Millennials Are Better At This One Thing Than Any Other Generation

Selfie generation, meet self-care.

Self-care is a booming industry, and the baby boomers aren’t the generation spearheading the trend. According to this NPR piece, millennials (whether you call them selfish or just selfie-obsessed) are putting more emphasis on “self” more than generations past, dedicating more time and money to prioritizing themselves.

As the name implies, self-care means taking deliberate care of yourself, like making a commitment to getting enough exercise or tuning in to what you need to stay emotionally grounded. But self-care is more than just a mindset these days: It’s a fast-growing $10 billion industry, NPR reports, one being driven by millennial habits.

Millennials “spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials” like diet plans, therapy, workout classes and the like, as NPR writer Christianna Silva writes, posing an interesting followup question: Why is there a “generational divide,” as she calls it, in the self-care trend?

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Some may argue that Generation Y’s interest in self-care is more proof of how society is “coddling” millennials. But it may just signal how millennials are more keyed in what they need to be happy and healthy. And as a generation defined by sharing (or oversharing), millennials are talking more openly about once taboo-topics, like mental health.

Self-care as a practice isn’t groundbreaking, or even new for that matter: Both the NPR piece and this article on the Guardian note that ancient Greeks practiced self-care, specifically geared towards making citizens more honest and democratic.

Today’s self-care practice has a political tinge as well. Silva references Google trend statistics showing how searches for “self-care” spiked after the election. And regardless of how you voted, Americans are very stressed about politics. Spend even a few minutes online and you’re virtually guaranteed to come across an article explaining how to stay sane in the deluge of bad news.

Taking time to reflect or take a news break doesn’t mean millennials are avoiding reality: In fact, many people (especially millennials, many of whom just voted for the first time) are learning that to be most effective in your role — whether as a thinker, writer, protester, etc. — your own well-being needs to come first.

Gracy Obuchowicz, a self-care mentor, told Silva that millennials, while appreciative of the strides made by generations before them, are ready for a different way of life. “Our generation has seen enough,” she told Silva, adding “it’s a relatively new idea in our culture that we should be paying attention to how we feel and using that as a kind of intelligence. It’s something that’s really waking up in our culture and our generation.”

Read more on NPR.