I feel sheepish tossing my hat into the ring of “self care” influencers who have a well-deserved horrendous reputation for giving bad advice.
Let’s make one thing clear: Self care has not only become a meaningless marketing ploy, but it’s also been de-clawed and de-historicized the more it has been embraced (commandeered?) by white women. The concept is traced back to black women in the 50’s and 60’s, and was further refined when the Black Panthers actually put it into practice as a part of their organizing platform. Times have changed since then (in some ways, not nearly enough!) and now, self care is a euphemism for beauty products and self indulgence. I am by no means drinking the self care Kool Aid!
On the other hand, criticizing self care is it’s own unhelpful trend (complete with posturing, performing, and finger pointing, yes, just like self care itself!) – and YEP, us changemakers are guilty as charged! There’s no benefit to shaming the bubble-bath-takers among us. There’s no medal for being the loudest rebel.
So, I am staking out the territory of being anti-self care rhetoric and ALSO being anti-anti-self care rhetoric. Both of them seem like dumpster fires in the way of personal and political growth and change. No matter where you fall on the self care debate, everyone seems to have an opinion about technology, the internet, and social media – and that’s where TDAA comes in!
The party line
The self care blogosphere dreams of pastoral activities away from technology… silent retreats, remote cabins, mindfulness (or … last resort… mindfulness apps!). “If not for technology and social media, we wouldn’t feel this way!!!!” croon the self care police. “Put your phone away, pause your email, and feel FREE!” offer the lifestyle bloggers.
Here’s the problem with that – it’s unrealistic!
Here’s the other problem – Many of us park ourselves at computers for work 8-10 hours per day. So let’s try to make those 8-10 hours a little better, huh?!
A modest proposal
A few months ago, I challenged myself do one thing each Friday to improve my interactions with technology. Some of them have been big things, others, small. From re-organizing the apps on my phone to cleaning off my literal desktop to downloading browser extensions to finally keeping a phone charger at work, these little adjustments add up to a big difference! That’s what this series is all about.
Ok, so here’s my first #DigitalSelfCare tip!
Update your devices!
Seriously. Hold your nose. Grit your teeth. Rip off the bandaid. #justdoit
Apps? Yep. Computer operating system? That, too. Phone? GPS? Browser? If you’ve been procrastinating on installing updates, this is your official invitation. Do it now! Why? Here’s my pitch:
- you’ll stop getting those annoying pop-ups reminding you to do it at inconvenient times!
- you’ll help your device run better and be more secure!
- you’ll make your device more compatible with other devices and platforms that have already been upgraded!
As RuPaul says, “when the going gets tough, the tough reinvent!”