Why We’ve Been Getting Self-Care Completely Wrong
self care > #selfcare
The problem with self-care is that it's got a certain ring to it. Matchy, color-coded Instagrams, prancing into the office with a green smoothie and lunchtime yoga at that experimental art space. Self-care is announcing you’re going on a 10 mile run to unwind or telling the world you’re going on a 10 day juice detox just because you deserve it. Self-care has become a ‘trend’; an overpriced bowl of porridge in a London breakfast deli and a hashtag for ironic Instaposts of someone walking pensively through a forest with the caption, “FINALLY getting a break from social media!!!” The self-care girl is laid-back, cool, employable and would probably give you some lower than average advice to just let go when there’s something going on that you absolutely cannot let go of.
What I’m saying is, self-care has become a trend, a fad and a buzzword. And it’s annoying at best.
The worst thing about all this? In a world full of color coding, early wake ups, busy days, unaffordable city living and inescapable internet one-upping, the one thing we actually need to be doing is looking after ourselves… taking care of ourselves… or, I guess, giving ourselves some self-care.
And that’s exactly what self-care was before it became the pressured, forced trend that, for the sake of differentiation, we can call #selfcare. Self-care should be, of course, a way of nurturing our mental and physical wellbeing, curing ourselves of stresses and toxicity (be that negative people, situations or threats to our physical health) and injecting relaxation and balance into a 2017 lifestyle that can very easily get too much. #selfcare, obviously, is the humble-brag hashtag on an average-looking Instapost of a mason jar of overnight oats. Or the trend of online faux ‘perfect living’, posted for the sake of maintaining an image. And what’s important here is to consciously define the two terms separately to realise when we’re using the word with careful and intentional care for our overall wellbeing (self care - i.e. actually caring for ourselves) and when we’re using the term to be trendy, cool and chill AF on the internet (#selfcare). In between these two definitions lies ‘self-care’, the word ambiguously lying between the two, for posers trying to make genuine self care cool and saleable like #selfcare, and – more likely – for people trying to make naff #selfcare into something we should actually be taking very very seriously (self care). To avoid confusion, I vote we just throw that word out right about here.
But what should we do with #selfcare? Well, if we binned #selfcare, we might just induce a wall-street crash of the blogging world overnight… and I’m not sure I want to be the one to call that. What really needs to happen, as I say, is a conscious differentiation. That means taking genuine time to care for your mental and physical self away from the internet. That also means not feeling even a tiny glimmer of “oh shit, should I being doing that too?” when you see someone on Instagram doing staged pilates on a balcony. Because if they’ve had the time to awkwardly hold that pose while their housemate stands in their pyjamas taking that photo, then they’re probably more interested in likes than anything else, and you’re not on Instagram to mimic or feel intimidated by other people’s journey to self-validation. It’s also important to say that while I’m obviously not slamming morning mediation, lunchtime yoga, running or good, healthy food, the #selfcare-y and unnecessary internet flashing of these things is just not what healthy living is about. #selfcare is a just an empty label, and we’re over it.
For more realist chat about self love, head here.