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If You Feel Bad About Taking Sick Days, Lena Dunham Says You Need to Stop

It can be hard to feel OK taking a sick day at work when you're under the weather, but that's exactly what you should be doing. Lena Dunham totally understands this and recently addressed the issue through a thought-provoking Instagram post.

On Saturday, the Girls star announced the cancellation of an upcoming book signing through a Twitter post because she was feeling under the weather.

"So sorry to miss folks at @BookSoup today!" she tweeted. And while most of her fans were supportive, one person decided to shame Dunham for taking some time for herself. "No offense but you're too sick to sit and sign books?" the user wrote. "I was back at work 6 days after a c-section."

It was this criticism that provoked Dunham to talk about the importance of practicing self-care when needed. She took a screenshot of the tweet and posted it to Instagram with some opinions of her own.

 

This was a response yesterday when I said I would be cancelling an appearance at a bookstore because I was sick. At first it made me laugh a lot- like, oh, I'm sorry, I left your award in the car. But then I really contemplated how dark it is that our culture prizes these speedy recovery narratives because guess what? They're actually ways to keep women from feeling fucking pissed that they don't have proper maternity leave or medical and family care resources. We may not have an imminent policy change on the way, but we can change the way we talk about this stuff, and treat childbirth (or fatherhood! Or illness!) as the serious and personal journeys that they are. #leftyourawardinthecar #nooffense #paidfamilyleaveforall

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

"This was a response yesterday when I said I would be canceling an appearance at a bookstore because I was sick," she wrote. "At first it made me laugh a lot—like, oh, I'm sorry, I left your award in the car."

But jokes apart, Dunham wanted to highlight society's tendencies to "prize these speedy recovery narratives. Because guess what?" she continued. "They're actually ways to keep women from feeling fucking pissed that they don't have proper maternity leave or medical and family care resources. We may not have an imminent policy change on the way, but we can change the way we talk about this stuff, and treat childbirth (or fatherhood! Or illness!) as the serious and personal journeys that they are."

So when you're not feeling well, remember Dunham's incredible advice. No matter what you're going through — whether that be a slight fever, awful anxiety, or other mental health issues — taking time off of work to focus on yourself is always okay and there's no need to feel guilty or ashamed about it.

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