There is no shortage of folks out there talking about the importance of self care. And on the surface, I agree. But it’s also coming to light how some of those folks are also capitalizing on a “self care market” to profit off of something that shouldn’t really be about profit. Caring for community members and taking care of one’s self really shouldn’t come at an expense. What’s more: these so-called self care strategies are usually just band-aids that help us to cope under extreme stress while not addressing the root of the problem. Don’t get me wrong; coping is important! But if we aren’t acknowledging the source of stress and anxiety, no amount of self care strategies are going to help alleviate the weight.
The stress and anxiety that most of us feel today is caused by many issues, all of which are unique to each situation. The root of those issues, though, almost always leads back to colonial-based capitalism and there are very few people that seem to be acknowledging this root. White supremacy, sexism, poverty, climate destruction: all of these are rooted in colonial culture. No amount of yoga or meditation or ice cream or new shoes will change that. In fact, many of our “coping” strategies fuel a capitalist economy which in turn fuels our stress. Vacations away from work and shopping therapy drain bank accounts. And sometimes it feels like the only time that adults connect together is to drink.
Instead of self care being rooted in this capitalist economy, we should be turning to decolonial methods of care; connecting and supporting community, learning to grow and share food, connecting with the earth, dismantling power structures. Once we can identify that the problems we face are colonial in nature, it only makes sense that we should seek to decolonize and unsettle our lives as a response.