In recent months, there has been an increased amount of conversation on social media regarding 'self care'. In the first instance, this seems great; people are finally understanding the importance of looking after and taking time for yourself. However, if we delve deeper into this, I question whether the socially constructed idea of 'self care' can be more harmful than good?

I feel as though Instagram, in particular, glorifies the idea of self care and love. We are presented with the idea of  'looking after yourself' by spending too much money on face masks, buying a bunch of flowers in hope that we suddenly feel less empty and letting yourself do absolutely nothing for days on end. Let me just clarify, taking breaks is so important but I feel as though there's a difference between taking a break and switching off from everything; avoidance of certain tasks isn't suddenly going to make them go away. Instead, I think we should be promoting the idea of setting our own pace, doing things in a way that suits us, being productive but not in a way that makes us feel so stressed and like we can't move out of bed for days. It's all well and good taking multiple days off but that doesn't mean the deadlines at work, the bills that need paying and the emails that need replying to will go away. We are then rushed to do those things; and then we burn out. Take your time, set yourself a healthy routine.

The societal expectation of  'self care' also appears to be so, incredibly expensive. Believe it or not, not everyone can book a weekend away to Paris in order to de-stress. Therefore, this adds extra pressure, it leads to the constant questioning of "am I doing enough?", "why can't I do that?"...this doesn't sound much like self care, does it? I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to take trips away whenever they feel like it because hey, if you can afford to do that, that's great but we shouldn't think of these things as the only way that we can care for ourselves.

Self care doesn't have to cost anything at all.

It can be as simple as switching your phone on airplane mode for an hour to give yourself some time to reflect, finishing that book you've been meaning to for ages, catching up with an old friend or cooking yourself your favourite meal.

Or, it doesn't have to be anything at all.

You don't need to plan a specific activity to 'look after yourself'; it should be a daily thing. Sure, arrange those pamper nights to help to de-stress after a deadline or that trip to the cinema with your friends after a bad day at work. However, self care isn't what you do really, it's how you look at the things you are doing. It's about reminding yourself that you're worth more than working in a job that you hate, telling yourself that you don't need to make excuses for the friend that makes no effort with you and that eventually, you'll feel a bit better.

I feel like this is a very rambly post but it's so important to focus on yourself and not feel sucked into the idea that you're not looking after yourself if you're not spending £30 on a face mask and undertaking a social media detox.

How do you practice self care?