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Staying mentally healthy with Chef Julz Henao

World Mental Health Day, celebrated on 10 October, draws attention to mental health and its importance. Kina Bank brand ambassador, Julian Henao not only advocates to eat healthy and cook meals using fresh organic ingredients, mental health and wellbeing is also close to his heart.

Julz Henao of the Healthy Food Company

Chef Julz shares his personal experiences and a few things all of us can do to stay mentally healthy and care for each other.

Why do you think is mental health important to you?

Mental Health is very important to me as it has a direct effect on how I feel, emotionally and physically. It effects my day to day living by affecting the way I handle all types of situations and relationships.

Can you tell us a bit about why you choose to advocate on the topic of mental health on your platforms and through the work your company The Healthy Food Co. does…

I advocate strongly for Mental Health because I strongly believe a lot of the issues our societies face stem from mental health issues. I also advocate strongly for mental health awareness due to my career in hospitality. I have had some dear friends in the industry – including myself – who have been affected by mental health issues throughout our career paths, due to the nature of the industry.

We all feel and are familiar with stress, be it work stress or other pressures. What do you do to help you cope with stress on a daily basis?

I work out as much as I can. I’ve also started to meditate which has been fantastic as it helps me to manage my breathing and to focus. I try and maintain a daily routine as well which keeps me on track.

Can you also share with us other simple practical tips on how we can stay mentally healthy?

I can only speak from experience. I know when I get lots of sleep I’m more ready to handle the next day on all levels. I’m a firm believer in exercising whether it be a session at the gym or simply walking. This helps me feel better.

There is a stigma around conversations centred around mental health in Papua New Guinea; how do you approach the topic with your peers/family?

Just by talking and opening up. Also to understand that everyone is fighting their own battles. It’s important to be understanding of other people’s situation.

What action or gesture would you like to encourage others to do today on World Mental Health day?

Simply talking and opening up about our feelings and emotions. The question “R YOU OK ? is very powerful. If we could all ask this simple question I think we would definitely all benefit.

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