Bad Feminist

Self-care is a form of feminism

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke

Taking a break can be really hard work.

I’m serious. With all of the things I do on a day-to-day basis, getting my eight hours of sleep in or having a day out can be hard to squeeze into my schedule. Sometimes I have to go to sleep while panicking about all of the things I still need to do.

That’s not healthy.

So often women are told they need to work hard, be professional and go after every opportunity. After decades of not having the opportunity to work a job, and now having that opportunity — we need to take advantage of it.

I support that wholeheartedly. Like men, women need to work hard, be professional and go after every opportunity. But, like men, they also need to know when to take a break.

In that respect, I’m a terrible feminist because I don’t know when to call it a day.

Taking breaks is especially important for women who have to figure out a way to juggle work-life balance more than men — particularly when it comes to working moms, according to the Pew Research Center. (I mean, when it comes to sleep alone, women need more sleep, and, yet, they struggle more with getting enough good sleep in comparison to men.)

This is exhausting.

I’m not even a mom, and I know I struggle to juggle all of my responsibilities every day. When I don’t get enough sleep, I just don’t do as well. I’ve been spending so many late nights working on huge projects, written assignments, papers and trying to stay on top of it, and it’s really killing me when it comes to my motivation.

I’m exhausted, drained and, frankly, cranky.

As Mattias Björnmalm said in “Science” — “We need to work smarter, not harder.”

Taking breaks is one way to do so — and it’s so important for our health, according to Psychology Today. Taking breaks helps people be more creative, learn, be motivated and stay physically healthy too.

Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook chief operating officer, said creating personal limits can give her the opportunity to be more creative, according to the HuffPost.

The biggest way to be a feminist is to take care of oneself and to love oneself. Here are my recommendations to do that:


  1. Know your limits

For example, I know I shouldn’t do homework past 11 p.m. Once it gets that late at night, I’ll be unproductive, lethargic and simply unable to do any work. (Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still try.) Try to recognize that sleep is necessary, and it’s hard to be productive the next day while exhausted.


  1. Take time for fun things

With piles of homework and work to do, it can be really hard to say “no” and watch some “Queer Eye” or “Game of Thrones,” but I think it’s important to take time to do fun things. I remember getting into a conversation with someone, and they asked me what I do when I get out.

The real answer is: I don’t get out. That’s sad and pathetic, and it’s part of the reason my mental health is just trash. Take time to breathe and have fun. Get out of the house and get some fresh air.

Most of all, just have fun. (And don’t forget to do those responsibilities later.)


  1. Take time for self-care

Paint your nails. Do your hair. Take a long shower. Drink a yummy fruit smoothie. When we love our bodies, our bodies will love us back. Take a little time every once in a while to especially love your body.


  1. Learn to say “no”

Especially in college, it’s totally normal and acceptable to overbook yourself. I’m so guilty of this. I struggle with saying “no,” because I love doing everything, and I want to have time to do everything.

Unfortunately, I’m not like Hermione Granger with a Time-Turner.

It’s good to limit yourself to the things you truly love doing. Say “no” to the things that make you unhappy. If you’re like me, and you love doing everything you do, and you’re still really busy, find ways to cut out time for yourself. If you don’t have time for that, you’re doing too many things.


  1. Surround yourself with positivity

I can’t tell you how many people I know who are just genuine Debbie Downers. They find everything negative in the world and can’t find a single good thing to talk about. Find people who motivate you and keep you thinking positively.

As we wind into the last few weeks of the semester, no matter your gender, don’t forget to take care of yourself. These times are wack.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].