What Working at a Women’s Shelter Taught Me About Self-Care

It was at the end of the first week in my new job as volunteer coordinator at a rural women’s shelter when my thinking about when and how to take care of myself changed dramatically. It only took one afternoon with a group of women to challenge everything I was comfortable with and thought I knew about work ethics and healthy lifestyles.

These beliefs stem from the family business that my grandfather started and my father continued. Like other family members, it was my first job and it became tied to both my family history and my expectations of how to live successfully.

When my grandfather started out as a business owner, he was the only employee until he established it, and his work ethic was great.

There were no days off, leaving my grandmother to raise her children and take care of household chores in a time before most modern conveniences. This same tradition was carried on by my father, and although he took evenings and weekend parties, the work ethic and feel-good ideas remained.

Fast forward to my professional life. I brought that same expectation to all my jobs.

Without a doubt, I was a dream employee, taking extra shifts, staying late, and coming in early. Normal, as things used to be, and all without the perks that giant companies like Google offer their employees like nap rooms or snack bars.

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What Working at a Women’s Shelter Taught Me About Self-Care

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