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What Self Care is Not

by Audrey S. Park (follow)
Change (141)      Health (117)      Self Image (48)      Self Care (37)      Media (2)      Escapism (1)     

Photo by Jesse Schoff

The concept of "self care" or "treating yourself" is a fairly popular trend these days. A lot of self help articles are about how you should "treat yourself", but what does that even mean? And more importantly, here I’d like to tell you why you shouldn’t believe even half of it.

In this context, I suppose one could describe self care as indulging in things you maybe can’t afford, or have the time to do on a daily basis. Some common examples include shopping, expensive foods, and relaxing activities that let you take a break from the stressful everyday-life. While this doesn’t sound too bad in theory, there are some fundamental problems with how some people carry it out.

One thing that I believe has contributed to this trend is that we are constantly bombarded with pictures from social media. We see celebrities and social media stars with expensive clothes, who attend lavish events and go on dream vacations, and their whole life seems to be an endless cycle of luxury. It’s only natural that we ”regular folks” would want a piece of that as well. However, because of this, we are much more prone today to become more discontent with our own lives and end up dreaming about all the things we want in life instead of actually rolling up our sleeves and working to try and make ourselves happier.

Let me first just give some examples of what self care is not: Self care is not spending $200 on bath salts when you have bills to pay. Self care is not skipping work or school to lounge around at home in your pyjamas. Self care is not jumping on the first plane to Bahamas and ignoring all of your responsibilities for two weeks. These are all prime examples of ignorance and escapism. These kinds of things are only temporary fixes for larger issues that usually require taking a look at the actual root of the problem before you can begin working it out.

I'm not saying that we should stop treating ourselves once in a while, but we can’t view occasional binging as the solutions to problems. This can easily develop into addictions or larger problems. For example, maybe you "treat yourself" by going out with your friends and partying, and you end up doing something regreattable or ruin your relationships. Maybe you go out and buy yourself a new bag every time you feel stressed and consequently end up not having enough money to buy food.

Should we be realizing our self worth through only what material things can buy us? The answer is no. The media would like us to believe that material things can buy us happiness, because that’s how they make money; that if we only buy this product or this service, we will become as calm and happy as the smiling, perfectly airbrushed models in the ads. Spoiler alert: We don't. The answer is not to lead a miserable life with the occasional fun moments, but try instead to work in improving your everyday life. Your regular life isn’t supposed to be something you want to escape from, but something you should enjoy, because every day is a chance to take care of yourself and make yourself proud, and that is how we should start viewing proper self care - start incorporanting small acts of self love into your day to day life, and you are bound to become a happier person overall than if you just allow yourself to occasionally indulge.

# Self Care
# Health
# Escapism
# Media
# Self Image
# Change
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