Why is 'self-care' suddenly so trendy?

People are practicing self-care more now than ever before. (Illustration: Hannah Jacobs for Yahoo Beauty)

Self-care is the idea of pouring back into yourself what’s needed to be the best version of yourself. And now, more than ever before, it’s a term that has become wildly popular especially among millennials. While it’s definitely not a bad thing that people are more excited about nourishing their well-being, it’s also interesting to bring into question, why now?

Well, for starters, the ongoing rise of social media is a major player. Yahoo Beauty reported on a new study that highlighted an increased level of self-care among Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. “Students are active users of the Internet and search the web for a variety of personal health needs,” the report states. “Students reported searching the Internet to identify self-care strategies, alternative therapies, and information related to nutrition and fitness.”

Within the past five years, it’s also been a rising query on Google Trends. With unlimited access to free information, people of all ages are exposed and constantly engaging with wellness enthusiasts who preach self-care as a priority. Luckily, we had the pleasure of catching up with four of them to find out their personal thoughts on a term that’s becoming more than just an occasional facial to make you feel nice, but on a bigger scale an awe-inspiring lifestyle lots of people want in on.

Lauren Ash found a way to merge her passion for cultivating communities for women of color with her love for wellness by creating the multifaceted lifestyle platform Black Girl in Om. (Photo: Instagram/@hellolaurenash)

Lauren Ash, founder and executive director of Black Girl in Om

What are some unexpected ways to practice self-care?
In addition to yoga, I’m really an advocate for mindfulness meditation because it’s something you can do anywhere. People sometimes even do it while commuting, and pretend they are listening to music. You just close your eyes and guide yourself through mindfulness meditation, which means getting in touch with exactly how you are feeling in the present moment and allowing yourself to become more aware of any areas in your body or in your spirit that are tense, stressed, injured, or carrying something that isn’t really useful for you and letting that go. You can guide yourself through that, or there are different guided meditations. I’ll actually be launching my own guided meditation EP this fall.

Why do you think millennials are more obsessed with self-care than people have been in the past?

Social media has made it popular to share, and I think that’s honestly a great thing. I do think that the only danger is that when people don’t realize it’s more than just doing these things because it’s cute or fun, and also it kind of creates a false reality that self-care is always smiles and good feelings. But the fact is, sometimes it’s crying and going through a state of depression. It’s really figuring out who you are, and what process works for you. With that said, I think that it’s also because millennials are equipped with more choices for our lives and our lifestyles than our parents’ generation. We are really eager and excited about designing our lives by our own standards and our own desires. That’s where self-care comes into play.

What does self-care mean to you personally?
I first stumbled into self-care as a lifestyle because I was a really stressed-out graduate student, and I made a practical decision to start practicing yoga as a form of release. So for me, I didn’t step into it because of social media at all. Honestly, I really only started tumbling into self-care after I created Black Girl in Om. For me, self-care is the ability to really discern what it is I need to give myself coupled with the strength and the willingness to actually give that back to myself. It’s more than just going to yoga. Sometimes, you actually just need to have a day of silence to yourself or journal and kind of take an assessment of how you’re living your life. What is going on around you, and is that truly in alignment with your values and what you need.

Gabrielle Bernstein has inspired thousands of people to awaken their confidence and live their purpose. She believes the best practice of self-care is meditation. (Photo: Chloe Crespi)

Gabrielle Bernstein, author of upcoming book Judgement Detox, international speaker, and spirit junkie

What are some different forms of self-care people can practice?
The best practice of self-care is meditation. When you take time each day to still your mind and connect to your breath, you are nurturing yourself in a profound way. People are very stressed out these days, and meditation is the antidote to stress. Another beautiful form of self-care is to go for a long walk and leave your phone behind. I know it sounds scary to turn off technology, but it’s incredibly important to have devoted time in nature.

Why do you believe self-care is important?
If you want to feel supported you have to support yourself. When you make self-care a priority, you raise your energy, enhance your nervous system, and even expand time.

What does self-care mean to you personally? 
Self-care is a high priority for me. I make it a point to relax, meditate, eat well, and think positive thoughts all day long. I put my self-care before everything because if I’m not supporting myself, I will feel unsupported in every area of life.

Elena Brower is a highly sought after yoga teacher and speaker who believes self-care is imperative and comes in many forms. (Photo: Elena Brower)

Elena Brower, author of Art of Attention, yoga teacher, and speaker

What are some different types of self-care people can practice?
Rituals of mine include diffusing essential oils, meditation, yoga asana, and studying. Studying to me is a high form of self-care. My upcoming new book Practice You provides prompts and fields of color in which you may write your journal entries and musings. Journaling is a stunning form of self-care.

Why do you believe self-care is important?
It’s the only way one can stand steady, manage challenges, and remain adaptable.

Is self-care a healthy habit? Can it be confused with self-indulgence?
It’s only indulgent if it stops you from doing the needful, the tasks for which you are responsible. I consider self-care crucial.

What does self-care mean to you personally?
Self-care means caring for myself so I can efficiently care for my family, my team and my world.

Latham Thomas is a celebrity wellness and lifestyle expert who is passionate about helping women embrace optimal health and spiritual growth. She also was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 and has a new book focusing on enriching your inner glow coming in September. (Photo: Latham Thomas)

Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow and author of Own Your Glow

What does self-care mean to you personally?
Every queen needs her time for royal relaxation, and I’m the queen of glow time, which is a self-care movement. It’s about unapologetically choosing yourself first and recharging through rituals. My self-care practice helps me stay on course. Even my busiest days are fueled by a strong self-care practice. When we indulge ourselves in self-care on a regular basis, we allow self-renewal, healing, and restoration. Whether it’s a weekly massage, a royal foot rub, a mini-facial, a glass of wine with a good piece of dark chocolate, curling up with a good book, getting your hair blown out, doing what makes you feel amazing is essential for your well-being.

According to a recent NPR article, millennials are obsessed with self-care. What are your thoughts on this?
I think there is an awareness about wellness that millennials are more tapped into. They are not the generation of working to the bone at the expense of a good life, they believe you can have it all, and they believe in living well. I don’t know if they are obsessed with it as a practice or obsessed with the social media aspect of sharing your “bath goals” or things like that. I think they have a very refreshing take on a life well lived, and as much as it involves technology, I think they are also reeling away from the norms and creating spaces that are about connection and attuning to the moment.

Is self-care a healthy habit? Can it be confused with self-indulgence?
Self-care isn’t a habit, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a ritual practice that affords the practitioner the opportunity to slow down and embrace the present moment. It is a frame of mind you’re in when you assess a situation and a moment to make sure it serves you. For instance, setting healthy boundaries in place to protect your well-being. Self-pampering can be a wonderful addition to your glow time or self-care routine. Why is indulging in yourself seen as something bad? I only think it’s “indulgent” if it’s done at the expense of others or the environment. But saying, “I’m gonna sauna and steam, get my hair done, go home, lay on the couch, and read a good book,” why as a culture do we find something wrong with this?

Read more at Yahoo Style + Beauty:

• Millennials Are Obsessed With Self-Care, Thanks to the Internet

• People shouldn’t ‘vilify’ nonblack people who are curious about natural hair, according to this blogger

• Social Media Influencer Says Our Jealousy Is Really Just Fear

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