• Friday, March 01, 2024
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BusinessDay

Choosing genuine self-care over a curated public image

Importance of selfcare routines for physical wellbeing

Amaka walked excitedly into her flat with the many shopping bags she was carrying in both hands. She had just returned from New York two weeks before and had done a lot of shopping too but Nigerian brands were so good that she just had to take advantage of the Black Friday Sales to spoil herself a little. She was a strong advocate of the soft ‘babygirl’ life and she made sure she took good care of herself as frequently as possible.

She was single and earned a great salary as a Human Resources manager in a Fintech company. Life was good. As she settled in to unpack her bags, the doorbell rang announcing Folake’s arrival. Her excitement doubled as she knew that her bestie was the best companion for post-shopping unpacking. The last thing she remembered was hugging Folake before everything went black.

When she woke up she was lying in a hospital bed with a bag of blood hanging by her side, receiving a blood transfusion. Across the room was a sofa in which Folake was curled up in, fast asleep. Feeling too weak to call out, she shut her eyes and soon drifted off to sleep again.

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Amaka woke up to find Folake standing beside her bed with a mock-serious look on her face. “Fine girl, are you trying to kill yourself? You have been globe-trotting with very low blood levels. You fainted 2 days ago and they found out that you are anaemic and also have some serious vitamin deficiencies. You are the queen of the soft life now, so what’s going on now?”

The three weeks she spent on admission in the hospital gave Amaka adequate time to think about the version of soft life she had subscribed to, because she had obviously neglected her personal wellness while living the ‘babygirl’ life considering her near-death experience. She shuddered to think of what would have happened if Folake had not visited when she did and was grateful that she had a sensible friend who was holding her accountable every step of the way.

“So what have you been feeding on, Amaka?” She didn’t know how to answer the question that Folake threw at her. She ate out a lot because she loved to try new restaurants, especially those that were good for taking pictures for the ‘Gram’. She had not been intentional about feeding her body with healthy nutritious food, and when she wasn’t eating out she was usually too tired to cook so it was noodles all the way. Fruits and vegetables also didn’t feature in her meal plans, and she thought Multivitamin supplements were a waste of time.

Amaka had premium gym registration but hardly worked out. Her best part of her exercise plan was shopping for sexy workout clothes that flattered her figure. She knew all the areas in the gym where the best photos could be taken. As a baby girl, her soft life moves had to be visible. Her social media activities had boosted her career a lot and she was totally invested in that.

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On the day after her discharge, Folake took Amaka to the salon to get her hair done. Amaka literally lived in wigs and sewn-in weaves and Folake had assumed that her friend was practising protective styling. When the stylist undid the weave, it was a shocker that greeted Folake. Her friend’s scalp was covered in bald patches from longstanding neglect and neither Amaka nor the stylist appeared shocked.

“Gosh! Amaka how can you be doing this to yourself while putting on a glamorous show for the world? You are more concerned about your public image and you’re investing a lot in how people see you but you’re showing your own self appalling self-care. You’re serving high quality to the world and very low quality to yourself. They are not the same thing and I think you really need to put your wellness first”, Folake said.

It was a very aware Amaka that understood that self-care is her intentional nourishment of her own body and mind to enhance her personal health and productivity so that she would thrive and therefore decided that going forward, she would prioritise self-care.