The Problem With Self Care
A hundred years ago there was less. Less distractions, less to-dos, less toys that filled up our days trying to convince us we were saving time. There was however more. More connection, more community, more time spent in the areas that mattered.
This, I know, is looking at the past with rose colored glasses, but on some level it’s completely true. The more I witness technology and our need to do more, the more I think we’ve completely lost our way.
There is no better example of this than the craze of self care. It’s a term and lifestyle I’ve bought into for sure (It’s a 13 billion dollar industry. I would hope that their marketing would work on me.) but one I’m slowly seeing is just as toxic as so many trends in our society.
Self care to me meant taking time for yourself, doing less, and having space in your life. I still believe in all of these things but the methods of going about it start to be just one more to-do or cost, or thing that I’m not good enough at. Self care turned into something I could photograph for Instagram but not actually feel the benefits.
One example of this is my yoga practice. I love yoga. I am a certified teacher with no desire to actually teach, but love what this practice and philosophy has done for my life. AND when it’s warm outside and the weather is nice, the last place on earth I want to be is in a yoga studio. I want to be in my garden playing with my flowers or laying in the sun soaking up the warmth. You might read this and say, okay so do that. But the guilt of not getting a movement practice in at least 2x a week was filling me with guilt–I wasn’t doing it right. So doing the thing that actually provided “self care” made me feel guilty because I wasn’t doing what the self care industry has told me I have to do be doing.
This same story has applied to my diet, my skin care routine, how much or little I see my community, and more. Self care has become one more thing I’m not good enough at and feel guilty over. So I’ve decided I’m done with it.
Instead, I’m tuning in and seeing how things make me feel in my own body (no Goop needed to know if it’s right or wrong). Spending time at my easel, tending to my garden, meeting up with friends when it feels right and not as one more thing to check off my list. Essentially I’m taking the pressure off of having to do it all and more importantly having to do it all right (at least right for anyone else but me).
I believe in going slow. I believe in stepping away from work, prioritizing family, and remembering to find the magic in the everyday. Most of all, I believe in listening to yourself, because you have more answers than you know, you just have to tune out all the noise around you and give yourself permission. If you need, I give you permission to do whatever it is you know you need right now. And sometimes that just might be a time in the garden and not in the studio, or even a bloody Dr. Pepper, sugar be damned!
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