Take Care of Yourself — by Alice McAlexander
“Take Care of Yourself” is one of my favorite sections of 63 Magazine. It’s so important to me because I know that when I was an organizer, I didn’t take care of myself at all.
I’m not special – most organizers give themselves entirely to their work. There’s some value in being that committed, but often it’s a liability. On my first campaign, I sacrificed way too much of myself. I never exercised unless I was walking briskly between doors with a canvass packet; I ate most meals from the gas station next to my field office; I slept in my contacts all the time because I was too tired to take them out.
On the Sunday before election day, all the organizers in my region came into Richmond at 11 PM to do a doorknocker drop and we all decided to race. That one-hour of “jogging” was so much for my poor body to handle that I found myself looking up “muscle atrophy” the next day.
I was a mess, and it showed in a lot of ways. I wasn’t myself and it made me crazy. I was lucky that all the craziness channeled into hitting my goals, but I had a couple close calls where I almost entirely melted down.
That shouldn’t happen.
As an organizer, you have got to take care of yourself. Not only is it important to keep yourself sane, it helps you do your job better. You’re a better organizer if you get more sleep. You’re a better organizer if your body doesn’t start to fall apart because you’ve only eaten fried food and energy drinks for six months. You’re a better organizer if you retain a little bit of yourself.
So much of being a successful organizer is personal. You need to take care of yourself to be the best organizer possible.
Now, I know it’s not easy. I tried on every subsequent campaign to set reasonable guidelines and goals, to stay healthy, and to try to stay myself. I never came close to achieving these, but I did a lot better because I tried.
At 63 Magazine, we want to tell you that it’s okay to take care of yourself, because you’ll be a better organizer for it.