Rescuing $elf-Care from Consumer Culture

We’re told that self-care is essential to our well-being; it’s practically a duty! But it’s easy to confuse self-care with self-indulgence–and while indulgences can be fun, they don’t necessarily improve our well-being.

In this episode, we explore the difference between self-care and self-indulgence, so that you can make sure that the time, energy, and money you spend on self-care is actually moving you toward your goals. 


  1. Self-care is important. And if you’re neglecting your own needs (because you feel guilty taking care of yourself or you’re too busy taking care of everyone else), that’s a problem. 
  2. On the other hand, it’s worth looking at those things we might categorize as “self-care” but are actually self-indulgence.  Are you overindulging on hedonic self-care and skimping on eudaimonic self-care? 
  3. Self-care isn’t necessarily an event or purchase that brings you pleasure, it is better thought of as a lifestyle that supports your well-being. 

Lab Experiment

Think of the ways in which you practice self-care (or wish you could). Ask yourself:

  1. Does it enhance your physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or social well-being in any durable way? Or does it just leave you craving more?
  2. Are there important needs that you are neglecting in the pursuit of pleasure or happiness? 
  3. Are you investing your time, money, and energy as effectively as you could be in the service of the life you want to live and the person you want to be?

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