When terms used to clarify things for a particular group go mainstream, co-opted by hashtags and memes, no one (except the marketers) are served.
Self-care is one such term. We ought to be teaching our children to care for themselves and not need permanent nannies. We ought to care in particular ways for those who can’t care for themselves. Both assume the fact that self-care is a thing: it’s tending to your basic needs. Caretakers and those in highly needy situations, particularly on mission fields, need respite. After caring extensively and under extreme circumstances for the basic needs of others, caring for their own basic needs is the easiest thing to cut.
But when we see self-care in the media, on Instagram, in the memes, and hashtagged, those are not the demographics talking or listening.
Rather, self-care is the catch-all term to justify and even demand respite, escape, treats, indulgence. After all, life is exhausting and people are annoying. You deserve time off.
However, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the actual need of the moment, of what we actually do deserve, and what will actually restore and renew us when we’re tired. Moreover, it’s a misappropriation of the term self-care that steals it from the contexts where it’s needed and robs it of its intended meaning.
If we’re going to communicate as a society, words can’t mean whatever you want them to mean. They have to have agreed meanings for communication to work. And the loudest, most frequent uses end up determining meaning. It’s sad, but true.
And so, in mainstream use, self-care means doing what I want because I have to prioritize myself first and do what makes me happy. It’s a right. It’s a need.
It’s a lie.
January’s podcasts are all about what is self-care: what it is and what it isn’t. In the medical world, self-care refers to those tasks a caregiver must do for someone, whether it’s a caregiver to an injured or ill adult or a mother to an infant. But when the internet tells you that you need self-care, they’re not talking about using the bathroom and brushing your teeth and putting your own spoon to your mouth. In fact, a CNN article about trends for 2020 outright said that self-care on social media means luxuriating.
You don’t need to treat yourself or indulge in luxuries to be happy with your life. Let’s get a grip and a game face on and find not only contentment but also joy in our real life home duties.
You don’t need to get away from your life to renew your wellbeing. More than self-care, you need self-control. I need self-control. Getting organized is actually about self-control, and it’s more revitalizing than any kind of so-called self-care.
This is an audio blog episode featuring
Care for your home, your family, and your duties. Joy comes to those who work faithfully and gratefully.
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