“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself”, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson back in 1841. Emerson may have been American, but his message seems to have been internalized by not just Americans but the billions of people worldwide that account for the rapidly growing self-care industry. Fast forward to 2017 and the global self-help industry was valued at a staggering 400 billion dollars!
Self-care is all about focussing on the actual self. Instead what we’ve come to be as a collective is a people that in the quest to take care of the self have become fixated with looking at the external. The roots of this heavily tech-influenced industry have grown from our obsession with recording what we feel, how much we breathe and external intervention to reassure to reaffirm that we’re putting enough work into ourselves. The more we value materialism, the unhappier we are and if you haven’t already guessed it, it works just well for the self-help industry profiting off people looking for quick-fix happiness.
While Self-care has been around way before millennials came into being, no other generation has co-opted it as seriously as they have. As per a study by Pew Research Center, millennials are more committed to the cause of personal care than any other generation before them. They are known to spend twice as much as their predecessors, the Baby Boomers on self-care tools and activities in a quest to improve their mental well-being.
Today there is great need for rewilding and getting back to simpler ways of caring for one self. One can’t deny there are a plethora of opportunities for self-care and de-stressing available that can be pursued without the use of money and technology. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that laughter is healing and that we must give ourselves a break from goal-based thinking, once in a while? All said and done, no app or money can induce happiness unless we’re ready to embrace and be in touch with our true inner self.