There is an idea floating around certain corners of the internet that self-care should always feel delightful or be soulful or important somehow. Maybe involve scented candles and make you feel like a goddess. Or a unicorn.
But I want to talk about when we don’t want to take care of ourselves.
A lot of self-care is tedious. It’s necessary, but it’s not fun or even relaxing.
It does not make me feel like a goddess, for example, to get a colonoscopy. Or spend thousands of dollars on dental work.
Or maybe yoga does make me feel like a goddess but getting dressed and driving there? Not so much.
And if I’m depressed or exhausted? Then the most basic self-care can feel so onerous.
Why is this?
Maybe because being human is challenging and complex and there is so damn much to manage.
Maybe because so much of our self-care is managed by us, all alone. We don’t have a lot of family or community rituals or women living side by side sharing the load.
Maybe because most of us live in societies that still place the second shift of housework and child work on women, don’t provide affordable quality child care and pay us less on the dollar than men.
Maybe because self-care has been turned into a marketable product, all Gwyneth Paltrow GOOP gauzy glitter fairy dust for thin white women, and the daily stuff feels like it doesn’t count.
Really I don’t know.
All I want to say on this summer day is let’s take it easy on ourselves.
I’ve been privileged to watch so many women’s lives changed by understanding self-care is not something they have to earn or deserve, but a human right.
Self-care is and remains a revolutionary act.
But it can also be a boring act. A no big deal act. A got-out-of-bed-and-took-a-shower triumph that involved nary a sprinkle of glitter.
If we resent or avoid taking care of ourselves or are less than transformed into unicorn riding goddesses by what we do for ourselves, oh well.