One month into self-quarantine and I’ve seen friends get sick, acquaintances pass away and so many people lose their jobs. Every day brings something new, and yet every day feels exactly the same. I wake up, I make a cup of coffee, I sit in the same spot in my living room and write to try and keep some semblance of normalcy. I go for walks on the same tired sidewalks and cycle through the same thoughts and emotions with each step. In short, I do whatever it takes to get myself up, showered (sometimes) and ready to show up for the day ahead. And curiously enough, I have not once put on a face mask.
Which got me thinking: What does self-care even mean in the age of self-quarantine?
I remember first writing about “self-care” sometime in 2017. It was the phrase of the year, it seemed, cropping up in every other Instagram post and article on the Internet. To be fair, the words “self” and “care” sound lovely together. And the idea of taking care of yourself seemed to need reinforcing in our increasingly busy lives.
In hindsight, the self-care movement (and boom in the wellness industry as a whole) makes perfect sense. For many of us, the past decade has been a constant grind. Those of us who graduated into the recession remember how difficult it was to find a job—yet alone keep one. Add to that the mounting pressures to check off all of society's markers of success (promotions, relationships, savings, and later on, weddings, more promotions, kids and homes), and the strange compulsion to share it all on social media, and well, it's no wonder many of us have felt anxious since 2008.