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What does it take to really treat ourselves with care?

People enjoy the warm and sunny weather relaxing on the pavement outside their homes in the Shorefields area of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
People enjoy the warm and sunny weather relaxing on the pavement outside their homes in the Shorefields area of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

The concept of “treat yoself” was first popularized in a “Parks and Recreation” scene more than a decade ago. Even if you didn’t watch the show, you’ve probably seen the slogan on mugs, t-shirts, and on Instagram.

The “treat yoself” mentality and the now booming self-care industry emphasize consumerism—purchasing clothes, skin-care products, vitamin supplements, Pelaton bikes. While the term self-care was reimagined in the 1980s by Black civil rights activist and feminist Audre Lorde, the concept has been co-opted and commercialized. 

Has the pandemic changed how we view self-care? What does “treat yoself” get wrong about self-care? And what does it take to really treat ourselves with care?

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