Brooklyn Decker: ‘Self-care is kind of bulls–t… frankly, I’m failing at self-care’

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I used to think Brooklyn Decker was a vapid idiot, but she’s grown on me so much in recent years. She’s happily married to Andy Roddick, they have two kids together (Hank and Stevie), and she’s sort of given up her modeling career to work full-time as an actress, businesswoman, advocate for women’s empowerment programs, Special Olympics ambassador and various private business endeavors. Brooklyn attended the Girlboss Rally over the weekend, and took part in a panel discussion called The Hustle Is Real. She ended up talking about the idea that, in these troubled times, “self care” is sort of bulls–t. It’s actually quite interesting:

Brooklyn Decker is over the idea of self-care.

“As an entrepreneur, in general, I would say … self-care is kind of bulls–t,” Decker said during a panel titled “The Hustle is Real” at the Girlboss Rally on Sunday. “The reason I say that is because I have been told over and over, ‘OK you need to do this for your company … for my children, my husband, my friendships, and you need to completely work on self-care,’ and frankly I’m failing at self-care and it just made me feel I was failing at one more thing. I was like, great, so not only am I failing my business, my husband, my kids, but I’m also failing myself.”

The “Grace and Frankie,” starlet, who shares two children with tennis star husband Andy Roddick, recently co-founded Finery, a digital wardrobe platform that organizes your closet and uses analytics to style outfits with clothing you already own. Decker, 31, stressed that building a business is hard work but worth the struggle.

“That’s not to say you shouldn’t take care of yourself, of course, you should,” she said. “But I also think that there’s a lot of value in delayed gratification and there’s a lot of value in leaning into the discomfort of entrepreneurship and change in general — professional change, personal change, whatever it is — it’s OK to feel uncomfortable. It’s OK to be sleepless. It’s OK to not have balance and it’s OK to be stressed out because it is temporary and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Decker then took a moment to remind women that while they may feel pressure to do it all, it’s OK to prioritize work over everything else at times.

“Women specifically … I think it’s beautiful … we want to be sort of complete, you know, whole humans, but I think we need to give ourselves a break and let’s start by saying ‘f–k self-care.’ We can work on that later. We’re allowed to be uncomfortable in our current state … That’s part of growth and change.”

[From Page Six]

Gwyneth Paltrow is shook! Compare what Gwyneth sells to what Brooklyn sells – Gwyneth’s whole deal is telling rich white women that if they spend thousands of dollars on her products, they can be “more complete” or “feel better,” because they’ve earned it in the name of “self care.” Brooklyn’s message is “it’s okay to not prioritize yourself all the time too, you’ve got a lot of sh-t on your plate.” She’s not saying women shouldn’t take care of themselves, obviously. She’s saying that it’s okay to NOT BE OKAY all of the time, and that sometimes agitation and stress are good things to just FEEL. Like, it’s character-building. She’s not wrong.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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44 Responses to “Brooklyn Decker: ‘Self-care is kind of bulls–t… frankly, I’m failing at self-care’”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    I agree with Brooklyn, and will add that self care is a luxury some people can’t afford, money or time wise.

    • BigGirl says:

      +3000. Even when I find those cheap massages at Aveda beauty school. time is not there. Let talk traffic and commute on any day of week

    • Mel M says:

      Yes thank you! I’m always reading about it. But some of us moms who have kids under a certain age who depend on us for everything still and don’t have a crap ton of disposable income can’t afford all this self care that is supposed to not only help us but make us better moms and wives and whatever. Well if I can’t find the time or afford it because I’m busy taking care of my family does that mean I’m a crap mom and wife? Maybe? But I hate how some woman say it’s SO important and you just HAVE to find the time for self care or else you’re doing a disservice to you family almost. Self care for me to going to the grocery store alone or sitting in bed at midnight with a clay face mask on for 20 min once a month. I also hate when they say the same about date night and how you just HAVE to have date night or you will end up divorced or something. Well, almost 7 years into the kid thing and getting maybe one or two date nights a year and we’re still going strong so…. Our family is not typical though I know so we can’t just call up a babysitter and we don’t have any family close to come help. It’s just us.

