It took me about thirty seconds to hunt down the following random tweets:
- I’m about to get sloppy drunk off straight tequila and take a really nice long bubble bath #selfcare
- Weekends are for binge watching….. #outlander #bestshow #favoritebook #weekends #selfcare
- #gradschool friends, can you tell i’m ignoring my school work hard core? #procrastination #selfcare
“Self-Care” is a hot topic right now. In my circles (mostly parents, teachers and grad students), the concept of self-care is important. By now, most have heard the metaphor of putting our own oxygen mask on before attending to our children on an airplane. But, like many things, “self-care” has gone too far. It has become an excuse for selfish, and ultimately self-destructive behaviour and it is disturbingly reminiscent of the “America First” sentiment circulating south of the Canadian border.
I’m reading “The Sunday Philosophy Club” by Alexander McCall Smith and found this passage: “…the word “conscience” was not one which one heard very much anymore, which was strange, and ultimately worrying” (p. 94).
On social media, “Self-Care” has taken precedence over “conscience.” There are people patting themselves on the back for sabotaging healthy lifestyles, neglecting commitments, and ultimately letting other people and themselves down. #SelfCare is the sticker that people are slapping on top of bad behaviour in order to justify it and get approval from their friends. Will the next generation even understand what IS bad behaviour?
“Retail therapy,” coined in the 1980s was intended as a “tongue-in-cheek” term for how people try to use shopping to make themselves happy. The runaway culture of mass consumerism indicates that people are actually trying to self-medicate this way. I like Aziz Ansari as much as the next person, but I find the #TreatYoSelf movement inspired by his character on Parks and Recreation disturbing.
More actual tweets:
- A little shopping on my break won’t hurt today #treatyoself
- Munching down on this gigantic Oreo crunch bar with no shame #treatyoself
- Planning my graduation slash bday present. Oh, this is gonna be good. #treatyoself
Even the stores are getting in on the trend:
- On our twelfth day of Happiness, we are going all out and giving you gelato for a YEAR!! To win this sweet prize, follow us, then retweet this post! #TreatYoSelf
I’m not anti-indulgence. Let’s just call it what it is. Indulgences are part of the fun of life. But, if we are honest, we know most of them come at a cost. Let’s not slap a #selfcare sticker on something so we can feel good about it.
Self-care is not:
- Spending the day scrolling through Instagram
- Getting black-out drunk with your buddies
- Eating an entire cheesecake while binge-watching Netflix and neglecting a group project
A friend posted a link to this brilliant article: This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake
Ultimately, as noted in the above article, “Self-Care” is about making mature decisions that help you to be a better, healthier, kinder, more capable human being. It is about making room in your life to care for yourself, so your needs are not lost in the process of caring for others. It is absolutely not about putting yourself first in all things or engaging in harmful activities.
Let’s put the word “conscience” back in our social media vocabulary, before the kids start to notice, because I think we all want them to believe the following:
Being responsible matters.
Taking care of other people matters.