February 22, 2018
School & Youth
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The Power Of The Matriarch: Saving Wonder Woman With Radical Self-Care

Leslie Dolsak
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September 20, 2017

I just attended an annual women’s retreat in the beautiful Berkshires in Massachusetts. Each morning, crisp air greeted my cheeks, and each evening, the Tanglewood symphony sang me to sleep. This year’s Kripalu yoga retreat was led by Joan Borysenko, a Harvard-trained expert on the mind-body connection. The focus was on self-care, not just what we read about at the magazine stand, but the radical kind, the kind we might feel selfish for attempting.

Feeling fried? Assaulted by societal “shoulds?” Comparing the hours of off-duty time your hubby has over you? Shuttling kids to practices and play dates? Volunteering more than exercising? Beating yourself up over which is better: the life of a full-time career mom or a stay-at-home mom? No time to look your child in the eye and really hear him or her? It’s time to start planning your day around one priority: the radical self-care of Wonder Woman. Because society is trying to kill her.

Right now, we are living in the noisiest, most demanding of time periods. Our poor hearts are crumbling from a lack of authentic interaction. Our minds are disconnected from our bodies. And our sweet souls just want to be acknowledged, that yes, they are still in there, but if only someone could listen.

If any of this sounds familiar, here are 10 ways to make a self-preserving shift.

1.  Begin your morning by checking in with your heart. Close your eyes, hold your hand over your heart, and ask, “What does my heart have to say?”

2.  Start playing to your strengths, not your deficits. Identify your core value strengths by taking a quick test at www.viastrengths.org.

3.  Remove all your “nots” (cannot, will not, should not) and replace with affirmative statements (I can, I will and I am).

4.  Find an authentic circle of friends.

5.  End your day by answering one simple question: What touched my heart today? Because the single best predictor of well-being is gratitude.

6.  Make a clear distinction between solitude and loneliness. Celebrate blank planner space and embrace solitude.

7.  Train your mind through music with positive slogans. Karen Drucker, my favorite, performed at the women’s retreat.

8.  Practice mindfulness, not multitasking.

9.  Visit your local pet therapist. As the movie “Skip” demonstrated, dogs hold tremendous perspective.

10. Practice saying “no” at least once a day and stop judging yourself.

“Focusing is about saying, ‘No,” as Steve Jobs said. But even better yet, when people say “no” to you, be resilient and see it as a free ticket to drench yourself in self-care.

Establishing better boundaries, giving yourself more blank space and practicing mindful moments with meditative check-ins will change your life. Dotting your day with these practices will also transform your children’s lives because you will be interacting with them more wholly and teaching them a much-needed life skill. Modeling self-care to our children is crucial because it demonstrates self-respect and boundaries, which in turn creates adults who say “no” without guilt and self-inflicted 

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