Self Care: A Lamentation

Self Care: A Lamentation June 16, 2016

Still, just to pick up in the middle of yesterday’s thought, I don’t love the term ‘self care’.

We’ve all fallen, me included, into this modern pathology speak that makes everything a health issue. I say this after having read about three dozen articles about whether or not cholesterol is good, how much vitamin D I should be getting, the proper amounts of salt for a human person to consume, and what terrible things happen to you if you don’t exercise. (I’ll sum up for the last one, You Die Forever, that’s what happens if you don’t exercise. Hysterical Sobbing.) Oh, and it turns out eating breakfast isn’t magic. But some of us knew that intuitively.

I don’t love that mental health, i.e., I guess, self care, has this sort of clinical aura that hovers over it. That’s the problem with all modern life (just to wildly generalize the totality of human existence in 2016). It’s not that we just wake up and drink a pot of coffee and trudge off to work. It’s that we have to examine ourselves from every single tiny angle. Are you doing what you ought? Do you have the right opinions? Are you happy enough? Have you been a good mother today? Did you take your vitamin and your walk and then hand mill your organic quinoa for your children’s properly apportioned nutritious but fun after school soulless muesli tart? Well, did you?

When I think about what sort of life I’d like to lead, I’d like to not think about the proper amounts of salt, cholesterol, and sunlight that go together to keep me from dying of cancer, heart disease, and other people’s opinions. I’d like to not think about Stress, and Serotonin, and whatever else goes into the chemistry of an appropriately non-mentally insane person. I’d like to to not wonder if I’m meeting the nebulous cloud of cultural approval that hovers over modern parents to make them question every little decision.

What I’d like is to wake up in the morning, and then fuss around my house for a bit, and then cook something clever in the kitchen, perhaps then wander into the garden to pull some weeds, sit down and read a snatch of a book, and, I don’t know, just live through the various minutes of the day without wondering if I am undertaking appropriate self care to keep myself from dying, which, unfortunately, I’m going to have to face anyway–death, that is.

It shouldn’t be Self Care. It should be called something like, Regular Life. Do you need to eat to live? Well, then eat something. Do you need to educate your kids somehow? Well, then, buy some books full of information to cram down their gender little throats or sic em on a bus that transports them to a location where someone else can do it. Will your mood be improved by a brisk walk in the snow? Well, put on your shoes and go have a walk. Or, better yet, take your shoes, sit in a chair, begin to try to put them on, lie back, and surf the Internet for ten minutes. By then your walk time will be over and you can go make supper.

Regular life ought not be oppressed by the decadence of existential dread. We ought to all relax and stop worrying. Or, rather, you all should relax and stop worrying. I don’t know how. So back to self care I guess.

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