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Self-care

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What it Means

A friend often tells me I’m bad at self-care. When I ask him what he means, he usually responds with some version of “Well, you know.” But really, I don’t know what self-care is, what it means to be bad at it, or even why I should be good at it. Being told I’m bad at self-care usually feels like ...

If I don’t know these things, on the other hand, I’m probably the only one. Self-care is a cliché of the times; cliché enough that it’s been written about from almost every angle: There are celebratory pieces and critical pieces, pieces that use it as a buzzword and pieces that attempt to context...

Self-care is a marketing gimmick, and thus a favored object of critique. Still, I want to know what I’m missing. In the novel, as in most writing about the term, there’s a nod toward self-care’s origins in the work of activist Audre Lorde, who wrote, in her essay collection A Burst of Light, that...

Stein’s book did not include, though it easily could have, the subsequent complications of that particular quotation—namely, that it comes at the end of a grueling diary of Lorde’s experiences with breast cancer, which would eventually take her life. In Lorde’s diary, the details of caring-for-se...

 “How do I want to live the rest of my life,” a 1985 entry opens, “and what am I going to do to ensure that I get to do it exactly or as close as possible to how I want that living to be? I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, l...

Questions of how to make the most of your life become pointed when mortality is no longer an abstraction. Reframed thus, self-care might be thought of as the newest form of the art of living well, the understanding of a good life that exists in the particular balance of structure and spontaneity,...

Waking up early, eating healthy food, journaling, and exercise are all self-care as much as ordering in, treating yourself to a nicer bottle of wine, watching a trashy movie, or taking a long bath. It’s about tending to the human body like an animal: listening to what makes it happy, and what mak...

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