Self-Care Won’t Save Us


From Current Affairs: “In a time where people—especially millennials, at whom this particular brand of self-care is aimed—are increasingly talking about their struggles with depression, anxiety and insecurities, it’s no wonder that ‘practicing self-care’ is an appealing prospect, even if it does sometimes seem like a fancy way to say ‘do things you like.’ What is concerning is the way that this advice appears to be perfectly designed to fit in with a society that appears to be the cause of so much of the depression, anxiety, and insecurities. By finding the solution to young people’s mental ill-health […] in do-it-yourself fixes, and putting the burden on the target audience to find a way to cope, the framework of self-care avoids having to think about issues on a societal level. In the world of self-care, mental health is not political, it’s individual. Self-care is mental health care for the neoliberal era. […]

Funding cuts are in fashion across a plethora of Western countries, both to healthcare and to other services that indirectly affect our health, especially the health of people who need additional support to lead the lives they wish to live, or even just to survive. The rhetoric around self-care is flattering but flattening, treating its audience as though the solution to their problems is believing in themselves and investing in themselves. This picture glosses over the question of what happens when society does not believe or invest in us.”

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  1. Besides, if you practiced real self-care, the individuals recommending you do all these odd social things would be trying to get you to commit yourself because you have these bizarre notions about your diet, exercise and consuming “dangerous” nutritional supplements.

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