It seems that dividing people is a very lucrative and fashionable thing to do nowadays. Well, it probably isn’t new. Maybe humans are just exploring new ways to do so. Maybe I’ve just noticed and I should just stop browsing!
And so it seems logical that people who take care of themselves, are being criticized for doing just that.
Because you know, while they take care of themselves, they are not saving babies, they are not solving world hunger crisis. Because they should get involved in such and such a fight instead of meditating…
Some critics are far more subtle of course. Maybe more powerful. When your friend tells you that they don’t have time to exercise, they may actually be throwing some shades to you. You may have decided to make exercise part of your routine, they may have decided to watch Netflix as part of theirs, and may be resenting you slightly for your different priorities. They may indeed resent you next summer.
Self-care, wellness trends and else are getting a bad rep
And for some times now, criticizing vegans, bobos (that’s a French thing), environmentalists, self-care champions and everyone in between has become an olympic sport.
Meanwhile companies are embracing such trends and providing the products and tools such people want, marketing intensively the latest trends and selling more more products and services that people ‘need to adhere to’, because such and such celebrities are doing just that (although they probably don’t!).
Indeed this makes it is easy to hate all those wellness trends and wellness gurus. There are most likely true stories out there on how things can degenerated quickly. In addition, wellness in general has become a huge market for any and all sorts of products, many of which make claims, that are unproven or straightforward false.
There is another scary trend emerging. Well, probably not emerging, it’s probably been there all along and I never paid attention. To hate people who take care of themself, to label them as selfish and maybe even stupid, for believing in too many crazy things and certainly for buying too much stuff. Cherry on the cake? Claiming that the people who care for themselves are the ones killing the planet.
Distilling such hate is just another way to divide people.
Self-care should actually be our first priority
Taking care of the only body we have, taking care of our mental health and basically taking responsibility for our own general well-being is first and foremost our responsibility.
Exercising, eating healthy, meditating if that is something that works for yourself, handling our own emotions, our own demons, trying to become a better educated human, a better human in general… those things fall on us.
When our body let us down, we can’t help others. When we are depressed or else, we can’t help other. Not as much at least. And if we push through, our own health probably just deteriorates a little further.
It is not selfish to take care of oneself first, it’s not vanity, it’s not superficial. It is a necessity, an obligation.
Funnily enough, going through life is kind of like being on a plane and you know what:
No one argues with the safety recommendation in planes. In case of cabin depressurization, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first, and then help others.
With this in mind, it truly feels ungracious and maybe even just plain mean or calculated, to point one finger to the people who try their best to stay healthy, to the ones who try new options to get better, etc. Maybe there is a bit of jealousy there too.
Wellness means so many different things
Sure, wellness and self-care means different things to different people. Sure, there are trends out there, that seems just plain ridiculous and maybe even dangerous.
For most people, well I believe for most, it relies on simple things like exercising, taking some ‘me time’, soaking in a bath, putting some night cream, reading a good book, journaling… Although it does seem that there are a lot of people out there, who are taking things to a whole different level and for whom yoga is the only way, or having a shaman or guru is an absolute necessity, people who couldn’t possibly live without their smartwatch…
The key is probably to listen to your own body and do what feels right for you
We are all on a different path and that is ok.
When you are not used to listening to your own body, this simple recommendation is actually super hard to follow. One simple trick to do so, is to try out things, separately.
For example, for 2 weeks, cut out all bread / milk / whatever, from your diet. Do only cut out one item, at a time and take notes daily on how you fill. Re-introduce in your diet slowly if you want to and take notes of the changes you are feeling.
Same when you want to change something else. Do just one thing at a time and take notes how it makes you feel.
When I say take notes, I mean it! Write down if you slept well, if your eyes were puffy when you walk up, if you feel more energetic after lunch… if you felt bloated, if your knee hurt!… Write down everything! (yes, my dear, including your poop!)
And then read again your notes and notice the patterns. Notice if you felt better or worst the next day you had a pasta dish, notice how your joints felt after a week of doing this or that, after 2 weeks… Make the connection between what you did, and how your body reacted. That’s how you know what is right and what is wrong for you.
It is important to educate ourselves on all of these topics
Educating oneself isn’t watching a video of someone who tried being vegan for 24 hours, or maybe a week. It’s about really digging into the topic, learning what it truly means, exploring the possibilities and finding what may work for oneself.
When reading a book about a specific topic, do consider picking up a book from the “opposite side”, the critics. Internet tends to serve us a tunnel vision of the world, the one that suits us, based on what we have already looked at. So don’t limit your research to the basic, look for the opposite. Find the balance.
Give it a try!
Wellness trends evolve and often contradict themselves. You will find out from one person that you need to do crunches this way and then another one will tell you, you are doing it all wrong. It’s confusing! It’s messy! It’s hard to know what is best. Plus they all sell something, their method to loose weight, do the split in 21 days, or gets fabulous abs, so it makes it sometimes hard to trust their expertise.
Same think with skincare routine. We are always one season away from the next magical molecule that is going to transform your skin forever. Same with the next superfood…
To be fair, very few of these people are actually lying, at least not intentionally. But what worked for them, and some of their clients, may not work for you. It’s that simple. So don’t be (too) afraid to try!
In case you wonder what self-care means to me
Know first that I’m a very basic person. For me the simpler, the better and I’ve really distanced myself from pretty much any and all trends since my no-buy year challenge. Every now and then, I do try new supplements, or a new face cream or a new ‘tool’.
Yes, I have a jade roller! I don’t use it enough, but it has come super handy to make pillow wrinkles disappear after my siestas! Admittedly, most of such wrinkles are nowadays hidden behind a mask anyway, but seriously, why didn’t I know this before?!
There is a self-care section in my budget. It was originally for my osteopath visits but since the pandemic, I’ve worked on my body alignment and other little issues with yoga and other stretches, as well as self massages. I’ve learned a few tricks from my osteopath, over the years, so I’ve been doing my best, by myself, since last year.
I’ve also learned to listen to my body more carefully. Vitamin D deficiency has been a hard learned lesson!
With regards to eating healthy, my body is becoming more and more unforgiving. The cleaner I eat, the less I can deviate. It’s ok, I listen and when I do, it feels great. When I ‘forget’, my body reminds me!
For me, self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t require to fly on the other side of the world, to spend a week in a spa. But then again, the few times I have been to spas, have taught me a couple new things, that I now like to reproduce at home.
In short, for me, self-care is about balance and moderation. Well, I’ve mentioned this before, it might be because I’m French!
And I’ll admit I sometimes wish I did more. Sometimes I even try!
We all know, our bodies are full of micro plastic and absorb all sorts of toxic chemicals, from our environment including our homes. Some may not have yet been officially proven to be damaging for our health, but we have a certain wisdom to know better. Plastic in our body just can’t be a good thing. I’m saying this but I don’t really know what to do about it. But when a cleansing trend that promises to get read of plastic in our body will come, I’ll keep an open ear.
Because to me, there is no reasons to not listen to ancient wisdom or new alternatives. Within reasons!
Don’t worry about the haters who want to shame you for wanting to be healthier. Don’t read articles online about how selfish you are. Remember it is your body, your responsibility and your own path!