David Hume was an 18th century philosopher who made many observations about the role of the myth in human society. He theorized that without tales that explain the world and our experience of it, human beings would be wholly incapable of making sense of life as it happens. While many myths inspire hope or provide reassurance, some myths act as guides for social norms which can be harmful for the protagonists.
When women began to enter the workforce en masse in the 40s and 50s, society created a myth that we at Lure Essentials call The Modern Woman Origin Story. It states that a woman can only have it all if she is able to be the perfect mother, wife, friend and employee all at one time. Until very recently, this myth was recycled over and over, essentially advancing and cementing the idea that women are expected to adopt a Superwoman persona that enables them to balance their commitments effortlessly, or else. Most harmfully, this myth has taught society at large that the prioritization of a woman’s own health and well being can only be done at the expense of someone else’s – namely, the health and well being of her partner, parents, children, friends, causes and/or colleagues. The origin story of the modern woman has made generations of women feel that taking time to nourish themselves is fundamentally at odds with this Superwoman persona; in a nutshell, women have been taught that consideration of themselves is inherently selfish.
Enter here the broad concept of self-care, which has become both a booming industry as well as a notion that’s difficult to swallow for so many women. Ever savvy, the modern Superwoman might think: easier said than done, but there are endless ways to practice self-care, some of which are surprisingly simple and only take a bit of concerted commitment to yourself. At the end of the day, self-care is about being as good to yourself as you are to others. Having emerged from The Modern Woman Origin Story ourselves, the women at Lure Essentials have come to see that we need to bust this myth and recognize that self-care is a simply means of engaging with the world in a way that allows us to feel beautiful, stay healthy and remain grounded.
In honor of International Women’s Day, the women of Lure have come up with five simple, inexpensive and accessible ways to bust The Modern Woman Origin Story through self-care:
- Exercise - For all of the complications that the digital realm has introduced into our lives, exercise has never been easier. Try taking 20 minutes for yourself to do a YouTube yoga tutorial or high intensity interval training session. Bring comfortable shoes to work and take a stroll around the block listening to your favorite playlist. Get your body moving and embrace the power of endorphins!
- Read – Research shows that reading is one of the best ways to overcome stress and keep the brain sharp. 20 minutes of reading before bed, over your lunch break or on your commute to work can keep you calm and inspired. Some of our favorites at Lure Essentials include Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? This one is for every woman who is young at heart and redefining her place in the world. Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking challenges the universal myths and conventions that women are expected to adhere to in the face of grief. Finally, Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves will help you find a new, empowering origin story for life’s highs and lows.
- Practice mindfulness – The modern woman is expected to balance more than ever. Wearing many hats, she lives in a world of lists, commitments, chores, emotional needs and so on. Take one minute each hour to check in with yourself. Are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Does your skin feel dry? Is your neck aching? Do you need to stand up? Do your very best to give yourself what you need, in the moment. You’ll be amazed at how these tiny commitments will spread into the rest of your life.
- Garden - Studies have shown that human beings are healthier and less stressed when they are in close proximity to a plant. These days, most of us are living in city apartments without the space or time to tend to an acreage. Luckily, science also shows us that houseplants increase our general wellbeing and happiness. As spring is up on us, try taking a few hours to plant yourself a windowsill herb garden. Or, for the women among us who are known plant-killers, indulge yourself in an afternoon of picking out some beautiful pots for near-indestructible aloe, English ivy or jade. As a bonus, houseplants release water vapors which act as natural humidifiers that can remedy dry skin. Moist and supple skin will help you with our final self-care suggestion.
- Self-care with DIY Cupping Therapy – Cupping is an ancient, incredibly powerful, non-invasive health, wellness and beauty remedy, a form of alternative medicine in which cups are placed on the skin to create vacuum suction to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and activate lymphatic drainage. By separating and stretching the body’s connective tissue, fresh oxygenated and nutrient rich blood is brought to the area cupped. In as little as five to fifteen minutes, cupping therapy can help relieve tension, melt away stress, relieve muscle knots and trigger point pain, improve mood and overall well being.
For beginners, we suggest dedicating five to ten minutes of cupping self-care two to three times per week. Cupping massage or flash cupping in the shower with a little help of water and body wash or dry cupping with our favorite BOOST cupping and cellulite massage oil will help your tight fascia (connective tissue) relax and smooth out, relieving tight IT band and improving skin tone and elasticity for smoother, firmer looking skin.
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As it turns out, the hippies have been right all along: among the most serious threats to our health is stress and we hope that you beautiful, modern Superwomen use some of our self-care suggestions to prioritize yourself this week!
Happy International Women’s Day from the team at Lure Essentials!