Tuesday, November 29, 2022

When does self care become toxic?

MosaicWhen does self care become toxic?
Justin O’Toole/The Review
Self care has become more of a trend than a necessity for stable mental health.

BY Staff Reporter

Self care has become more of a trend than a necessity for stable mental health. 

Many influencers on social media treat it as a lucrative business and encourage self care with products that they get commission from. This superficial business of well being and “healthy mental health” is exhausting. It’s time to talk about what self care is really.

Junior Kate Christofano, a “positive influencer,” as she calls it, explained the vapid nature of influencers. It’s easy for people to get lost when there are posts about perfection and advertisements for products that will improve the quality of one’s life. “This can cause a lot of body dysmorphia or feelings of one not being good enough as they compare their life to a seemingly perfect world an influencer lives in,” Christofano said.

Christofano is working to break the mold and says that she will never promote diet products as they can be triggering. To say that a product changed her life would be dishonest. “There are these types of cases all over social media, and it’s near impossible to figure out what’s real and what’s fake,” she said.

She’s working to positively impact followers and remind them that imperfections are normal. She reminds followers to follow influencers who make them feel good about themselves and to question photos instead of taking them at face value.

Self care can come in different forms. For people facing issues with trauma and mental illness, it is more than just lighting some candles and putting on a face mask. Influencer Kylie Jenner is pictured with a bag of Fit Tea in one of her Instagram posts with the caption “#ad using @fittea before my shoots is my favorite ☺️.” This post promotes Kylie Jenner’s lifestyle and how she gives off a positive and successful appearance. It is easy for someone to think that purchasing and using this Fit Tea will better their life and make them feel content and happy with their life as well, even though there could be deeper mental health issues at hand.

Self care does not come from trying to emulate an influencer’s life. It can be as simple as taking a walk, journaling or even just letting yourself cry. It isn’t as glamorous as some may make it seem and is actually really difficult.

Starting to acknowledge stressors is a first step in coping with them and using self care methods.

In “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for the Self While Caring for Othersby Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk, the authors state, “by easing the burdens of trauma exposure, you may open the physical, mental and emotional space to explore deeper questions.” Opening oneself to trauma is difficult but can lead to further exploration of difficult topics and issues that helps and encourages growth.

Self care comes with seeking out a way to regain personal control. Having an inner locus of control is linked to greater happiness. This means that you feel that you have control over your life and that actions you perform impact the outcome. An outer locus of control is one in which one’s actions have no impact whatsoever. It is the feeling that regardless of one’s efforts, whatever happens is bound to happen.

It’s important to make healthy choices, but also important to not get caught up in telling people you’re making healthy lifestyle choices. That’s a recipe for toxicity when self care becomes a competition. Self care is about commitment and going at your own pace. You can’t force it, and you can’t find a universal way of practicing it.

Social support is crucial as a means of self care. It’s easy to take on the task of caring for oneself independently, but in order to truly care for oneself it requires the help of others. While the main focus is oneself, it always helps to have other people involved. These people can help to keep you on track and in line with your goals. They can assist you when you are not doing well in your habits and motivate you to be your best, all the while challenging you.

Influencers often portray self care in an easy and carefree light. It seems anyone can practice self care with the right music and products. However, true self care can be difficult because it involves patience. You won’t heal from trauma or stressors overnight. You have to take initiative. There is no quick and easy fix, and taking care of yourself is a journey. Some influencers fail to recognize these facts and promote a flawed agenda. 

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