The She Should Run community is made up of women from all walks of life--all backgrounds, ethnicities, of all abilities, from across the political spectrum. What do we all have in common? We all want to make a positive impact in our communities, and on the world.
If you want to make a difference in your community, we encourage you to lead but we’ll also encourage you to take care of yourself on your journey to take care of and help others.
Our work to reach women’s equal representation in government is no small undertaking; and the same goes for your work, whatever you may be passionate about--the environment, education, disability rights--leadership is a marathon, not a sprint, we’re all in this for the long haul and self-care is crucial.
Over ten thousand women across the country are preparing to run for office, at all levels, through She Should Run’s programs. Our team is behind them every step of the way as they carve our their own unique paths to elected leadership, providing support through live leadership development trainings, highlighting relevant conversations through social media, and fostering mentorship by connecting aspiring leaders with current elected women officials. You all are putting in the hard work to change the face of government with your leadership and as you’re scheduling trainings, networking events, fundraisers, etc., don’t forget to schedule time for just you, no matter how small the window of opportunity. Here are a few ways that the She Should Run team does just that:
Erin Loos Cutraro, CEO and Founder
With imperfect consistency at best, I use a combination of strategies to keep my mind and body as healthy as possible.
- Sleep and exercise are must dos for me. I'm a mess unless I get a solid dose of both.
- I brain dump my to-do list (on paper!) before I sleep. Otherwise, mental noise keeps me tossing and turning.
- I avoid my phone unless necessary for the few precious hours I have with my kids at night. And when my kids are being challenging, I force myself to take deep breaths. Lots of them! I'm mindful that when I carry stress, my kids clearly respond to that.
- I try to let my mind wander without technology whenever possible (ever looked around in an elevator?! Why do we all feel like we have to look at our phones when we have 2 min free?). That brief unplugged time is often when I have the best ideas.
- I go for walks when on work calls. The fresh air and movement helps me focus.
- Gmail's new "Pause Inbox" feature is a gift!
- I listen to a lot of podcasts about industries and topics outside of my daily focus. I love learning new things.
- I seek out friends and family who make me laugh.
- Sunshine is very important to me. I try to plan a quick sunshine soaked visit somewhere every February. And yes, I own a light therapy lamp that I fire up every single morning December - March!
I'm not great or even consistent at most of this, but I'm a better person overall when I make time and space for any or all of it.
Kathleen Kiernan, Communications and Programs Associate
Self-care is all the rage these days but it’s a much-needed fad when you feel like you’re going nonstop with work, family, and your personal life. Self-care doesn’t have to be going on a shopping spree or spending exorbitant amounts of money on a spa day (although those are fun too). Self-care can be as simple as meditating for five minutes each morning, carving out half an hour to go on a walk, or catching up with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
My self-care involves carving out time to do things that I enjoy. Some days, that’s wandering to the closest book store and grabbing a new novel to read and other days it’s giving myself a pedicure. Weekly, I play soccer with friends which is a way for me to unwind and still spend time with people I care about. I believe it’s important to find different outlets that you can do alone, like painting or writing, and others that you can incorporate friends into, like a sports activity or getting coffee, so that you are taking care of all your needs – physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Christina A. Jackson, Chief of Staff
Not knowing exactly what my “professional” day will bring (or, probably more accurately, what I will bring to it!) is often a consequence of me having my hand in so many pots. I have my amazing “day job” as Chief of Staff, managing our human resources, operations, and finances, and also serve in a satisfying leadership role within a volunteer organization advocating for gender and racial equity in my community. These commitments take big chunks of my daily time and energy, but it is as equally important for me to commit to maintaining a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
To do that, I carve out time (no matter what), to show up for and spend time with my family and family. They are my personal “board of directors” and they deserve my full participation in our relationships. I also feel better about myself when I routinely participate in healthy activities (i.e. going hard at the gym, cooking quality food, reflecting in quiet time, etc.). I’ve also learned that it is impossible to consistently keep up a hectic pace while staying mentally and physically fit, so I’ve committed to taking little pauses where I can, and only spend time on the things I love!
Sofia Pereira, Director of Programs and Impact & Mayor of Arcata, CA
My time outside of work is mostly spent meeting with constituents, preparing for and attending city council meetings, and being out in the community. It'd be easy to burn out if I tried to do everything for my community that I wanted to! I have to remind myself that I can't do it all. Social change work is about endurance, not always sprinting. That means we got to fuel up and recover sometimes. The easiest way I found to incorporate self-care is to give myself just 10 minutes. 10 minutes to go for a walk, run, read a book, or practice mindfulness with a guided meditation (I use the free app Insight Timer). It's easy to feel too busy for self-care, but when I realized I often gave away 10 minutes scrolling through social media on my phone, I could give myself 10 minutes at least once a day. 10 minutes can grow into more time, but I found allocating just a short amount of time has made it easier to keep the routine. Another way I incorporate self-care is to set personal fitness goals and schedule recreation or tea time with a friend. I found that it's harder to bail on a friend than myself!
Jenn Addison, Digital and Creative Manager
The truth is, for many, self-care can seem elusive and inaccessible. In my daily routine, turning things that would otherwise be ordinary or perfunctory into little rituals allows me to have frequent, small moments of relaxation and rejuvenation. For example, practicing mindfulness when I make my morning coffee or cook myself dinner or choosing to walk home and rediscover my neighborhood instead of taking the metro, are all easy, low-cost ways to keep myself grounded throughout the day. I practice self-care by creating moments when I can be fully present, since throughout the rest of the day my job and unpredictable events pull me in 1,000 directions. When I am able to spend money or devote more time to self-care, I often practice yoga, either at home or at a studio, or learn something new by signing up for an art class or cooking class. Every moment that you are able to spend with yourself counts. Find a book to read, even if you only read one page a night. Journal, even if you only write down what you did that day. Invest in yourself and your well-being with the same passion that you’re willing to invest yourself into your community.