Is self-care driving you crazy and making you poor?

An overlooked side of the trillion-dollar industry

Adete Dahiya

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I’ve been pondering over the concept of self-care for a while and whether we as a generation have become over-obsessed with it. It’s everywhere! From the skin-care mini vlogs to the green smoothie recipes to self-pampering routines and motivational quotes — the hashtag #selfcare has over 63 million posts on Instagram!

This concern became more apparent with a series I posted on my Instagram titled ‘30-days of wellness’ where I shared one self-care tip every single day for 30 days. Halfway into posting, I realized how taxing it was to keep up with so many techniques, habits, and processes. But as I continued, I began diving deep into the culture of self-care! What exactly it is and why is it such a major concern today?

What is self-care?

Self-care is rooted in a simple idea — that taking care of yourself will help you live a healthier, more productive, and fulfilled life.

But while this idea seems innocent enough, today's self-care promises countless ways of improving yourself and your life as portrayed by social media. The promise of clearer skin, shinier hair, better-looking bodies, and more mental clarity has resulted more often than not in you pouring money and time into useless and mostly expensive techniques, products, and processes that give you the illusory benefit of feeling just a tad bit better about yourself.

But be rest assured that this is not what self-care was when it started.

History of self-care

The Black Panther Party was responsible for coining the term self-care as a way to help activists at that time combat burnout. Community care was an intrinsic part of it.

The term self-care was coined in the 1950s, just around the same time the term ‘wellness’ was also coined. But back then, those were as different as chalk and cheese.

Self-care grew as a method to cultivate a sense of self-worth in institutionalized patients and transformed into a method to help activists who were fighting racism tackle burnout. In the words of activist Audrey Lorde, self-care grew as a ‘radical act of self-preservation.’

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Adete Dahiya

Sharing ideas on how to live & work better | Writer & artist pursuing MA in Psychology I Subscribe to read more: www.adete.co/newsletter