Self-care, is it anything more than avocado toast and succulents? This billion-dollar industry and millennial trend has always confused me.
It has commercialised face masks, bath bombs and essential oils. Not to mention the candle-lit baths and yoga mornings taking social media by storm. For a generation that has reported high levels of anxiety, stress and burnout, this trend fits like a glove, luring us in, all to take better care of ourselves through aesthetically pleasing environments. But what if it doesn’t work for you?
Am I the only one who thinks we have just dived in not really questioning it? We google Korean face masks, write out fancy Pinterest-worthy quotes or try a yoga class and expect these activities to just wash the stress away, leaving us feeling shiny and new. What if though that’s just not going to help? If we don’t fit that frame? If our mental health issues can’t be helped with a bath or the gym?
Dr. Deborah Serani, researcher and writer for Psychology Today says: “Self-care is asking yourself ‘what do I need?’ and doing activities to keep you healthy and nurtured. It is care provided for you, by you”. I hear that, I really do understand. This type of self-care provides instant relief, helping us sleep better but let’s just state the obvious- it’s not exactly going to help our overall mental wellbeing.
When you’re struggling with mental health, brushing your teeth and changing your outfit can be hard. A bath bomb, face mask or yoga routine isn’t going to help, I know it and so many others do too.
Having said that, guess what? I still feel guilty. Whether that is comparing my wellness journey to a girl on Instagram or that knot in my stomach when I skip a workout, I feel GUILTY. When I go out rather than have a cosy night-in or choose crisps over hummus, I feel GUILTY. Rather than rant or complain much more though, let’s get into what you can do and what has helped me if you too are the girl struggling with this self-care phenomenon.
Listen to your body
Your mind cannot function if your body isn’t tuned in. Take a break every once in a while to listen to your body. Start noticing if you haven’t had water in a long time, or if your shoulders are hunched. These small changes will soon become habits. It might not seem life-changing but it’s a great start.
Find relatable content
The perks of having self-care be a trend is that, in millennial fashion, there’s plenty of information out there. Try the you feel like shit interactive game. It gives you suggestions and tips on how to deal with several scenarios ranging from physical and/or emotional needs and mental health issues. Check out @tinycarebot too. Jonny Sun uses this account to tweet personal reminders to take care of yourself.
Understand your needs
There’s plenty of helpful content out there, but remember that self-care is about your needs. There are a lot of ideas out there for those who feel a little lost but it takes trial and error. Bullet journaling, grocery shopping, dog walking… only you know what works best for you. Just remember: any moment that you’re taking care of yourself is doing self-care right.
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