Is Self-Care Just a Trend?

Self-care has increased in popularity, but will it last?

Posted Jan 22, 2019

It is difficult to doubt that self-care is surging in popularity. It’s hard to miss the clear increase of self-care spreading throughout society from status updates to news articles. Self-care was even the most popular app theme in 2018. While self-improvement is often a theme in January, Barnes and Noble recently released a report that for the first time, more people have invested in books to improve mental health rather than dieting and physical fitness.  

What has caused this shift?

As a mental health therapist and educator, self-care is not a new term in my world. This concept has always been addressed quite often in my office and classroom, but I have indeed noticed that I’m hearing more people refer to their self-care beyond these contexts than ever before. However, if you’ve had questions about self-care and wonder if it’s truly important, trust me, you are not alone.  As a self-love enthusiast it’s been an honor to help people who have had their curiosity piqued by the term. While I have always been asked by those with hungry minds for self-improvement, I have noticed an increase of folks asking:

What’s the big deal about self-care?

Do I really need self-care?

I don’t have time for a bubble bath, how am I going to fit self-care into my busy life?

Why does everyone seem to care about this all of a sudden?

Is it okay to cancel plans because I need self-care?

…and my new personal favorite

Why is self-care trending?

While I appreciate the opportunity to help others learn about, and potentially improve, their self-care, the last question is my current favorite, as it actually made me stop and question what I believe about self-care. Is self-care just getting its 15 minutes of fame, or is the practice here to stay?

What is self-care?

Before we examine if self-care is a trend, we need to clarify what self-care entails. Self-care is a holistic process that we all need in order to foster presence, engagement, wellness, and self-love. Self-care is not a singular skill. Instead, self-care includes a wide variety of tasks tailored to meet your diverse needs. Although there may be similarities between self-care strategies, self-care is subjective and tends to vary from person to person. So while yoga may help your friend find equilibrium, it does not mean this method is bound to work for you.

Self-care is a continuous process of proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness. This ongoing process can be tricky. On the other hand, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself, particularly before your loved ones.  In situations you are low on energy and short on time, you may be especially likely to give up your own needs for the sake of someone else.  Over time this can be dangerous. Also, when caring for others, it is helpful to demonstrate the importance of taking care of yourself to set an example and deter them from self-neglect as well.

Neglecting your personal needs can cause you to suffer from deterioration in wellness and self-love. For example, you may notice increases in anxiety, distractibility, anger, and fatigue. You may also experience decreases in sleep, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion. Ongoing exposure to stress without proper self-care can put you at risk for serious consequences such as depression and heart disease.

Is self-care a just a trend?

The increase in popularly may cause us to jump to the conclusion that self-care is merely a trend, but the steady increase in popularity over recent years appears to show no signs of slowing down. According to Gracy Obuchowicz, a self-care facilitator, mentor, and coach, this may be because, “People are really hungry for knowledge.” We are beginning to recognize that paying attention to our needs can be used to promote well-being. More people are having open discussions about mental health struggles, and subsequently creating more opportunities for healing and recovery. Similarly, more people may be opening their eyes to the importance of mental wellness, and the practical role self-care plays in maintaining mental health. We may be starting to value mental health as much as our physical health.

While we can’t predict the future of the self-care, we can manage how we practice self-care. If you’re wondering if self-care is just a trend, consider that the answer may vary from person to person. If you’re unwilling to try implementing your own self-care, copy habits of people around you without intention, or aren’t willing to connect to the deeper purpose of self-care, it’s likely that self-care will be a trend for you.  Truly adopting self-care is a lifestyle change. If you are intrigued by the notion and make the changes in your routine, that is just the beginning. Self-care is a continuous process of reflecting on your needs and investing in yourself to be the best version of yourself. So rather than to consider if it's just a trend, reflect on the way you personally approach the concept. If  it seriously matters to you, it won't be a fleeting trend in your life.