Real self-care cannot be found on the shelves – you need to find it within yourself. Look inward to begin your journey to inner peace.
In recent years, self-care has become a popular trend. It used to be about things like meditation, yoga, and therapy, but now it’s expanded into all aspects of consumer culture, including shopping. “Self-care” has become a buzzword as brands make use of the term to sell products. This has led to a blurring of the lines, where self-care can mean anything from buying new clothes to redecorating a room, to indulging in beauty fads. This commodification of self-care raises the question: Are we truly taking care of ourselves, or have we simply become mindless consumers in our pursuit of well-being?
A bubble bath can only do so much
Say it after me: buying scented candles, accessories, and makeup products is not the same as taking care of your soul. Sure, it’s nice to treat yourself and who doesn’t love a good shopping spree? But the satisfaction is fleeting. Real self-care is an inward journey of self-awareness, learning to love yourself – flaws and all – and expelling your inner demons. It’s a lifelong process of growth, not a one-time purchase.
The self-care movement has veered into dangerous territory by confusing “care” with “consume.” Companies know we’re stressed, so they promise their products will save us. But no thrill from a bath bomb or candle will ever compare to the high of achieving self-acceptance. It’s time to see through the pseudo-wellness spiel. What we need isn’t more stuff – it’s more self-love, starting from within. We could all use more of that these days!
How self-care lost its way
Many popular wellness practices today have lost their original meaning. Mindfulness, which originated in Buddhist teachings, was all about letting go of ego and showing compassion for others. But now, it often involves quick stress-relief activities promoted by big companies. Indigenous spiritual practices, rooted in community and environmental awareness, have been watered down, too. For instance, practices like smudging sage have been rebranded as “room cleansing”, without their ceremonial significance.
Sadly, consumerism has taken these traditions and stripped them of their true essence. Much of what passes for wellness today has become disconnected from the earth. Even though fast fashion brands sell the aesthetics of self-care, they often fail to prioritise reducing emissions or paying fair wages. And those “crystals” you see everywhere? Many of them are actually sourced unethically through dangerous mining practices, undermining the concept of harmony with nature which such traditions were originally meant to foster.
The modern wellness industry focuses on individual well-being without considering collective care, including the well-being of our planet. It’s no surprise that despite all the money we spend on self-care, we’re still hurtling towards a climate crisis.
Peeling back the mask
More and more people are feeling stressed, burned out, and anxious these days. Mental health issues are on the rise, and it’s not just a personal problem – it’s a societal problem. But instead of addressing the roots, we’re often told to buy things to make ourselves feel better. Skincare products and essential oils might provide temporary relief, but they don’t fix the underlying challenges.
The truth is, our culture rates constant work and success over our emotional well-being. We’re stuck in a system that prioritises productivity over our mental health. Shopping for self-care products can’t solve these deep-rooted problems. What we really need is a shift in our society’s values and systems. We should be questioning the norms that contribute to our distress – like long work hours, limited access to mental healthcare, and lack of time off. Instead of patching up the symptoms, we need to address the core issues by fighting for better mental healthcare, building strong social support networks, and advocating for a culture that values balance and community.
As long as we rely on the self-care industry to solve problems it didn’t create, we’ll keep spinning our wheels. It’s time to demand real change and work towards a society that puts our well-being over profit.
So, how do we really fix this?
At its core, self-care is about prioritising our overall well-being, finding balance, and showing ourselves and others compassion. It’s about taking the time to care for ourselves, our relationships, and the planet we call home. There are no quick fixes or magic potions; true self-care requires daily reflection and personal growth.
Sourcing products sustainably and honouring the origins of wellness practices are important steps in the right direction. But we must also look inward and detach ourselves from the commercialised wellness culture, which treats health as just another product to be consumed. Instead, we can embrace simplicity over materialism and actively care for our communities and the environment. To truly heal ourselves, we must invest in healing one another and the planet. It’s about going beyond individual well-being and recognising our interconnectedness. By focusing on what truly matters and fostering genuine connections, we can reclaim the essence of self-care and create a more fulfilling and sustainable future.