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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
June 2002

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

Exquisite Self-Care

School is out and the lazy, relaxed days of summer have started. This time of year always makes me remember my childhood summer days of sipping lemonade in the backyard hammock while reading Nancy Drew mysteries.

What? Youíre not relaxed? What keeps you from squeezing some relaxation and stress reduction out of the summer without quitting your job and sending your children away from the summer (much as you might like to do both)? How do you overcome those obstacles to engage in exquisite self-care?

Blocks to Exquisite Self-Care
Here are the common thoughts that block people from exquisite self-care:

  • I donít have enough time.
  • Iím not very good at these self-care things. (Perfectionism).
  • I will take better care of myself Ė later, after I finish everything else (Procrastination).
  • I donít deserve to take care of myself.
  • Only children can lie around in hammocks reading fun novels.

Letís examine each of those "excuses."

  • I donít have enough time.

If you donít, who does? Unless you live in a different time warp, you have the same 168 hours a week that everyone else does. How much television per week do you watch? For the average American adult, it is 7 hours. How about riding a stationary bicycle while catching up on your favorite shows? Leg lifts and sit-ups go well with summer re-runs.

  • Iím not very good at these self-care things. (Perfectionism).

Judy Templeton, fitness trainer and dance teacher (see her new class below), recommends starting something, anything and doing it badly. ďDonít think you have to commit to a self-care practice if you donít like it or arenít good at it. Dabble in painting, singing, writing, or dancing until you find something that makes you feel great. Learn some techniques, do the activity regularly, and then commit to it only if the experiment gives you the results you want.Ē

Aikido master, George Leonard, writing in ďMastery: the Keys to Success and Long-Term FulfillmentĒ says it takes years of good instruction and practice before you will get good at something. I have been dancing badly for years and have concluded that some things are worth doing badly if they bring joy and relaxation.

  • I will take better care of myself Ė later, after I finish everything else (Procrastination).

And when will that be? After your children are raised? After you retire? Women who practice self-care plan in their self-care strategies and then work the other things around those practices. For one of my clients the idea that she could care for herself first and then take care of everyone else felt selfish. She designed an experiment: Do a 3 mile brisk walk before her children and husband got up. Since she started in the winter it meant rising just before dawn but gradually as her fitness increased, she gained more energy and got more done in less time throughout the day. Instead of falling asleep on the couch at night and waking with a stiff neck, she started an earlier bedtime routine and slept better than in years. Her family reported that she seemed more relaxed and easier to get along with. With more light in the summer months, it is a great time to catch a walk early or late in the day.

  • I donít deserve to take care of myself.

Fifteen years ago, we decided to build a sun room edition to our home. My husband wanted to enjoy eating outdoors without bugs and sun. I was dragging my feet thinking it was a big expense that we didnít deserve. We were interviewing a contractor who was showing us around his showroom telling us about the cedar for the ceiling and the good quality windows he would use to give us an expansive 3-sided view of the yard and the woods behind our property. I was mumbling, ďI donít know. I donít know.Ē He startled me with, ďIf you donít deserve it, who does?Ē Our family and friends have spent many happy hours in that sun room. The beauty of nature has refreshed us and inspired us all these years. What self-care do you think you donít desire? And who do you think does deserve it?

  • Only children can lie around in hammocks reading fun novels.

Even children donít lie around in hammocks reading fun novels. In our community, children are over-stressed and over-programmed with so many activities they have no time to play or read. The Girl Scouts, recognizing the pressure on kids, have created a new badge called ďStress Less.Ē Its symbol is a hammock. If you have children, how can you model living a balanced life unless you engage in self-care?

Tips on How to Get Exquisite Self-Care Without Quitting Your Job and Sending Your Kids Away.
Judy Templeton recommends doing small things that bring your life into balance:

  • Enjoy organic local produce at your Farmers Markets or local grocery stores -It's organic -so eliminate the risk of chemicals and pesticides.
  • Drink one half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
  • Work some, play some, sing, dance, read, sleep-"Remember everything you need to know you learned in Kindergarten".
  • LISTEN to how stress affects your body, fatigue, bad mood, stress illnesses. You are unique so make your lifestyle work for you!!
Kim Goad, health writer, personal fitness trainer, speaker, gives lots of suggestions in her "Magic Moments" book. Some special ones for the summer:
  • Eat on the patio, weather permitting.
  • Take a long lunch.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Take a country drive on a sunny day.
  • Lie in a hammock with a good book and a glass of lemonade.
Find your own brand of "lying in a hammock" and enjoy some self-care this summer. Other people depend on you to be the best you can be.

Kim Goad. (1998) "Magic Moments: A Busy Woman's Guide to Forgotten Pleasures." Salt Lake City, Utah: Commune-a-Key Publishing. (Kim's website: www.ovationsinc.biz.
George Leonard. (1992). "Mastery: the Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment." N.Y., N.Y.: Plume/Penguin.

Have a healthy, relaxed month.

Susan Robison

BossWoman coaching topics include work-life balance, career transitions, building your business or practice, time management, and increasing productivity.
Up and Coming Workshops

From Judy Templeton
"Hope You Dance"
Who: Judy Templeton, fitness trainer, musical dance theatre director, dance teacher, nutrition counselor.
What: Dance course for Adults designed for FUN! A little Line, Social, Musical Theatre, Jazz, and a lot of FUN!!!!
When: Began Wednesday, June 17th for 6 weeks; Judy says late registrants are welcome.
Where: Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Center; Columbia, MD
Fee: $72.00
How: Don't sit it out any longer. Call Judy at 410-465-5513 for information and registration.

From Susan Robison and Christine Robison Gray
Title: From Mother to Daughter: Wise Womanís Guide to Extraordinary Marriages
When: July 15, 2002
Where: St. Josephís Roman Catholic Community, Sykesville, MD
What: Marital cynicism is preventing many women from getting the full benefits of one of the smartest life choices possible: marriage. Married women live longer, live better, and keep more money that they make, and rate themselves and their marriages as happy --- when their marriages work for them. A recent survey of high school women shows that they donít expect to make happy marriages and research on twenty-somethings indicate they intend to have a happy marriage eventually but are doing nothing to get closer to that goal. This lively workshop will show women how to marry well and get the most out of their marriages.
Who: Newlywed wives, wives of many years, single women who hope to marry or remarry, and moms who want to help their daughters get the most out of marriage. This workshop will tell you what your mother should have told you about making an extraordinary marriage.
Note: a companion workshop for men will be led by Dr. Phil Robison on Thursday, July 18. Same location.
Fee: None, but please preregister.
How: Preregister with Denise OíConnor at 410-552-5402.

Telelearning is attracting busy professions like yourself. Imagine just-in-time learning without having to transport yourself anywhere other than your home of office. I am currently a student in an advanced coaching skills class taught by Dr. Ben Dean of MentorCoach. It is a fabulous learning opportunity with fellow students all over the country. As part of a course assignment, a fellow student and I did a workshop for women balancing multiple roles. We intend to offer this workshop again and plan to offer another workshop late in the winter on how to survive completing a doctoral dissertation. More on this later.
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Copyright 2002 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

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