Millennials have oft been called the "Me Me Me Generation" but there are now murmurs that the "Self-Care Generation" might be a more apt moniker. According to research from the Pew Research Center, millennials reportedly spend more money on personal improvement — i.e. working out, dieting, life coaching, meditation — than any generation before them. The self-help industry is a $10 billion per year enterprise, and millennials are largely to thank.
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So why is this all happening? There are a few answers to that question. Self-care is not anything new — people have been doing it since ancient times. But there is something about the confluence of the internet, social media, destigmatization of mental health issues, and a highly stressful and volatile political and economic environment that has this generation feeling like now is as good a time as any to take care of themselves — and there's absolutely no shame in that game.
In an NPR story on the topic mental health expert Hyepin Im ran through a few reasons why this generation is so focused on self-care, and so willing to spend money on it. "Increased awareness is very powerful," she told NPR. "The other piece, in some ways we're constantly bombarded in self-absorption." Self-absorption seems to in turn lead to the desire for self-betterment; and (as previously mentioned) de-stigmatization of a whole host of issues — both mental and physical – in turn leads to self-care. It's a perfect storm that has caused self-care to rise to the top of people's priority lists.
And there you have it, a generation who just wants to be their best most healthy selves — and is willing to spend the cash necessary to do so.