Raven Smith on self-care

An illustrated interpretation of a man twisted up in nots while smoking and balancing on one leg.

Our resident columnist discusses the buzzword of the decade

By Raven Smith .  Wednesday 1 January, 2020

If you’ve listened to any podcasts, you’ll know that self-care is big news. Alongside saving the planet from extinction, it’s also necessary to regularly cleanse the body and soul, an enema of the self. With its roots in ancient systems and Mayan energy, there’s nothing more eye roll-inducing than self-care, is there? It reeks of hemp, meowing at the moon and bathing in unpasteurised milk. But in today’s era of extreme home renovations and aggressive plastic surgery, all of this still feels a little non-committal. It’s time to get serious with the selfloving. Life is short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.

First things first, you need to prep the space. Remember when Naomi Campbell
wet-wiped her entire plane seat? Adopt this hyper-cleanliness in your own home and Dettol it from top to bottom. The smell of disinfectant is a mindful clean slate for taking care of yourself.

With every passing vehicle farting exhaust fumes in your face, fresh air is a must. Open a window if you live near fields. Although, if that’s the case, one assumes you’re spending most of the day frolicking in the wheat and hugging farm animals, so self-care is less pressing. 

Annoyingly, eating jelly sweets only makes you feel good for 20 minutes, even if they’re the posh ones from Whole Foods. It’s the same with melted cheese and clarified butter. I guess the best thing to ingest is the vibrations from a gong bath, or a cup of bee pollen, or maybe just put your lips to a room diffuser and inhale. A juice cleanse isn’t quite extreme enough to dull the ache of Brexit. Try blitzing a three-course brunch and lobster dinner in a NutriBullet and drinking the concoction. Or, do the caveman diet with intermittent doughnuts. Anything that makes you feel dizzy between meals means it’s working. 

Getting eight hours’ sleep a night is boring, hence the continual search for products that make us look well-rested. Face wipes are problematic. One day in the future, the volume of discarded wipes and microbeads will be so great that you’ll be able to walk across the Atlantic on the soapy mulch, like Captain Scott in the Antarctic. Beauty is a tricky one, because all the best things for your face and body cost a bunch of money (incidentally, I’d like to retrain and be a provider of incredibly expensive scented lard). After a sauna, try exfoliating your whole body with ground up diamonds. Keep scrubbing until you’re hotter than your ex.

Unfollowing happy people is self-care. Cheerful souls chip away at your superior sense of self, and they’re always somewhere warmer and more adventurous than you scanning Instagram in between lunch-break emails. 

Despite being hideously uncool and the most ‘dad’ thing on the planet, in a bad way, vaping is still having a moment. It shows no sign of abating, regardless of its association with tech nerds who have little to no life experience or social skills. I wish I was the kind of smoker who never inhaled, but I’m an ‘all or nothing’ gal. Smoking real cigarettes is self-care. 

Clothes take their toll on the planet at a cotton level, but nothing feels as good as a starched white shirt and an ironed pair of Levi’s. A trip to the mall is emotional self-care, but rewearing your most expensive clothes to run errands is the future liberals want. A Versace suit at McDonald’s is a must.

Illustration by Elena Xausa
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