5SR - March 11, 2024

Hitha on stress, care benefits, and being kind with yourself

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things. Looking forward to connecting there!

While this is promising news (about 56% of employers are prioritizing care benefits to their employees), there’s a deep inequity of who is receiving these benefits.

“Workers on the lower end of the wage spectrum aren't getting access to the same flexibility and subsidies from their employers, Modestino said. Most of them rely on the network of publicly subsidized centers that bore the brunt of the pandemic pain — and unlikely to ever recover.

"Without the public option, you lose that emphasis on equity."”

This is a classic #5SmartReads both/and - I’m heartened by the progress we’re starting to see, and we can - and must - do so much better, especially in scaling these benefits to those who need it the most.

I don’t want to think about the time I’ve spent speaking negatively about and beating myself up over my body.

I’m doing my best to do better - pausing when I’m in the midst of a self-loathing spiral and revisiting my hype file, drinking some water, and pulling up the Peloton app to find and schedule a Camila workout - largely because of this read.

There’s something very safe and joyful about a Camila workout, which is exactly what I need when I’m feeling low. This quote sums up the way she shows up - for herself, and for all of us:

“The more that I show up as myself, the more it gives other people the space to do so themselves. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “I used to be ashamed of my Latinidad, but because of your classes, I feel like it’s okay for me to be proud and loud.” …especially in the Latinx community, there’s a big misconception that lean bodies are healthier, and that’s most definitely not the case. But nobody’s talking about that. Nobody’s having these conversations with Latinas. Few people are having them in Spanish.  But at the same time, people are listening. They’re tired of what we’ve been served our whole lives.”

I find myself thinking a lot about women and power. Partly because I’ve written a book examining the traits of one of the most powerful women in American history, and partly due to my frustration that women have yet to reach a critical mass in leadership in both the private and public sectors.

Nikki Haley’s departure from the GOP primary re-ignited this intellectual rabbit hole for me, especially as I think about her base in the context of the general election (approximately over half a million across 3 swing states). Both the 46th and 45th presidents should pay attention to why Haley’s supporters turned out for her - her character and a sense of trust she built with them.

While Haley challenged Trump to earn the votes of the Republican voters turned off from him, the sentiment is one that both candidates should heed. Votes should never be taken for granted, but earned in every single election.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that The 5 Resets will change your life.

I’m very lucky to personally know Dr. Aditi Nerurkar (she generously spoke with me for over an hour last year, when I was told I needed a hysterectomy and was freaking out about it), and reading her book during my offline week was what I needed and had been looking for. This interview is a fantastic introduction to Aditi and her book, which I hope you purchase or borrow (if it’s out of budget for you, just hit reply and I’d be happy to get you a copy).

The most important lesson I learned early in this book is the Rule of Two. Your brain can’t handle more than 2 changes in your life at a time (which is why my best-intended plans have flamed out over my entire life). Right now, I’m prioritizing sleep (7 hours a night) and meditation (3 rounds of alternate nostril breathing and then settling into a silent meditation for however long feels good). I’ve also ramped up my use of the Forest app, allowing a handful of apps (Peloton, Spotify, Libro.fm, MWH & TSS, and Silk & Sonder) so I can stay off my distracting apps and prioritize those that are a part of my de-stress toolkit.

Ramadan Mubarak to all my friends observing!

Ramadan is the holiest month of Islam and is beautiful in its intentionality. I know how much I’ve appreciated Diwali becoming more mainstream and celebrated in the United States, and I hope we continue to see Ramadan and other religions’ holidays celebrated as well.

I especially love seeing my peers keep it real in how they celebrate:

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