Self Care only for the abled?

Self Care only for the abled?

Consider people who go for a run during the work day vs people who need a nap during the work day. One is seen as acceptable, and the other is seen as lazy. Both are things that are broadly actions a body needs to function. (As someone with ME/CFS, exercise is dangerous. I want to acknowledge this as it’s not acknowledged often enough, but also to state I’m speaking broadly here and broadly there is a way to safely exercise for many people/conditions.)


My suspicion about the acceptability of this topic comes down to a deficit vs non deficit view held by those who are in power… who are usually people without any disability, chronic illness, or neurodivergence.


Think about taking a nap during a work day. A nap is a deficit. It’s something we have strong social views on when it should and shouldn’t happen. Sleeping is for when it’s dark outside; that’s what we’re told as kids. And I feel like that view stays with people unchallenged into adulthood. 


Why does it matter what you do with your half hour or hour break in your employment day? It’s your time, after all. I don’t know anyone who gets paid for that time. And yet are we expected to keep performing abled in that time?


And what about when it doesn’t even happen in your break!? In January 2023 myself and many others were laid off when a mega project went under – at that job people would take their work laptops to the hairdresser for the afternoon, and claim to be working while getting their hair done. I hate people touching my hair so I don’t know what it’s like to spend an afternoon at a hairdresser, but I assume there’s not a great deal of work that really gets done in that situation. (I think there’s a lot of denial in workplaces about how much work there really is to do, but that’s a different topic.) This week, I stopped working briefly at an unplanned time to help my partner, who is recovering from surgery. Which made me wonder, why is going to the hairdresser on work time seen as something acceptable, but it’s less acceptable to take time off to support a human? Illness is to be done away from the workplace. It’s not integrated into it. Ill workers have to hide their needs. Scary things like humans who need help have to be 100% separated. Outsourced so it’s not seen. Binary needs of assuming someone needs support full time or no time at all. 


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Self Care only for the abled?


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