    • Gigi La Moore says:

      I have never equated self care to money and if I don’t have time for me then I really don’t have time for anyone or anything else. I get what she is saying, but I don’t think she’s right and GP is wrong. Like with anything, each individual woman should do what works for them.

      • Wilma says:

        Me neither. Self care might be telling my husband that I’m going to sit upstairs in the quiet with a book and a cup of coffee for half an hour or taking time to watch an episode of the Good place or Brooklyn 99 or not cooking a meal, but eating sandwiches. It’s doing something to help deal with stress, it’s not about spending money.

      • Gigi La Moore says:

        Yes, Wilma, yes.

    • Ravensduaghter says:

      She sounds very no nonsense. I like her.

  2. Steff says:

    She is on the money about leaning into uncomfortable changes. Wanting to always be comfortable will cause you to stay stagnant and avoid moving forward. You have to accept that life won’t always be smooth sailing and appreciate when the good times happen.

  3. Erinn says:

    She’s grown on me lately. I get what she’s saying. I’m someone who’s stubborn and who pushes through my problems to a probably unhealthy level. I kind of internalize a lot of stress and just tell myself to keep powering through. I’m JUST starting to get into the habit of grabbing the magic bag and heating it up when I’m sore, or grabbing a heating pad because chronic pain always gets amped up when I’m dealing with extra stress.

    Honestly – if you can do NOTHING else for yourself, just learn to say “no” sometimes without feeling guilty. Say no to the odd family get together when you’re just not feeling it. Say no to working the extra hours, or to the baby shower of someone you don’t really like. And don’t beat yourself up for it.

    • Nibbi says:

      Oh man- THIS.

      Learning just to say NO to things is the best, most productive self-care I’ve ever experienced. I think we as women, American women especially, are taught to be accommodating to everyone in the universe, to our own detriment. *OUR* own goals are important, too.

  4. Nibbi says:

    Huh. I kind of appreciate this, too, tho I don’t really know much about her.
    I too appreciate the whole “it’s okay to work really hard and be kinda tired and frazzled but be looking towards the future and the satisfaction of delayed gratification.” It’s a refreshing message to hear, bc yeah, you’re right that GOOP and so so so so soo many of the celebrity entrepreneurs totally do hold themselves up as these shining successes at EVERYTHING, like, “I won an Oscar AND I’m really wealthy AND I didn’t ‘divorce,’ I ‘consciously uncoupled,’ AND my skin is perfect and my stomach is flat and my vagina has been steamed !!!!” …. it’s just exhausting and puts even more pressure on women to be perfect at all times; in this sense the whole “self-care” emphasis seems almost like concern-trolling.
    Like obviously people shouldn’t work themselves into nervous/ physical breakdown, but there’s a nuance to understand here.

    • heylee says:

      @Nibbi wow, your words are more powerful to me than Brooklyn’s. They actually make me want to cry a bit. It is exhausting to constantly be fighting the desire to gaslight your f*&king self all the time.
      Meaning, maybe MY VAGINA IS NOT STEAMED ENOUGH for me to be happy. Maybe IF I HAD THE PERFECT PLAYGROUND OUTFIT I would be complete. Maybe if I took up less space, then I as a woman wouldn’t be such a burden to this world.

      Competitive self-care, like competitive anything that pits us against each other and against an ideal that is never quite achieved, should go the way of everything else that I don’t like about 2018.

  5. Mamama says:

    I’ve been having some tricky things going on with my body so I went to the doctor last month. I had to bring my 5- and 3-year-olds with me because we just moved across the country and I know no one that could watch them for me, while my husband worked. My oldest was at school.
    Based on the visit with my new doc, she literally gave me a piece of paper “prescribing” sleep and stress management. I wanted to ask if that came in pill form?? Because it just wasn’t going to happen.
    I think self-care, as a poster upwards said, is a complete luxury. Especially, when children are young and needy, or when one has a career that needs nurturing and upkeep. I am, at the moment, a stay-at-home mom, and I struggle to find time to even sit and drink my coffee, let alone schedule a spa day and focus on making healthy meals for myself. The ONE area I won’t give up is exercise.

