Sarena Hess

Sarena Hess

Millennials have a few things they obsess over, while other generations stand back and watch. If you’re a millennial reading this, raise your hand if you’re guilty of any of these trends:

• Being obsessed with millennial pink

• Going to Coachella

• Getting brunch

• Using the overused phrase “self-care”

Wait, self-care? What is that really supposed to mean anyway?

We’ve got a big problem with self-care in 2019. We put a flimsy Band-Aid over the meaning of self-care and refuse to dig in to real care for our emotional, physical and mental well-being.

Is taking care of yourself really just roaming the aisles of Target to find the perfect candle?

The idea floating around social media says taking care of yourself is getting a massage, manicure or buying a new outfit.

But there are two things wrong with that thinking.

The first is this type of pampering encourages spending more than anything else. Buy new shoes – after all, you deserve it. This method to reaching happiness won’t be your answer forever because buying more stuff doesn’t make people content long term.

The second problem is that we are looking on short-term instead of long-term fixes. For example, a quick Starbucks drink is a little burst of dopamine pumping through your body. But if that’s the only type of personal care that you have, it will not sustain you on a deeper level. The massage ends or your margarita runs out and you still have to deal with your health, emotions and mind.

And even worse, the shorter the happiness lasts, the more frequent you will have to find something to fill yourself with again.

After treating self-care like this for so long, it can be confusing to know what to do now. But here’s an idea: Make a list of the real self-care things that actually enhance your life – the things that make you a better human being.

Ask yourself: What makes my life better or me a better person? How can I truly help others in this world? What is something that genuinely enhances my life in a positive way? What is something small I could do that will make my life and future better?

Here are a few ideas: Spend time doing your favorite hobby or skill. Take a couple of minutes to clean up your home. Learn a new skill or language. Journal about what is really going on in your life. Getting to know yourself and doing the actual personal growth work is the ultimate form of self-care. It’s not the sheet mask.

Self-care is not a short-term fix. Instead, it’s finding new hobbies and skills. It’s developing you as a person and understanding how you can change the world. Those things that help us grow as a better human long term. In-the-moment distraction is fun, but to feel content and purposeful in life, we need something to fuel us, challenge us and grow us as humans.

So please, put down the bath bomb and pick up the long-term self-love.

Sarena Hess is a confidence coach for women and motivational speaker. She is also the creator of a podcast called “Women For Greatness,” which highlights female entrepreneurs’ stories, from trial to triumph, on her website, The views expressed are her own.

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