“61% of working Americans experience chronic work-related stress and cost American business nearly US$ 300 billion annually”, says Vuyo Temba.

And then came Covid-19, not only literally attacking people’s ability to effectively take in oxygen, but also putting additional stress on business survival and the well-being of all people involved.

During the recent episode in the IBASA & EPI Webinar Series titled Self-care as an essential element in supporting others”, Vuyo Temba, Clinical Phycologist and owners of KTM Consulting, joined webinar hosts Christoff Oosthuysen and Thobeka Poswa, along with IBASA MD Mpho Mofikoe to explore how to deal with this challenge practically.

I like the way Vuyo framed her presentation as “self-care as an enabler of productivity and wel being”.  From that context, she stressed that it is important to understand what self-care is (and what not), but also to understand that there is a business case for self-care, and have a toolkit to build your own self-care routine.

Vuyo stressed that self-care is not self-indulgence, but is self-preservation. That definitely touched a nerve for me, and I am sure many in the support industry who often feel too guilty to spend time and resources on yourself while others still need your help.

To provide the right perspective, she provided the following perspectives as the truth about self-care.

  • “Activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health,” (WHO definition).
  • “The act of engaging in activities to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health”.
  • “A multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being”.

The bottom line. “Self-case is actively taking care of your wellbeing through restorative activities”, she says.

Back to the business case. She highlighted various benefits to business of having low-stressed employees. It Improves confidence, presentation skills, focus, and time management skills. As a result, it can also help increase your business revenue, she says.

True self-care includes many domains

True self-care is clearly a multi-faceted issue and requires a holistic and pro-active approach to manage.

  • Physical self-care: Movement of the body, health, nutrition, sleep and resting needs.
  • Psychological self-care: Learning new things, practicing mindfulness and creativity.
  • Emotional self-care: Enhancing emotional literacy, navigating emotions, increasing empathy, and managing stress effectively.
  • Social self-care: Having a supportive group and network of relationships around you that you can trust and turn to.
  • Professional self-care: Sharing your strengths and gifts, having clear professional boundaries, and living your purpose.
  • Environmental self-care: Having an organized, well maintained, and clutter-free work, business, and home environment, having clean clothes, and a clean and well-maintained mode of transport.
  • Spiritual self-care: Having beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life. Some examples of spiritual self-care:
  • Financial self-care: Being responsible with your finances and having a conscious relationship with money. Some examples of financial self-care:

Step 1: Breathe properly.
Vuyo did a simple, yet powerful exercise with the attendees that emphasized to me the importance to understand the previous point. It is all connected, physical, emotional, etc.

The connection between the body (muscles), breathing correctly (something we do mostly without thinking), and relaxing / destressing, was practically experienced during this exercise. Breathing through the stomach is the 1st important point. The second is to tense and relax specific muscle groups in a sequenced process, while continuing to breathe through the stomach. Third is to visualise the stress leaving the body during the whole process.

It sounds simple and logical, but I believe it will take some regular practice to become a good habit. The positive feedback from attendees proves that this practical experience delivered great value in the webinar. But don’t take my word for it. If for nothing else, watch the breathing exercise part of the video and practice the routine.

 

  • Carel Venter is the Producer of the IBASA & EPI Webinar Series and Partner at the Entrepreneurial Planning Institute (EPI). 
  • Watch the webinar replay << here >>. 
  • Register for the next webinar scheduled for 25 February 2021, titled “Advising your clients on a growth-oriented approach to launching a business” <<here>>.