Unless you recently quit your job to go sail around the Mediterranean, you probably could use some more self-care in your life. It’s hard to escape the realities of modern living, like busy schedules and demanding jobs that make it all too easy to get trapped in an endless loop of exhaustion, stress and anxiety and depression.
The good news is that the solution is simple in theory; the bad news is that it’s useless unless you actually make the effort to do it. I’m talking about self-care. By taking (and making) the time to do nice things for yourself, you become happier, spread that joy to those around you and inspire them to do the same. More self-care means more happiness for everyone, more kindness, closer communities… you get the idea.
It might be a little too late to be making New Year’s Resolutions, but self-care is always a great one to add to your to-do list, no matter what month it is. Below, check out 10 pictures that will inspire you to do something nice for yourself today.
You don’t have to become a Buddhist monk like Shitao to enjoy a little nature in silence every once in a while. Even if it’s just walking through the park on your way the grocery store instead of driving, or taking the metro, or taking a Bird, or whatever you kids are up to these days. Then again, you could also Bird through the park. Is Bird a verb yet?
Spa night might not look exactly like it did in turn-of-the-century Russia, but you can still hit up the 24-hour Korean spa that only serves beef and Boba tea! On the bright side, no one will hit you with a bath broom.
This iconic work of the Young British Artists movement will inspire you to clean your room by showing you what not to do. By (literally) airing her dirty laundry, Emin forces you, the viewer, to face all the stuff we normally keep hidden from the world. And, hopefully, to finally wash the crusty underwear trapped somewhere between the bed and the wall. That’s gross.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely need to drop what you’re doing and check out “What to do With a Million Years,” the latest series from Juno Calypso, one of our fav contemporary photographers. Her work toes the line between Cindy Sherman, camp and sci-fi, and is sure to inspire you to spend your Sunday doing facemasks while pondering the role of domesticity, romance and femininity in our society.
Sometimes self-care takes the form of eating pasta in a bathrobe, and that’s totally okay. In fact, it’s more than okay—it’s perfect. Pasta with a side of texting your best friend about what you did last night makes the perfect Sunday night meal.
You could totally mistake Patty Carroll’s “Anonymous Women” series for a fashion editorial. But look again and you’ll see that these gorgeous, stylish shots are full of haunting questions about the interior world of women—and I’m not taking about furniture that looks straight out of Condé Nast Traveler.
On the other hand, this shot might inspire you to finally clean our your kitchen! And as the fabulous Marie Kondo said, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” So I’ll ask you again: do you really need an entire drawer of takeout soy sauce packets?
Caroline Mackintosh’s photography is the perfect Sunday mood: a sun-drenched, carefree universe, light years away from traffic, cubicles and business casual. A great reminder that if there’s one thing you can never, ever do too often, it’s frolicking naked in a field of wildflowers with your best friends.
This picture evokes the serenity and precision of a Dutch still life, the body arranged as carefully and lovingly as a bouquet of flowers or an assortment of delicious bread, fruit and cheese in a Clara Peeters painting.
By adopting the aesthetic of a still life, Mycoze teaches us to appreciate human bodies the way we marvel at an expertly executed still life. That is to say, instead of judging the body based on social norms and beauty ideals, as portraits invite us to do, we accept the body the way it is, as an object that is lovely in itself. You don’t judge an apple or a pear for being too big, too curvy or too soft because everything in nature is perfect and beautiful the way it is—why should a human body be any different?
Next time you’re having a bad body image day, just look at this picture—and read the touching caption, a quote from the anonymous model.
Images via WikiArt, @junocalypso, @pastagirlfriend, @photolucida, @carolinemackintosh, @girlgaze, @mycoze_