The Myth of Consumer Self-Care

Today I was in yoga class and my teacher brought up living a life without excess, without extremes. To bask and embrace the mundane, steadiness of everyday life.  As humans we sometimes feel like we have to always be moving and always striving. There is a lot to just “being” in the world, there is profound healing in being “seen” in the world by someone else.

I talk about self-care often, and recently I read this post from Brianna Wiest in Thought Catalog. Where she discusses how self-care can often be a very unbeautiful thing. That many times people mis-interperet self-care as a way to “escape” your life and indulge by spending money, buying more things and living a life of excess. Advertisers have used manipulative advertising campaigns to try to convince you that self-care is all about spending money and extreme luxury. In Wiest words, this is “consumer self-care.”

True self-care is the exact opposite. Self-care is about creating a life that nurtures and feeds your soul. To love and accept exactly who you are in the moment, and in many ways to enjoy being normal and ordinary. Self-care is not about “fixing” yourself it is about supporting your life and living with intention.
If you are up to your ears in credit card debt, getting massages, going to expensive yoga classes, and eating out might seem like the right thing to do for yourself… but if you can’t afford it, then you are actually self-sabotaging yourself.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be…
• picking up a good book
• taking a bath
• going out for a walk and enjoying nature
• having tea with a good friend
• turning off your electronic devices at 9pm and getting a good night sleep
• cooking healthy meals at home, packing your lunch for work
• having time in your day, what I call “time margin” to talk to your neighbors or help a friend in need, to not feel rushed

The biggest gift we can give ourselves in this fast paced world, is time!  One of the best self-care gifts you can give yourself is the gift of time.  How can you create more downtime and margin in your life?  Rather than watch TV, can you choose to go for a walk instead? Rather than be on social media, can you call a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile?  Rather than go on a shopping spree, take a nice hot bath and read a good book.  Making wise choices is at the root of true self-care and it requires intentional effort and discipline, but the benefits are infinite.

Here’s to being “true” to your self-care journey.

In Health,