I know I’m supposed to ease you into the topic and give you a good introduction but the truth is, I don’t feel like it. Let me come out and say it: I am not 100% here for the self-care “movement” as we know it.
Anytime I read the words self and care on my social feeds or on some site like Buzzfeed, my eyes roll to the back of my head.
Self-care as we throw it and try to know has become something we do to floss for the gram and front for the feed. It’s time someone called it out.
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Before we get deep into this post, let me make it clear – I believe in the power of a movie night in your pajamas, of getting your nails done, having a warm cup of cocoa or crisp glass of wine. I mean, give me the wine any day.
I’m not against the pampering side of self-care, or even things like setting boundaries. I hope you can read this post with an open mind. I believe in self-love and self-care and I’m not trying to cut it out your life.
It’s more than face masks
What bugs me about this movement is we mainly celebrate the glam side of it. We don’t focus on the people who have to put in work on a daily basis, we don’t highlight people with conditions, disabilities, and disorders who aren’t approaching self-care as an Instagram moment.
Type self-care in your search bar and you’ll be presented with highly stylized, perfectly curated images that view like a makeup, coffee, and beauty ad.
For many people, this shit is work. For me, self-care is work.
Nine years ago a very scared, younger Olli was in therapy for the first time. First of all, black folk don’t do therapy…we call on Jesus (sarcasm people, that’s sarcasm). I was breaking all the rules by getting help, admitting I had a problem and not getting on my knees to pray said problems away.
My therapist provided the tools I needed to put myself first and even though she encouraged me to do things like drink tea, meditate and read books (the things we connect with this “movement”), with her help I learned how to not spend all day in bed, how to positively face my problems, and how to live my version of a healthy life.
Self-care was me learning to recognize when I am depressed.
Glorying basic shit…
Another thing I’ve noticed us doing in this movement is glorifying basic things that able-bodied humans do on a regular basis. Um…Olli, what are you talking about?
I just went grocery shopping, I tied my shoe, I peed – self-care!
For a person with limited mobility, the everyday acts that are carelessly labeled as part of this trendy movement, hell that shit is work. It irritates me when an able-bodied human being without any issues, conditions or disorders wants a glitter-fest for doing the dishes, for buying groceries or doing laundry and for a person with, say limited mobility, doing any of those is a task.
And I get it, for some people on a particular day, doing the dishes is a huge task. But what about a person who can easily wash their dishes, who knows cleaning up is part of adulting/life, who isn’t facing ________ issue? I just find it really weird that some people expect actual praise for doing things that they are fully capable of. Some people are using the term self-care to gain recognition for living their able-bodied, average, don’t have any issues to face life.
It is marketing 101
I love working in marketing but man can marketing cheapen things quickly. We’ve stripped a concept of its beauty and purpose and watered it down to the equivelent of…well, holidays. Hey Valentine’s and Christmas, I see ya.
All movements have a pretty side, but darling I’m over everything being pretty all the time.
It feels wrong to me when I see “self-care kits” for something.99 in places like Urban Outfitters. There is no love in that box, there’s no intention for you to actually get better; I bet the items included are things you already have in your bedroom. But the marketing team has thrown a scrawly font and a pouch of glitter inside so…it works.
Those in the know are uber quiet
I guess what irks me are those who say they are advocates for mental health issues and yet they are not calling anything out. Pointing out the issue might cause you to lose your sponsorship, your blog opportunity and your freebies but it might also allow you to partner with companies that actually care about the root of self-care. Forget being gifted a free candle…
Now, I’m not picking on anyone in particular so if you feel a certain way we can chat but I do feel if a person has the platform to reach and educate others about the realities of self-care you should.
At the end of the day, if an “advocate” only glams up this movement and join team curated feed – that’s on them but I feel like there’s an opportunity to do more.
Maybe it’s not really even an issue. Maybe I am just wasting time thinking about it.
So what do we do?
Well I can’t speak for everyone – this rant is my rant. I know there’s a chance most people haven’t even made it this far into my post because sweet Olli became a monster and bashed their beloved self-care rituals.
While I drafted this, I had a mask on my face and a run through of the best video game of all time was playing in the background (Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time of course). I have my own rituals that fall under loving myself. I am not saying we can’t have our me time moments. What I’m pointing out is self-care goes beyond those me-time moments as well.
When I talk to people about self-care I push them beyond coffees and candles. I encourage them to do actionable things because sometimes we need to work on our shit.
I also make it a habit not to glorify actions and activities I know are standard for an able-bodied person. When I’m in my bad place, I praise myself but if I know I’m in a good place I don’t need a glitter-fest for doing things I do anyway.
Lastly, I refuse to feed the curated world of social media with hashtag self-care. I have used the term online before but I have made an effort to not glamorize this movement. I’m not taking away your right to hashtag all your photos of lattes, masks, etc. however for me and my busted iPhone, it’s simply not something I want to do.
I am making the effort to acknowledge as many sides of this movement as possible. As someone who is aware and -3% woke (don’t get me started on being woke), it would be wrong of me to only highlight one view of self-care. These are small things that I do but maybe this will help someone realize not every little thing is hashtag self-care.
Just like maybe one day we’ll get to a place where people who are feeling nervous will stop saying they suffer from anxiety and depression….but that’s another post.
Glad you liked this post! The fun doesn’t have to stop. Here are a few of my fav posts!
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Did you know I also have a small blogger + biz owner tips website? Here are a few ways you can connect with me over at The Coco Creativ: