This Leadership Coach Says We Should Be Striving For Unproductivity. Here’s What She Means
Credit: Thérèse Cator

For most of us, the lengthy holiday break was a welcome reprieve from the steady grind of work we’ve had to push through last year.  Now, we’re logging back in, and as evidenced in this hilarious #BackToWork Twitter thread, a lot of us are really not ready. Why is that though? 

Thérèse Cator says it’s because we don’t know how to let ourselves rest properly, even when we have the time. 

Cator, a leadership coach, and embodiment practitioner teaches her clients how to heal intergenerational trauma to help move forward with our own purpose work, all while allowing ourselves to regenerate in the process. 

She says we live in a society that encourages centering work over wellness, and often, that ideology affects us in unexpected ways. 

“Western culture  has pushed us to believe that most of us what matters in our lives should be viewed from a cognitive perspective, but really, it’s all about our spirit and what aligns with our inner selves,” she says. “If you don’t rest properly, it can affect your mind, spirit and especially your body.”

Although she’s been an embodiment practitioner for more than decade, Cator said she was inspired to amplify her offering over the past year after observing an uptick in stress and anxiety in Black women, particularly in their professional lives. Able to relate to the constant corporate grind, the former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher launched Embodied Black Girl, a free healing event that aims to help foster healing for Black women that have been affected by pandemic-induced career shifts. 

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“Before launching my own practice, I literally worked in the hood with these beautiful students that didn’t have access to the resources they needed to heal from the trauma they experienced daily,” she recounted. “With Embodied Black Girl, I wanted to help as many as I could to work on mending themselves from the inside out.” 

Her mission couldn’t have been more aptly timed. Recent data shows that Black women have been doubly affected by the racial reckoning and financial havoc the pandemic has caused, leading the group to be among the hardest hit with burnout. 

Cator says that we should strive to let ourselves be unproductive more often, even when it feels impossible. When asked how to do that, the busy mother of one says she implores us to use what we already have at our disposal instead of complicating the self-care process. 

“I think that when you look at celebrity culture on social media, many of us think that resting, or taking care of ourselves looks like flying to a five-star resort on a tropical island for months,” she explains. “That’s just a perpetuation of classism and capitalism, not rest. Sometimes finding a pocket of space to just be still for a few moments everyday is rest.” 

She also says that Black women should allow others to take care of them for a change. 

 “I know for me, one of the big things growing up as the child of a hard-working single mother is that community is the medicine,” she shared. “My mom had her community and sometimes they would come and watch us, and vice versa–bring one another food etc. It was those gestures that fueled my mom, and allowed her to show up for herself. We can all learn to do the same.”