On: non snooty "wellness" + "self care" 🍵
Can we talk about this phrase “self care” for a little bit?
And “wellness” too, and all that stuff?
Many of you know I’m always thinking/talking about how uncomfortable I often feel being near those words...do you relate?
At times these words feel deeply uncomfortable to use in a sentence. And associate myself with... yet….i’m struggling with language to talk about what it is i am doing in the world.
I forever find it challenging to answer the questions that ask me to define what i do into easily understandable categories. Self care is one of those terms i often use. I don’t know, somehow it feels less...dogmatic than a lot of terminology. But it’s felt awkward in moments, clumsy or ...has ruffled some internal feathers in me if that makes sense, in the same way my relationship to the word “yoga” has since first embarking on my journey (more on that via this storytime).
I’m still not sure how to define what it is I do. It doesn’t get any easier as time goes by, in fact, i think it gets even more difficult.
I also recognise the neurosis (and my resistance to) our society has, in needing to define things in limited categories, and also that language is an evolving thing. What starts out with the best intentions can evolve into something that creates barriers and distance when it becomes commodified and popularised.
There’s nothing wrong with something being popular. I’m all for more people exploring ways to feel better and a big encourager of us all being empowered to do so. I have a problem when someone, particularly someone with a lust for power, uses that in a way to manipulate people. You know, make bombastic claims that aren’t true for everybody. That exclude giant portions of people and worse, make them feel shit about being who they are and how they want to live their life.
It’s age old of course. Power, control and hierarchy because that makes more money, doesn’t it? Pretending you have the answers when you actually don’t have a clue is one hellovadrug, and we see it playing out all around. Faking it works, and arguably, people would much rather have the quick fix and be told something works, rather than being offered tools to explore their own (much more powerful) truth, right?
Am i going on a tangent here?
Do i talk about this too much?
You know i’m not shading people who study and practice and learn and develop their craft and share it with the world. I’m on that path, forever will be. It’s the intention behind that. How is it used? To elevate yourself over others or to empower them so we all rise?
All i care about is people feeling better.
Having accessible tools to take care of themselves in ways that feel good in ways that are inclusive and non snooty.
Dismantling ideas that to be well you need to give up stuff you love or punish yourself.
That taking care of yourself needs you to sacrifice precious time that you don’t have.
-Taking care of yourself should feel like an enhancement. that you have more energy to dedicate to the stuff you want to do.
Be that going out to eat a burger and drink wine.
Or staying up till 3am to watch a marathon of an excellent series (i recommend Killing Eve by the way)
I am not interested in learning rules about how to “behave” yourself.
Or changing who you are in order to be deemed “healthy”.
Or losing weight or adjusting your diet. Eat whatever the hell you like. (read this and this for more on that 🍴)
Or measuring success by how many fucking pushups you can do or how stupidly complicated a posture you can show. I mean….
I’m eyerolling cause this topic makes me a bit enraged….
Because i can see how over the years the messages i’ve been fighting against for decades seem to be infiltrating at every level.
“Wellness” is cool. Apparently. And you don’t want to get left behind by not participating in some way.
It’s weird...as a survivor of an eating disorder, i see worrying signs that dangerous messages are being perpetrated and normalised and sometimes celebrated.
We have a big issue with this word i hate: “healthy”, and its definition. And all the words that somehow get lumped into this weird bubble along with it (like “self care” + “wellness” + “yoga” + “cleansing” + “vegan” + “green juice” + ...i know you know what i’m talking about and i don’t need to keep going here….)
And we need to explore this on a deeper level. There’s nothing wrong with any of those words, but how do we use them? How do we read them? What do we associate with them? What do we mean? Examining this and hopefully creating our own relationship that isn’t tainted by a lucrative manipulative and elitist intention.
Cause less harm. Less barriers to everybody having access to tools that empower them to feel better.
Radically challenge the commodification of being well, who gets access to it. Who gets to participate. Whose original ways of being on the planet are ridiculed then co-opted and then excluded.
How do we and should we talk about self care, wellness, taking care of ourselves and feeling better?
What do you think?
Does the mention of those terms make you feel bored? interested? hopeful? angry? I’d love to know….
All i know is, it’s always got to be accessible and inclusive.
And like Cheryl says, real.