The Key to Actual Self-Care for The Overwhelmed


The secret to success is right in front of you. You’re just not paying attention to it.

For better or worse (lbr— definitely worse), we live in a cycle of capitalism that ties self-worth to productivity. This leads to us bragging about how many chores we manage to get done in one day, and popping off in posts on Insta to beat others into submission with the biggest F.O.M.O. we can find. If we forget about the money or inherent value we tie to social validation, the satisfaction of finishing something you love, enjoy, and gives you creative fulfillment makes the hellish social and economic environment bearable. Unless, ofc, you aren’t actually finishing anything.

You’re tired. It was a long day. You have to scroll through your Insta feed for seventh time in fifteen minutes despite there being no new posts. You ought to finish a load of laundry before you do anything else, not that you’ll actually get to it until two days after you first resolve yourself to do it. Your friend texted you, but you’ll answer it later. You have a lot going on!

So, what do you have to show for it?

If you have a steady job—even if that job is not, regrettably, creative—then the extra hours you have to spend on the projects that will elevate you artistically and economically are limited. That means that self-care isn’t laying in bed the majority of your day off. While decompressing and paying attention to your body’s needs for rest are important, you need to be honest with yourself: are you using self-care as an excuse? Or are you wasting time debating the finer points of the latest celebrity gaffe on twitter? Because let me tell you, the latter is not good for your mind, body, or spirit, even if you’re drinking organic tea while doing it.

Self-care is vital in these ridiculously troubling (and traumatizing) times, but the best thing for you might be to close down all your apps and channel your energy into something that will bring you genuine fulfillment. After all, how do you expect to get likes on posts when you have nothing to share? Text your friend back, tell her you’re going to go to a museum and practice your angles. Open your notebook instead of Facebook, and write down an idea you’ve been thinking about but never put into words. Grab a novel you bought but never read from your shelf, and treat yourself to a perspective that isn’t from TrumpStanbot0121. You can even binge a new show everyone’s talking about, because investing in entertainment that stimulates you is also a form of productivity. You can channel the inspiration and use it to shape your own work.

Follow up and follow through. You’ll find what you’re looking for.