Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed in a quirky Instagram post that she’s taking time off for self-care in an effort to prevent burnout as she prepares to take her seat in Congress.
“I am starting a week of self-care where I am taking the week off and taking care of me. I don’t know how to do that though, so I would appreciate any and all self-care tips,” the New York Democrat wrote in an Instagram story on Monday.
“Sometimes people are like, ‘top ten tips for self-care: go to Cancun,’ and I’m like [shakes head]. Is it a face mask? I just don’t understand.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she plans to spend “a few days in the middle of nowhere” in upstate New York before her term starts on Jan. 3.
She asked people on Instagram and Twitter for advice:
(Our advice: Cuddling up in an extremely fluffy blanket with a book and a hot cup of whatever beverage you enjoy most.)
Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted that self-care is a tricky topic, because “for working people, immigrants, & the poor, self-care is political.”
“Not because we want it to be, but bc of the inevitable shaming of someone doing a face mask while financially stressed,” she wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, made history last month by becoming the youngest woman elected to Congress. She unseated longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
In her Instagram story, Ocasio-Cortez described how she used to “practice yoga 3-4x/week, eat nutritiously, read and write for leisure.” But once she entered politics and “everything kicked up, that all went out the window.”
“I went from doing yoga and making wild rice and salmon dinners to eating fast food for dinner and falling asleep in my jeans and makeup,” she wrote. “We live in a culture where that kind of lifestyle is subtly celebrated as ‘working hard,’ but I will be the first to tell you it’s NOT CUTE and makes your life harder on the other end.”
She continued: “I keep things raw and honest on here since I believe public servants do a disservice to our communities by pretending to be perfect. It makes things harder for others who aspire to run someday if they think they have to be superhuman before they even try.”
She shared a link to an Amnesty International article advising activists to take time off for themselves.
“Burnout and vicarious trauma happen all the time in the activist world and it’s important to keep a look out for the signs in yourself and your friends,” the article says.