate the myriad forms of life immigrants lead as medics, musicians or tourists. This rich diversity is united by one single pervading theme – the struggle of integration and acceptance in a foreign land.

People are grateful to leave poverty and a lack of opportunities behind but beyond missing the familiarity of home, they do not find it so easy to earn and save in a new land.

Navigating life outside one’s home isn’t as rosy as it appears. I found this crucial because it is still a common view in many parts of Nigeria that going abroad is the solution to any and every problem. People are grateful to leave poverty and a lack of opportunities behind but beyond missing the familiarity of home, they do not find it so easy to earn and save in a new land.

For starters, tax is more heavily enforced than in their home country. Some lose themselves in the new culture and end up in a suspended state when they disconnect with home and are still not fully accepted in the host country. This affects their state of mind, leaving them sad, lonely and distrusting of both citizens of their adopted home and rather ironically, fresh immigrants.

Everyone is thinking mostly about adjusting to the new climate, food and culture while battling old demons. There were some shocking stories in this book. Afolabi was not afraid to take us to the inner recesses of the minds of some of the characters.
With a kind of abstractness running through this work, the core narrative was in the thoughts and not in dialogue. The whole book appears to lead nowhere but the careful tapestry lies just beneath the surface. You need some level of focus to get through this as it isn’t a light read. Perhaps it is just as well that it was written as a collection since the many breaks ease the weight of what was plaintive in many places.

Mint Stethoscope – A Guide for New Doctors

Official ebook release poster

It is so exciting to see this book released finally.

I wish I had this guide before starting my house job journey but I remain grateful for all the guidance I gathered from different sources.

We at Health Hub Africa present our contribution to making the path easier for those coming behind us. We must end the cycle of undue suffering. The rigours of medical practice are enough to deal with. Young doctors do not have to face extraneous ones that do not help their overall growth, care delivery and wellbeing.

The radiant cover page

It has been shown that many who get disillusioned with medical practice feel that way due to the lack of support or proper guidance during their crucial first year. By sharing this free ebook, you are investing in the career of young doctors and by extension strengthening the Nigerian healthcare system.

List of contributors

Well done to everyone who made this a reality. It was an honour to be the contributing editor of this work.

Help share word by using this picture, the Twitter hashtag #HouseOfficersGuide and the download link bit.ly/mintstethoscope.

__________

Dr Mariam Toye

Editor

Passenger – Commuting in Lagos in the rains

Rain in Lagos is a leveller. It has the power to upset your plans and make you want to cancel the whole day. But we can’t let the weather stop us. We get up, pack our books, laptops and other stuff in waterproof lining, get a sturdy umbrella, strong shoes and match on to face a new day.

This Keke was empty and I loved the upholstery (some Lagos kekes are masterpieces of decoration.) I couldn’t resist a picture with my companion for weeks now. I knew it would fit her perfectly and frankly doing this made the gloomy morning a lot brighter. Would you believe it was raining just outside? Gratefully, the breeze did not carry this darling away.

How do you handle the stress of your morning rush?

Social Media Ethics For Health Professionals – How working to solve a problem birthed a book

Social Media Guide For Health Workers

“In today’s world of putting out thoughts and opinions online in a flash, how does a health professional maintain a profile within the limits of ethics?

In recent times, there have been concerns about how some health workers post content on social media. This made it imperative for some of us at Health Hub Africa to come together and work out a way of salvaging the situation. The general theme on this forum is to avoid complaining about problems that pop up everyday or surround us. Rather, we work on providing a solution or even put forward proactive ones to other problems we think can be nipped in the bud by observing trends before they become a menace. These deliberations developed gradually until we had a book on our hands!

Dr Ayomide Owoyemi, Dr. Ronald Kelechi Ikpe, Foluke Olaniyi-George, Olusegun Abraham, Weyinmi Erikowa-Orighoye, Iyewande Dipeolu M.D. and I are happy to present this ebook to you.

It is an honour to finally be able to do so

You can now download (for free) the Social Media Guide for Health Workers ebook using these links

http://Bit.ly/smhguidefull
http://Bit.ly/smhguideabridged

It is our hope that it helps health professionals leverage on social media while staying within the limits of ethics. This will protect not only their patients but themselves and the general public.”

