The concept of self-care is advertised all over the place, so you’d think we’re doing something right as a society. But the truth is that even though self-care is becoming more and more celebrated, it’s still expected to fit into a rigid structure of expectations – many of which aren’t good for our emotional wellbeing.
The first step is identifying these modern-day pressures that are all too commonplace. Then, with the right awareness, you can make healthier choices to exercise self-care in the way that’s best for you.
3 Pressures in this Day and Age – and How to Address Them
No society is perfect. And while we continue to try and improve our communities for the better, there are still a lot of pressures typical in this day and age. Trying to practice self-care while dancing around these pressures can be almost impossible.
Now, there’s no need to resist these concepts altogether! But having a little awareness can put you in a much better position to seek the balance that you need to become your best self.
Pressure 1 – Glorification of Activity
Reaching your potential. Accomplishing more. Making every moment count. These types of messages are common today. And while – yes – accomplishing your dreams can be a great thing, this endless pressure to be making progress can be exhausting.
What’s dangerous about this “always active” mindset is that it does not value rest. If we fixate on being productive all the time, it can make ‘taking a day off’ feel like a waste or letdown. In reality, rest is vital to self-care. And having a moment of rest shouldn’t come with feelings of shame or self-deprecation. Rest should be valued as a legitimate form of self-care – no strings attached!
Pressure 2 – Data-Driven Trackers
Tracking steps, tracking sleep, tracking meals, tracking calories. Okay, knowing where you’re at in your health journey is important. But when this data-driven form of tracking every detail becomes an obsession, it can lead to anxiety and stress, not to mention an unhealthy comparison with your own self.
Just because you reached a step goal yesterday doesn’t mean you should ‘feel bad’ or ‘be hard on yourself’ for failing to reach it today. Life is in constant flux. Instead of letting a data-driven health tracker lead to feelings of sadness or anxiety, remember that it is just one tool among many available to you in your health journey.
Pressure 3 – Commercialized Self-Care
Treat yourself! Yes, it’s the basic – and perhaps most celebrated – form of self-care. But when you’re living in a capitalist system, treating yourself often requires a purchase, like a new pair of shoes or extra appetizer.
Remember, there are many ways to treat yourself and engage in self-care, and not every treat has to be pricey. Little treats count, too! Take a mid-morning break from work to walk to the park, set aside chores to call an old friend on the phone, etc. There are many ways to feel like you’re truly treating yourself without spending money.
Again, there’s no need to throw out your fitness tracker or stop keeping a to-do list! Just try and tune in to how these modern-day pressures might affect your wellness goals so you can find the best balance for you.