Tweet reading: “i’m tired of self care. i think it’s time for other people to start taking care of me instead” Image: Mira Gonzalez, Twitter

Self-Care: Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped?

Initially a practice for the chronically ill to manage their health conditions and gain autonomy, today even the hale and hearty approach self-care with righteous fervor.

The concept of Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped? is that I will describe a trend, and then you vote on whether it is Overhyped, Underhyped, or Justhyped. Periodically, I’ll check in on the trend and share the voting results.

In a survey of nearly 1,500 people in 46 countries, 85% of people said that their wellbeing has declined since the beginning of the pandemic. Self-care is a wholesome and positive way to take matters into your own hands to improve both your physical health and positive mental attitude.

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”

Audre Lorde’s often quoted declaration reframes taking care of ourselves as a radical act with the potential to transform the system. That made sense when Lorde wrote it in 1988, and it still makes sense today when a global health crisis has us divided along political lines.

In addition to being one more front on the political battlefield, self-care is a business. Exercise, yoga, eating right, therapy, bubble baths, detoxes, supplements, CBD, sleep trackers, wearables, and 10-step skin-care routines all add up to major moolah. In 2019, IRi estimated that self-care was a $450 billion sector. If selling self-care leads to increased profits, what happens when we start to feel better? Will brands manufacture discontent to keep us buying? Or will another trend take its place?

On the surface focusing on our health and wellbeing is wholesome and positive, but underneath there is a darker side to this trend. All this healthy living can become a second, or third, or fourth job for us. Add in burned-out healthcare workers and packed hospitals, and it’s becoming more and more likely that you and Dr. Google are your own primary healthcare provider.

It’s common to have a snarky take or two about self-care, but it’s undeniable that the trend has changed the marketplace. But does it go more than skin deep? Is self-care’s trendiness the main story, or is it only a ripple caused by stronger currents beneath the surface?

December 19, 2021 Overhyped Underhyped Justhyped Trends Self Care Health


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