Often, we don’t notice we are draining our emotional bank account until its too late. The signs include an inability to sleep, yet we’re always tired; illness,”dis-ease”, or accidents. We may feel we’re moving through our days with low grade tension, frustration, and general dissatisfaction. In our efforts to please and serve everyone by being the “good girl”, the doting mother, daughter, grandmother or caretaker, we pay a very high price—our life!

I just read a wonderful book by Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care, (Hourglass Bookstore) which offers insights, habits and a new perspective on how we can serve the world and ourselves. When I read this, I could feel my body and mind rise in resistance and the mind shot back quickly— “how selfish, they need me”, I have no choice, what will he/she do if I don’t do it?” So I continued reading, and slowly it made perfect sense to me and resonated with my heart and spirit.

As women, we are all masters of over-giving and sacrifice of self for family, friends, and community. Saying “yes” is automatic, while saying “no” often leaves us with guilt and apologies. (Have you noticed most men don’t seem to have this problem? A simple guilt-free, “no” seems so easy for them.)

Hourglass Workshops is all about pleasure, self care and delighting ourselves at this time of life. Yet we continually observe women (ourselves included) who forget to take care of themselves, especially during the holidays or other periods of stress. I believe it is one of the greatest obstacles for women to overcome if we really want a quality life. Good self-care allows us to fully appreciate our surroundings, people in our lives, and especially ourselves in new, exciting ways. We’re also better able to tap into our creativity, joy and love to enjoy and share with the world.

One new self-care habit I encourage you to do is first ask yourself “what do you need more of right now?” (Mine include: sleep, fewer obligations, an afternoon at the ocean, etc?). Write it down. Don’t be surprised if you feel guilty, fear, or defensive…these feelings are very normal, but simply feel them and do it anyway. Second, identify how you can get more what you need each day for the next two weeks. Hint: this will require saying “no” to others.) I guarantee you’ll notice a difference. Third, please share your thoughts below as we all inspire and learn from one another.