I love indulging in things once in a while. I spend, and I log my purchase(s) under self-care on my budget tracker.
But recently, I keep finding myself wanting more things because according to Instagram and Pinterest, you’re not practicing self-care if you don’t have a jade roller and an overpriced journal from Anthropologie.
This got me thinking - since when did self-care become a competition on who has the most luxury products and who can document it the best?
Recently, more and more influencers and media personalities promote self-care. But are they promoting the underlying values of self-care or just marketing products?
Not all of us have the luxury to afford $64 face masks and silk pillowcases, yet the current media climate makes these items seem like a necessity in order to recharge. I have definitely fallen victim to this but come on, we all thought essential oils were going to solve our problems at one point!
Splurging on a new essential oil for my diffuser or snagging a new Glossier cloud paint was the extent of my self-care. But during quarantine, my self-care Sundays have become self-care weekend affairs. I go through all the motions. A steaming hot shower with eucalyptus and various LUSH products, followed by a face mask (and jade rolling), then eye creams and serums, a 90’s rom-com on Netflix, journaling, reading, then a 3-minute Headspace before I sleep. All of this is no doubt, relaxing, but when I’m spending 3 hours of 3 days a week, is it really relaxing?
After a while, self-care became another item on my to-do list. Slap on the face mask, watch all of The Devil Wears Prada (even though I have watched it too many times and I just skip to the end), take the cute face mask selfies, and post on Instagram story. Rinse and repeat. Not only was I not enjoying this anymore, but I was becoming slightly overwhelmed. I was spending more time trying to get the perfect shot of my fancy bath products next to a candle than actually, just chilling.
Also, let’s talk about guilt. I was feeling guilty almost every time I had a self-care day. While peeling off a face mask, my head was occupied with anxiety about an upcoming midterm. While drinking sparkling water, I thought, why am I not working on my lab report?
Last week, when Friday came along, I didn’t do the usual routine. Instead of a 3-hour routine, I stripped it down to an hour. An hour of just watching Brooklyn-99 while drinking green tea and you know what? That was the most relaxed I’d ever been since January.
During the pandemic, it is completely okay to relax and unwind from the world and escape into bath oils and soy candles. But too much of this is only going to make you resistant to actual relaxation. Next time I see another self-care post on social media, I’ll remind myself, a disclaimer - you do not need to buy every product or go through every activity this person is doing to take care of yourself.
Real self-care is doing what you love. That’s the best self-care of all.
anchita’s self-care things to do (under 60 minutes):
drink green tea
watch a funny af tv show