The CEO of WDB Investment Holdings, Faith Khanyile, talks candidly about emotional and physical wellness during lockdown and the importance of creating boundaries during these unpredictable times. By Denise Slabbert
A Balancing Act
The one thing you will always get from Faith Khanyile is a straight answer. She is never shy to speak her mind, and as the lockdown begins to ease and the country moves to Level 3, Faith has taken the time to honestly reflect back at the last two months.
“It has all been pretty overwhelming,” she admits. “The fact that there is no separation between home life and work life has been difficult. There have been times when I have really battled with being productive – between juggling home-schooling, family expectations, lengthy online meetings and actually doing the work. I would sometimes find that I was in meetings all afternoon and my day would stretch into the evening until 7 or 8pm and that really didn’t work for me in terms of stress management and balance.”
Faith says that creating boundaries and having a cut-off point for work in her day has been essential, and having some kind of routine has also helped. She has also leant on various coping tools in order to ensure that her stress levels are not out of kilter.
A keen runner (with 3 Comrades Marathons under her belt) Faith has continued running, even during Level 5 when she would run around her garden. Her 10-year-old son, Sine, has been an inspiration on the fitness side of things, having made a promise to his school to do at least 2km a day, which they kept up throughout Level 5.
She says, “Level 4 has been easier and I have been running four to five times a week. The truth is that if I don’t run I feel down and unable to deal with stress. I have also brought in some yoga and some stretching to my routine. The stretching is really important, for neck and back strain – especially sitting in front of my computer for a large part of the day.”
“The truth is that if I don’t run I feel down and unable to deal with stress. I have also brought in some yoga and some stretching to my routine. The stretching is really important, for neck and back strain – especially sitting in front of my computer for a large part of the day.”
Her daughter, Zano, is back at home and loves to cook, which means the family has been experimenting with all sorts of new tastes and flavours.
“She is very health conscious and we have been trying a lot of different things, including Beyond Meat products. She also likes baking, and it’s been great to try different foods.”
Faith has also used other coping mechanisms, such as meditation and writing her thoughts down daily in a journal. She has also been strict with herself when it comes to exposure to negative news.
“In the first few weeks of lockdown, I was constantly on social media and listening to the news. It was really affecting me negatively,” she says. “I realise that the one thing I can control is my news and social media consumption. So I was very deliberate and almost went completely off social media.”
She says she also limited her interaction with WhatsApp and the many fake news videos and articles going around.
“I have become a lot more selective with what I choose to expose myself to,” says Faith.
She takes time to properly relax with her family, watching some Netflix on the weekend and a whole lot of reading, which is one of her favourite past-times.
Faith says these special moments have really helped her to stay sane, and she says keeping in touch with her team has also been very important for her, on an emotional level.
“We really need to constantly keep checking in with ourselves and try to keep a balance. It’s also a time to really be kind – to others and…ourselves.”
“It’s very important to feel supported and try to navigate this uncertain time. Different people are going through different things and we need to be open with each other, and communicate as honestly as we can. I also encourage my team to talk to a professional if they need to and make use of what is on offer by our medical aid, for instance. There are some great (free) wellness tools are out there.”
She says that when the time is right to go back to the office, all the necessary procedures will be in place, and says workplace wellness needs to become a priority not only for WDB Investment Holdings but for all companies going forward.
“Never before has our mental and physical health been so important,” she says, “We really need to constantly keep checking in with ourselves and try to keep a balance. It’s also a time to really be kind – to others and … ourselves.”