"Our systems are trash and actually built on a foundation of us feeling unworthy. When we feel unworthy, we will work harder, buy more, and continue to place the power of improvement into the hands of capitalism or standards set by dark forces." - Catherine Andrews
Hello, my dear.✨
Do you practice the right self-care? One that actually brings you joy, embellishes your day, relaxes you, and takes care of you?
The term self-care is overused. We associate bubble baths, essential oils, and comfort food with it. Indulgence; the permission to buy something expensive because it feels good and we deserve it. Poster relaxation, so to say.
Don't get me wrong - all of these things can be actual, healthy self-care. However, things become problematic if you do these to fix yourself because you feel unworthy and like something's wrong with you; if you feel like this is what you should be doing because self-care is trendy in a year in which lockdowns, staying at home, and being isolated are the norm and self-care almost feels mandatory.
If self-care feels pressuring in any way, it's not self-care but another unhealthy item on your to-do list.
Catherine Andrews, writer, and publisher of the Sunday Soother, wrote a wonderful article about this. In it, she defines 4 types of dirty self-care (aka activities that serve consumerism, addiction, and your insecurities instead of your mental health):
The thing is, all of these things (maybe except for the booze and drugs) can be legit acts of self-care. As Catherine emphasizes, it's a lot more about our mindset when we approach the activity than the activity itself.
- shame-driven self-care: fixing ourselves to fit the expectations of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism (e.g. healthy eating to lose weight, meditation to feel more positive);
- band-aid self-care: bubble baths and face masks we hope will fix our deeper, underlying problems;
- rebellion self-care: a bottle of wine because we deserve it after all the crap; drugs, any kind of substances, overspending out of a fuck-it attitude.
- numbing out self-care: endless scrolling, bingeing, doing anything to not stay present, to let things wash over you.
For example, I once bought a bunch of skin-care and cosmetics products to treat myself. One of the influencers I follow on Insta swore on a good skincare sesh to save the day. The thing is, I hardly use anything on my skin except for shower gel and felt like an idiot while I applied some random expensive moisturizer. It wasn't self-care at all; rather, the suggested routine pointed out something might be wrong with me for not using these products regularly in the first place.
I could name an endless amount of examples (graver and less grave ones) in which I threw myself into a new self-care habit I didn't need or want. Maybe you can relate.
External forces are strong, however, and sometimes, I find it hard to decide whether something is self-care or setting unnecessary expectations for myself.
In her article, Catherine lists 9 questions that can help you decide whether something is genuine and comes from a place of true caring, including Why do I want to do this thing?; Is there a goal-based outcome or hope for this, or is it just play?, or Does it feel like play or does it feel like work?
Whatever your situation, self-care is something we should all prioritize. It's a birthright to be kind and gentle to ourselves. However, let's not forget what self-care means: It's about CARE, nourishment, kindness, and play. It's not about consumption, pretty interiors, fancy skin-care products, and expensive booze.
Things I enjoyed in the past week:
🧅 Article: I Sell Onions on the Internet by Peter Askew
An inspiring essay about what happens when you follow your curiosity and intuition and dare to try something new and unusual.
👥 Social: Vizi Andrei's Instagram account
I really enjoy Vizi Andrei's philosophical graphic designs on Instagram. He posts simple but profound questions and thoughts on the nature of being (e.g. the 7 social sins or lessons you will learn too late).
📘Book: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Golden! If you see yourself as a creative person (we all are!), if there's anything you want to create, if you doubt whether what you would create would be "good enough" or "worth your time" - read this. It's an inspiring, no-BS book about the creative process - what it is and what it shouldn't be straight from the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.
🌱Article: Plant Parenthood by Kate Wagner
I just became a plant owner - again - and vowed to be a good one this time. Kate Wagner hammers home how plants are living beings and not pieces of decor or furniture:
"Plants (...) are very much alive, and they should be treated with the same kind of respect and love as animals and children. When they don’t get what they need, they suffer and die. (...) No, a houseplant isn’t the same thing as a dog, but it is closer to a dog than it is to an image of a dog."
Radical? Responsible! Plus exactly what I needed to read before and after plant-shopping.
Some of my favorites:
🎨 List: Josh Spector's Advice for Creators in 30 Sentences
#2 Get someone to notice you today. Give them value. Repeat tomorrow. That’s how you build an audience.
#6 If you hate promoting your creations, it’s not because you’re an artist. It’s because you don’t truly believe your work provides value to others.
#16 You become a pro by operating like one when you’re an amateur.
#24 Study what other creators do. Then, do something else.
#26 People who discover your work today are meaningless if you don’t have a way to reach them tomorrow.