    • JBones says:

      In solidarity mamama; I have a 5 year old, 4 year old, 8 month old and no family nearby to help out. Some days I think I’m going, or have gone, crazy. I need some sleep, I need some head space, and a little physical space too, but it’s not happening today and perhaps not for a while. My solace comes at nap time when I can exercise and power it out (still connected via video monitor and ticking minutes, but I’ll take what I can get)! I commend BD for acknowledging that the, sometimes overwhelming, feeling of being uncomfortable is natural and ok; may it help us evolve and grow.

  6. little bird says:

    i agree with the sentiment here, but, and i know this is nitpick-y, i reeeeaaally don’t like the language she chose here. self-care, ACTUAL self-care, isn’t the consumerist bullsh*t people like goop market it as- it’s about managing your mental health (often specifically anxiety) in practical ways. like practicing radical acceptance, which is what she’s talking about here. brooklyn is kind of making self-care out to be this superficial thing that doesn’t really matter, and that’s just… not true. ugh. but yes to radical acceptance!! it’s ok to not have your sh*t together!! and some stress is good stress!! embrace it!!

  7. Clare says:

    This thing about embracing uncomfortable changes – I really struggle with it. Husband and I spent 739572 years getting PhDs and struggling (financially, emotionally) through junior level academic jobs and now when life is pretty good my other half wants to quit his tenured cushy academic gig at a top ranked university to start his own business – I am sooooo not here for that. I’m done struggling man, I just want to enjoy what we’ve worked for. I don’t want to embrace discomfort. Or change. Surely that’s ok, too?

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      It sounds as if you’re okay with change as long as you can feel it will have a certain measure of security. You can negotiate around that because so many small businesses fail, you’re being rational. He needs to convince you that he can make a go of it without blowing your savings, putting all the burden on you etc. After all, he needs your support to make it work. Maybe there’s a way he can start small on the side, do some consulting etc. There are different levels of risk; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It takes two in any partnership.

      When I wanted to start my own business, my then-fiance asked me to confirm three solid clients before pulling the plug on my cushy corporate job. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it motivated me to deal with the reality of the transition. He wasn’t saying he didn’t believe in me; he was saying test the market and consider the change in his situation in a 2-earner couple. I’m so glad he did. Six months later, he was enjoying adding up my billings. But I didn’t have to take out a loan or hire staff; I could have moved back into the corporate world; it was lower-risk as these things go.

      Congratulations on your PhDs!

      • bananapanda says:

        That’s a really good way to start a business.

        CLARE – Since you’re academics and might have summer or sabbatical options, maybe you can tell your husband to use X amount of time to line up clients before quitting.

        I think what Brooklyn was saying is exactly what you experienced while in grad school – it’s worth the discomfort at the time and would have been silly to spend time worrying about self-care when you really need to finish that PhD.

  8. Keaton says:

    Brooklyn talks like a real entrepreneur in my opinion. That is, she knows what it’s like to work your ass off, to miss events for your kids/family because something unexpected happens that you must deal with, to lose sleep because a deadline demands it, etc. Now I’m wondering just how much Gwyneth Paltrow and other female celebs really are involved in their so-called businesses.

  9. Who ARE These People? says:

    Thank goodness someone said it. ‘Self care’ has started to sound like another way to tell someone to take a spa day. Another way for women to do it on our own rather than shape our relationships and society to reduce some of the stresses and burdens that we carry simply for being women. Better child care = self care. Better pay = self care. No violence against women = self care. Health equity = self care. Health insurance = self care. Abortion and contraception rights = self care. Campus protection against rape = self care. Retirement benefits = self care
    Caregiving support = self care. CLOTHES WITH POCKETS = self care.

    But sure, time for ourselves? That’s nice too.

    • Jaded1 says:

      Tracee Ellis Ross was recently speaking about self-care. She said something along the lines of for many women, it’s a spa day. For her, it’s learning to say “no” to things. And I’ve found, as I get older, that is exactly what I need to do to take care of myself, either by not putting myself in p,aces that I don’t want to be, not taking on too many tasks, or just giving me time to relax and not be running and thinking all of the time.

      • AMAyson1977 says:

        This is important. We moved recently, from the city to the burbs, and MAN. Some of those moms are something else! I’ve had to remind myself that as long as my kids are clean, fed, happy, and know I love them, that everything else is just extra. I’ll prioritize baking birthday cupcakes from scratch because that’s a way I show my love, but I cannot and will not worry about making every moment Pinterest fabulous. I will make sure the laundry is clean and folded, and then I will sit on the couch and read my book. We can make ourselves crazy going, doing, and saying “yes” to everyone and everything. Saying “no” allows me to carve out a little time for myself, and that makes me a happier, better woman, employee, wife, mother, and friend.

    • Phat girl says:

      “Better child care = self care. Better pay = self care. No violence against women = self care. Health equity = self care. Health insurance = self care. Abortion and contraception rights = self care. Campus protection against rape = self care. Retirement benefits = self care
      Caregiving support = self care. CLOTHES WITH POCKETS = self care.”

      This! All day every day. You want to “help” me with my anxiety levels, than treat me like I’m as valuable a person as every other person. Obtaining basic rights should not cause me or anyone else so much stress. This is what’s hard on me, not my choice of career or family.

    • Killjoy says:


  10. Pretty Hate Machine says:

    I just have to comment that I’m offput by the label of ‘starlet’ placed on a a grown ass 31 year old actress, model, wife, mother, business owner, multi-hyphenate, successful at many things woman. It’s so belittling. Starlet has such derogatory connotation that it is reducing all her wins and struggles down to nothing.

  11. Sam the Pink says:

    “Self-care” has become another thing to spend money on. Most “self-care” I see is women posting selfies of their spa days, mud masks, etc. I was not taught “self-care” – I was always taught the old metaphor about “put your own oxygen mask on first.” Basically, you can’t help anyone else if you’re physically, mentally or emotionally spent. It’s okay to say no at times, it’s okay to want to be alone, it’s okay to vocalize your own needs. That’s self-care.

    The current crop of “self-care” has just become an excuse to make spending money virtuous. Splurging on an expensive skin care regime, getting your nails done, etc. all now have taken on an air of virtue because they can now be labelled as “self-care” when before they were simply luxuries.

  12. paranormalgirl says:

    The only “self-care” that matters is taking care of ourselves emotionally. Everything else is superfluous and superficial.

  13. Kat says:

    Self care for me has nothing to do with spending money or entire days off to be at a spa. It means managing my anxiety in a healthy way and making sure to prioritize my physical, mental and emotional health. I practice yoga and workout and make sure to have time to sit and drink tea. I have small children and it’s not always easy but if I don’t take care of myself , I can’t take care of anyone else. Also, I’m sure she has the means to have a nanny, housekeeper and other various staff that gives her the luxury to be devoted to her business ventures.

  14. Zazu says:

    I hate when self cares made out to be superficial like a home facial or DIY bath bubbles. I live with chronic pain conditions so I can definitely speak to the need for learning to be compassionate towards yourself. Setting boundaries is a great example. I’ve preserved my mental sanity through meditating, going for a walk everyday and generally learning to be nicer to myself. I think it’s just about attending to your inner mental, emotional and spiritual life in the best way for you, through the busyness of daily life. It might be going to therapy, connecting with your loved ones more often, cultivating a hobby that you’re passionate about, or practicing your faith… and a lot of times you won’t be able to make time for it but you just do your best. The last thing it’s about is some kind of home spa day. I think often women are taught to put their needs below those of others around them so part of that is saying yeah, we matter too.

    • Helen says:

      what zazu said

    • Kate says:

      Agreed! I understand her frustration at not having enough time to devote to all parts of her life to the fullest, every single day. Maybe the advice she’s been given is too daunting. I know when I was a couple months post partum being encouraged to go get a massage and make time for myself and that felt so impossible and made me angry too. And if she’s trying to launch some new business and people are telling her she needs to meditate for 30 minutes every morning and take a hot bath every night and get some “me time” in – I can see why she is a bit defensive. THAT SAID, I think she needs some better advice like you guys have said b/c self care is really just keeping your stress levels and sanity in check in whatever small ways you can muster.

  15. Case says:

    I’m not comfortable with self-care being made out to be a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s great that it is becoming a bigger part of our culture. I understand the damaging impact expensive, competitive self-care can have on women. But as others have mentioned, self-care means different things to different people. Carving out time to take care of yourself — whether that’s drinking tea and reading for 20 minutes before work, putting on a $5 sheet mask because it helps keep your skin clear, practicing yoga/meditation when you can, canceling your plans to have a quiet night in, or taking a mid-morning break to read about celebrity gossip on Celebitchy — are important for our emotional, mental, and physical health.

  16. Tiffany :) says:

    I don’t like “self care” being described as if it is a shallow thing. Yes, it can be challenging, but I think the point is that women sometimes give of themselves until they have nothing left, and it WILL have long term consequences. Sometimes you might need to take a nap or have a therapy session instead of going to the PTA meeting, and we should allow ourselves that and know it is ok.

    What “self care” means to me, is that it gives permission to women to take care of themselves and their mental and physical health. It is sad that our society has gotten to the point where we have to specify this, but clearly it is needed. Spa treatments is a way for some women to have peaceful time with their own thoughts, but not everyone’s version of “self care” involves these things. She’s kind of reducing everything into a straw man.

  17. Gigi La Moore says:

    Self care for me has nothing to do with money. It has been running an Epsom salts and lavender bath and reading a book or turning off the TV and Internet and just listening to music all evening or working on my vision board or just knowing that after a week of being on the go, that if I have a bunch of plans on Saturday with friends/family that it’s better for me mentally not to do anything Sunday and just spend that time alone decompressing. That’s my definition of self care.

  18. Leslie says:

    “because it is temporary and there is a light at the end of the tunnel”

    No. It’s not temporary and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We deal with garbage every single day, and it will never end. We’re born, we suffer, we die. That’s it. If people need to practice “self-care” to keep from being crushed under all that garbage, then let them. Don’t shame them for it.

    My therapist told me last week that I need to practice “self-care”. You know how I do that? By not feeling guilty for needing to eat and sleep. If other people do that in other ways, good for them.

  19. Sojaschnitzel says:

    Team Brooklyn. Not only because of this, but also because I LOVE her on Grace and Frankie. I might have a girl crush on her.

  20. jennifer says:

    im over the phrase “self care”

  21. Traderbynight says:

    Agree with her underlying sentiment! By all means do your cleanses and organic smoothies but don’t get your knickers in a knot and obsessive about it. Life is messy; go with the flow.

  22. Meg says:

    What a refreshing message!

  23. wolfgirl says:

    I have a son with a significant lifelong disability. I’ve been his pretty much sole carer for 27 years. “Self care”.? It’s a concept that often just makes me feel worse about myself… my biggest and best type of self care.? Going and working in a meaningful job and making some time to feel like I am a separate person and that I matter outside of being a carer…. No matter how much I love my child. Making time to be an actual woman with a mind and an opinion and to be myself. That is my self care.

  24. mela says:

    I think self-care can be used as an insult. Like, “girl your need to treat yourself” type comments from judgemental friends because I don’t care about my manicure this month or I am behind on a root touch up for example or I gained 10lbs and dont really care…

    When really, I am feeling pretty good about myself in my own skin, doing life on my terms and my timeline. I take care of myself emotionally and mentally and maybe I don’t need all those outside “self care” stuff right now to feel good.