Just Gonna Say It: Real Self-Care Was Never Meant To Be Aesthetic

Contributor: PEDESTRIAN.TV

Social media is undeniably a huge part of our lives. It can be great – it’s literally gifted us with so many online communities, side-splitting TikTok videos, hilarious memes and new ways of communicating with people.

A recent study conducted by UNCLE TOBYS revealed that Aussies are collectively spending just under 90 million hours on social media each day*, so it’s clear it plays a gigantic role in our lives.

However, in all its greatness, it’s definitely amplified the need we have to compare ourselves to others – especially when it comes to self-care.

It seemed like once wellness-posting was exclusive to just influencer types boasting about their morning flow at the beach followed by a luscious purple Acai bowl. Now, every second person / brand / dog on IG slings the phrase ‘treat yourself’ with abandon, our feeds are flooded with morning routines that revolve around immaculate breakfasts (that I’m not entirely even sure can be cooked within the time frames the videos showcase), and, we’re constantly reminded that there’s another product that’ll instantly rid us of our stress.

This sort of stuff has trained us to think that truly taking care of ourselves and developing a sense of self-love comes from the superficial stuff – like you’re only ~really~ taking care of yourself if you’re doing a baby-pink facemask and ordering takeaway pancakes for dessert for the 3rd time in a week. This isn’t an attack. In fact, it’s the opposite. This is a love letter to the mundane that, frankly, we’re all already living in. To the self-care that simply isn’t cute enough to capture in an aesthetic pic.

I once saw a quote from American writer and poet Brianna Wiest saying that real self-care was all about “making a choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.” My whole mindset towards wellness was switched from that point, to say the least.

Self-care is the ugly, boring stuff. It’s the stuff that takes time because it requires practice to become the best version of yourself. It’s finally making a spreadsheet to sort out your finances. It’s about sweating through a workout you may not have been in the mindset for. It’s about eating a wholesome, fibrey bowl of oats for breakfast that fuels your body to smash the day. It’s about cleansing your feed and muting / blocking accounts that make you feel like trash.

In saying this though, I think the key thing here is learning about balance – if you do feel like posting your bubble bath once every blue moon, go for it! It’s your choice. However, if you’re getting down on yourself that not every single night of your life looks as picture-perfect as that, then it’s probably best to take a step back.

We do need to acknowledge how overblown this trend has become because comparing ourselves to what others are doing to take care of themselves is toxic. If we constantly measure up our own acts of self-love against others, then how will we ever truly embrace ourselves? The same UNCLE TOBYS survey showed 41% of us have tried out fad diets in an effort to get healthy, and 3 million Australians have admitted to starting a hobby to “make themselves seem cooler”, so it’s clear we’re obsessed with quick, surface-level fixes for our ails, rather than the stuff that reaps rewards long term.

I’m all for romanticising our every day lives to make things more exciting – it’s 2021, and I know I don’t need to convince anyone to act like the main character.

But, when it comes to knowing what our most important needs are, taking the time to recognise what truly makes you happy and comfortable in the grand scheme of things is essential – it’s really the only way you’ll actually be able to live your best life.

Just make sure that the intention behind whatever decision you make is personal happiness – not someone else’s, or for the sake of heart-emoji reacts.

If you’re looking to reassess your social media usage and self-care routine, take the UNCLE TOBYS Oatervention quiz. Plus, tell us why you need an Oatervention to go in the running to win a huge $10,000.

Opens 12.01am AEST on 2 May 2021. Closes 11.59pm AEST on 23 May 2021. AU residents 18+. Original entries judged 31.05.21 and winners notified by 03.06.21. For full T&Cs click here. Promoter is Nestle Australia Ltd