My female friends would attest that I am an advocate for self-care. I am a cheerleader, shouting affirmations like, get that massage! Take that class! Book that flight! I’m all about encouraging others to do things that instinctively make them feel good and contribute to a positive state of well-being. We all deserve that, right?
The idea of self-care is not new. Originally promoted by medical professionals as a means to inspire healthy behavior, the philosophy of self-care was explored and perpetuated by feminists and philosophers, including the renowned French philosopher Michel Foucault, who believed that care of self leads to ultimate freedom. After the 2016 election, the term experienced a robust renaissance (I wonder why?) and proliferated on social media. And as with most things, the gaining popularity opened the marketing floodgates. Google the term “self-care” and you will get over 1.19 billion hits. It’s no surprise that the self-care business is BIG, but is the constant barrage of comprehensive lists, tips, activities, products, diets, and beauty routines in the name of self-care really necessary? Search #selfcare on Instagram and images of impeccable manicures, cake, and bathtubs filled with fruit and rose petals are generated.
How is cake justified as self-care?
With the resurgence of society’s obsession and over marketing of the self-care lifestyle, the essence of the practice has been diluted and the purpose submerged beneath the promotion of various products and services. What may be endorsed as self-care are really just ostensible activities that provide a superficial and often temporary state of well-being and neglect to really delve deep into what the true meaning of self-care really is.
Real self-care is done on a consistent basis and should not be limited to a biweekly mani/pedi or scheduled massage. But rather, time set aside every day to check in with our mind, heart and gut and bestow some love on ourselves. It is crucial to our physical and mental health that we are consistently aware of our feelings and emotions; recognizing what we are grateful for and what are we lacking; conscious of what we need and what can we give; identifying our thought and behavior patterns; and acknowledging what puts us at ease and what distresses us. We need time to get to know ourselves. Because really being aware of who we are as individuals, lends to the strength of our relationships and how we interact with others.
We all hold purpose in this world and abide by and adhere to the responsibilities of our various roles, whether they fall within the realm of partner, parent, professional, or offspring. Nonetheless, it can get damn exhausting, which is why we need to show up, touch base and allow ourselves a chance to recharge and replenish the energy that we emit on a regular basis.