Welcome back to week two of the September Self-Care Series!
Self-care is often talked about hand-in-hand with the concept of treating yourself. This week I’m talking a little about why it’s problematic to commodify self-care the way that we do. Self-care is a practice meant to build up resilience in yourself. When it goes from being the rituals you to do practice self-love and keep yourself feeling balanced to something that costs money it means that it is no longer accessible to everyone.
Self-care isn’t a commodity that only some people should be able to access. Self-care is a mindset, it’s habits and routines and actions you can do to take care of yourself. Practical self-care, such as setting budgets for money, taking care of your physical health, or going to sleep early might not be Instagram worthy, but it’s just as important than the glamorous self-care we think of.
Last week I wrote about how the first step of self-care is listening to what you need, being willing to take breaks, and then being intentional about responding to those needs. This week lets dive a little deeper to what that can look like.
Treating yourself from time to time is great. Buying yourself something you’ve admired can be a nice way to reward yourself. However, a quiet night in with facemasks and 7 layer chocolate cake in a lavender bubble bath with a new book that you treated yo’ self to… it sounds dreamy but could run you about $50. That isn’t practical or accessible.
When I brainstorm mainstream self-care many of the things that come to mind aren’t accessible to everyone, and self-care should be because everyone deserves to have the resources to take care of themselves. In the conversation about self-care I think it’s important to think more about the little daily things rather than the big treat yo’ self moments.
Championing self-care means being mindful of inclusive practices and having an intersectional approach (Kaitlyn’s inner feminist is coming out y’all). I’m not going to sit and write about facemasks or splurging on expensive lattes and leggings. As self-care becomes a bigger topic in our culture we should be mindful of how we are really being gentle with ourselves vs. spending money on ourselves and calling it “self-care”.
A few months ago I was buying groceries and saw these pretty flowers on my way to the cashier. I thought “those are so pretty, I’m going to get those for me because I deserve it” – but as soon as I got home I felt like it was a frivolous purchase and I felt silly because I was more stressed about wasting money on the flowers than I would have been if I just left with what I had set out to buy.
We hear the message ‘treat yo’ self’ all the time, but if the message we actually need more often is ‘stick to your budget and don’t buy things you don’t need’ then this is me putting that into the world for you. If you take one thing away from my blog this week, let it be this, when self-care goes from being tangible actions we do to fill ourselves up so we can love others better, to expensive or extravagant things it is becoming exclusive and not available to everyone who needs it.
The other day my friend asked the question on instragram “what are your favourite ways to practice self-care?” and these were some of the responses she got:
- Going to bed early
- Working out
- Going to an unexplored coffeeshop
- Turning off my phone
- Writing down feelings
- Getting off social media
- Cooking and eating wholesome food
- Writing in a notebook, giving voice to feelings
- Spin classes
Sure, they aren’t all completely free – but in terms of practical self-care these are a lot more accessible than going on a shopping spree or an expensive spa every one in a while.
I heard someone comment that how self-care is becoming another one of those thinly veiled performances of affluence – and that really stopped me in my tracks. If we are intentional about listening to our bodies and our needs, I think we should also be intentional with the way that we care for ourselves. Maybe that is setting a budget, maybe that is eating a salad instead of a burger, maybe that is choosing not to treat yourself to something you can’t afford, maybe it’s sitting with uncomfortable feelings you’d rather avoid, whatever it is be mindful of what you actually need to do for you.
I found this interactive guide to self-care online and I had to include it this week – it asks you questions to help you figure out what practical things you can do to meet your needs and it’s great: http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play. If you made it to the end of this post about practical & financial self care and inclusive feminism – thank you. Next week I have a special guest post for the September series I’m excited to share with y’all!