If we are not careful, toxic content related to self-care can aggravate our mental health and cause us to evade our responsibilities or destroy our self-image. While self-care is necessary, the self-care content offered by influencers should not act as the guiding light in our lives. On its own, spending time on self-care can be transformative. But in an era where people are busier than ever, self-care consumes more of our limited time, which can lead to increased stress and anxious feelings.
Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people just take it in the sense of: 'You don't care that you can hurt other people. A particularly cheeky article proudly advertises “5 productive activities that you can disguise as 'Time for Me', not personal care that you can disguise as productivity, of course. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. But there's also a lot of self-care content that directly addresses anxiety and depression, the first and second most common types of mental illness.
Take care of yourself, even if that means skipping all the bells and whistles and not stressing yourself out. People of color and women invoked self-care to regain control over their health from a health system that did not sufficiently meet their needs or respect their bodies. There is no shortage of overrated beauty products that are marketed as personal care products, an approach that can, ironically, exacerbate self-image issues and therefore worsen mental well-being, especially if you have anxiety or depression. The attraction to self-care, among other things, was reactionary to the integral nature of The Grind, and was necessary to deal with the eventual burnout that comes from the strenuous effort towards perfect productivity.
Learn more about NIMH's commitment to accelerating the pace of scientific progress and transforming mental health care. No matter what or how much you learn from personal care experts, the knowledge they impart is no match for your instincts. As the glamorization of long working hours, maximizing every free minute to work on tasks or projects became more commonplace, so did self-care. Sharing self-care tips and memes can become a way to avoid talking about real depression, anxiety, and other difficulties.
Of course, not everyone who practices self-care or seeks personal care tools has a mental health condition.