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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cheryl Richardson - The Art of Extreme Self Care - Transform your life one month at a time

Review written by Ro Bennett and read live on the bookshow 20th November 2014 

I thought this was an excellent book to read for those busy, busy people who now have a bit of time now they are recovering at the end of the season and before psyching themselves up for the Christmas hectivity! Ultra busy people tend to neglect themselves, which can be very detrimental to their health and well being. I know when I was younger, I just seemed to be hurtling from one thing to another.

It is divided into twelve chapters. The idea is that you read through the book first and then take a month to work on each potentially life-enhancing section. Each chapter has advice, strategies, exercises, book lists and resources to help the reader change their life experience for the better. 

In the first month, you identify those areas of your life where you feel deprived - for instance, sleep, emotional support, personal time, time with your partner and so on. Subsequent chapters deal with self approval, how to say no without offending, how to re-schedule your life and insulate yourself from life’s stresses, release anger safely, transform your home and work environment so they are nurturing, and monitor your health etc. - practical advice on how to better look after yourself more effectively and improve your quality of life. 

Cheryl Richardson previously wrote a book called Take Time for your Life. This was a seven step programme for creating the life you want. In it she invites the reader to explore, amongst other things,  their priorities, and to pinpoint what in their lives is draining them. She encourages the reader to look at how they might better juggle their time and suggests they create an Absolute Yes list -  this is a list of priorities which will inspire you to use your time differently. On this list might be things like, Relationship with partner, and children, Emotional and physical health, time with friends etc.  She suggests that when making any decision it’s a good idea to ask yourself, ‘Is this an absolute yes?’ It’s a good litmus test when making all sorts of choices. 

In the Art of Extreme Self Care, the author suggests an Absolute No List. This is a list of things you no longer do or would like to stop doing to protect your energy and improve your quality of life. She asked several friends to share their examples which she has included. Some of these are: 

My Absolute No List - I no longer 
  • Jump out of bed in the morning, I give myself the time and space I need to start the day in a serene and relaxed state
  • Compromise my needs to keep peace with anyone
  • Argue with people who see debating as a sport
  • Finish reading books that lose my interest
  • Feel the need to check my e mails multiple times a day
  • Feel bad about saying No when no is what’s best for me…etc.

Both books have very good sections. Some of it didn’t seem relevant for me personally - it might appeal to those who aren’t so long in the tooth and have more pressing demands on their time and energy and need help in managing them. Both books are certainly worth reading because there are some very valuable and helpful tips and suggestions for those struggling to balance the demands of career and family or trying to find some peace of mind in the midst of chaos. You can always skim over the bits which don’t apply or don’t interest you and focus on what is useful. So I would certainly recommend them both. 

Needless to say I sent this book to Kerensa, and needless to say her reply was that she would look at it when and if she had time…

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