The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Can’t buy me [self] love

Alex Porier

Since self-care became an infamous buzzword in the media, companies and advertisements have been contorting its meaning to sell their products. 

Self-care involves anything meant to improve overall mental and physical health—and yet somehow the single-use face mask has become the symbol of self-care. 

Companies have been able to profit from the increasing interest in self-care by marketing products as part of a mindful ritual, according to a Dec. 30, 2020 Forbes article. I fear this sort of marketing pulls people away from the truth of self-care. 

For busy, financially-restricted college students, self-care has become just another thing to check off the to-do list. It’s easy to stretch the definition and justify certain actions as self-care, especially when products are being thrown in your face as the key to taking care of yourself.

One way I’ve seen this happen is using an “I deserve it” mentality with purchases, for anything from a “sweet treat” that you could easily make at home to an overpriced clothing item after a hard exam. 

Sure, we all may deserve these things, but in the long run, purchases are not a sustainable form of self-care. 

Self-care can range from something as simple as taking a deep breath to taking a break from social media, according to a Dec. 24, 2023 Vogue article. In fact, most of the ideas listed in this article are free. 

Having a repository of free self-care ideas is important for maintaining mental health. Seventy-two percent of Americans stress about money each month, according to a 2015 Speaking of Psychology episode. This suggests spending money in the name of self-care could cause more stress than it relieves.

Self-care is not about using lavish products or having aesthetic, Pinterest-perfect relaxation. Mindfulness is an important component of intentional self-care, according to a June 2023 National Library of Medicine study

How I see it, one of the most important components of practicing self-care is learning what works for you. 

It can look different for everyone, and it won’t always be glamorous. Maybe self-care involves answering that email you’ve been ignoring, or even studying for an exam. 

Anything that helps you be mindful and practice healthy habits should count as self-care, so don’t let influencers and advertisements dictate what you can do to show yourself love. 

Try out some free self-care activities, such as journaling or spending time with friends, and find what works for you.

Everyone knows that you can’t buy romantic love, so don’t try buying self-love. 

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