How can mind-mapping help your health? Award-winning institutional banker, Charmaine Hunzwi, knows the power of incorporating brain exercises to stay mentally sharp.
She also knows the power of routines to support a busy schedule, alongside meditation, walking in nature and aiming to sustain energy for the long-term.
And with a morning routine that includes going through the daily papers, she’s also learnt to filter out negative news to support her mental health and take in news objectively.
Hunzwi has ten years of experience in the banking industry and is a community leader through her many roles, including President of the non-profit youth organisation, Incubate Foundation, Professional Development Director for the FINSIA Young Finance Professionals VIC/TAS Committee, member of the Inner Metropolitan Partnership board, committee member for the VMC Regional Advisory Council North West region and Blacks in Technology Australia.
She’s currently a participant in the Judith Neilson Institute x Media Diversity Australia 2022 Community Voices program and is the Creative Director and Host of the new podcast series, ‘Can We Talk About I?!’, where she and her co-host discuss the nuanced experiences of African Australians navigating life in Australia.
Hunzwi is the latest to feature in our ‘how I manage my health’ profile, a weekly health series that looks at how dynamic women of different career backgrounds maintain their physical and mental health. She answers our health questions below.
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In the morning, I…
Read the AFR and ABC News to catch up with the latest news and happenings. Both my roles as an Institutional Credit Risk Analyst and a Community Leader require me to be up to speed with current news and trends. I’ve learnt how to filter the bad news and not let it affect me personally and can read the news objectively. I also need to have my Sultana Bran as breakfast as it is good for my gut health. I have learnt to prioritise my gut health as it helps to regulate my nervous system, so a healthy gut means I can regulate my emotions and sort out my thoughts throughout the day effectively. Whenever I miss that bowl of cereal I do tend to struggle throughout the day. I also love to have a cuppa when I start my day; Peppermint tea or Hopetoun’s Fiji tea are my favourites.
My exercise routine includes…
Meditation and Mind mapping. I know, I’m a weirdo like that but that’s how I organise my thoughts. I focus a lot on brain exercise activities because both my grandparents had Dementia so that is always front of mind for me to ensure I am mentally sharp. I have been slacking with my physical exercise and it shows, but what I do love to do over the weekend is go on walking trails around the Inner Metro Melbourne area. I use the AllTrails app to discover new walking trails and challenge myself to go farther and farther. My current favourite trail is the Yarra Bend Trail Walk. I enjoy exploring and finding new routes of getting back home, and I discover new eating spots each time to add to my never-ending dining list!
My favourite workout is…
Walking. It’s easy, fun, and I discover something new each time and get to marvel at my surroundings. I have never really enjoyed going to the gym because I find the environment quite depressing. Also, I tend to become self-conscious of my body and it’s not a good headspace to be in. I’d rather be in nature and feel the breeze and the sun. I’m happy to take on a walking trail, and when my schedule is less hectic, I enjoy travelling regional for the day for walking hikes and chasing waterfalls. I am happier in nature and outdoors. Maybe when I eventually have a big enough backyard I will have a favourite workout that I can do at home…outdoors!
I find balance in…
Taking time to breathe. With the hectic schedule I often have, I try to schedule any meetings or community activities during the weekdays and have my weekends to myself. That helps me stay sane as I then allow myself the space to daydream, relax, connect with friends and family, and replenish my energy. I like to take myself out on a date on Saturdays exploring the new eateries I would have discovered while walking.
My Sundays entail a late sleep-in, house clean while listening to some Bossa Nova or Afrobeats, and tucking into a book as I get ready for the coming work week. If I end up having to work or attend community events during my weekend I compensate by using my annual leave to schedule a long weekend in the near future so I stay balanced. Surprisingly though, my community work edifies me so it does not feel like I am expending myself.
On health, I encourage women to…
Learn more about their bodies! There are so many diet fads and workout fads out there that “promise” guaranteed results. But the reality is nothing is ever guaranteed in life! I find it all a marketing gimmick because if the said “diets” and “workouts” actually worked so well why are there so many of them?! We are all different and unique. You have to get to know your body and how it reacts to different foods and exercises.
Understanding your body will help you build a lifestyle around your mental and physical wellness that you can sustain long term. Quick results never last. Find routines and exercises that work best for you. As your lifestyle changes, you also adapt your wellness habits – everything in its season. Knowing your body also helps you build self-advocacy when you notice changes and can speak to a health professional confidently as you will know yourself well enough to identify anomalies. “If you don’t make time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness!” – Anon