Inspired by Dr Nokukhanya Khanyile

Dr Nokukhanya Khanyile is a mental health advocate and change-maker who uses her platforms to empower her supporters. As a medical doctor, Dr Khanyile qualified in 2015 after completing her diploma at the University of Witwatersrand and her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degrees there. In her work, she aims to facilitate difficult mental health conversations by equipping women with tools for healing and support. She is also the vice president of Mental Matters. 


Nowadays, what are you most grateful for?

I’m most grateful for healthy, happy family

What is the most surprising thing about being a new mom?

I didn’t think it would come this naturally to me, but Liepollo also makes it easy for me. 

How has becoming a mother changed you?

The experience has resulted in my growing awareness of the importance of family and support, as it does take a village to raise a child as well as to maintain my mental health. 

Which wellness practices helped you stay balanced through pregnancy and the during last year?

Prayer and worship every day, continual exercises with Watson, and not comparing or complaining about how my experience wasn't like others'. Additionally, instead of comparing myself with others or complaining about life, I take each week as it comes.

How are you navigating the ‘new normal’ when it comes to spending more time at home with your family?

I'm doing my best to organise routines and activities that we do as a family so that we are always able to spend time together, even when life gets busy.

Tell us about your self-care routine as a mom and how you find time for it!

While my self-care varies from day to day, it always includes a workout or yoga session and a little downtime with my husband. We find time because we have a nanny during the week, as well as my mom who helps with babysitting when we need it.

Do you feel that new mom pressure to get back in shape immediately?

I do not feel the pressure and as for my weight, I got back to my pre-baby weight relatively quickly. I have been focusing more on getting back to the fitness and strength I had before I got pregnant. 

Do you have any personal mantras or rituals you use on days when you’re feeling off?

I always remind myself that “I’m just a real girl in a big world tasked by an awesome God to save little people”. In addition to this, I also play a truly powerful worship song and sing at the top of my lungs.

What is the most important lesson you have learned about success?

In my experience, I have found success more satisfying when it stems from my actions as a servant. It is in those moments that I realise I am living a life that has a greater purpose. 

How do you deal with periods characterised by a lack of inspiration or procrastination in your life and work?

I use those periods as an opportunity to regroup and reassess whether I'm overworking or putting too much pressure on myself. It gives me a chance to re-align my focus to the right tasks.

What advice would you offer to people who may have a big vision about having the courage to put themselves out there and follow their goals and take risks?

The tasks that make you the best are ones that challenge you the most, so if you're having fear or difficulty, just hold on to your vision, focus on it, and you'll be fine.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to be remembered as a woman who was authentic and fulfilled her purpose in helping people and communities and people feel empowered to thrive in their physical, mental and spiritual/emotional health. 

Your parting wisdom?

Instead of saying “I have to do x”, say “I get to do x”. By changing your outlook to one of gratitude, you find that you will be willing to do and be more.

Top 5 things you'd want to take with you anywhere you go (non necessities).

- My phone, laptop, jelly babies, rusks and air pods.

What's your drink and why?

My favourite drink is Jameson (whisky) because it is smooth and does not leave me with a hangover the next day. 😂


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