Is Self-Care Going to Be the Death of Us?

I have a bone to pick with the current concept of “Self-Care.” 

Now, before you freak out on me, hear me out.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am ALL ABOUT taking care of yourself. Living the life of your dreams, working smarter so that you can work less, so that you can sleep more, dream more, live more.

But…things are getting a bit carried away.

It’s been a few years now since the whole “Morning Routine” thing caught on, and that was nice. It was somewhat interesting to read about how different people started their days off, but these days, it’s more about the social media trend and glorification of “That Girl” and what “She’s” doing every day that everyone wants to emulate.  On Tik Tok alone, videos with the hashtag #thatgirl have gotten over 2 BILLION VIEWS.  And, oh, man. “That Girl” has basically taken every item on every single morning routine list and combined it into one overwhelming behemoth of an expectation for mere humans. 

 

Photo by Bruce Mars for Unsplash.com

 

I would argue that while the idea of “self-care” started out to be a balm against the burnout epidemic caused by an unhealthy “hustle and grind” culture, it has morphed into its own level of obsessive and unhealthy behavior. 

“That Girl” gets up early and does her 24-step skincare routine and hand-picks her matcha green tea leaves in Bali and sips it while she goes between her sauna and her ice baths. 

And just as people felt horribly inept and unworthy when they weren’t pulling all-nighters and working 24/7 during the hustle-years, now, people are being made to feel unworthy if they don’t wake up at 4 am and spend the next 6 hours following a laundry list of “living my best life” directives.

Self-care has started to spiral out of control into it’s own form of hustle culture. I’m fearful it’s going to end up killing us all. 

Seriously–here’s one I read about recently: 

  • Wake up at 4:00 am
  • Drink 20 oz of water
  • Light therapy to help wake up
  • Stretch for 15 minutes
  • Meditate for 20 minutes 
  • Run 5K
  • Dry brush skin
  • Shower–ice-cold, obviously
  • 12-step skincare routine (it is mandatory to be wearing a crisp white waffle-knit bathrobe, btw)
  • Make a smoothie and a coffee (all organic, please)
  • Read something inspirational for 30 minutes
  • Journal for 30 minutes
  • Write  a list of 10 things you are grateful for
  • Decide on the top 3 tasks for the day. 

WHAT? By my count, that is FOUR HOURS of morning routine, and you’re not even dressed yet! 

 

Photo by Shashi Chaturvedula for Unsplash

 

But aside from the fact that no one actually does this list of things more than (maybe?!) once, one thing that stands out to me is that in those first 4 hours of being awake, in this long list of “important things to do in order to be my best self and live my best life” nowhere, NOWHERE does it mention another being. There’s no “kiss my partner good morning” or “call my sister” or “text back and forth with my best friend” or “snuggle fest with my dog” 

Is “That Girl” really so alone? It’s very clear she doesn’t have kids but does she not have a job? Does she need to practice? How can she afford all of that Matcha? 

Photo by the 5th for Unsplash.com

 

a morning routine for normal people (who are also thriving quite nicely, thank you very much)

While a 20-part morning routine is a bit excessive, we all have a few things that we need to do in order to start our day feeling centered and not in complete chaos. For me, that includes the following 3 things:

  1. Coffee with my husband (who brings me a cup as I’m waking up..awwwww!)
  2. Writing Morning Pages
  3. Check on my garden (I suppose this is my version of meditating)

Each day might look slightly different. I might make the bed as soon as I get out of it, or I might get to it later–after a garden stroll and a dog walk. There’s no set order (except for the coffee–that’s pretty much an as-soon-as-my-eyes-are-open kinda thing.) 

Do I lie in bed and scroll through social media? Some days, yes. Others, no. do I get up early and go to the gym? A few times a week (if it’s a good week!). Do I stretch? If I’m feeling tight, yes. 

 

Photo by Oveth Martinez for Unsplash.com

The thing is, there are hundreds of things we can do each day to help us be our healthiest, perform our best, and be “That Girl”. But I don’t think any of us have time to do ALL of them EVERY day. 

Many of them can be built in as habits, like taking vitamins, making the bed, drinking a glass of water, etc. They can become automatic and take very little time. 

But perhaps one shouldn’t feel obligated to do every single thing, every single day. Pick a few biggies that are your non-negotiables, add in 1 new one for a week to see how it feels, and for the rest? Maybe try to do them once a month or so. 

Because to me? Self-Care feels like I am living according to my values, and my values tell me to get enough sleep, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and bask in my little family of husband, dog, cats, and garden. If I can start my day with those things in place, the rest is just gravy. 

Photo by David Mao for Unsplash.com

 

Cheers!

Kate

P.S. Did you find this helpful? Sign up for “The Weekend List”–my weekly newsletter that hits your inbox each Friday with more tips, tricks, and life hacks for creatives, as well as a curated list of things to read, try, ponder, or check out. All geared to help musicians and creatives live their best lives. 

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