The concept of ‘spoiling yourself’ has its merits, and life without some indulgence is a fairly joyless thing. But increasingly, the following question is being asked: Is ‘self-care’ just a scam to get us to spend more money?

To answer the question, we first have to ask ourselves what self-care even is. Young people today are growing up in a world where it’s much harder to attain the same standard of life seen by previous generations (we’re all aware of the rising house prices by now which are disproportionate to the average wage). As well as it being harder, younger generations are having to navigate this world with accusations such as ‘lazy’, ‘snowflake’ and ‘pampered’ ringing in their ears.

It’s undeniable that life is hard right now, and that’s where self-care comes in. We all need ways of dealing with the almost constant challenges that life throws at us. But where does self-care end, and needless expense begin?

Marketing targets your weak spots

To watch TV or many current streaming services is to run a gauntlet of advertisements that aim to monetise current trends. We’ve all had a hard pandemic, haven’t we? And we have to work long hours to make rent on top of that! So why not have a takeaway delivered to your door? All of this stress has brought on a tension headache, why not buy these painkillers — which are identical to generic paracetamol or ibuprofen but cost literally four times as much, or more? As self-care has become commodified, marketing has cleverly found a way to put an arm around us, and then push us down the more expensive aisles of the supermarket.

It’s easy to damn self-care as a concept

Of course, when expensive takeaways, indulgent bath oils and hotel stays are labelled as self-care, it becomes tempting to damn the whole concept. The truth is that self-care, real self-care, is essential in a modern age that’s tough and showing no signs of getting easier. An early night can make a huge difference. If you struggle with insomnia, you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds turning your bedroom into a soft-furnished cocoon; a fraction of that money spent at Simply CBD would be a better investment. Self-care should meet needs; not create them and then put a price tag on them.

So, about spoiling yourself …

All of the above can be read as a criticism of the entirely reasonable concept of ‘spoiling yourself’. Except that it’s not. There is plenty of validity in indulgence, and having something to look forward to is far from a bad thing. The important message is that we should take care of ourselves, make sure we’re OK, seek out therapy if we need it, and get on an even keel at the same time. Don’t buy something with a large price tag because ‘you’re worth it’. I,nstead pick the things you actually want and make sure you’re servicing what you need at the same time. Marketers don’t know what you really need — only you can know that.