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21 April 2021

Stop! Are You Romanticising Self-Care?

What is self-care? Self-care can be defined as doing whatever you need to stay happy and healthy. It can be exercising three times a week, hanging out with friends and relatives during the weekend, or just simply being a homebody. The self-care routine is different for everyone and it doesn’t need to cost anything. 

As times change, social media has depicted the ideal self-care routine with bubble baths, luxurious skincare routines, and so on. THIS is the romanticisation of self-care.

#1. So what does self-care really mean?

 

There are different types of self-care such as emotional, physical, and spiritual. Emotional self-care can be saying “No” to people or things that cause discomfort and stress, practising self-reflection, and accepting your flaws. Physical self-care may be consuming nutritious food, having an exercise routine that you can stick with, and going on walks or a hike. Spiritual self-care is slightly tricky but it’s very helpful for your well-being in the long run. This can include meditating, practising yoga, and spending time in nature to absorb the oxygen and sunlight into your body. 


My favourite self-care routine that I’ve been practising as my indoor and quarantine activity is meditating as it calms my mind for the entire day. Besides that, I also exercise 2-3 times a week to maintain my physical health. I also like to hike with my friends during the weekends and have dinner with my family. In short, self-care is a lifelong journey comprising activities, no matter how big or small they might seem. You achieve small goals that require mistakes and improvement along the way that benefits so much in the future.

#2. How is self-care being romanticised?

 

In the past, self-care to me meant shopping, expensive skincare, and going out every weekend. It seemed normal to me that self-care is big and expensive. Romanticisation means glamourising. Glamourising self-care can lead you down a rabbit hole further in life if you overspend on luxurious meals, lush bubble baths weekly, and purchasing unnecessary items (unless of course you’re able to afford them without feeling the pinch). 

Yes, while splurging on expensive pampering goods can bring you joy, it’s only temporary. When you equate self-care to spending more money, your mind may go “Oh, it costs so much but it will make me happy.”, which can be a slippery slope to overspending. The idea of pampering yourself on some days is fine but it shouldn’t break the bank. Remember that self-care is also the small things that you can do every day.

#3. How can you avoid romanticising self-care?

 

Not romanticising self-care means doing the opposite of it. Don’t overdo things until it becomes an obsession. For example, learn to differentiate between your wants and needs. Your wants could be purchasing that new Nike shoes when you don’t actually need them as you already own 3 pairs of shoes. Perhaps all you need is a comfortable pair which doesn’t have to cost a bomb. 

When you’re able to understand the differences, it saves a lot of your money. Next, what you see on Instagram doesn’t always show the reality of self-care. Instagrams’ depiction of self-care is often deemed as a luxurious experience as it captures more attention from the audience. Truth is, the reality of self-care is to take time to tend to yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s having the patience to know your whole self, accepting your flaws, taking time to keep up with your workout routine, and perhaps consuming nutritious meals.

Now that you understand more about the romanticisation of self-care, why not sit down and think a bit about your idea of self-care? Have you been romanticising self-care routines? Do you need to fix and reshape your routine? 

Don’t beat yourself over it. I understand that self-care isn’t easy but as long as you’re willing to improve, you’re good in the long run!

Vanessa Chan is currently pursuing Foundation in Arts at Taylor's College. She is also interested in poetry, fiction, and tea.

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