Mental Wellness Check-In with Dr. Nyarai Paweni..

Mental wellness is a positive state of mental health. It is more than the absence of mental illness. Being mentally well means that your mind is in order and functioning in your best interest. We had a chance to get a mental wellness check in from Dr Nyarai Paweni. She shares important aspects of mental wellness and what they mean to her. She also speaks with  us about how taking care of our mental wellness should become an integral part of our lifestyle and not a habit we engage in on occasion. Read on and learn more from the good doctor herself.

What is mental wellness and what does it mean to you?

Mental wellness is when you think, feel, and act in ways that create a positive impact on your overall health – physical as well as your emotional and social well-being.

For me personally, mental wellness means having a balanced body-mind-spirit connection. You’re able to cope with every-day stressors effectively and participate. However, it doesn’t mean you don’t have or never have any low/blue days or that you don’t experience anxiety or sadness. Mental wellness is taking each moment, each day and working through the challenges as best you can. So, when we’re mentally well, we have a sense of happiness, sense of meaning to our life, purpose, control of our thoughts and feelings and satisfaction with our life, our goals…

Why is mental wellness important and why should we pay attention to the state of our mental health?

Mental health enhances our physical health as much as physical health supports mental health and promotes recovery from illness when we are sick or under the weather. Mental wellness is essential in helping us “cope with life’s stresses. It enables us to reach our goals and get the best out of life. Mental wellness is very closely related to how we feel, think and act and encourages us to make healthy choices. Mental wellness is critical at every stage of life.

What are some tips we can put into practice to attain mental wellness?

  • Maintaining healthy boundaries for yourself and others so that you don’t end up resentful;
  • Craving time for yourself, be it pamper or to spending time in self reflection;
  • Ensuring you’re sleeping well;
  • Paying attention to your needs and feelings – remember you can’t pour from an empty cup;
  • Getting to know yourself while drowning out the noise from others;
  • Joining support groups or organizations, participating in workshops and events that support or foster better understanding of mental wellness and personal development;
  • Exercising – be it walking, hiking, running, cleaning the house, gardening – moving your body!
  • Deep belly breathing – there are many breathing exercises that are helpful, the simplest is breathing in via the nose, holding to the count of 4 and releasing with a sigh via the mouth;
  • Spending time in nature or with pets/animals;
  • Laughter and not always taking yourself so seriously;

How often should we practice these mental wellness tips that you have shared with us?

Mental wellness tips should actually be incorporated in one’s daily living to support mental wellbeing regularly. So, it becomes a lifestyle – whether it’s meditation, deep belly breathing, exercising, getting enough rest, finding your purpose and following it or figuring out ways to manage stress. It’s best to do a little each day than to wait until you’re in a crisis and then trying to cram it all in…

What signs should we look out for that could be warnings about the  deteriorating state of our mental health?

  • Change in moods that might include becoming easily irritated or short tempered;
  • Dramatic change in sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia;
  • Becoming socially withdrawn and no longer participating in activities that brought you joy before;
  • Increased inability to cope with life pressures;
  • Changes in your ability to function at home, work or school;
  • Having difficulty thinking or concentrating or illogical thinking;
  • Increased anxiety or fears, depression or nervousness and unusual behavior that is uncharacteristic or odd;
  • Increased feeling of apathy or disconnect from others or inability to relate well with others;
  • Increased dependence on substances, alcohol, drugs, porn, social media etc…

What can we do to improve awareness about the importance of mental wellness in our societies and workplaces?

We need to be observant and to check on others. We just need to be more aware and notice any changes in those around us and ask if they are ok. Remember early intervention goes a long way. We need to normalize the notice that it’s ok not to be “Superman/woman” – it’s ok to not be ok and to vocalize this to others you feel safe to do so with. Sharing feelings and stories helps us think through whatever we may be going through. Ideally, we need to feel comfortable seeking professional help should we need it, be it a counselor, psychologist or therapist without feeling a sense of shame/concern. Thankfully, there are now more spaces and resources that are speaking up about the importance of mental health and we need to continue to support these initiatives financially, legislatively and socially.

 We hope that after reading this you will have learned and gained a new appreciation for mental wellness and it’s importance. Let’s take time to take care of ourselves to ensure that we can live our best lives.

 Dr Nyarai Paweni is founder of Sage ReStorative Health – a holistic/natural health practice grounded in natural and integrative medicine . In addition to her naturopathic practice – she is co-founder of WIRED 2 love & thrive a mental wellness initiative that facilitates authentic, relevant and non-judgmental on and off-line interactions that promote mental, spiritual and emotional well-being with an African sensitivity. We believe everyone has an authentic voice and story to tell and by sharing your story – you make a difference for yourself and others.

 Dr Nyarai Paweni –WIRED 2 love & thrive & Sage ReStorative Health

IG/FB:@sagerhealth @wired2loveandthrive



By: Nyaradzo Ngoma



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