“No Amount of Baths Is Gonna Make You Feel Better”: Seeking Balance, Wholeness, and Well-being in Everyday Self-Care
Keywords:self-care, health, healthism, well-being, wellness
AbstractRecently, the concept of “self-care” has shifted from the sphere of biomedicine into popular discourse; rather than indicating the practice of maintaining physical health, the term has come to represent a set of broader and more commonplace practices aimed at achieving balance, wholeness, and overall well-being. Drawing from interviews and participant observation with young adult respondents both in college and recently graduated, this study explores what it means to practice this type of “everyday self-care.” Those who practice everyday self-care do so to seek out a holistic sense of happiness and well-being; they value self-care that engages their “whole” self – one conceptualized as made up of both mind and body. They strive for balance in tensions between self-control and indulgence, long-term well-being and immediate gratification, and selfishness and community. Self-care cannot be summed up in a list of activities or practices; rather, it necessitates an ongoing production of moral, economic, and social meanings.