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Wellness

Self Care, Who’s She?

Self care is a buzzword phrase tossed around every crevice of the internet, with Pinterest moodboards, Instagram photosets and Twitter threads popping up everywhere on your feed like cute, motivational bean sprouts. With over 13.9 million posts on Instagram captioned with #selfcare, it seems like mental health is finally earning a point of visibility at the forefront of popular culture, social media and everyday conversation. Self care, self love, self development— everyone seems to be hyperforcused on forging independent paths of individual growth and happiness, but a lot of these paths seem to paved with face masks and scented candles. Is that all there is to it?

Self care is a concept so casually and frequently discussed (which is great!), but the semantic impact seems to get lost in the hullabaloo of “likeable” social media posts built around a material aesthetic of beauty, skincare and wellness products. Hygiene is definitely a key point of self care, but you also don’t need to purchase means of happiness if material items don’t hold personal value in your life or if you don’t have the means to pamper yourself. At its core, self care is truly simple: be attuned to your mind, body and soul and pay close attention to when something feels out of balance.

I once snapchatted a group of my friends while wearing a face mask, and I remember one of them replied with something along the lines of “Yaaas, we love the self care flow!” In reality, I hadn’t showered for two days, my desk was overflowing with mounds of open books, used paper towels and splotches of liquid foundation (everywhere), and my entire closet had vomited itself onto my carpet and the edge of my bed. Perhaps most importantly, I was sad—very much so. How much could a face mask erase in that moment? Not enough.

Self care changes when you begin to acknowledge even the smallest achievements. When you struggle with anxiety, depression or any other mental health issues, it can be painfully difficult to self-motivate. Getting yourself out of bed is only more cumbersome when you know have a hefty to-do list that grows with each minute you linger in your sleep. I find that the more responsibilities and pressures I accumulate from work, school, social obligations and extracurricular commitments, the more I sink and fall behind in everything I am trying to dedicate my energy toward. So here’s a “have-done” list of things I have accomplished this week as part of my self care regimen:

  • Showered at a reasonable hour in the evening

  • Hung up posters that fell off my walls weeks ago

  • Put my clothes IN my drawer

  • Drank some rose kombucha tea

  • Wrote in my journal instead of internalizing too many feelings

  • Swept my floor (I would rather not disclose when this was last completed)

  • Made carrots my go-to snack

  • Painted my nails with sparkly nail polish

Self care routines come in all shapes and sizes, and can even change every day. If you want to kick back with a charcoal face mask and a cinnamon bun scented candle, please do! Just remember that there are simple ways to take care of yourself, too. Read your body, listen to your mind and do what is best for getting your energies back on track. Self care is not a mood, not a trend, not a material or commercialized fad— self care is a healthy way of life, and you’ve earned it!

Teresa Deely

Columbia Barnard '20

Teresa studies Creative Writing and English at Columbia University, and she is also a part-time throat player. Her hobbies include audibly gasping at dogs, singing loudly in her room, singing softer when she finds out her neighbors can hear her, and dragging her less-than-enthusiastic friends along with her to yoga. Check out more of her articles on http://beautyandwellbeing.com for sustainable beauty and skincare!
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