If you scroll down your Instagram feed right now or even just YouTube, you are bound to come across a post or a video about “self-care”. It has become quite popular, especially among youth, to go about discussing ways to go about discussing different ways to take breaks. The idea goes like this: to avoid burnouts and subsequent breakdowns, you take some time off every once in a while, and invest in relaxing. You practically drop everything you are working on or doing for a day, or maybe two and just take care of yourself.
At a glance, this does seem like a good idea, and it is. Burn-out is very real and it is obviously important to not lose your mental health in pursuit of your career, education or just self-development. But there is a fundamental flaw with the idea of self-care you should probably know about.
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So, what exactly is the problem?
Well there are two.
The first problem is not in the idea of self-care itself; it is the way people go about executing it that really hurts. Consumer culture and capitalism has encouraged people to be attracted towards material culture and spending a lot in name of anything. Corporations capitalize on this and advertise various very expensive ways to “take care of yourself”. Trust me, there are plenty of ways to take care of yourself without spending anything at all. All you need is a little more effort and little less addiction to spending.
What are you doing wrong?
Well, for starters you do not need to go to a spa to relax. You do not need to sip wine at an expensive restaurant or spend thousands on a night out. Self-care can be as simple as going on a walk every now and then or watching Netflix with home cooked food. What matters is if you are relaxing, not how much money that goes into relaxing. Maybe read a book at home or listen to an audio book instead. There are just so many options. Most of these can actually be pretty productive in their own ways too. You can relax and self-develop, isn’t that something we all should strive for?
Taking self-care a step further
Just above, I mentioned you can indulge in self care and still be productive in your own way. When you thin about it, it really is a win-win situation. So what are more ways you can go about practicing this?
Put on an audio-book (soundcloud is great for this) and take a walk. You will gain some knowledge and will probably be quite relaxed by the end of it, not to mention that you are helping your body stay active. Maybe take up a hobby that doesn’t require very much thinking. Something like cooking or making tea or anything. Do things that make you happy, but in a way that you are not simply fueling lethargy.
What’s the second problem though?
I kept this for the end because this is more of a personal opinion, but hear me out, There is a fundamental flaw with the idea of self-care itself. Think about it, the idea that you need to take breaks from working because you “need” that time off? Do you, really?
I mean yeah people get burnt out and self-deteriorate. But how often does that happen? What this general culture of self-care does is in a way promote inactivity. You will feel like you need a break eve when you don’t really need one. I mean, where do you draw the line right?
How you should go about it.
The most effective method, in my opinion, would be to just not think about self care constantly. More often than not, you will know when you are burning out, You do not need to constantly ask yourself if you are. If you are working 12 hours every day, who or what is to say that you cannot do that?
You will realize that you are overdoing something. Don’t constantly look for signs to tell you that “maybe” you are overdoing something. If you do that, you will be bound by this idea of self-care and unnecessary feel like you need to take a break. EVEN WHEN YOU DO NOT NEED ONE.
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