Anyone else still trying to get their life back into order after this summer we'd all rather forget? Perhaps we can be thankful there's only a week of it left. Not that I can remember a time where we wished away summer, but this one has just kind of kicked us in the guts and every time we've managed to half stand up, she's given us another poke to remind us who is in charge.
I'm hoping March will be a month of self-care. A chance to reboot, recharge, realign priorities. Fortunately, I'm finally getting to the coast. I've missed the annual cleanse that comes from submerging yourself in the waves. Even more fortunately it's for a rugby sevens tournament with my boy. The ocean, rugby, and a road trip with my boy, for me that's close to the perfect weekend.
But I know I have to think more broadly. And perhaps that starts with thinking about what does self-care actually mean to me? I know it means something else, indeed something far removed from how I'm caring, if you could even call it that, for myself presently.
I loved reading Amanda Whitley's recount of a stay at Gwinganna, the acclaimed health and wellness retreat atop a mountain in the Gold Coast Hinterland. I joke with Amanda, whenever I see her, that she's a media competitor and I refuse to even mention Her Canberra, but Amanda's a sweetheart. A busy working mother, (and I've realised being a dance mum is much more intense than being a rugby mum, imagine having to deal with hair and make-up instead of the occasional scraped knee). She told me she really loved her stay, that by stepping away it really gave her the opportunity to reassess a few things, coming home to make some changes. Perhaps I should pack my bags, or indeed just attend the wellness seminar being held by the Gwinganna team at Hotel Realm on March 2.
And speaking of wellness ... I'm unsure how I feel about Mattel's new range of Wellness Barbies.
Kristine Ziwica wrote a great piece on Women's Agenda. She probably wouldn't like the idea of this column, how I'm tossing out the phrase self-care.
"Self-care is now little more than a vehicle to sell women, and now girls, that they don't need alongside the myth that if they just invest in themselves anything is possible. You can almost imagine Wellness Barbie was dreamed up in the Goop Lab by Gwyneth Paltrow and her Frankenstein wellness gurus."
Ziwica looks back at other problematic Barbies since the doll was born in 1959. From Share the Smile Becky who was in a wheelchair that didn't fit in the lift of the Dream House, to Babysitter Barbie who was reading the book How to Lose Weight which advised "Don't eat!".
Mattel's Barbie Wellness Collection has been launched in conjunction with meditation app Headspace, which I'm a fan of. You can tune in to several Barbie-led meditations suitable for children on the app. I like the idea of the settling down after playtime one. I know plenty of parents who might want to try that one out themselves.
Ziwicka suggests that every generation gets the Barbie it deserves. (If you want to see what Barbie looked like the year you were born, head to insider.com.)
She writes about how her own 10-year-old daughter asked her, while she was writing the article, whether Barbie was still super skinny.
"Taking care of yourself means not being that skinny," her daughter replied.
"But even more alarmingly," she writes, "Wellness Barbie would have girls retreat to a soothing bath (the "self" in "self-care") rather than take collective action to tackle the systemic inequalities that could negatively shape their future ... the very inequalities that contributed to the burn-out of their mothers' generation, giving rise to the perceived need for this new, vacuous, quite frankly selfish, form of "self-care".
Zwicka talks about Audre Lorde, a radical black feminist from the 1980s who once famously said, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."
Perhaps I need to rethink my own idea of self-care. But can I have five relaxing days in the Gold Coast hinterland to do that?