The “self-care” tag on Tumblr is a really sweet place. It’s like if you were walking outside in a thunderstorm, umbrella-less, and you walked into a café filled with plush armchairs, wicker baskets full of flowers, and needlepoints on the walls that say things like “Be kind to yourself” and “You are enough.” It’s jarring, the change in scenery, but nice. It also makes you realize that you’re soaked—you’d almost gotten used to it, out in the storm.
Taking care of yourself is not actually a new thing, nor is the idea that you may sometimes need to be reminded to do so. Just think of all the people on makeover-shows past who were told, “You spend so much time taking care of other people, it’s time to do something for yourself.”
But the word “self-care” has popped up a lot in my peripheral Internet vision lately, most recently in a deceptively simple game called You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure story, but about your real life. (Although, truly, what is life but a high-stakes choose-your-own-adventure?)
“This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment,” the intro reads. Then the game walks you through an analysis of your physical and emotional state and offers suggestions on how to improve it. Have you eaten recently? No? You might need a snack. Are your surroundings unpleasant or gross? Go somewhere else, or clean up a little. Are you feeling anxious but don’t know why? Try some “grounding exercises” like deep breathing or going for a walk.