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    The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care

    By Suzanne Falter–

    (Editor’s Note: Lesbian author and podcaster Suzanne Falter is an expert at getting others “Back to Happy.” That is the title of her new podcast—available at iTunes and Spotify—that helps anyone to feel good about life again, no matter what is of concern. For most of us, that is a lot these pandemic days, what with additional health and financial troubles on top of the usual worries.

    Self-care is always important, but is even more so these uncertain days. Falter therefore shares the following excerpt from her best-selling book, The Extremely Busy Women’s Guide to Self-Care (Sourcebooks, 2019). And, yes, extremely busy men can benefit from its thoughtful advice too!)

    Why Making Time for Self-Care Is Not About Time Management

    I used to think all of my problems could be solved with more time. I imagined an extra weekend ought to do it.

    If I could only find the space to breathe, my difficult relationship, my hectic career and the strange, lonely emptiness I kept experiencing would finally settle down. Then I’d be happy again, I told myself. Finally, I’d be able to relax.

    Or so I thought.

    True deep, delicious self-care isn’t about time management, taking the weekend off, or getting a regular massage, though those things can certainly help. Nor is it about working to the point of exhaustion, and then retreating to a spa for an afternoon. Or using meditation, Chardonnay, and TV binges to zone out after yet another toxic fight with your loved one.

     It’s about creating a better life overall—one that’s aligned with your values and who you actually are.

    It’s about honoring the still, small voice within that guides you, impeccably, to become your best self. And it’s about having the courage to make changes that truly reflect you, and what your beautiful, sensitive, beating heart desires more than anything.

    To do this, you begin by tuning into yourself, and listening to your body—and this can be hard at first. You may observe your dreams, and write them down. Perhaps you journal, as well. Maybe when you tune in you hear nothing at first. Or maybe you just notice sudden thoughts while you’re taking a shower.

    One way or another, once you commit to the path of self-care and you begin to listen in earnest, a pronounced trail of breadcrumbs shows up as life reveals what’s really next for you. You may know what I’m talking about because your body and soul are already talking to you—quite loudly, even.

    They may, in fact, be telling you to slow down. And that thought can be downright scary. Yet, here is the truth about our life in the 21st century:

    Most of us do far more than we need to.

    We live in a culture that favors doing over being, and intensity over serenity. We are taught to overproduce at an early age—ever stepping up our games to become higher and higher achievers who learn how to compete, push, and drive ourselves into the ground.

    And yet … what if all that “overproduction” was actually unnecessary?

    What if we just showed up and did a good-enough, adequate job instead of one that is mind-blowingly superb?

    What if we earned enough money, and had enough stuff, instead of needing to rake in ever more dough and drive an ever-spiffier car?

    Would that actually be enough for us? Could we live with ourselves if we didn’t live up to the hype that resonates through our culture?

    Could we settle for “perfectly fine” instead of “extraordinary”?

    If this concept seems foreign or downright wrong, consider this. You and I have little perspective about our lives. Or at least we don’t until the bottom drops out and everything falls apart. Then the view is glaringly clear.

    You may read this and think I’m down on human achievement. Hey, I love achievement! Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And yet … a steady diet of over-achievement leaves us with broken bodies and stressful empty lives that are devoid of meaning.

    I’m suggesting there is a time and place for each of us to stop and reflect on what we’re doing with these beautiful lives we’ve been given. And then to make changes where necessary.

    Only when you take a clear, unflinching look at your life, and really see exactly where you’re at, can you begin to take better care of yourself. And that’s when life gets really good.

    What’s on the other side of all that personal discovery and self-care is true, unequivocal happiness. That much I can promise you. You may have to make a few changes first, or at least develop a few new habits. That can mean stepping out of your comfort zone for a while.

    But trust me on this. You are really, really going to like where you wind up, because it will be the most deliciously free, authentic, in-flow place you can imagine. This is what happens when you listen to your inner longings.

    Now, you could be reading this thinking none of this applies to you. You know you are just too damn busy to ever consider taking time off. But I’m not advocating that you do. I’m simply advocating for a pause to reflect.

    And I’m providing another perspective on how to get underneath your current state of busy-ness, so you can dig into what you need and even actively crave in your life.

    It could be that this book triggers some new ideas for you about how to manage your busy-ness. Or it encourages you to ask for support you never realized you needed. Or it opens your mind to adding some new creative meanderings to your day.

    Whatever it does for you, may it free that inner spirit who longs to speak to you. And may it empower you to listen to her well.

    From “The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care” by Suzanne Falter. She is the host of the “Self-Care for Extremely Busy Women Podcast,” “Back to Happy,” and keeps a blog at

    Published on September 10, 2020