Why Self-Care is More Than Just Mindless Capitalism
“Self-care.” It has been a buzzword for a few years now, often mocked and just as often used unironically. Self-care has entered our modern day lexicon, but what is it exactly? Is it aromatherapy? Books on meditation? Drinking enough kombucha to bring probiotic balance to your gut? Or perhaps it’s bath bombs, journals in loopy cursive saying “Embrace Your Dreams,” or escaping to a ski resort. What do all of these things have in common? They all imply that purchasing something is the first step to self-care. Not taking five minutes to just breathe, talking to a friend, or even doing something that would probably benefit you in the long term such as changing your sheets, watering your plants, or stepping out for a short walk. Instead, much of modern-day self-care is more than just lifestyle changes.
We now live in a world where depression and anxiety have unintentionally become romanticized and, as such, it has become aspirational to show how you’re taking care of yourself on social media. Whether it means showing off your freshly manicured nails or your cutely misspelled name on a matcha latte cup, self-care is now far removed from its original purpose and meaning: a way to stay healthy both physically and mentally, and instead has become another way to peddle products consumers don’t necessarily need or want. We live in a society that constantly pushes us to spend, spend, and spend some more to meet the expectations we hold for ourselves based on ideals we find in others. Self-care is now just a common term to slap on anything and everything without taking time to consider that we might be cluttering our living spaces with more objects we don’t need while failing to keep a healthy bank account balance. The solution is to learn the difference between buying something you need and something you’re merely told you need.
To take care of yourself, you first and foremost need to ensure that you are living your best life financially, socially, academically, and professionally. Having strong healthy relationships with those you love, volunteering, giving back, and doing something creative are all ways to fill in the need that many of us have to make an impact on the world, or to escape the buzz and confusion of our rapidly-changing environment. Create something, plant the seed of your legacy and realize that what time we have here on earth is short, make the most of it and leave it better than how you left it—that’s what self-care is for me; taking care of myself so I can continue to help others without burning out. And that’s far more important, personally speaking, than just dropping money I should be putting towards my student loans on yet another face mask.