Self-care or Millennial Narcissism?


Our local university has a new president, the second in the school’s history, so this is a big deal! She has inherited an outstanding legacy left by the first president. Now it’s her turn to make it her own.

She’s a high profile leader with an exciting and demanding new job. She’s getting to know her community, and we’re getting to know her. She’s been connecting with students, faculty and staff in various ways. She clearly has a lot to attend to. Imagine the learning curve!!

The media and the university have been reporting on her first few months as everyone gets to know her. Of course the media coverage includes some personal interest stories. One was a feature article in the “Outdoors” section of the local paper that highlights people in the community and how they take advantage of the beautiful place we live. Totally appropriate.

I thought it was a great piece that told a brief story of how she makes time for her family, herself and her work by getting outside in Ventura County: hiking, surfing and even doing yoga.

I was delighted to learn how she prioritizes time to recharge and focus on self-care.

How cool!

I decided to look at the comments on the article, and I was shocked. Instead of giving kudos to this local leader, the comments were pretty harsh. “She should be doing her job, not doing yoga.” “Who cares about what she does in her free time?” “What is she doing for the students?”


Internet trolls

The criticism around self-care was staggering. Why shouldn’t she take care of herself? Enjoy her surroundings? Play with her kids? Surf with the students? I’m sure she’s working hard. This article was about how she gets outside.

I couldn’t bite my tongue. Here’s the thread:






Self-aggrandizing, millennial narcissism?  Wow.

Is this what people think about self-care?

No wonder we run ourselves into the ground.

Trolls Don’t Exist ONLY on the Internet

We can also have “internet trolls” in our heads.

I’ve heard it from my clients. I can’t take care of myself. I don’t have the time. I have too much to do. It’s selfish. I have to take care of ([PERSON] [TASK] [EVERYTHING OTHER THAN SELF]).

I do it myself. I schedule time into my day and week to regroup, recharge and take care of me. And I advise my clients to do the same.

That’s not lazy, self-absorbed, narcissism. It’s biology. The body needs down time to recover, all the way to regenerating the neurotransmitters in the brain. Ironically (or not), CSUCI faculty is studying self-care in nurses. Research shows nurses with better self-care deliver better care to others and are less apt to develop compassion fatigue and burnout.

Those are powerful results.

Because if you're taking care of body, mind and spirit, you are not bad or selfish. You are keeping your cup full.

Because you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Dr. Erika Beck has a lot of pouring to do as a new university President. I’m glad to know she’s keeping her cup full.

How do you make time for self-care? How do you address the internet trolls in your head?