Sherry's resolve to take care of yourself

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2010 New Year's Resolution:
 
Okay, NOW I'll take care of myself!
 
Right after I......
 
Does that sound like anyone you know? Do you find yourself resolving year after year that you will finally start taking better care of yourself and strive towards a more balanced life? Do you find yourself adding a disclaimer to your resolution as a way to get out of it? Do you HATE people who remind you that you're doing this????
 
Well, start hating me because I am here to tell all of you that if you don't take care of yourself in all ways (body, mind, and spirit), you will never be all that you want to be to those you love. And to provide an even better reason to think I am insane, I am also ready to say; there is only one thing stopping you from accomplishing this: You! 
 
The hardest part to accept was that I used my busy life and all its demands as an EXCUSE for not taking better care of myself. It was easier to spend all my time and energy focusing on other's needs. It was socially acceptable to sacrifice all for the good of the family and friends; we are also praised to the heavens for doing so. Putting ourselves first is frowned upon and we are often judged as selfish. Isn't it convenient to have that as the best excuse EVER not to take care of ourselves?
 
I have used many different books as a way to self-examine and to make myself face things that needed to be faced. I will list those books that helped me the most. I started a routine where I spent 15 minutes every morning waking myself up with a cup of strong tea (gotta have that caffeine!) a journal and whatever book I was using to help me become my authentic self.  I would read a page or two (more if time allowed) and wrote my thoughts in a journal. Finding time in the morning was difficult since we started work at 7am. But I had made a promise to myself and I got up 15 minutes early and did my morning routine first before anything else. It started out as a chore but after sticking to it for a couple of months, it became a time of solitude, warmth and contentment. In the evening, I would take a bath right before bedtime and wrote my gratitude list (five things I was grateful for that day) before falling asleep. The bath was a way to wash away the day's stresses and the gratitude list was a reminder that no matter what, I still had those things to be grateful for.
 
I will list those books that I have used over the last dozen years or so. These are only a few and most were used at the beginning of my New Start in Life. I hope that there is one here that resonates with you and helps you to start being kinder to yourself by making YOU a priority! Not only will your family benefit, but, more importantly, YOU will benefit. Double bonus!
 
All books are available at Barns & Noble, Borders and online at www.Amazon.com. On Amazon's website, you may be able to save a lot of money by ordering used copies. 
 
'Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy' by Sarah Ban Brathnach
 
This is a great book for daily reading. It covers a whole year and is a fast read every morning. Sarah Ban Brathnach also wrote 'Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor' to be read after the Simple Abundance book. The Simple Abundance book takes you on a journey to bring 6 components into your life: Gratitude, Simplicity, Order, Harmony, Beauty and, finally, Joy. It is to be read in chronological order, as each component needs to be learned to appreciate the next one. This is also the perfect time of year to begin this book since the first day in the book is January 1!
 
'Self Matters' by Phillip C. McGraw, PhD
 
One of the best books for self-examining is Dr. Phil's 'Self Matters'. I know, I know! The guy has become clown material on late-night talk shows and people are always groaning and moaning about how he grates on one's nerves! BUT! He happens to be one of the best behavioral scientists I have come across. His no-nonsense approach was what I needed to face that in myself that needed to be dealt with. His book takes you, at times, places that may feel extremely uncomfortable, but are necessary to get better. This was not easy but became easier as I went along. I didn't do this every day but devoted myself to at least 3 days a week to do all it required. The good news about the book is that you don't have to see Dr. Phil's face or hear his voice! Just concentrate on the written words! It helps!
 
'Codependent No More' by Melody Beattie
 
This book has been out for over 20 years and the author is wonderful. This book helped me stop putting others' needs before my own and to start focusing on what I was contributing to different situations instead of blaming everyone else. This book can be read a little at a time or by chapter. I used to write in my journal my thoughts on each chapter and how it applied to me. This helped me put things in perspective and to make promises to do better next time. 
 
'A Return to Love', 'Everyday Grace' and 'Illuminata' by Marianne Williamson
 
Each of these books did different things for me but all are cherished.
 
'A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose' by Eckhart Tolle
 
A study on how to be in the 'Now' of life and to appreciate it as opposed to looking back in the past or forward to the future for something to make us happy. 
 
'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz
 
These four agreements are:
 
1. Be impeccable with your word
 
2. Don't take anything personally
 
3. Don't make assumptions
 
4. Always do your best
 
Each agreement is discussed in detail. This book had a profound impact on me and was a great inspiration.
 
'Transistions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life' by Julia Cameron
 
Julia also wrote a self-study book called 'The Artist's Way'. I did not personally do that particular self-study (I've done many over the years) but I have friends who have and loved it. It helped bring out the creative side of themselves as well as being a self-study. 'Transitions' is a book I used on a daily basis and journaled with. It has a special meaning to those who have lost a loved one and dealing with mourning and grief. 
 
'The Five Love Languages' by Gary Chapman
 
My husband and I read this book separately and then discussed it afterwards. The book helps us understand that each person has their own way of feeling loved or how they express their love for others. The five 'languages' are:
 
1. Quality time
2. Words of affirmation
3. Gifts
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch
 
It was fun finding out what our own love language was and to guess what we thought each other's were. When rating my husband's from most important to least important, I have to admit I nailed them all in exact order! My husband? Well, he did, too! In reverse! Let's just say there was a lot of discussion afterwards!
 
'be happy: release the power of happiness in YOU' by Robert Holden, PhD
 
This is my new book for 2010. I will be doing my Morning Thing with this and several others that I have done before. I find that going back to the ones I read in the beginning of my Quest for Joy helped me put things back into perspective. I have read 'The Simple Abundance Book' twice and just the other day decided I needed to do it again as a way of reinforcing my resolve to continue to evolve.