Dr Mariam Toye

A page from the book on good social media conducts

REVIEWS

“Knowing what not to do is equally as important as knowing what to do.” ~Steve Harvey

For medicine, it might be more important, if the first thing you must know is to do no harm. This guide contains well written instructions for putting your exquisitely manicured foot forward. It not only tells you what not do with very relatable examples, it explains in just 18 pages how to optimize your social media to the benefit of your career.”

Dr Ifeoma Ndigwe

How to avoid unethical conduct on social media

This instructional manual details how transformation in technology especially in our social engagements has fed directly into the practice of modern health care; shedding light on its mismanagement and how to make the best of this modern innovation.

Considering the misconduct of health services in social media spheres, this book aptly brings to one’s remembrance the oft-ignored moral codes that form the pillars of medicine as a discipline. The information therein is all-encompassing, easy to understand and addressed in relatable social media colloquialisms.

It also properly recognizes and delineates the nuances in the different social media platforms. By illustrating actual examples of some gaffes, it brings to life the reality of this trend. I must commend the effort put into bringing this to fruition. It is an important recommendation for all health care workers: the social media savvy and naive alike.


Dr Balogun D.I

Illustrations of improper conduct

Social Media Usage for Health Workers is an easy-to-read guide. I like the way Mariam Toye and her team make it so relatable, giving examples which are very relatable and ethical dos and donts which are easy to understand and follow.

Medicine is a delicate profession where you would want to be mindful of what you say to protect the Identity of your patient but at the same time use this New Age Avenue/Market, which is “The Social Media” to educate the public. So, if you don’t want to say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered to your face on a billboard like Erin Bury says; as a health professional, please use this guide!”

Dr Rebecca Solomon

What Exactly is Lupus? – 10 facts to mark World Lupus Day

Goodreads review

“Am I dead yet,”…Diagnosed during her high school years, the author decided to keep a personal diary of her confusion,

fear, and challenges of being diagnosed with Lupus. Lupus, also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a

disease that can affect many different body systems, including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs.

Facts about LUPUS

1.Full meaning Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE

2. It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease caused by genetic abnormalities.. This means that the body’s defence attacks

its own cells, tissues and organs.

3. Women are affected in 90% of cases.

4. Symptoms include feeling of unwellness, fatigue, fever, rash, joint pain, loss of appetite and weight loss.

5. Its rash is unique in the way it spreads, flatly across the bridge of the nose and cheeks in a butterfly pattern.

Hence the symbol on campaign posters.

6. SLE causes damage to the kidneys, heart, nervous system and other organs.

7. People affected experience intervals of wellness and this is part of why the ongoing damage to vital organs

becomes life-threatening.

8. Doctors make a diagnosis of lupus with the presence of 11 criteria

9. Treatment involves medication to reduce inflammation, steroids and in severe cases, chemotherapy.

This is carried out by a specialist who is called a rheumatologist.

10. People living with SLE can reduce the severity of symptoms and progression of the disease by avoiding

direct contact with sunlight, using their medication as prescribed and seeing their doctor for close monitoring.

.

If you learnt something new from this post, kindly share.

Dr Mariam Toye

Founder and Editor at OumissaInspire

Sunday Brunch With The Ladies and Patricia Cornwell

oumissainspire.com
Alhamdulillah for these amazing, talented, loyal , driven and loving women. They are so committed to growth and are a good support system for one another.

Pathology was one of my faves in college. Was it because it was taught by groundbreaking female professors? One of them was a great Muslimah role model who did a lot to help us hijabi students (there were battles we faced that only people like her could help us fight) but she really was and still is a mother to all students.

Or because it is such a rich and intriguing field; the basis of disease, the bedrock of medicine itself. For if we do not understand what is wrong with the body, how can we begin to fix it?

Morbid anatomy had the heaviest textbook in that year. I remember being scared of my Robbins and Cortran falling on me from my overhead bookshelf and crushing me in my sleep haha.

This love had started way before med school. Patricia Cornwell and other forensic pathologists/medical examiners/coroners were favourites. It was so cool to see doctors in them using findings from the autopsies they performed to help detectives nail serial killers and other perpetrators and close difficult cases.


