Finding balance in your mind, body & soul

Good mental health isn’t just about the physical body. Our mind and body are integrated and affect each other enormously. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between your mind, body, and soul by promotion your whole self, including your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Today we want to share a few simple ways to begin refining a mind-body-soul balance.

  • Avoid sitting for lengthy periods of time. Take short standing up breaks/move around while you work. Long periods of sitting can be linked to heart disease, diabetes, & a shortened lifespan.
  • Moderate to fast-paced exercise each day for ± 5 min! e.g. Walking, riding your bike, swimming. Exercise is important for heart health, physical stamina, and mood.
  • Spend time outside: e.g.: hiking, picnics, outdoor sports, shop at your local farmer’s market for fresh produce.
  •  Add more plant-based foods to your diet:  lots of in-season vegetables and fruit.
  • Sing along or dance to your favorite songs and do this as often as you can!
  • Be grateful. Make time as often as you can to write or think about the things, you’re grateful for, like family, friends, pets, food, shelter, health, or the beauty of nature.
  • Be kind to everyone. This includes yourself!
  • Sleep enough and remember that you’re never too old for naps.
  • Detoxify your beauty routine. Switch to natural products.
  • Find a career path that is meaningful to you. Chase your dreams, not riches.
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Establishing a lifestyle for life: Part 1

How you live will determine how long and how well you live

By: Helena Louw – Occupational Therapist

Definition of terms:

Wifi, screens, instant food: Genius developments crucial to survival and effective functioning in today’s world

Sleep, exercise, natural/ healthy food: Luxuries only a lucky few can afford or have; unattainable for the average person

These are hardly scientific definitions of the above terms, nor do I think anyone would define those concepts in this way if asked. Yet, I’ll bet this is how many of us think about them. Every day, I meet more people who rely on internet connections, screens and fast foods to make it through their day. The same people sigh with a resigned look on their faces when asked about their sleep, exercise and cooking habits: “I sleep when I can, when the work is done. I cancelled my gym membership after not going for 6 months. Who has time to cook? Maybe Sundays…”

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Mental Health and Teenage Motherhood

By: Annastasia N Musese, Clinical Psychologist

There is vast literature on teenage pregnancy that is appreciated and acknowledged, however, there is information gaps in teenage motherhood as a phenomenon.

A study on Mental Health and Coping strategies of teenage mothers in the Kavango regions, found that, teenage motherhood an aftermath of teenage pregnancy, is a result of psychosocial crises involving experiments and exploration during the adolescent period. The study revealed that teenage mothers experience a wide range of negative emotional setbacks, namely; feelings of sadness, worry, stress, regret, guilt, symptoms of moderate to severe depression and anxiety, stigma and/or mockery from society, lack of emotional and financial support.

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Life After Mental Health

What is life like after mental health treatment?

Choosing to receive mental health treatment is a major decision, and for many, a step in the right direction. Mental health treatment facilities can provide a person with the tools needed for a better, healthier life. Once the treatment is completed, many are left to wonder what’s next, with numerous unanswered questions and concerns, which can cause many to become overwhelmed.

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Our Inner Child : Matters of Consequence

By Cinnamon Pieters – Psychological Counsellor

Poignant, short and life-changing…

These are the words that came to mind as I finished reading the last page of this little gem of childlike wisdom. The one thing that stood out the most for me and this is probably because of where I am in life right now, is the conversation between the Little Prince and the businessman of asteroid 328 about ‘matters of consequence’.

Matters of consequence is the monkey on your back, the constant worry about money and the job you hate but still go to every day because, well, its a matter of consequence. The consequence being that you will starve if you follow the childhood dream that you still nurture somewhere deep in your soul. As we grow older we are told that some dreams are just not practical or feasible, and God forbid if they bring no acclaim to the family name because, lets say it all together, it is a matter of consequence…but who suffers most from the consequences?

