The Self Care Journey of a Brown Woman

Written by Midwest Mujer Fellow and Guest Blogger: Ankita Bharadwaj

Being Brown and proud as a woman and an immigrant is not easy. Add the fact that you are queer, it only makes it a bit more difficult. To be a leader despite that is, according to me, a very big feat. But how do we get there? Through self-love and self-care.

Often, as Brown women, we are told that our worth lies in the outcomes we deliver. This narrative is toxic and our first step to self-care should be making ourselves believe that we are worthy regardless of our delivery or past. This switch is not going to be easy, but it is possible.

I take a few guilt-free days off now and then because I have trained myself, over the years, to understand that my worth is not about the amount that I can produce because that can lead to burnout.

For self-care, I engage in talking to my friends when it feels like I need someone to listen to me and give me words of affirmation. Having a support circle of family and friends is an important factor in self-care as a leader.

Over time I have learned to compartmentalize my time and worry about only one thing at a time. More often than not, after 5 PM, my "work box" is closed and my “watch-Netflix-with-wine” box or “go-see-a-friend-or-two box” opens.

But, please know, that whatever self-care and self-love look like for me doesn’t have to look like the same for you. Take the time to find out what relaxes you and makes you feel self-fulfilled and go from there. My final suggestion is to spend time thinking about what is self-love.

What new or loved self-care practice are you thinking of?

Ankita Bharadwaj is a lawyer and a legal academic with three degrees in law from Jamia Millia Islamia, Amity University (both in India), and UW-Madison Law School.

Ankita is an organizer and currently serves as a member of the Madison Police Civilian Oversight Board and Chaired the City of Madison’s Equitable Hiring Tool Taskforce to find Madison‘s first-ever Independent Monitor.

They have previously served on the boards of Madison Community Coop and North American Students of Cooperation and contributed to the betterment of the campus through their position as Vice President of the Middle Eastern Law Students Association from 2016 to 2017.

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