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Art of Lovely: The Legacy of Self-Care

According to the New Yorker magazine, the art of self care has been on the rise since 2016- along with the rise of stress levels. This phenomenon has been coined as a performance of self-worth and has evolved into a collective social practice.

From philosophical themes of self improvement to Christian ideologies of cultivating one’s soul, self-care is a vital necessity to preserving our beings, holistically. Steaming from Puritan values of self-improvement, the legacy of self-care can be traced back to Biblical times when Esther who later became queen, was prescribed 12 months of beauty treatments before she could even step into the Kong’s royal chambers. Queen Cleopatra was also known to have highly sophisticated beauty rituals, including her famous milk baths.

For centuries, women have used self care as a form of preserving their femininity and beauty, which in most societies, are a form of currency, giving access to privileges, opportunities and social status.

It’s critical to study the legacy of self care from an intersectional standpoint, sharing the racial, gender, class and age complexities that influence how these themes play out in people’s lives.

Given the current climate of racial uprising, the narrative is shifting in the self care circles to the history of being worthy of care for People of color and in particular, Black people.

Racist and slavery apologist Samuel A. Cartwright, in his “Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race,” justified the dehumanization of Black people by stating that people of Africa “are unable to care for themselves.” I won’t share more on his sentence due to the level of toxicity in his words and this is a safe space, where racism and hate have no place.

But it was important for me to highlight why self care is truly a defiant act of self awareness and self affirmation, within a system rooted in a legacy of dehumanizing one’s very existence.

As writer Evette Dionne puts it, in regards to Black women, is:

a way to insist to a violent and oppressive culture that you mattered, that you were worthy of care.

I would say that as for communities that are historically marginalized and Black women especially, self care is vital to our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Audre Lorde, the eminent African American feminist author and activist, who is also the original ‘self care queen’, said it best:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” 

So it’s important to know that self care, especially during times of uncertainty are important and take various forms, such as:

– Daily affirmations

– Healthy exchanges with loved ones

– Starting a self-love workbook

– Running a warm bath

– Taking a nature walk

In today’s digital age, the #Selfcare hashtag alone opens up a world of practices, DYI routines, hacks, educational content and of course, the beauty industry’s latest trends.

The movement has perhaps been high jacked by our consumerist culture, but the mainstream influence has allowed a democratization of these health based practices, which isn’t a bad thing.

So with no further adue, here are some of the best self care ressources to help you to blossom on your “Journey To Lovely”.

1. How To Protect Your Energy

2. Black Women In Wellness To Follow

3. An Ode To Honoring Your Whole Body

4. Journey To Lovely’s Pampering Essentials

5. Top 3 ways to unwind by Claudrine

We are truly living in critical and chaotic times, taking the necessary measures to protect your wellbeing is of the upmost importance.

Here are a few affirmations to encourage you as you implement the necessary self care practices today your daily life.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about the rich history of selfcare!

Feel free to share any tips, additional info or questions you have.

With love, peace & joy,

Claudrine