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Is #SquadCare the new self-care?


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Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

Sometimes, all you need to get over a bad day is a long bath, a longer run, or just 20 minutes of puppy loving.

Other times, no amount of self-care will do the trick. Enter a new take on #squadgoals: squad care.

“We exist in matrices of allies and friends who do this work for us,” writes Elle.com editor-at-large Melissa Harris-Perry in an essay titled “How #SquadCare Saved My Life.” “If we’re honest, it isn’t #selfcare. It’s #squadcare.”

“Squad care reminds us there is no shame in reaching for each other and insists the imperative rests not with the individual, but with the community.”

While self-care may be the buzziest term on Instagram these days (with more than 2.5 million hashtagged posts and counting), Harris-Perry argues that sometimes, you just can’t do it on your own—nor should you have to. “Whether it’s through selling bath soaps or encouraging activists to take mental health breaks, celebrating individual self-reliance elides the fact that ultimately care is not something we do for ourselves,” she says. “We rely on others to care for us when we are too young, too old, too ill, too broken, too sad, too scared, too needy, too overwhelmed, or too incapable. Care is why we live in community, why we form families, and ultimately, why we form government.”

Self-care, she says, is about what you can do for yourself. It “encourages women to rely solely on themselves rather than to make demands on anyone or anything else,” Harris-Perry writes. But squad care is about something bigger. “Sometimes our squads are small, intimate, and bonded by affection,” she says. “Sometimes our squad is enormous, impersonal, and bonded by geographic and historic identity.”

Bottom line? “Squad care reminds us there is no shame in reaching for each other and insists the imperative rests not with the individual, but with the community,” she says. “Our job is to have each other’s back.”

New to self-care? Try these three easy (and not totally time-consuming) ways to show yourself some love. Or go ahead and add some elephants to your squad. Really.

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