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COLUMN: Self-care shouldn't be a privilege



A quick search for the #SelfCare hashtag on Instagram fills the screen with pictures of warm bubble baths and cups of tea. Sometimes there are travel posts or a picture of a great meal. 

Self-care posts and articles seem to be littered with content about taking mental health days, spending hours in a steaming bath and indulging in comforting foods.

While I strongly believe in treating myself, taking a break from school would probably stress me out and spending money I should be saving on luxury items seems like a bad decision.

Traditional self-care is valuable — I just didn’t think it was something I could afford to do often enough. That’s why the hashtag #BoringSelfCare is so important. 

#BoringSelfCare was started by Hannah Daisy, an artist and occupational therapist. Daisy stated that the inspiration for her drawings came from wanting a more accurate and realistic description of self-care. 

While warm baths and get-away trips sound lovely to Daisy, she believed most people can't afford to just take off work in order to make their lives easier. 

When she saw this, Daisy started creating art about small things that can make people feel better. Things like cleaning the dishes or unfollowing negative Instagram feeds. Tasks that seem easy but are very difficult for someone suffering from mental illness. 

Yes, massages, candles and ignoring life’s responsibilities are nice once in a while. However, they usually just pause my mind for a half-hour before I start remembering that I am a real-life person who has to do work and clean my apartment. 

More and more of us need that self-care. 

While worker productivity increased almost 74 percent from 1975 to 2013, the amount that workers get paid for their work has only increased 10 percent in comparison.

Effectively, this means we need to work more in order to have the same salary that we used to earn. And while it may not be the main reason, this trend might contribute to why people are sleeping less overall. 

Because of this, self-care is more important than ever. With our focus on school and work, prioritizing ourselves seems to be a luxury. But prioritizing ourselves should never have to be considered luxurious. 

Self-care is about taking care of our mental states. As writer and civil rights activist Audre Lord once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”

So yes, cleaning that one corner of your apartment may not feel luxurious, but it’s important because it makes you feel accomplished. And we shouldn’t have to mix self-care with luxury. Prioritizing yourself should never be a question of privilege. 

npatwari@indiana.edu

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