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707: Luxury

Self-care is a whole lot more than a throwaway phrase… or a multi-billion dollar industry.

As NPR put it in 2017, quote:

Self-care existed long before millennials did. Ancient Greeks saw it as a way to make people more honest citizens who were more likely to care for others. In her 1988 book, A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde wrote that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, more millennials reported making personal improvement commitments than any generation before them. They spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, life coaching, therapy and apps to improve their personal well-being. They’ve even created self-care Twitter bots.

No matter how many financial resources you may or may not have at your disposal, there seems to be a question of what may or may not be considered a luxury. After all, luxury has a number of definitions, many of which are based on the kind of world we live in.

As Vice reported, quote:

“We live in a society where structures are extraordinarily powerful in defining who people are and what will happen in their lives,” Carl Cederström, an associate professor of organization studies at Stockholm University said. “Yet at the same time, we seem to live in a time where we refuse to see that that is the case. We really do want to believe in the American dream or in the fantasy that everything could be solved through individual measures, through self-care, through techniques of magical thinking, the power of positive thinking, or whatever it might be.This is like when Paul Ryan suggested that poor people see a life coach as a requirement to receive federal aid, in order to “design a customized life plan to provide a structured roadmap out of poverty.” The sad irony is that much of the history of popularization of self-care comes from activists as a reaction to institutional shortcomings—women, people of color, and the LGBTQ communities. Self-care was a kind of protest. It was a way to look after marginalized bodies and minds when no one else bothered to.”

So how do you manage to treat yourself to luxuries, especially when your position financially or socially may not allow for what general society considers a luxury? There was a 2018 survey done by a hotel chain asking Brits to name what they considered to be luxuries, and many of them were the type that require time more than money. A few of the options?

Reading a book

Catching your favorite movie

Spending five minutes with yourself

Going for a picnic

So how about you?