As parents, we need to understand the importance of self-care and how to maintain it. The reality is that if we do not take proper care of ourselves, we cannot be the best parents we need to be.
At our 7th Annual Parenting Conference, we discussed the importance of self-care and how to maintain it. We had this conversation with Mrs Joycee Awosika; an entrepreneur, economist, and the founder/CEO of ORIKI group. She enlightened us on the importance of self-care and the best ways to go about it. Read also Highlights from the 7th Annual Parenting Conference
She discussed how people find self-care as being overrated and also how difficult it is to go about it. But it is actually essential, and we need to prioritize it.
In reality, self-care is all about being intentional and being deliberate. A lot of mums have heard the statement that if we’re not taking care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? It is a true statement because, when you are your best, you can be your best for others.
She started by saying that self-care, in general, encourages us to be in a healthy relationship with ourselves so we can transmit those good feelings to others; such as our children, spouses, colleagues, staff, and so on. So it is important to be intentional about the relationship you have with yourself. She went on to use the acronym of S.E.L.F.C.A.R.E to discuss the importance of self-care and how to maintain it.
S.E.L.F.C.A.R.E and how to maintain it
S for Stress Management
She stated that self-care helps with stress management. She made an example that Lagos is supposedly one of the most stressful places to live.
When it comes to the importance of self-care, it is important to be very deliberate about taking a stress management approach to your life. Like taking a deliberate break, indulging yourself, how are the ways to do it at home? If you can, take a bubble bath, soak yourself in some essential oils, have some Me-time or quiet time.
And also have a spa session; it may be all about budget sometimes on what you choose to do but you can actually budget for it, or even find ways to give yourself a spa-like feel inside your home.
Stress Management is a very critical thing, and she wants us to think about the stressors in our lives and how we can approach handling them.
As a parent, you’re working on taking care of younger ones and as they are reliant upon you, it can be very stressful. So it’s very key to ensure that you are being deliberate about taking a break.
E for Eating Well
She posed the question that, how many of us know that your relationship with food is all about balance? It is important to have a good relationship with food. Ask questions such as; Are we eating enough of our fruits and veggies? Do we realize the importance of having different colours in your diet? Do we have your greens, reds, orange, and so on?
Are we ensuring that we’re eating a balanced diet? And are we cutting out processed foods as much as possible? Our diet contributes to how we feel emotionally. So oftentimes, stress can come from how we’re eating; we’ve heard of the term ‘stress eating’ as well, we can be stressed and be eating poorly.
One of the tools that she says she uses is a meal plan. She has a meal plan for her children; and thought, “Why not have one for me so that I can at least see what I’m eating in a week?”. It made a big difference in how she felt. Self-care again is putting yourself in the driver’s seat, ensuring that you are being intentional about how you feel and your relationship with yourself.
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L for Leverage help from others
She stated that a lot of us Supermums and Superwomen; everyone relies upon us, we are juggling so many different demands, and it comes with the nature of the game. This idea of being a superhero is one of the most critical things when it comes to the importance of self-care.
In reality, a wise person and a wise woman is someone who is going to leverage help from others when possible when you realize that you can’t do it all.
So what does that look like? You can outsource whatever you can. You can outsource according to your budget and outsource to those who are willing to help you for free as well; if you have a spouse in the home, that can take on responsibility for you, or if you are working, employed, and you need to, share some of the responsibilities that are given to you with other team members.
Or if you’re an entrepreneur, and you are managing staff, have you delegated? Have you outsourced? Have you required that they give their best and require that they live up to your expectations and the responsibilities that have been given to them? Do they have key performance indicators? All these are important because one of the things that happen is burnout. And oftentimes, of course, whenever you see someone who’s experienced burnout, you know that self-care has been compromised.
F for Fitness
This topic is what people talk about a lot when they talk about self-care. Are you healthy? She stated that she has many demands on herself; her children are young, as she is still very active and involved.
