The things you’re wrong about self-care

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According to ASD Market Week, a massive retail marketing publication, the global personal care market has grown from $10 billion to over $450 billion in 2020.

The trending hashtag #SelfCare has racked up 2 billion views on TikTok alone. And Instagram has over 58 million posts with a similar hashtag.

All of these testify to the growing popularity of the subject, even though it is not given much prominence in South Asian countries, including ours. However, misconceptions surrounding the subject play a role in such neglect.

When you ask nine different people how they practice self-care, you’ll likely get nine different answers. But if you notice the recurring social media themes, you’ll be inclined to think that self-care consists of extravagant face masks, bubble baths, manicures, pedicures, spas and massages – mostly accessible to the wealthy younger generation. . .

But this is a superficial and misinterpreted idea of ​​the term. The idea of ​​taking care of yourself goes far beyond that.

Self-care is not occasional care

Social media has portrayed self-care as non-essential fluff that’s brimming with wellness indulgences. Contrary to this perception, self-care is, in fact, the deliberate act of attending to all dimensions of our being – physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual.

It’s absolutely crucial to our overall well-being. It must therefore be integrated into our daily lives and practiced on a daily basis.

While there’s no right or wrong way to take care of yourself, it’s not always fun. Sometimes self-care can take the form of pampering or pampering yourself.

However, most of the time, self-care consciously comes back to basics – eating healthy, prioritizing sleep, staying active, resting, practicing mindfulness, dealing with inner criticism, and maintaining a work-life balance.

Companies have turned the term “personal care” into slogans to sell us ridiculously expensive waste that we don’t need. They tried to convince us that in order to take good care of oneself, paid activities and tailor-made remedies are necessary.

Gazing at the stars without caring about the world can be a supreme, unforgettable experience that nurtures you spiritually and emotionally – at no cost.

Having an intimate conversation with your loved ones can also do this. The mindset is all that matters.

Self-care is not about putting your own interests ahead of those of others.

Another misconception about self-care is that it’s about putting our own interests ahead of those of others. But the radical history of self-care shows that caring for oneself and caring for society are actually interconnected.

Originally adopted as a medical concept in the 1950s, the term “personal care” was popularized by activists during the height of the American civil rights and women’s rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

In the United States, black communities and people of color often lacked access to basic health and social services. To change that, activists had to build the systems to help take care of themselves and their communities.

They established food banks and created health clinics to address systemic inequities and fault lines in society. If you compare this to today’s multi-billion dollar personal care industry, you might be able to spot a few differences.

This does not mean that we have to be activists to deserve to take care of ourselves. We all deserve to work for our physical, emotional and mental needs.

But self-care isn’t just about doing things “for me,” it’s also about doing something that’s “for everyone.”

Because without empathy, kindness, and a genuine desire to improve our lives, and the lives of those around us, self-care can turn into narcissistic pursuits of self-gratification.

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