Richardson, Cheryl. The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time. 6th ed. New York: Hay House, Inc., 2012. Print.
With Nested Mama Bookshelf, I offer short reviews on books related to Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum, and Parenting.
In a nutshell:
Richardson offers a 12-month plan for you to take on the project of “extreme” self-care. As a buzzword, self-care can denote anything from a chocolate biscuit to a 10-day trip to some exotic location. What makes Richardson’s view “extreme”? Rather than a bucket list, Richardson’s plan overhauls how you see yourself, your time, and your worth. Emphasizing boundaries, rituals, and an honest look at your values, Richardson (gently) calls out the reader’s tendencies to blame obligations or others for stress and unhappiness.
Richardson writes, “To practice Extreme Self-Care, you must learn to love yourself unconditionally, accept your imperfections, and embrace your vulnerabilities” (10). Simply put, this is a project not for a year, but for a lifetime.
While the cover art made me doubt that I was the book’s target market, the book’s content felt like it was written just for me. More than that, she was writing ABOUT me.
For example, Richardson writes in the first chapter, “When you hear yourself complaining, ‘No one appreciates the things I do,’ what you most likely mean is: ‘I take on way too much hoping someone will notice and tell me how good I am or how grateful they are’” (5).
Has she been spying on me?! Truly, so many of the examples resonated with an honest look at my own behaviors and feelings.
Other quotations of note:
“So many of us, especially women, have taken on this ‘noble’ role. What we don’t realize-until it’s too late-is the high price we pay for being ‘so generous’. . . a price extracted from our very bones” (x).
“For example, I had to stop being a martyr and focus on getting my needs met. I had to stop expecting others to read my mind and start being direct about what I wanted. I was challenged to try to ask for help before I needed it” (xi).
“The truth is this: if your life is chaotic, your schedule is overcrowded, and your brain is too full to think straight, the key to reclaiming your life has a lot more to do with what you remove from your life than how you organize it” (44).
In some respects, as a mom of three little ones, I felt that implementing her 12-month plan may be out of reach in this season of life. But, if you are looking for accountability and encouragement as you learn to set boundaries, say no, or embrace those things you truly value, she provides a resource to do just that.
Are you beginning your family and looking for ways to carve out space and boundaries? Check out Nested Mama’s upcoming Planning for Postpartum Workshop June 2, 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Robinson Family Wellness in Coralville.
Looking for more support before and after baby? Learn more about Nested Mama doula services here.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.