The myth in question is not that self care matters, but that self-care is something anyone can do without any sort of help.
“But what happens when self-care becomes another thing that leaks onto tomorrow’s to-do list, one more obligation we don’t all have the time or resources for, but are somehow expected to do anyway?”
It’s the workplace that requires 60 hours of work in order to meet all your deadlines, that still tells you to take time for yourself as if you have all the time in the world for that. It’s the well-meaning website that lists out the benefits of yoga classes, spa days, or therapy without any sort of acknowledgement that those things aren’t accessible to everyone. It’s also the “friends” who tell you to get some exercise, or a bubble bath, so that they don’t have to listen to you, but offer no help to figure out a way to actually make that happen.
It can become quite dismissive to people who don’t have the option, and have quite the detrimental impact when we make it all seem so simple, when mental health is anything but.
If we take anything away from this pandemic in terms of our self-care regiment, I hope that it is a recognition that many of our “suggestions” for how to practice self-care are completely unreachable to many folks without things like available childcare, stable incomes, some semblance of work-life balance, and the support of others. We can’t just toss another thing on the list of their responsibilities without making it possible for them to do.