Toxic Self-Care: 3 Myths On Taking Care of You
By KORA SCHULTZ
This Just In: Being A Person Is Hard!
As someone who works full-time, goes to university full-time, and volunteers every weekend, stress is a fact of life. This is true for high school students as well. In fact, half of the county’s high school students face a damaging level of stress on a daily basis. The desire to feel relief and control is not only natural, but necessary. For me, this meant bath bombs, wine, lamb curry from my favorite restaurant, and massages from the spa down the street. It was days off from work even if I didn’t have paid vacation. Sometimes it was skipping therapy to sleep in when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep. These things sometimes worked well.
These things are also very temporary. And I am in extreme debt. Opps!
Self-care is important. It's probably the only thing that a therapist, an Instagram influencer, and your parents can all agree on. But our society has tricked us into thinking that spending money and resources, and depending on others - whether other people or entire brands - is the way to feel better. Our self-care techniques are rooted in capitalism rather than self-healing. In some cases, they are making things much worse in the long run.
If you have struggled with self-care, you are not alone. If you are struggling with finding accessible self-care, we can help! In this article, we will be exploring three toxic myths about self-care and how to combat them.
Myth #1: Self-Care is Expensive
Treat yourself! We tell ourselves this mantra all the time. But the price tag of a trip to Lush can be physically painful. $100 in bath bombs can happen fast. But you need to spend money to pamper yourself right? Not necessarily. Capitalism has a funny way of tricking us into thinking we need to shell out dollars in order to practice self-care, but that is not the case. Rocking through to-do lists, taking a walk, doing a Youtube yoga tutorial, and organizing your space are just a few of many free ways to take time for yourself. I personally like to journal, call a friend, and spend alone time with my body. Still feel the need to take a long bubble bath? Me too! Just remember: expensive does not necessarily mean better. Target can treat us right when our pockets are light, and we do not need to feel guilty about not having “luxury” products.
Myth #2: Self-Care Is One-Size Fits All
Some folks love meditation. Others rock climb to feel centered. Some folks attend in-person therapy every week, while others use therapy apps whenever they feel stressed. Everyone has their own ways of practicing self-care. Yet, some companies and influencers will treat self-care as though its universal. This can make us feel guilty for not being able do something successfully (like mediation) or not being able to afford something (like a spa day, or even just an extra day off from work). Just as we all live different lives, we all heal differently. Celebrate our diversity and rock what works best for you - not what another person tells you is right!*
Myth #3: Self-Care Needs To Take Up A Lot Of Our Time
Not to sound like a broken record, but I have very little free time. When you are as busy as I am - and many of you are - self-care can seem like an all other nothing part of our life. We either need to set apart a significant portion of our time to practice it, or we do not have time to do it at all. This is another self-care myth, and it’s a dangerous one. When we believe we do not have time to practice any kind of self-care, our mental and physical health suffers. Self-care does not need to require all of our time. Psychotherapist & Spiritual Subconscious Mind Specialist Jenn Bovee recommends less than 10 minutes a day for successful self-care practice. Taking even three minutes to ourselves to breathe and center ourselves can make a major difference. We are worth more than our productivity. We are worth a few minutes a day to better ourselves, especially when we can not fit in more time.
Taking care of yourself is a basic human right that should not depend on class, ability, or time. But I know it's often easier said than done. Do one thing a day that you love. Talk to one person a day that loves you. Self-care is a work in progress. Hang in there, readers! You got this!
Have more ideas for empowering, accessible self-care? Let us know!
*Apart from a professional, of course!
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KORA SCHULTZ - WRITER & EDUCATOR
Kora Schultz (they/them) is a loud, genderqueer, incredibly anxious sex education nerd from the swingin' Midwest. They are passionate about LGBTQIA+ inclusive sex ed, youth outreach, women's empowerment, and sex worker advocacy. Most of their free time is spent ranting (and writing) about these topics.
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