Women urged to take care of their physical and mental well-being
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DURBAN - THE acting director for non-communicable diseases in the KZN Department of Health, Sindi Mthethwa, has urged women to take care of their physical well-being, their mental health and speak out about issues bothering them.
Mthethwa was speaking at the women senior managers’ high tea held by the Department of Human Settlements and Public Works at the Greyville Racecourse recently. She urged women not to neglect themselves, to maintain their body weight, eat healthily and exercise regularly.
She said many diseases including diabetes were manageable with the correct diet. She also advised women to get enough sleep. She stressed that posture was also important.
“When you become overweight, opportunistic chronic diseases creep in. Living a healthy lifestyle is not expensive. Exercise at home by stretching your body. You can also download free workout videos on YouTube,” she said.
Mthethwa advised that food should not be overcooked in order to avoid loss of nutrients. Avoid red meat, she said, as it could add to cholesterol problems in the body.
“Healthy living starts with you. Set your goals for a healthy lifestyle. Once you get the information, put it into practice. Your change of lifestyle will also have a positive impact on your whole family.”
She said Covid-19 had increased the stress on women, so it was important for them to express their anger vocally.
“Find someone to talk to when you are stressed. You can go to a counsellor, or speak to a friend. Get enough sleep (eight hours). If you cannot, get at least a minimum of five to six hours of sleep so that your body and mind can rest.
“If you want to have a healthy mind, never accommodate nonsensical issues that overburden you unnecessarily. These are common in families, where you are overburdened with certain responsibilities.”
She said women tended to neglect taking good care of themselves when they were over the age of 45.
Counselling psychologist Tholinhlanhla Ngcoya emphasised the need for self-awareness.
“It is important to discover who you really are, your true self and your scars. Have the ability to identify your emotions - when you are angry, tired, sad, etc, and their effect on others,” Ngcoya said.
She added that women needed to prioritise self-care.
“Women tend to forget who they are. Without knowing yourself you will not know when you are burning out or falling into depression. You need to discover who you really are, your inner self.
“Believe in yourself and your ability. Know your worth and be confident.”
She said women tended to prioritise their children, family and work and to neglect themselves.
“It is okay to prioritise yourself. Love yourself first. For example, if you are exhausted and need some time off, you have to take the initiative and apply for your leave. You do not need to wait for anyone to take the initiative on your behalf.”
Ngcoya said women needed to get over the fact of Abantu bazothini (what will people say)?
“Do what works for you. If the marriage you are in is wrong for you, do not stay there just because you are worried about what the people will say.”
She urged women to forgive themselves for those times when they neglected self, because they did not know better.