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To Time Article

Create A Comfort List

Ideas for Creating
Extra Time

To Rest Article

Ways to Nututure

Finding Inner Peace


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Sheri Meyers Gantman - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Ways to Nurture Yourself

Creating Time for Self-Care

The most basic and precious tenet of self nurturing is to take time for yourself. Taking time off allows you to be more efficient when you return to the task at hand. Relaxation is not a treat, it is necessary for your physical and emotional health. And if you value your time and set limits on what you do for others, others will value your time and treat you with more respect. How many times do you feel frustrated because you are unable to find the time to do the things that are important to you?

Remember. You are in charge of your life. It may not always seem like it, but you do choose to be too busy or to be bored. I know that may not be a very comforting thought, but it is liberating one. Try to 
find the time to care for yourself. Make it a priority. Self-care will enrich your life immeasurably.

How You Spend Your Time: Redefining Your Priorities
(Adapted from "Take Time for Your Life" by Cheryl Richardson )

Take a look at where most of your time is now going and think about where you’d like it to be going.

Consider all of these areas of your life.

Emotional and physical health


Spiritual well being
Service/contributions to others

Okay, then. Now that you've considered these areas in your life. In what areas would you like it to be different? Answer the following questions with the following criteria...

Focus on your "wants." Write the first answer that comes to mind. Give yourself permission to let your desires run free. 

What’s most important to you at this time in your life?

Where would you like to spend more of your time?

If you could do anything you wanted without restrictions, 
what would it be?
Are there areas that need your attention, like your health, 
a relationship, work or financial concerns?
Is there a secret dream or desire that keeps getting put
 on the back burner that you’d like to devote more time to?  If so, what is it?
What needs less attention? What needs more?

Redefining Your Time Priorities
What is your belief about time? In truth, time is the raw material you sculpt into life. Do you believe that or do you feel that others dictate how you spend your time? Does time feel out of your control? Here's what you need to begin to do to take back control of YOUR TIME.

The Time-Is-Life List (Adapted From "The Woman’s Comfort Book A Self Nurturing Guide for 
Restoring Balance in Your Life "
by Jennifer Louden)

Get a piece of paper and make three categories across the top:

LIKE ....................DISLIKE .................AMBIVALENT ABOUT

Think of a typical week in your life. Under the proper category, list all the activities you did during this week. For example, you might write:




Making love

Cleaning the bathtub

Watching TV

Yoga class

Doing Homework

Making Dinner Every Night

Reading a good book

Paying the mortgage

Talking on the phone to mom



What to Do About the Items You Dislike:

Examine the activities you listed under Dislike.

Go down the list and ask yourself, "Must I do this? And if I must, how can I change this to make it more satisfying or agreeable?"

Realize it is impossible to get rid of all the disliked items on your list, but do eliminate or transform as many as you can. Be creative. 

Brainstorm about how to rid yourself of these activities.

Set a timer for ten minutes and list every idea you can think of. 

Try to keep your hand moving. Repeat items if you need to. 

Now take one action to eliminate or change a disliked activity.  For example, you could get someone else to physically write the mortgage check; you could move; you could write the check while enjoying a massage or eating lobster in the nude; you could write an entire year of mortgage checks, address  and stamp the envelopes, and have your secretary or reliable friend mail them each month. . . . See? Some of the ideas are
 silly, some worth exploring.

But what about the activities you wrote under Ambivalent About?

These are probably your time devourers, simply because you are ambivalent about them, You might want to replace some of these with activities you like more. Read on to find out how.

Recognizing Your Peak Times as Times to Self-Nurture

Spend a few days checking in with yourself and determining when you are full of energy and when you're not. Learn to protect and build on these zips of energy. When you begin to feel energetic and creative, nurture that feeling! Strive to give yourself some uninterrupted, valuable time to do something YOU WANT to do. If the phone  rings, let the machine pick it up. Tell your kids and spouse you need an houror two alone. (Hey, I'm a parent too, and I know how hard this is!) It takes practice and it is not always possible to succeed. But the important idea here is to recognize that these bursts of energy are valuable times to give to yourself.

Rescuing Time for Self-Nurturing

Here's some great ideas...


Use an answering machine to screen your calls.

Practice getting off the phone with people who won*t shut up. 
"I'm really glad you called but I can't talk." Try not to make excuses.

Leave the house so you can't hear the phone.
Set up phone hours and tell your friends that is when you 
will be available.
Turn off the ringer.
Choose what you watch on TV. When the program is over, immediately turn it off.
Give your TV away.
Turn off your computer at a set time every day.
Turn off the information overload. You don*t have to read 
every newspaper, magazine, and book out there. You don*t 
have to listen to the news every night.


Let housework go. Try not to use cleaning and straightening as a way to stay busy and avoid nurturing yourself.

Enlist help. If you are married or live with someone, divide  up the work. For example, you clean, do laundry, and take care of the dog. Your partner can cook, shop, takes out the garbage. Whatever the specifics, work it out.

Hire a cleaning person once a month, even if you have to give something up in order to have the money to do it.
Don’t do housework, or any other tedious work, during your peak times.
Consolidate your errands.
Let your fingers do the walking. Do everything you can on the phone.
Deal with procrastination. Take one item at a time and just do it.
Ask for help
And finally, regularly query yourself, "Is this how I choose to spend my time?"



After You Freed Up Your Time, Now What?

Freeing the time and then making sure you use it for self-nurturing are two different challenges. There is a well-known rule that work expands to fill the time available. Once you make the time, you need to be sure you fill it with comforting things. This is especially true  when you are trying to replace Ambivalent activities with more nurturing ones.


The Comfort List:

Dream up a list of pleasurable activities you would love to do.
Write these bliss-inspiring ideas in a comfort journal. Think 
of pleasures that encompass each area of your life:
and spiritual.
What is missing in your life? 
What are you not doing that you wish you were?

Make your list varied in terms of time requirements:
activities you can do in a few minutes,
an hour,
a half day,
a day,
even, two days.

Your list does not have to be made up entirely of solitary 
pleasures, but some activities you should do alone just to insure 
you aren*t basing your bliss on some else*s desires. Try to come 
up with at least twenty pleasures. This will give you variety.


The Pleasure Program

Whip out your calendar and open it to tomorrow. Place your pleasure list next to your calendar. Now on each and every day, schedule two pleasurable activities. Keep an eye out for balance.  Choose activities that are DO-ABLE. For example:


Talk to my best friend
Go for a walk


Meditate for fifteen minutes
Watch a movie with friends


Attend a yoga class


Go to library and find books on what interests me.
Get a massage.


Go to the museum during my lunch hour.
Put on music and do spontaneous exercise for 
twenty minutes.
Have a nice dinner with my lover.



Notice that you can schedule more than 2!!!


I know that there's a lot to keep you busy here! The goal of all of this is to make a real commitment to nurturing yourself.

Blessings and love,


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