Intend to Thrive sm. Feeling burned out, under-appreciated. 1 Taking Charge of Your Own Self Nurturing. Turn Up The Joy In Your Life:

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1 Turn Up The Joy In Your Life: Volume 1 1 Taking Charge of Your Own Self Nurturing Intend to Thrive sm by Deb Dominguez Feeling burned out, under-appreciated and stressed? Chances are you are suffering from excessive selfessness, a common condition brought on by lack of attention to yourself. That s right, if you spend most of your waking hours focused on, concerned about or engaged in the care of others, you may need a good dose of self-ish time. You re probably thinking, I have kids, a husband, a boss, a mortgage, of course I spend the majority of my time in the care of others. Or, you are remembering admonishments from your mother, your Sunday school teacher and the lady next door about the evils of being selfi sh, the self-imposed eighth deadly sin. I understand, sister. It s just that if you don t also put yourself on the list, no one else will and the consequences are not pretty for anyone. Neglecting your own needs and forgetting to nurture yourself put you in danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, burn-out and resentment. We ve all read about the effects of chronic stress on the body, mind and spirit self care is like a mental and emotional vacation that leaves you refreshed and relaxed. Don t Count on Others to Nurture You It is possible you married a sensitive and caring man who anticipates your needs, encourages you to take time for yourself and even plans surprise get-aways for you at exotic spa locations while he spends quality time with the kids. If so, I salute you. However, if you re married to a mere mortal or you re single, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take charge of nurturing yourself. That means you have to put yourself on your own list every day and not wait for someone to notice how hard you re working and reward you with the evening off to go to the movies. Before I had my own self-nurturing practice, I would actually dread Mother s Day, the designated day for focusing on me, because it heightened my awareness that I was trying to cram a year s worth of self-care into the socially acceptable time slot. It became agonizing to choose what I wanted to do, not only because I was so out of practice at thinking about what I wanted, but because nothing seemed fun or relaxing enough for my only shot at taking care of me. And then I had to worry about what to do for my own mother! (continued on Page 2)

2 2 Something shifted in me when I took ownership of my own self care. I felt liberated in a deep way. I took 100 percent responsibility for meeting my own self nurturing needs and because I took ownership of them, I was in charge of meeting them hey, fi nally something I can control. My life became instantly more fun and enjoyable because my attitude was better and I let go of expecting someone else to recognize and honor me I recognized and honored myself. Bottom line is the more you rejuvenate yourself, the more you have to give and chances are your going to be in a better mood while you re giving it because someone is taking good care of you (that would be you). Designing Your Self-Nurturing Practice Yes, this is a practice as in a habit, custom or usual way of doing something. That means it s consistent, ongoing and evolving, not a one-time or occasional event. Your Self-Nurturing Practice is not a place for shoulds and only includes things that are fun, relaxing, inspiring and nurturing. For instance, if you enjoy exercise but don t normally take time to do it, putting it into your Practice would be nurturing to you. If, however, you would rather put a pencil in your eye than go to the gym, do not under any circumstances put it in your Self-Nurturing Practice. The fi rst step is to create a Joy list. Quite simply it s a list of activities that bring joy to you when you think about doing them. Start keeping a running list of activities that sound good to you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you are making your joy list (see Page 5 for sample Joy List): What have I always wanted to do but never done? What do I love to do but don t take time for? What makes me feel totally pampered and decadent? What inspires me and brings me inner peace? What makes me laugh? What makes my body feel good? What did I love to do when I was 5, 10, 12, 16, 25? Who do I enjoy being with? It s a good idea to include a variety of daily, weekly and monthly activities that address the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of yourself. This is also a time to experiment if it s been a while since you ve thought about what really makes you happy you may want to try out different things. Once you have a good list of items that sound nurturing start thinking about your schedule. You are actually going to schedule your Self-Nurturing Practice activities as appointments in your calendar.

3 3 Sample Self-Nurturing Practice To be sustainable your Self-Nurturing Practice must be fi lled with things that you look forward to and enjoy doing. Feel free to change it to suit your needs as you go along. It may be that it works for you to plan one month at a time or you might be the type of person that plans several months in advance. All I know is that if you plan it and actually put it into your calendar, you are more likely stick with it. And, once you start active self care, you will be hooked because it feels so good and you will have so much more energy for all of the other parts of your life. ACTIVITY DAILY WEEKLY MONTHLY QUARTERLY Physical Mental Emotional Spiritual Stretch for 5 Minutes Read my favorite magazine for 10 minutes Write in my journal Read an inspirational quote Practice Yoga 3 time each week during lunch hour Read a good book 3 evenings after kids go to bed Hot bath 2 times per week Meditate for 5 minutes 5 days per week Get a massage Paint a picture Go out to lunch with friends Take a long silent walk in nature Go on a nature hike Go to a concert Girls night out Give something away I no longer need AT LEAST ONCE THIS YEAR Swim in the ocean Take ceramics class Go to amusement park Walk a labyrinth How Do I Find Time To Do This? You might be thinking that this all sounds great but you can t squeeze one more thing into your overfl owing schedule. I will say to you that I get it I m a single, working mom I really get it. However, I submit some ideas for you to consider as ways to seek out time for your self: (continued on Page 4)

4 4 1. Lower Your Standards: Take an inventory of your shoulds. Are your standards sucking the life out of your life? Ask yourself, will anyone ever actually eat off my kitchen fl oor, will anyone report me for using my bath towel for two days in a row before I wash it and who says using jarred spaghetti sauce is wrong? 2. Ask for Help: Are you in the habit of doing things for others that they could do themselves? Take a look at your day and see where you could get extra time by giving other people the opportunity to be more self-suffi cient. I still get tears in my eyes when I remember the fi rst time my six-year-old got her own breakfast cereal. 3. Say No More Often: Volunteering is a wonderful and fulfi lling activity and I m all for it. However, it is OK I m giving you permission to set limits and stick to them. This also applies to all of the things that your kids ask you to spend time on, you know, bake sales and sewing costumes for the school play. It s actually good for you to help them learn to set limits too it s never too early to learn that time and focus are precious and limited commodities. 4. Cut Down on TV: Log how many hours you spend watching TV during a typical week you may be surprised. Although this seems like a self-nurturing activity, it s actually not unless you are consciously choosing specifi c shows to watch and turning the TV off at all other times. If TV is your default relaxation activity you are not, I repeat, not nurturing yourself. Unless you are really and truly actively enjoying the time you are spending watching TV, you owe it to yourself to turn it off and grab the time for your Self-Nurturing Practice. 5. Set Your Intention: This is probably the most important step of all. If you commit yourself to a Self-Nurturing Practice and clearly state your intention to make time for and enjoy it, things in your life will re-arrange themselves in a way that supports you.

5 Sample Joy List 5 Taking a hot bath Reading a good book Going to the movies Going to a concert Playing tennis Spa day Yoga and meditation Walking in nature Dinner with friends Hiking Petting my cat Going to Disneyland Playing Cranium, Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary with friends and family Weekend get-away with signifi cant other Reading my favorite magazines Fun activities with family Swimming with dolphins Getting a massage Going to a Museum Working out Gardening Going dancing Tai Chi Sailing Art project Ceramics workshop Writing in my journal Taking a class or workshop Reading inspirational quotes and books Visiting friends and family or having company over Taking a nap on Sunday afternoon while watching an old movie Deb Dominguez is coach, consultant and workshop leader and president of InsightStream sm, a catalyst for intentional evolution. Reach Deb at If you would like to reproduce this document to distribute, electronically or on paper, you have my permission as long as you attribute the information to Deb Dominguez at InsightStream sm and include the URL:

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