Illustrate the concept of self-care in a tranquil and soothing setting. The image should feature a person of South Asian descent, relaxing in a peaceful environment, perhaps in a cozy room or a serene outdoor setting. Include elements that symbolize self-care, such as a book, a warm cup of tea, comfortable pillows, or a serene nature backdrop. The person could be engaged in a calming activity like reading, meditating, or simply enjoying a moment of solitude. The colors should be soft and calming, with a harmonious blend that evokes a sense of relaxation and well-being. The overall composition should convey the importance of taking time for oneself in a busy world.


Social media brims with dubious solutions to health problems we didn’t even know we had. In her latest piece for The Guardian, writer and journalist Katherine Rowland asks why health and wellness have become a quasi-religion for so many and what possible underlying systemic issues this points to.

“The industry’s offerings run the gamut from the tried and true (walking) to the benignly absurd (crystal dildos) to the predatory and dangerous (castor oil for cancerous tumors). [Author of The Gospel of Wellness Rina Raphael] writes that being healthy once meant dutiful visits to the doctor, but now entails a never-ending quest to overcome sickness, sadness, stress and even death.”

Women, in particular, who, in addition to feeling the general pressures of modern life, are constantly reminded “to enhance the body, radiate poise, master impulses (hunger, rage) and perfect the contortions required of the double standard”, seek respite in the illusion of control and empowerment offered by the wellness cult.

But Rowland argues that health outcomes often have less to do with the remedies we use than with the structural circumstances in which we find ourselves:

“The social determinants of health – factors like air quality, domestic safety, community support and education access – account for as much as 80% of health outcomes. But these realities are neatly erased from most wellness marketing. … Joining a union would arguably deliver greater benefit than downloading another meditation app, but the wellness market presents the latter as a logical solution to work-related stress and deteriorating mental health.

“‘We’re sedating women with consumerist self-care’, Raphael says. ‘You’re not stressed because you’re not doing enough yoga or taking enough bubble baths. There are other, bigger reasons why you feel stressed out. Maybe it’s because you don’t have maternity benefits. Maybe it’s because your boss is emailing you after 6pm. Maybe it’s because your partner doesn’t help you with the workload at home. These are the things that get shoved under the rug and instead you’re told that you yourself, alone, have to take care of the issues.’”

The fact that our perception of health and wellness is so easily shaped by scammers, snake oil peddlers and influencers points to underlying needs that are real and urgent. Let’s acknowledge that we live in a time of polycrisis that haunts many of us with an omnipresent sense of precariousness – hardly ideal conditions in which to ‘flourish’, to borrow some health influencer lingo.

Once we move beyond the consumerist mindset to wellness, we may realise that wellbeing does not require an extensive menu of goods and services. “It means social support, medical care that is accessible and empathetic, decent working conditions and ready sources of affordable and nutritious foods.”

“Perhaps wellness, if we are to embrace its full potential, should dispense with the fantasy that we should always be fit and chipper, or strive to be. Perhaps it is far healthier to agitate against the circumstances making us sick and miserable than it is to latch our hopes to another glossy promise.”

Source: Dense Discovery

From The Guardian article:

  • The wellness industry has grown enormously, promising cures and remedies for various health issues. However, it often overpromises and fails to address root causes of problems.
  • Wellness has become a new form of faith or religion for many as organized religion declines. It provides community, identity and the promise of salvation from disease.
  • The wellness industry disproportionately targets women, capitalizing on pressures they face to look perfect and balance many responsibilities.
  • Despite increased healthcare spending, Americans have lower life expectancy and more preventable illnesses than other rich nations. Wellness focuses on individual solutions rather than systemic issues.
  • Systemic factors like income inequality, pollution and work conditions have a much bigger impact on health than individual wellness practices.
  • Wellness presents social problems as individual issues that can be solved through consumerism rather than collective action.
  • The pursuit of wellness has become a never-ending quest, with the goalposts always moving further away. Real rest and acceptance of limitations is lacking.
  • Questioning deeper assumptions about what constitutes a good life, rather than always seeking happiness and fulfilment, could promote wellness.
  • Connecting with the community and questioning the systems that cause suffering, rather than relying on products, may better promote health and well-being.
  • For the author, reducing wellness industry consumption and connecting with an empathetic medical team helped address health issues better than promises of the wellness industry alone.

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