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Finding Yourself Away From Media-Defined Self-Care

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

You’ve seen the lists and Pinterest boards idealizing a worry-free, time-consuming 20-step shower, skincare, and health routine. All to be more like that girl. The one who has it all: works, goes to school, keeps up with relationships, parties, looks flawlessly collected, and still gets the 4.0.

But to be that girl we have to lose some of ourselves. We strive to be that girl and try to keep up with these seemingly important and extensive routines to keep our bodies, minds, and friendships ‘healthy.’ Yet in reality, to fit this Tumblr-fueled model of girlhood, we lose our own curated and natural form to lifelong health and self-care. So maybe there are some that girl(s) out there and they find fulfillment and joy within these processes, and I say, that is amazing. However, trying to market this on social media as the ‘ideal’ and ‘preferred’ way of being a woman is just harmful to others who don’t find the same fulfillment from this way of life, or have the time for it. The comparison of being shown that the epitome of beauty and wellness is within this heavily edited social media curated post is unethical and harmful, particularly for younger women still trying to ‘find’ their own comfortable skin.

Of course, sugar scrubs and softening creams can be nice occasionally as a sort of boost for your wellness journey, but they are not a necessity. Growing up I had to try out a lot of different ways of physical expression to find what I enjoy (which changes as we grow as well). I went from dyeing my hair lots of different colors, to buying an entire collection of a drugstore nail polish line, to girlbossing a little too hard with a credit card for an online Forever21 sale. While these things are not necessarily harmful to my health, they lack the consistency and moderation for a balanced living. Though it seemed I was put together on the outside from all of these primed standards of Western beauty, I was struggling internally because I still didn’t feel right in these mainstream clothes, my nails were chipped and lacking care, and my hair definitely took a hit from the bleach of perfectly platinum blonde hair. So while in reality, I looked like that girl, I was really a hollow-shell impression of the idea of wellness.

Above all, I think wellness is multifaceted in regard to care styles. Care and comfort can be found in things like physical touch, helping a friend in need, watching a loved film, or experiencing meaning through nature or art. However, what we fail to understand is that it takes work to find out what makes us feel healthy and that there is no universal theory. We all have the potential to be our own that girl by being true to our needs so that we can wholesomely support the communities around us. There is no end or perfected routine. We must always be open, mindful, and receptive to our internal and external stimuli.

Girl On Bench With Backpack
Her Campus Media

To further break it down, a model could be beneficial, particularly since technology has made us become a bit distracted from not just our mental esteem, but from recognizing ourselves as a whole and striving to learn more through reputable yet factual means. For me, I like using the idea of the wellness wheel (which my middle school touched on briefly in health class oh so many years ago). The aspects of my (keyword: my own) wellness wheel makeup are physical exploration, nature interaction, mental/emotional wellness, intellectual stimulation, interpersonal connection, community giving, personal time (like watching movies, Netflix, comic book reading, or just ‘slacking off’ in a way), and regular work on my internal raison d’être (reason of being). So I have 8 spokes on my wheel but all wheels are different so you could have 3, 6, or even 40. The key is to keep striving to work within and outside of yourself. This open idea of being feeds into the community around you to help others contemplate their own goals of health. This makes our atmosphere more healthy and takes away some of the toxicity that society dredges up.

So be that girl by being your own woman.

Claire is a member of Kenyon class of '26. She's a transfer planning on majoring in International Studies. When she's not writing she's reading Faulkner, fanfiction, or browsing reddit.