When Self-Care Feels like A Chore
Self-care is becoming a chore.
Too many of us confuse commodified self-care with actually taking care of ourselves. We try out glamorous fads marketed to help ourselves because they give an illusion of a quick fix. We do this when the reality is there are no quick fixes to real self-care. There is no way to make working out easier. There is no way to make it faster to fall asleep. There is no easy way to GTFO your phone. The only way to do these things is through practicing discipline and mindfulness. But that’s too hard for most of us, so we settle for binging unhealthy food and watching Netflix and call it “self-care.” But that’s not self-care. It’s a glamorous relaxing night, and your dopamine reward system probably craves it, but that’s likely not what your body needs. We look for 2-second solutions for problems that require so much more attention. Let’s say I was still awake at 2:45 in the morning after a long, anxiety-filled day. Even if I were to do a 1-hour long Cassie-level skincare routine, I’d still be stressed and sleep-deprived, and my acne wouldn’t disappear.
Many products are advertised as quick fixes, like face masks that take 10 minutes and promise clear skin. Sometimes I’ll think to myself, “I should do gua sha,” not because I want to but because I have seen the TikToks that tell me it will make my face skinnier. No matter how pretty it is packaged, if all I’m thinking about when I use it is “I hope this makes me look less bloated,” my stress and worries will not disappear. Nothing I buy – no matter how much advertisers try to convince me– will cure these feelings of inferiority. In fact, according to the Journal of American College Health women with avoidant-emotional coping tendencies, such as online shopping or browsing the Internet to avoid problems, often suffer higher levels of stress and loneliness.
Genuine self-care is not about outer appearance. Self-care is not a quick fix. It’s about learning tools to cope with daily stressors and crafting a more fulfilling life for yourself, which takes TIME.
Stop searching for “self-care hacks” or trying to be “that girl.” You don’t need to buy any more Ulta products from The Wellness Shop (seriously, my bank account is crying)!!! Buying more self-care products will not make you happier. In today’s media-saturated environment, your best bet is to stop buying into consumer culture. This culture tricks us into thinking that doing many little things will lead to improved health and wellness, but really, it’s about consistency. Social media adds so much pressure to keep up with self-care. It can feel overwhelming to maintain this healthy image.
You don’t need to do it all. Just listen to YOUR body. Do what makes you feel your best, even if it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing.