Navigating the Waves: From Solo Celebrations to Self-Care Trends, Trauma Talk, and Third Spaces

This week’s edition covers stories 
from November 9th to November 15th, 2023.

Today’s issue is 1100 words, a 7-minute read.

Isabella talks from Solo Celebrations to Self-Care Trends, Trauma Talk, and Third Spaces

Hey there, morning champions! Isabella here. Can we just talk about how we never check in with you? My bad! Anyway, we’re buzzing because Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Now, as we gear up for the festivities and dive into the essence of gratitude, let’s keep it real. The holiday season can sometimes bring a bit of solitude, whether you’re chilling miles away from home or flying solo.

But hold up, we’re not just acknowledging it; we’re flipping the script. This year, we’re turning solo celebrations into an adventure! And speaking of adventures, buckle up because we’re about to plunge into the world of self-reliance and well-being. It’s like the cool kid on the block—the self-care movement. You’ve probably stumbled upon those solo Thanksgiving ‘How-To’s,’ right? Well, they’re part of this massive ‘self-care ritual’ craze that’s been rocking the wellness world for a while. In 2017 NPR dropped the bomb, revealing the self-care industry was already raking in a jaw-dropping 10 billion dollars. Yep, that’s billions with a ‘B’!

So, who’s riding this wave of self-care awesomeness? Well, the millennials, of course. Those rebels who decided to shake things up and say, “Nah, we’re not doing life like our folks and grandparents.” They’re all about breaking free from the norms. In this article, they even quote Hyepin Im, big shot at Korean Churches for Community Development, talking about cranking up the sensitivity to others. 

Fast forward to 2019, and The New York Times drops the mic with a piece titled “When did Self-Help become Self-Care?” Ruth LaFerla spills the tea, saying, “If self-help is about how to do, self-care is about how to not do.”

Zoom into 2022-2023, where TikTok is doing its thing, hitting peak popularity, and guess what’s trending on the mental health charts? Trauma. Yep, you heard it right. There’s this whole Trauma scene blowing up on TikTok, aka ‘#TraumaTok,’ and you might want to take a dive into that rabbit hole if you’re feeling brave. Vice spilled the beans on it back in 2022, and they even had a chat with Dr. Louise La Sala, a Research Fellow superhero from the Suicide Prevention Unit at Orygen, teamed up with the University of Melbourne.

Now, Dr. La Sala unpacks the whole deal about sharing Trauma online, especially with the younger crowd. It’s got its perks – validating, a way to express yourself, a whole process, you know? But hold up, there’s a catch. As she puts it, “there’s a fine line between information being helpful and it being misconstrued or not responded to in the way it was intended.” It’s like Trauma can easily get lost in the algorithms, and suddenly, the word ‘Trauma’ is thrown around for, well, just about anything. “I stubbed my toe – trauma.” Seriously? According to Vox in January 2022, the Google searches for “trauma” have been on a wild ride for the past 18 years.

And here’s a kicker from Bessel van der Kolk, the brain behind “The Body Keeps the Score” – we apparently need new dictionaries to describe the whole human experience. He said that in response to folks throwing around the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was some kind of collective trauma. Spoiler alert: not every bump in the road is trauma, bestie. 

Now, let’s shift gears to the whole trauma trend, and it’s got me thinking about those folks online, you know, the “pick me” crew. These are the ones who shout from the digital rooftops about how they’re so different from the norm, and that’s basically their whole personality and response playbook. And hey, they sometimes cozy up with the “why not me” crew, those individuals on the internet dropping sentimental videos like romantic couple montages, heartwarming parent-child reunions, or drool-worthy recipes. But, and it’s a big but, if you scroll through the comments, you’ll spot gems like “I wish I had a boyfriend 😔” or “what if I can’t eat nuts? 🥺” – you catch my drift.

Seems like we’re living in a world that’s leaning towards this seemingly individualistic, ego-centered, and victimizing vibe. Quick reality check, folks – not everything revolves around you. **mic drops**

But hold on, don’t hit the panic button just yet. Today’s newsletter isn’t here to spook you or give you a lecture on how you might be slacking in validating your experiences. It’s all about something timeless and essential: community. Whether we’re talking about self-care, self-help, sharing our not-so-pleasant moments, or just navigating life’s hurdles, it all boils down to that human longing for connection. And sure, the internet and social media are the happening spots right now, but let’s be real, they come with their share of downsides.

So, the real question is, in this vast digital landscape, where do we find those sweet spots, those key spaces to come together and share the multitude of experiences we’re all going through? Gather ’round because we’re diving into the magical realm of the third space. 

Think of it as that sweet spot where serendipity and productivity take a backseat, and The Atlantic aptly labels it the “serendipitous, productivity-free conversation” space. Hold up, though—it’s not the whole “let’s work together at a coffee shop” vibe where you’re silently clacking away on your keyboard. No, no. These are the third places, the beating heart of community, the spaces that keep us grounded in reality, as explained by Jeffres et al.

Picture this: coffee shops, churches, restaurants, clubs, bars, hair salons, and the good old barbershop. These are the hubs where ideas flow, good times roll, and relationships blossom. We’ve become so entangled in the web of home, work, and the digital grind that we’ve kind of forgotten to make room for the third spot—the space that sparks the exchange of ideas and builds communities. It’s like the secret ingredient to a well-rounded, fulfilling life. 

Now, onto the Gen Z saga in the ‘low-maintenance friendship’ era. We’re talking, checking in a few times a year, scrolling through each other’s socials, and maybe sharing a funny video monthly, thinking that’s friendship maintenance. But here’s the kicker: we’re missing out on the depth, the emotional value, settling for a life of surface-level connections.

Enter Bell Hooks and her wisdom from “All About Love.” She throws down the idea that spiritual life is all about “commitment to the way of thinking and behaving that honors principles of inter-being and interconnectedness.” In a world nudging us toward individualism, the big question arises: How do we inject fulfilling, expressive, and self-developmental moments into our lives? How do we resist the pull towards isolation and sustain genuine connections? Time to decode the truth behind living through the lens of love.

What do you think? Let us know at

That’s all from me, we’ll see you next time.


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Hi, friend: Isabella here! 
I’m a Communications Specialist by day
and going to therapy to discuss social dilemmas 
by night!

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