The self-care business is booming.
Everywhere I look, there are tips, products, TED talks and social media posts about the importance of self-care, and the consequences of not getting enough.
I have nothing against self-care, per se. I took a recent quiz entitled “How High Maintenance Are You?” and scored almost embarrassingly high. Truth is, I like my massages, my freshly manicured nails and my complicated lattes. I enjoy my boutique barre classes and my afternoon walks.
I’m here, however, to share an alternative, possibly divisive, viewpoint, which is this:
Let’s focus less on our increasing need for self-care, and more on creating lives we don’t need to escape from in the first place.
What Are We Running From?
I truly believe that our increased obsession with self-care stems from our over-full, increasingly stressful, never-enough culture.
As our lives becomes more chaotic, we try to compensate with fancy chocolates, buying a new outfit, or taking a bubble bath.
As a society, we’ve lost the art of taking our emotional and psychological temperature, of knowing when we need to take a step back, to slow down. We overdo it on all fronts, and our filled-to-bursting schedules are a testament to this.
Even worse, we’re told to schedule self-care into our calendars, as if without doing this, we’d never remember to make time for ourselves. Or, scary thought, is this really the case? If we don’t pencil in “exercise-30 minutes” or “take deep breaths” on an ordinary Tuesday, is it possible we may forget to do these things altogether?
What I’m Doing Instead
Truth be told, there is nothing wrong with meditating, or giving myself a treat, or spending more time in nature. All of these things are positive, and, dare I say, essential to a happy life.
Instead, what I’m suggesting is slightly more complex.
Let’s focus our energies on working to construct lives we don’t regularly need to escape from. Lives where such pleasures as exercise and laughter and naps aren’t seen as extravagant self-care strategies that need to be penciled into our calendar, but everyday occurrences.
Let’s not discard the notion of self-care altogether, but instead make caring for ourselves and our bodies a bedrock and basis of our lives, every hour, every day.
I know, I know. It’s not that easy. We have jobs, children, and commitments that demand our time and attention. But I daresay we’re not entirely powerless.
Let’s begin by acknowledging that while our lives are hectic, and our schedules are swamped, we intentionally want to commit to taking a step back.
Then, before saying “yes” to an activity, committee or event, take a pause and consider whether this new responsibility will add or subtract value to your life.
Let’s take the time to think about our boundaries, and determining if new ones need to be erected in order to protect our selves and our time. Keeping in mind that this isn’t a temporary change, let’s work to create margin and restructure the building blocks of our lives (as much as we feasibly and reasonably can).
It IS possible to build a life you love. A life where self-care is ingrained into our routine and not something we reach for when life becomes overwhelming.
Won’t you join me?