• theplantnews

I Don’t Need a Fucking Bubble Bath: A Chat about “Self-Care”

By: Anna Chuprun


Despite the multitude of issues surrounding us (our dying earth, corrupt politics, the outrageous price of avocado toast) one thing has marginally improved: the validity of mental health in society. Of course, the stigma surrounding mental disorders has not completely disappeared, but mental health is now being recognized as a legitimate concern. Through this acceptance, a new term has arisen: “SELF-CARE”.


The term “Self-care” is inherently positive. It encourages people to put themselves first in order to rejuvenate and be the best version of themselves. However, this term’s use has transformed into a trend — suggesting green tea, bubble baths, and face masks as viable mental health remedies.


Now let me tell you… and I hate to break it to you… a face mask is not always the solution.


Over the past few years, self-care has evolved into a trend promoting simple solutions for deeper issues. Green tea and bubble baths have taken priority over therapy, thus indulgence over moderation and short-term “happiness” over long-term help. While it might be nice to believe that a cup of tea and bathing will fix our stress, it most likely won’t. This propagated “treat yo self” mentality might seem nice at face value, but its effects and expectations can do more harm than good.


Even though self-help — at its roots — may be a wonderful thing, it has often become a way to avoid real issues that require a better solution than a calm.com 10-minute meditation. Additionally, when an essay is due the following morning, sitting down and writing may be more beneficial than “treating yourself” and taking a nap. It is important to recognize the difference between procrastination and needing a pause: breaks are important, but so is acting on behalf of our future selves. It is so easy to self-sabotage possibilities of success by becoming distracted with quick fixes or procrastination.


Although these simple actions can help ease stress, telling someone that is struggling with mental health to find peace in green tea is ridiculous!


I was officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression about two years ago, after having struggled with it for many years. Throughout high school I was insecure, stressed, and often downright miserable. While I had (and still have) a handful of truly supportive individuals that I am eternally grateful for, I often surrounded myself with the wrong friends (who understandably didn’t comprehend what I was going though). This caused me to either pretend I was fine, or isolate myself in fear of judgement. I was consistently told by those surrounding me to try simple self-help solutions. I was told that I was being dramatic and to just “just relax”.


The real self-care that I used to help myself, consisted of looking inwardly and realizing that my issue went deeper than simple stress. It also manifested through speaking to my parents about going to see a doctor, and eventually a psychiatrist, and going through the exhausting process of finding the right medication and therapist. Self-care became knowing when I needed a break, but also know when I didn’t.


Yes, a face mask and a mindful meditation is a great way to relax and decompress, but I would not call them “solutions”. In my situation, real self-care was, and is, not looking for the easy way out, but understanding what I needed to do in the long run to help my physical and mental health.


Self-care is not going to be the same for everybody. One person might turn to exercise while another begins meditating. For some, trendy self-help solutions may suffice… but it’s silly to believe that there are somehow universal self-help tricks that solve these complex problems. It is critical to understand the diversity existing in our societal sphere, so that we can avoid harmful generalizations. With this being said… please don’t tell me to take a fucking bubble bath.


Over the years, I have compiled a list of techniques that help me navigate my stress and support myself. As mentioned previously, my methods may not be ones that best suit your needs, but I will include the list below in hopes of lending a helping hand.


1. Don’t Procrastinate

Seriously... If you have time right right now to get the smallest bit of work done… Do it! Even if you write one paragraph and give up, you will have thought, you will have worked, and you will know that you could not have done anything more.


2. Know When You Need a Break… and When You Don’t

NOW is the time for the bubble baths, the meditations, the books, and everything generally lumped under self-care… that stuff is not bad! Just know when you need a break… it is not the green tea that will help you, it is the act of taking a moment for yourself. Alternately, it’s easy to say “wow, I need a 3-hour break of doing nothing” after having written three lines of an essay… we’ve all been there. Self-help, however, is sometimes about putting your future before your present self.


3. No Overdrive!

Pushing yourself might help in the future, but going into overdrive — pulling an all-nighter and getting sick — definitely will not. Know your limits. While it might be important to do the best that you can, that 100% is not worth selling your soul at the expense of health and happiness.


4. That Healthy BS

I know, this one is tough. Exercise, good foods, blah blah blah. But it actually does help! Of course, everything in moderation... Have fun exercising and enjoy those carbs and wine. But getting wasted every weekend and working out excessively are the antithesis of self care!


5. A Positive Support Network

Surround yourself with positive influences! Find people who appreciate who you are, make time for you, and put in the effort to understand your feelings. Whether we like it or not, we are strongly influenced by the people surrounding us. It is therefore crucial to choose good friends, create good relationships, and treat others as you would like to be treated.


The list could go on and on, as there are evidently many more missing… but you know yourself best. Do what feels right.



Via: medium.com

CONTACT US

@theplantnews

© 2020 by The Plant Newspaper.​

SINCE 1969