Just like the businessman, our lives are consumed and controlled by numbers. We raise our children to chase a number…a test score, the number on the scale, the number of zeroes in their bank accounts. It is an endless cycle of chasing one number to attain another number and so we lose track of the things that matter most. The number of meters of floor space in our homes has increased, but our number of true and intimate friends has decreased.

As I grow older, I find myself less concerned with these so-called ‘matters of consequence’ that leave me stressed, worried and feeling like I have lived a thousand adult lives, and I find myself more interested in matters of the heart. I find myself reveling and getting lost in the glorious imaginations of children whose laughter sounds like ice-cream on a warm summer day and who still believe that they can do anything in the world as long as they have a unicorn as a friend. The fox said it best: “Here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

So if a child shows you a drawing of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant, don’t tell them that its a hat or that they should rather focus on matters of consequence. Matters of consequence will always be around but childlike innocence and freedom of imagination, that’s where happiness resides…

Happy Body – Happy Mind: The Impact of Movement on the Mind

By Olivia Matthaei

We all know, that exercising is helpful to keep you body healthy so that when age hits us we can cope better with our infirmities.

Nevertheless we are not always aware what close connection our wellbeing of the body means for the wellbeing of our mind. The impact of a healthy lifestyle is immense for mental health. While our brain is our main control-centrum exercising has a direct influence on the brain. Studies report that Movement is beneficial for the brain so that it can preform well.

Not only that through movement the blood circulation, and therefore the oxygen flow through the body improves, but also our muscle tension is positively influenced.

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Body, Mind, Soul/Spirit… Inseparable

By: Ria Zaal-Gertze, Registered Nurse

Do you take care of yourself? You may be brilliant at looking after your family and friends, but are you paying enough attention to your own mental and physical health?

How to be kind to yourself:

1. Your emotions

Your state of mind affects every facet of your life. Soften your inner voice – harsh self-criticism has exactly the same impact on your self-image as other people’s put-downs. So guard against saying things like, “I’m so stupid” or “I can’t believe I did that”. Instead speak to yourself with the words that you would use with an innocent child. Say, “That was a great start” or “I know I can do it”. If you change nothing else in your life, silencing the critical internal voice will make a world of difference.

  • Speak the truth

Tell people how you feel and what you’re thinking. Keep in mind that this is not an excuse to dump on people or make accusations. However, it might mean letting your boss know you disagree with him/her, or telling your husband, “I was disappointed when you didn’t call when you said you would”.

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How to…actually reach those dreamy new-year’s resolutions

By Helena Louw, Occupational Therapist

You’ve probably heard about the importance of defining your goals with specific, measurable outcomes which are achievable and relevant to your setting and intended to be reached within a particular time frame (aka SMART goals). Useful as this practice is, it may help more with determining exactly what you want and whether you’ve reached your goals, than with the act of reaching them.

So, how do you go from knowing what you want to achieve, to actually putting in the work and getting it done? When and where do you start? What do you prioritize? How do you make time for practicing your sought-after new skills, health-promoting hobbies or life-changing habits while still being swamped with everyday emergencies and clutter, both at home and at work?

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Alzheimer’s Disease

By Lerie Nel – Clinical Psychologist

 Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. How Do People Get Alzheimer’s? The disease usually occurs after age 65 and is linked to the apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene on chromosome 19. Chromosomes are threadlike structures that package DNA and genes inside of cells. Every person has an apoE gene, which comes in three forms. One of the forms (apoE4) increases a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, while the other two forms appear to protect against the disease. A person may inherit the apoE4 form of the gene. While such a person is at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s, they will not necessarily develop it.

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Pets and Mental health

By: Tina Viljoen – Social Worker

According to my experience nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. And I’m not only talking about my husband 😊 but also my 2 dogs and 4 cats who count as family members as well. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Since the bond between humans and animals is very powerful the positive correlation between pets and mental health is undeniable.

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