Self care — defined by PsychCentral as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health” — has become quite the trend over the past few years. While many Tumblr blogs would like to convince you that face masks and bubble baths will fix all your problems, they are pretty far off.
In fact, self care is not alluring but necessary. Sure, it is nice to order a pizza and spend a day watching Netflix, but usually that is allowing you to stay in a cycle of events that don’t do anything to improve your mental, physical or spiritual health. Self care actually goes so much deeper.
For me, when it comes down to the wire and it feels like my whole life is falling apart, I slap on a tea-tree oil face mask and try not to look around at my messy room, my unfinished homework and unmade bed, but don’t feel any better. Sure, for a few seconds I won’t have to acknowledge the mess around me, but after I wash my face everything is going to be the same — nothing will be fixed.
I think that is the problem with a lot of the self-care strategies that our society or generation have created. A lot of the things we choose to do create a distraction from our current situation instead of trying to better it, and while ignoring some depressing news may improve your current mental state, ignoring your life will not.
Take a moment to take in what is around you. Is there clutter? Do these people make you happy? What kind of food is filling your pantry? In all of these situations, there is an opportunity for self-care. Having a messy living space directly correlates to feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Having toxic people in our lives make us feel trapped and unsupported, something many college students do not need in their lives. Also, though we all know there's a direct correlation to what we eat and how we feel, we still eat unhealthily because we find it comfortable. However, the best things for us are usually the ones that make us a bit uncomfortable.
So, in the end, clean your room instead of your pores today. Cut toxic people out of your life instead of rubbing yourself in essential oils. And throw away the gross expired food from your fridge instead of taking a three-hour shower. After that is done, go to CVS, buy all the discount chocolate your heart desires and treat yourself to some Netflix and tea in bed with the comfort of knowing you have actually taken care of yourself.