Did you ever end up down a weird rabbit hole of a topic? Or endlessly watching a TV show that was terrible but weirdly engrossing?
A few years ago, when I was still trying to make cable television a thing at my house, I fell into a “Dance Moms” marathon. I guess it was a marathon but it could have been the only thing on Lifetime at the moment.
Anyway, I kept watching it. And watching it. And watching it. There was screaming and scheming. Crying and lying. Drama and well, mamas.
This show had it all and it was an utter train wreck. It gave me a headache and made me irritable.
I know what you’re saying — just turn the TV off. I did. Eventually.
Over the weekend, I found myself heading down another bit of an obsessive path. Instead of a television show, it was a recurring column on a website. The pieces are called “Feel Good Diaries” and chronicle a week in a woman’s life, adding up how much she spends on her weekly wellness routine.
The women live in places like New York City, San Diego, Phoenix and Sydney, Australia — places that are way, way bigger than anywhere I’ve ever lived. And apparently also way, way, way more expensive than I imagined.
Some of these ladies reported spending $250 to $750-plus a week on wellness. Everything from pilates to spinning classes to supplements with names like Moody Bird and Ashwaghanda.
They are up early and in to work by at least 10 a.m. (Sidebar: I am not an “up early” person by any stretch of the imagination and for the most part, I can usually make it into the office by 9 a.m.-ish, a habit I know my editor dearly would like me to break.)
They use rose face masks and do oil pulling, an idea that makes me more than a little queasy, put spinach in their smoothies and love things called Maca.
Maybe I’m just too small-town and provincial to understand what all that is. I’m also a tad too unmotivated to Google things, so that leaves me in the dark about the benefits of tumeric.
I suppose I got sucked into these articles because, again like most humans, I’m always interested in ways to improve myself, both physically and mentally. However, I really don’t know as that means drinking a lukewarm mix of water, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar every morning.
Reading about these ladies popping into an empty conference room during the workday to listen to a meditation app or skillfully using broccolini in a stir fry made me both inspired and doubtful.
Inspired because I actually did look up broccolini — it’s a hybrid of regular and Chinese broccoli — and I now want to find it. It looks super stir fry-able.
A bit doubtful because, I mean … can you really imagine me meditating? Yeah, I’m totally down with the relaxing cup of hot tea (caffeine free of course) before bed time, but meditation?
But the more I read, and the more I mentally ridiculed these women, I realized I was being rather unfair. They were doing what we all do — trying to live their best, healthiest life.
The idea of self care has become what can only be defined trendy recently. Everything a “treat yo’ self” latte and pedicure to therapy for deep buried trauma has been labeled self care.
And none of those are wrong things. Sometimes, a quiet moment in a coffee shop is just the thing we need to let the chaos of the day slide away.
Other times, there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done and that requires the help of a professional.
It often means putting ourselves first, and as women, we are often last on our own list of people to treat with kindness.
Self care can quickly drift into selfish and egotistical, living a life that is all for show and doing it for the ’gram.
But if we’re careful, mindful as the advice goes, we can avoid that negative place. It doesn’t have to be all organic food and supplements and hot yoga and hundreds of dollars.
It can be a bouquet of grocery store daisies because they make you smile. It can be a new-to-you book from the Friends of the Library sidewalk sale.
It can even be a pricey infrared sauna visit that is supposed to detoxify and purify your skin.
Self care takes many forms and is necessary to practice, giving us that space from the drama mamas and dance histrionics of the world.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.