Self-care has definitely had a moment in 2018. Social media platforms are regularly awash with images of people wearing facemasks, eating chocolate or reading a book in a candlelit nook, paired with the #self-care hashtag. Taking small moments like this to take stock and recharge, has become something many people shout about online, and quite rightly so.
In recent years, we have been working longer and harder, with growing to do lists and never-ending tasks to complete, places to be and people to catch up with. With this culture growing, self-care is now more than ever, an essential part of survival.
However, many people have become so accustomed to this fast-paced world, that it feels almost impossible to know where to begin with taking time out to do things just for the pure joy of it. This is where the online presence of self-care in action can have a positive effect.
Self-care & Social Media
With 8.3 million people sharing the #self-care hashtag on Instagram, it is clear that there is a growing understanding of just how important it is. Taking time out to look after ourselves and recharge has become something people are proud to both advocate and demonstrate, meaning there is less stigma or guilt around self-care.
It has also created a space for discussion around what we need to achieve and maintain good mental health and life balance, and to feel safe in asking for these things from employers, relatives or partners.
One of the main concerns amidst the growing popularity of the #self-care hashtag is that it can contribute to an already dangerous environment where social media platforms are used as a tool for comparison, rather than connection.
Trending buzzwords can create acceptance and change but can just as easily breed feelings of inferiority and exclusivity. This goes against some of the core notions of self-care, in that, it can be mentally harmful to compare ourselves to others and feel we do not measure up.
Self-care looks different for everyone. For some it means alone time, for others, it might mean socialising with friends. Taking a bath, saying no to an invite, or eating a favourite food are all examples of making time to purely care for ourselves and no one else.
What Self-care Really Means
Not to be confused with ‘treating yourself’ or a spa day, self-care can be as big or small, cheap or costly, quiet or raucous as you need it to be. There is no one size fits all and we each deserve a self-care routine that works for us and our life.
Making time for ourselves in this way is not something that comes naturally to some, in fact, many people feel guilt around self-care and think it is selfish to put themselves first.
Going a little deeper, however, it can be argued that self-care is actually an important part of caring and supporting others. After all, if we are not making time to care for ourselves and keep ourselves well, how can we possibly expect to do this for others?