Self care. That’s the buzzword that seems to be everywhere nowadays. You’ll find it trending on social media, emblazoned on t-shirts, praised alongside photos of bath bombs and “treat yo’self” attitudes. All of that is wonderful – I mean, who doesn’t like to indulge in something that makes them feel good once in a while? But in the thicket of hashtags and filters, we lose the plot of what self-care actually represents and how different it is for everyone.
Right now, we live in an extremely overwhelming world. The political climate is terrifying, the rights of everyone, other than cishet, white, middle-to-upper-class men, are being taken away with a snap of political leaders’ fingers. Nazis are back, racism is surging, assaults and murder headline the news every single day, consumerism is at a high, and wages are at a low.
The stress of any one of those things can negatively affect your health, but all of them together? Non-stop? That can cause some pretty significant issues. We’re talking migraines, depression, weakened immune systems, and vascular problems, just to name a few.
Cue the self-care.
Our minds and our bodies need a break. We need a breather from the constant barrage of bad news or we will never find peace. For many, that could mean simply taking some time off from work and the news, and watching a movie, reading a book, or treating yourself to the $20 wine instead of the $10. It’s the more relaxing aspects of self-care that we usually see when self-care is talked about.
For many others, though, especially those who live with already existing health issues, disabilities, mental illness, or oppression, it can mean just doing the mundane, boring things that we’ve put off because we didn’t have the energy or mental stability to focus on them before. These are the basic necessities of life that are so often taken for granted: hygiene, eating properly, doing laundry, taking medication, paying bills, and having a regular sleep schedule.
These boring acts of recovery from life are much more to the point of self-care than anything else. They may be less exciting or noteworthy than sharing an Instagram photo of that rose-gold sheet mask and gourmet ice cream with the Sierra filter for the aesthetic, but they are the things that genuinely feel like looking after yourself. And that’s the whole intention, right? Taking care of your needs, whatever they may be, so that you can continue to do things like work and be out in the world to the best of your ability.
Self-care is common now for a reason. What was once a fun excuse to relax is now a necessity because of they way we are forced to live. It isn’t just trendy, it’s ESSENTIAL to our survival. So while we all like (and deserve) to have that “treat yo’self” moment, don’t discount the basic #boringactsofrecovery. They are the things that keep you going.