How to Fix How We See Self-Care
It’s not about the latest indulgence. It is a necessity, and should be part of everyone’s
By Mona Bijoor
Not so long ago, the idea of self-care was simple: It was about the things you did for
yourself to stay mentally and physically healthy. But because of Goop and other
commerce-driven pseudo self-care brands that operate under the guise of well-being,
the concept of self-care has been bastardized. They share one thing in common:
targeting (mainly) women and telling us that we can improve our physical self by
purchasing and re-purchasing often-expensive products and services.
You don’t treat yourself to self-care. It shouldn’t be seen as an act of indulgence—and
it’s not about buying the latest CBD oil, shelling out cash for the newest laser facial—or
eating a decadent meal. Self-care is a necessity and should be part of everyone’s daily
Self-care is spiritual and emotional work that you do in order to connect with who you
truly are. The effort starts from within and it can require rigorous work to get to the
point of deep and personal understanding of your values and priorities. (I believe that
the best self-care happens in a silo, rather than doing a group meditation or a group
workout class). The goal is to develop greater respect for both yourself and the people
you choose to spend your life with.
In society, we emphasize what we see. But self-care means doing work on your
foundation (what’s inside you) first rather than just an exterior paint job (your façade).
Some good places to begin are choosing to read book rather than binge-watching TV;
sticking to a balanced diet, and maintaining financial independence by saving and
I equate self-care with self-knowledge. Ask yourself, are you living a life that mirrors
your values? If not, what can you change?
Everyone’s path to self-knowledge is unique, and it often involves a lot of
experimentation to figure out what feels good and fulfilling. What I do to care for my
spiritual health, emotional health, and physical health may not work for you, but since I
know they work for me, I offer them here as inspiration.
I think the key to this is doing things on your own that energize and allow you to
connect with your truest self. As Pascal once said, “All of humanity's problems stem
from (wo)man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
1) Reading inspirational literature nightly (Bhagavad Gita, Four Agreements, The
Answer is You, anything by Pema Chodron)
2) Practicing Affirmations daily
3) Meditating or doing deep breathing exercises daily
Some people find spiritual fulfillment through creative expression—that might mean
creating art, writing poetry or making music.
The goal is to be able to stay in the present moment—to be able to live in a neutral
state. If you haven’t dealt with the traumas of your past and the anxieties regarding
your future, than they’ll take your mind away from the here and now. And when you
don’t acknowledge (and address) your emotional baggage, the pain and anger can
manifest in your physical body, which is why it’s best to deal with your spiritual and
emotional realms before working on the physical stuff.
1) Journaling daily
2) Surrounding myself with non-toxic friends and developing supportive
3) Reducing my consumption of material things and content
I have friends who practice daily gratitude or tapping (also known as the Emotional
Freedom Technique) to release baggage.
The way I see it, if I’m feeling great, have plenty of energy, and I’m not getting sick, it’s
as a result of the mental and spiritual work that I am doing. I sleep better when I’m not
stressed out, and my body moves best when I’m not tense or bottling up my emotions.
When my physical health isn’t at its peak, I always ask myself if it’s due to an internal
imbalance and not just an external cause.
1) Sleeping for 7 hours a night
2) Eating nourishing food that’s more plant-based and less processed
3) Practicing yoga daily
Other ideas: fasting (a friend says it makes her feel clear-headed) or spending time in
It’s a common analogy to think about your mind and body as a house. If you don’t fix the
foundation when it’s falling apart, it will affect everything, and will require big, costly
repairs. Proper maintenance of your foundation—in the form of self-care—can go a long
way to living a joy-filled life.