I honestly wonder how my strawberry milkshake looked like vanilla with pink stripes. But I loved it anyways.

I’m still enjoying this book. It just got fast-paced.
What are your thoughts on forensic thrillers?

The Eyes of the Skin- A Glimpse of Pallasmaa

There is a certain haste with which one finishes a book borrowed from someone who themselves have borrowed it. Coupled with a life changing deadline in the air, it was a thrill to read this book in less than three hours. I enjoyed it and wish I could have reread it.

Man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5-6 feet from the ground.”

Architecture is an amazing field. Much of our experience is based on the spaces in which we live, learn, laugh, and love. It explored architectural history especially how they have shaped humans through millenia.

We also learn about the author’s background, life and influences. His exceptional love for books was endearing. The genius of his mind jumps out of the richly illustrated work. There are references throughout the text about the work of Frank Lloyd, Louis Kahn, Leon Battista Alberta and a host of others.

What is missing from our dwellings today are the potential transactions between body, imagination and environment.

Though a necessary resource for students of architecture, it was easy to grasp its basic concepts and create a yearning for more.

Rating 4.5

___________

Mariam Toye

Sefi Atta’s A Bit of A Difference Book Cover

Detanglers and silk caps are now ways of expressing confidence in our richly textured Afro hair. If you were a woman of African descent at a certain time, you knew no other reality than relaxers, hot irons, hours under hot dryers, braids, wigs to be fashionable or even accepted.. It’s refreshing to see pride in natural hair have a resurgence..Hopefully it stays and doesn’t go away like the Afro movement of the 60s and 70s.

Other people wear their hair naturally, it should be a choice for us too. Myths about African women having short hair have been debunked with knowledge about how the pomade we’ve been sold for long hurt our hair growth. Now more and more women are relearning the hair care methods of our grandmothers, the miracle of coconut oil, natural hair styles in addition to recent advances in hair care. Our hair grows to great lengths and bulk when cared for properly.

Our hair grows to great lengths and bulk when cared for properly.

You can have healthy hair too. And be respected when on it. You shouldn’t lose a job offer because you express your natural self. You should not be forced to conform to European beauty standards in the public and in the home. It is disconcerting to hear that some African men ask their female partners not to wear their hair in its natural state. Hair is one of the ways we resist racism as it has been one of its tools for far too long.

Sefi Atta in a calming voice tells us the story of Deola a woman who grew up in the West and decided to come back to Nigeria. It details her experiences reuniting with relatives, adjusting to inconvenience like power outages, falling in love with the energy and warmth of home and finding love.

A narrative that explores the life of a young successful woman moving across continents and absorbing the tumultuous changes that come with it.

Enjoyable.

Easily a 4 star.

TwentyFifteen Collection 3: Deen Books

OumissaInspire

This part of my library is special as most of the books are hard bound tomes that cost more than most of the others. They are guarded jealously for their value is inestimable. Never a light read, perusing them can be tedious as I try to jot down words of wisdom and so I just give up and soak up the goodness.

About these pearls. They can be found in millions of homes and libraries around the world.

The Sealed Nectar is the winner of a writing contest about the Prophet.
Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb is a collection of essays on the female companions. Stories extolling their grace, wisdom, courage, loyalty, honour and piety.
Enjoy Your Life by is a treasure by Muhammad Al Arifi Let it hold your hand and show you the beauty of life in the obvious and the hidden
Don’t be Sad by Aidh Al-Qarni. Well, that speaks for itself. It is a modern day classic that has impacted the lives of millions around the world.
Why Women Are Accepting Islam by Muhammad Shahid explores the many reasons reverts to Islam in the West are mostly women. .

In the years since, I have read more Muslim books written by Muslim women to have a more complete experience. This is very important as more women need to see their perspectives being recognized, and girls need to learn that this religion encourages them to seek knowledge and teach it.

Award winning writer, Naima Robert is a contemporary example of Muslim women writers. There are countless women in Islamic history with great knowledge who authored treatises and taught notable scholars. Starting from Aishah bint Abu Bakr. We should read more of them and share their work.

What is your favourite Muslim classic?

________

With love,

Oumissa.

150419