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

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

by Jennifer Louden


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060776671
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/01/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 416,071
Product dimensions: 7.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.50(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt


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.

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.
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.
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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: How to Read This Book1
About Relaxing5
Checking Your Basic Needs6
Comfort Journal9
A Self-Care Schedule14
Ease into Comforting Yourself20
Your Nurturing Voice24
Creative Selfishness28
Comfort Rituals33
A Personal Sanctuary39
Creating a Comfort Network43
Courage Rituals48
Money, Money, Money53
Comforting Communication58
Women for Comfort61
Comfort Cards65
A Day Off68
Hiding Under the Covers72
Becoming a Guru of Play76
Reading like a Child79
Get Silly81
Animal Antidotes85
Green Things89
Nature's Solace93
Seasonal Comforts98
Heal Your Habitat104
Comfort Clothing110
Nurture Your Body Image113
Comfort-at-a-Glance Chart116
When I Think of Comfort, I Think of Food122
Body Delights136
Bathing Pleasures140
Sweet Scents143
Herbal Help149
Aesthetic Pleasures153
Quiet, Please157
Soothing Sounds159
Nutritional Music163
Spirit Succor167
Little Losses177
Letting off Steam180
A Forgiveness Ritual184
The Shadow Side of Comfort186
Challenge Comfort192
The Power of Goals196
Nurture Others201
Reminding Yourself207
A Few Last Things209

What People are Saying About This

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.”

Customer Reviews

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Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
DivineMissW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Especially usefull for women who are stressed and need help nurturng themselves in unexpected ways. I recommned to all my stressed friends and relatives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.