Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life

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Overview

With over 200 prescriptions for giving yourself a break, this book helps the reader to sort out guilty feelings about self–nurture and to define her comfort/self–nurture needs.

In this book the author delivers a host of creative and comforting programmes like the self–care schedule, creative selfishness, creating a comfort network, body delights, a personal sanctuary, the comfort journal, bathing pleasures and comfort rituals. Organised by topic and cross–referenced throughout, ...

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The Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life

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Overview

With over 200 prescriptions for giving yourself a break, this book helps the reader to sort out guilty feelings about self–nurture and to define her comfort/self–nurture needs.

In this book the author delivers a host of creative and comforting programmes like the self–care schedule, creative selfishness, creating a comfort network, body delights, a personal sanctuary, the comfort journal, bathing pleasures and comfort rituals. Organised by topic and cross–referenced throughout, this guidebook is designed to appeal to women of all ages. The new edition has been revised and updated for modern women.

For every woman too tired, busy, and stressed to think of her own well-being, this helpful guide presents 200 time-honored recipes for relaxation and inventive rituals for change. Every modern woman will find comfort and pleasure here.

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Editorial Reviews

Oriah Mountain Dreamer
"...offers us the "how" of self-care: concrete, practical directions on how to nourish ourselves. Thank you Jennifer."
Suzanne Falter-Barns
"[O]ne of the great self-help classics of our times."
--Oriah Mountain Dreamer
“...offers us the “how” of self-care: concrete, practical directions on how to nourish ourselves. Thank you Jennifer.”
--Suzanne Falter-Barns
“[O]ne of the great self-help classics of our times.”
—Oriah Mountain Dreamer
“...offers us the “how” of self-care: concrete, practical directions on how to nourish ourselves. Thank you Jennifer.”
—Suzanne Falter-Barns
“[O]ne of the great self-help classics of our times.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060776671
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 337,272
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Louden is a bestselling author, certified coach, novelist, and creator of innovative learning events and retreats. She has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs, including "Oprah". Jennifer lives on an island in Puget Sound with her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Lillian.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION:

How and Why to Read This Book

It's pouring, you had a miserable day at work, you got stuck in a traffic jam, and theonly message on the answering machine is a wrong number.

or
You're late picking up the kids from day care, you've got a splitting headache, thepaper grocery bag splits as you walk to the front door, and you can't remember thelast time you had any time to yourself.
or
You're exhausted but you won't take time off because everyone is counting on you.The phone rings, you agree to volunteer for another community fund-raiser, but asyou reach to hang up, your back goes out and you end up in bed for a week.
or
All your friends are out of town, you haven't had a decent date in months, yourroommate ate the last piece of pizza, there's nothing on TV, you don't feel like reading....

Now, what do you do?

  1. Buy a gallon of double chocolate chip ice cream and eat the whole thing?
  2. Call your mother, who will tell you to stop whining, which will only make you feel worse?
  3. Sleep for a month?
  4. Pick up The Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life.

Why Nurture Ourselves?

Because self-nurturing is vital. Women take care of others every day. But how often do we turn our wonderful nurturing ability toward ourselves?

Self-care is essential for our survival, it is essential as the basis for healthy, authentic relationships, it is essential if we honestly want tonurture the people we care about.

Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well.

We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance. When we nurture others from a place of fullness, we feel renewed instead of taken advantage of. And they feel renewed too, instead of guilty. We have something precious to give others when we have been comforting and caring for ourselves, and building up self-love.

Why We Don't Take Care of Ourselves

The synonyms in my thesaurus for nurturing are female, feminine, gentle, ladylike, tender, and womanly! As women, we are taught to meet everyone else's needs before we nurture ourselves. And as we are groomed into compliant beings, we come to believe that the people in our lives will anticipate and meet our needs as we do theirs. When this does not happen, we begin to feel we have no right to our needs and desires. Add to this the fact that as women we have not traditionally been taught to care for our self-esteem or to value ourselves as independent, worthwhile people. What we end up with is women who are experts at nurturing others -- until we drop of exhaustion or illness or escape into excessive drinking, shopping, or eating. We are goaded into devaluing self-nurturing. We either end up believing we don't deserve self-careor, if we do, that it must be the last thing on our mighty list of Things To Do.

Defining Comfort and Self-Nurturing

I define comfort for the purpose of this book as that warm, safe feeling you get from lying in bed watching the rain fall, knowing you don't have to go out of the house if you don't want to. Comfort is also that vital, connected feeling you get when you talk openly with your partner or a close friend. Comfort is a place to fortify yourself for upcoming or ongoing struggles and for the challenge of inner work.

I define self-nurturing as having the courage to pay attention to your needs. Nurturing also means empowerment, the power that comes when you stretch and fulfill a goal. And finally, nurturing is celebration, taking the time to applaud being alive, being you.

