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What Happens When You Can’t Afford Self-Care


What Happens When You Can’t Afford Self-Care

Stephanie Land

For the last year, I have been keenly aware of my dire need for two things: therapy and exercise.

But for those who struggle to make ends meet like I do, it’s normal to live a life without these perks—even though many consider them necessary elements of a healthy lifestyle. Instead, self-care comes down to the very basics such as feeding yourself, showering, and attending to medical issues—that is, keeping yourself alive.


Modern Western society under Patriarchal Capitalism has turned everyone into an individual competing in a race for survival. By catering to “the single digit consumer,” many of us have been left feeling atomized. It’s the nature of our culture!

America’s Indigenous Tribes set up communal functions. The elders would take care of the babies so the younger people could hunt, grow crops, and take care of the more immediate needs of the group.

That communal spirit is a part of who we human beings are–at heart.

I was a single Mother, too; and that’s why when I hear people who have lots of luxury time to sit on this site all day demand that people–who are exhausted from underpaid labor, itself complicated by child-rearing tasks–should be doing more in the way of political activism; I want to scream at them.

If this society cared about human beings, and had more women making key decisions, the lion’s share of what’s in the collective treasury would not be annually dedicated to war, training and maintaining soldiers, and building ever newer, more efficient KILL devices, i.e. weapons.

There WOULD be money for Head Start and communities would nurture their members.

All single parents (male or female) need time-outs. They need down time to regenerate themselves. And jobs should offer at least a week of vacation time.

Stephanie–don’t blame yourself! If you didn’t live in a war-like society, your needs would be far better taken care of. That, in turn, would allow you to give more to your children.

A friend of mine instructed me this way :“In tough times, be good to yourself.”

For me, that means taking a swim (which I am about to do) in the nearby springs, going out to lunch or dinner once a week, and getting a massage once a month. These things really are not expensive… since many people spend more on cable TV, cell phones, cigarettes, beer, soda, and other things that are less nurturing luxuries.

And take things ONE day at a time, too.