Capitalism co-opted self-care when you weren’t looking: Why pedicures and scented baths won’t make you feel better for long.

Capitalism has co-opted self-care and you don’t even know it. Like any effective world view, the values of capitalism are so ingrained in most of us, we don’t even realize when we’re living by the values of a paradigm actually isn’t aligned with our human values. 

Need self-care? Ok, person after person will tell you to go get a pedicure, scented candles, chocolate treats, or schedule a weekend vacation. But all of these are material items (with the exception of the vacation) that may make your body feel good momentarily, but they won’t get to the kind of deep self-care you need.

Of course capitalism has its benefits, but in the Western World its values have so skewed reality that we are told that spending more money and consumerism is the answer to everything.

Remember World Trade Center had fallen and the nation was adjusting the shock of the 9/11 events. The next day, President Bush said to get out and spend money. To shop.

Myself and a bunch of us did a double-take, “What the heck? Are we even having the same conversation? That has nothing to do with any of this.”

Rampant materialism doesn’t actually serve our deepest needs.

We have a minimalism movement, but have we addressed the need for a self-care overhaul? For an overhaul of our relationships to stuff vs our relationships to our inner worlds of emotions, our relationships to our social communities, and our relationship to Mother Earth.

Genuine self-care isn’t about satisfying your material desires first. Its about addressing your actual needs for experiences like rest, for nourishment, and for boundaries.

We are here to Steward the world and to Steward ourselves.

To be good stewards of something- yourself, your kids, wilderness- you guard it, and you nurture it, but most importantly, you let it grow in the direction that most benefits it.

You can start with stewarding yourself.

If you are not teaching your children and your closest circle of friends and family to honor your limitations, then you are perpetuating the cycle of take-take-take that we have here in capitalism.

Self-care is essential if we are going to impact and address the troubles of the world. We can’t have a bunch of drained, sleep-deprived people out there enacting healthy change. Cause I don’t know about you, but the ideas I come up with to fix things when I’m tired aren’t often the best ones.

Of course, I’m not knocking you if you’re sleep-deprived, because I know that I am a little bit too. I have small children and therefore some of my sleep autonomy is not mine. Even so I get as much sleep as I can.

What Real Self-Care Looks Like

And when I ask you to do self-care, I’m not asking you to do the impossible or things that make you feel more defeated. That would be just rude. I’m asking you to reflect, can you find one way in which you are giving more than you are able, exhausting yourself more than is absolutely necessary, relying on only yourself when you could actually be tapping into a community of support. If you don’t believe that you have a community of support, that should be your first self-care task.

None of us can do the struggles and burdens of life alone. Its just plan and simple. No animal, no plant, no organism exists by its effort alone.

As humans, we are amazing, unique, complex, evolved creatures. But the same laws of the life & nature apply to us. One of our errors was buying into joys of individualism full force. And we never wondered what we lost from radical reliance on only ourselves.

How many women can you name who believe that they can do EVERYTHING? It seems like a setup for burnout and resentment to me. I don’t think that I can do everything. I don’t even try.

Today let’s stop buying.

Stop buying stuff to fill inner needs. Stop buying into a belief that capitalism can effectively steward our bodies, souls, or our wild spaces. Stop buying into the lie that we don’t need other people and we can do everything alone.

Sure buying things would give you a quick burst of good feelings, but the feeling doesn’t last. And then you’ve spent money and used resources to address a problem that money & stuff can’t actually address. 

Today Start Self-Care through Self-Stewardship

This is just the beginning, so I don’t want to overwhelm you with a lot of actions to take and things to do. I’m not going to give you 5 tips to start with today, how applicable is that really? When adopting a new way of thinking and believing, its good to simply let this way of living permeate your mind and your observations. Take time to ask yourself how you can apply this to your own life.

Simply begin by accepting that there is a different way to do things. You can adopt a mindset & belief that you can steward yourself and those around you through connection & community. 

Start addressing our real feelings and needs. Let’s start talking about these things with friends & loved ones. Let’s build communities of support that we can share our lives with in the high & the low times. This is a conversation for building a future we desire.

Reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas. Check out my YouTube channel for more support. I’d love to hear how this sits with you and what you notice & identify. Thanks and lots of stewarding love to you! Rachel 

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