Maybe you don’t need to work on yourself

7 ways to spot consumer self-care.


Even in Adelaide, we are not immune to the allure of consumer self-care. When the wellness and yoga industries promise us quick fixes and total transformation, it’s easy to get swept into a frenzy of face masks and crystal baths till we convince ourselves that inner-peace is just a few positive thoughts away. But true self-care goes beyond the superficial, and even beyond the individual. It’s about embracing long-term, often challenging changes that lead to a life you don’t need to escape from.

Here are seven ways to spot consumer self-care from the real thing. 

1. The self-care industry preys on our insecurities.

Consumer self-care leads us to believe that buying more sexy activewear and top dollar cosmetics will make us fitter and hotter. When in reality, health is about the way you feel, not the way you look. 

2. Self-care is not the same as self-obsession.

It’s not competing with yourself to be better, look better, or relax better, until you burnout from the internal pressure. It’s not keeping up with influencers by buying elaborate skin care products to hide your fine lines which are caused by the stress of working too hard so you can afford more elaborate skin care products.


3. Faux self-care can lead to loneliness.

In fact, research shows that self-centredness actually contributes to feelings of isolation. Sometimes self-care looks like turning off netflix and engaging with the world. Finding people and places where you can safely interact, be seen and supported.

4. Consumer self-care lies to us that we can find personal answers to structural problems.

Looking inward won’t solve the cost of living crisis or unaffordable childcare. Which is why many people can’t afford self-care in the first place. 

5. Real fulfilment is rarely achieved by quick fixes.

Day spas and mani pedis may be glamorous. But real self-care can be a lot more uncomfortable. It may be more like taking an honest look at your habitual behaviours and admitting what really needs to change. 

6. Maybe you don’t need to ‘actualise your true potential’. 

Maybe you just need to be kinder to yourself. And that kindness could look more fierce than you think. Like committing to regular exercise, meal prepping instead of scrolling, or just going to bed early and getting enough sleep. 

7. The original point of self-care had nothing to do with capitalism.

It was about collective health care and the black civil rights movement. It was an act of political resistance. Real self-care was, and still is,  inherently connected to community-care.

Maybe you don’t need to work on yourself. Maybe self-care begins with seeing yourself clearly, accepting yourself as you are, then taking a deep breath and doing the things you know will be truly helpful, for the long term. 


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