But then she realized that her fitness is one thing that she was not going to compromise. Sharing her daily routine, every morning, she does a one-hour workout; as she enjoys workout classes.
So if you could find a fitness studio that has classes, there are some sure benefits to fitness and it boosts your mood. It reduces stress, and anxiety, and also helps shed some extra weight; it also helps you tone and keeps your heart healthy. When you increase your heart rate, you make it active; you are essentially impacting your body positively and helping your body to be much more fit.
Another way if you can’t get up and drive to the gym is to go for a walk.
“During the pandemic, I didn’t have the gym, so what did I do, I got a bike and I rode my bike through the neighbourhood for an hour every day; and then I started walking the dogs and taking my kids for walks”. – Joycee
So whatever you can do to inculcate getting some walk-in; like 30, 45, 60 minutes, whatever fits you, try your best and hang on, and you will begin to notice and feel a difference.
C for Communication
Furthermore, she stated that some of us carry so much baggage, and we need an outlet. There are so many things that we are carrying on our shoulders, and we just need someone to speak to about it. The importance of self-care cannot be overemphasized and communication plays a large part here.
We need to open up and talk about the things that are plaguing us, and it sometimes is the deal-breaker. Sometimes it can be the catalyst to changing the way you feel, which is what self-care is all about; your relationship with yourself, your emotions, your mood, just being able to talk and dump it out. We’re not built to just keep everything inside of us.
Also communicate with God daily, communicating and sharing what’s in your heart, and having that two-way communication with him is important; It has been a life-changer for her, as she encourages us to communicate.
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A for Affirmations
She stated that what you speak, your words, are very powerful. What you say is what you manifest, it is important to know that your words carry weight.
You need to create your ideal state of well being through your words. You can start with simple affirmations; put your affirmations on your mirror in your bathroom, and repeat them every week.
You can put them in your journal, on your computer background screen with word affirmations. Just positive declarations about who you are, how you feel, what you’re going to become, what you’re going to achieve, and you can start very simple; such as, ‘I will practise self-kindness’, ‘Life is beautiful’, ‘I care for myself’, ‘Each day is filled with joy’.
Read Also [100 Affirmations for an abundant life]
She gave an example of when, during the pandemic, she did a 90-day challenge where she said affirmations each day and compiled them, and covered them in areas of her life; affirmations for family, well being, health, finances, businesses, marriage.
So it’s important to go out and say affirmations daily to yourself because the words that you speak will be ultimately what you create.
R for Relaxation
What time of day can you carve out for yourself to just relax. She stated one of the ways that she relaxes is by putting on her my AirPods, put some worship music on, and lay down. And just let her mind get lost in the words and chill. Sometimes it’s also reading a book. But everyone’s relaxation is very different because it needs to be something in which you can plug and unplug for a bit, and you need to identify when you can do it.
She also realized that on the first day of every month, she wanted to spend some time being deliberate about thinking about the month that she was in; relaxing, having some me time, figure out a way to be intentional and deliberate about carving out that time in your schedule to indulge.
She mentioned bubble bath as creating a spa in your home, or whenever the kids are asleep, you can get some me time and think. It is important to remember that relaxation is an important part of self-care
E for Elimination
She stated that she believes in the power of using elimination when it comes to the importance of self-care. And to think along the lines of whatever no longer serves you, then you need to eliminate it.
It is the same way that our body needs to detox from time to time. She advised that we need to be able to eliminate things in our lives that we don’t need to be bothered doing, and it cuts across different parts.
She cited an example of her business where it is important to her to eliminate workload that doesn’t belong to her and delegate it to those it belongs to.
So if you notice that your time and energy are going to efforts that don’t get you into your top 80% of results, then you want to flip it and focus on the 20% and eliminate the rest.
She concluded the discussion by telling us to remember that self-care is about intentionality. You may not be able to do this all at one time. But pick out the things that are most important to you that are the low hanging fruits and begin to do them.
You can catch the replay of the LagosMums Parenting Conference stream here on the LagosMums YouTube Channel