From The Reclaim: Self Care & Self Advocacy in 2020
Why do we find it so hard to own being sick?
I think it comes down to the culture of overwork that is ever-present in our society, where “How are you?” is met with “Busy!” and everyone has multiple side hustles. I found myself confronting this recently as I’ve had a cold; congestion, aches, cough… and yet, it’s so hard for me to say “I’m sick” and to take time to care for myself.
Part of this is being a busy grad student; in grad school, there are no sick days. Professors aren’t likely to give an extension to you just because you have a cough, and if I don’t show up for work, I either have to make up those hours later… or not get paid. Don’t get me wrong; my boss is incredibly supportive and would be the first to say “Stay home and rest!” But I’m more worried about meeting rent.
This past month, The Reclaim dove into self-care for our January event, “Self Care: Trendy or Timeless.” Sixteen women gathered to mingle and chat about why it can be so difficult for us to prioritize taking care of ourselves. So often self-care is presented as something glamorous, like taking a bath or doing a face mask.
In reality, though, self-care can be a lot more powerful. Attendees shared about how saying no and advocating for themselves is the most critical part of self-care. It was really powerful to hear women share out their goals in response to the prompt, “I will advocate for myself in 2020 by…”
Before we get too far into the year, I encourage you to reflect on this question. How will you advocate for yourself in the year ahead? Maybe it means pushing yourself to say yes to new opportunities to grow yourself. Maybe it means saying no and setting boundaries, like it did for many of our attendees. Either way, I’d encourage you to listen to your own heart and body. You know yourself best.