Above all, I define nurturing and comfort as self-acceptance. When we finally learn that self-care begins and ends with ourselves, we no longer demand sustenance and happiness from others for our well-being. In healthy self-care, we can find the freedom to choose and direct our own lives, and that is nurturing indeed.

Why I Wrote the Book

Four years ago I thought my life had fallen apart. The crumbling started with a skiing accident. In the two years that followed, I battled depression, a creative block the size of Texas, and my body rebelling against me. I broke up with my partner of five years. I sold my house and moved into a 600-square-foot guest house owned by nice people who drove me immediately crazy. My dog bit me. I lost the money I had made on my house in the stock market crash. I wrecked my car. My uncle died. But worst of all, I couldn't write. My slim career as a screenwriter faded away.

My life ground to a halt. I could barely function. But that didn't stop me from running a constant litany of self-hate and regret in my mind, while I continued to try to write. I thought I was being brave, pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

I sought counseling and was advised to stop writing. The idea came as such a shock that I remember thinking, "This woman is crazy!" But a few days later, still miserable and not writing, my leg in a brace, I decided to heed her advice. Suddenly I felt a weight lift from my shoulders, and a title, The Woman's Comfort Book, popped into my head.

I now realize that ceasing to write was the most self-nurturing thing I could do. A large part of my problems, culminating in my inability to write, was the result of my putting all my effort into external achievement and placing no importance on caring for myself...

The Woman's Comfort Book. Copyright © by Jennifer Louden. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Introduction: How to Read This Book 1
About Relaxing 5
Checking Your Basic Needs 6
Comfort Journal 9
A Self-Care Schedule 14
Ease into Comforting Yourself 20
Your Nurturing Voice 24
Creative Selfishness 28
Comfort Rituals 33
A Personal Sanctuary 39
Creating a Comfort Network 43
Courage Rituals 48
Money, Money, Money 53
Comforting Communication 58
Women for Comfort 61
Comfort Cards 65
A Day Off 68
Hiding Under the Covers 72
Becoming a Guru of Play 76
Reading like a Child 79
Get Silly 81
Animal Antidotes 85
Green Things 89
Nature's Solace 93
Seasonal Comforts 98
Heal Your Habitat 104
Comfort Clothing 110
Nurture Your Body Image 113
Comfort-at-a-Glance Chart 116
When I Think of Comfort, I Think of Food 122
Touch 128
Self-Pleasuring 132
Body Delights 136
Bathing Pleasures 140
Sweet Scents 143
Herbal Help 149
Aesthetic Pleasures 153
Quiet, Please 157
Soothing Sounds 159
Nutritional Music 163
Spirit Succor 167
Solitude 174
Little Losses 177
Letting off Steam 180
A Forgiveness Ritual 184
The Shadow Side of Comfort 186
Challenge Comfort 192
The Power of Goals 196
Nurture Others 201
Simplify 205
Reminding Yourself 207
A Few Last Things 209
Acknowledgments 210
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First Chapter

Woman's Cofort Book
A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life
About Relaxing

Throughout the book you will see the word relax like this:

Relax.

I have used it as a kind of shorthand for the meditations throughout the book so you won't have to reread the same relaxation instructions over and over. When you see relax, refer back to this chapter for help, or relax in any manner that works for you.

Most of the meditations in this book are short enough for you to read through, then close your eyes and recall. But a few longer guided visualizations are included. The best thing to do with these is to read them into a tape recorder, leaving appropriate pauses where you imagine you will need a little more time. Try playing music in the background while you record.

Relax

Lie down someplace quiet. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment. Slowly let it out. Inhale. Imagine you are breathing pure relaxation in. Hold your breath. Now exhale, and imagine you are breathing out all the tension of your day, your week, your life. Do this a few more times.

Check your body. Are there areas of tension? Inhale, and send your breath of pure relaxation to the tense area. Imagine your breath curling around the knotted muscle, the stored stress. Exhale sharply, expelling every bit of tension from this area. Do this to all other tense areas in your body. Take all the time you need. Now, imagine someone is giving you a gentle massage. The hands touching you are full of love. You are now filled with a deep and wonderful inner calm, and you are ready for whatever you want to do next.

Woman's Cofort Book
A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life
. Copyright © by Jennifer Louden. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    Finally...some ME time

    I was kind of 'iffy' about this book but decided to give it a try. I now LOVE it. My husband knows not to bother me when he sees me working on it. The activities are great and I get to pick and choose which ones I want to do and when. I like how it gives me ideas of how to think about ME for once and not everybody else (such as family and friends). It's relaxing and makes me realize that I really DON'T nuture myself as much as I should. I get to get in touch with my creative/childish side again. I highly recommend this book for any woman that is stressed, sad, or one who wants to find themself again.

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