The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Dear Reader,

Life is pretty stressful, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stuck. We’ve all been there. I certainly have. And coaching changed everything.

My training as a professional coach started with the expectation that I focus on my own self-care first. I learned to say no gracefully (and firmly); I became comfortable with disappointing others (you can’t avoid it); I worked hard to cultivate and protect my sensitivity (the key to a rich and meaningful life); and I finally made my health a top priority not only in my head but in my daily calendar, too.

I repeatedly practiced the action steps I’ve outlined in this book, and once I had a good foundation underfoot, I started helping others do the same. And I’ve been doing so for over 20 years.

Since this book was first published 10 years ago, I’ve received e-mails from readers who have radically changed the way they live their lives as a result of doing the work outlined in this program. Thousands of people have learned to weather the guilt feelings that occur when they start to make their needs more of a priority. They’ve ended relationships that were harmful to their integrity and self-esteem. They’ve created soul-nourishing homes and offices that support their productivity and health. And they’ve learned the value of asking for and receiving help so they no longer carry the weight of life’s responsibilities on their own.

There are telltale signs that you need a self-care upgrade. Are you continuously breaking promises to yourself once you’ve planned ways to care for your emotional, physical, and spiritual health? Do you live in a chronic state of resentment because you do so much for others that you don’t have time to do the things you want to do? Are your relationships centered more on what you have to offer than on a mutual give and take? And have you ever fantasized about buying a one-way ticket to anywhere but where you are?

Well, life as you know it is about to change.

This book contains the practical skills you need to make your self-care a top priority. It provides a step-by-step process for developing the kind of healthy habits that will dramatically improve the quality of your life. This journey is designed to help you live life on your terms, rather than on past conditioning, tribal rules, or the societal pressures that most of us have been trained to follow.

This new version of The Art of Extreme Self-Care offers you two important additions. The first is an updated resource section at the end of each chapter to ensure you have access to the websites, books, podcasts, etc., that will inspire you and give you additional information to help you stay on track.

The second addition is detailed information about how to create and run a successful support group so you can work through this program with others. Over the years, thousands of readers have joined together to help one another make positive life changes. Working with a group makes the process fun, and it also gives you much-needed courage when it’s time to take bold steps to support your self-care. Most of all, forming a successful group will help you to build intimate, long-lasting, healthy relationships—the greatest blessing of all.

Extreme self-care is serious business—so much more than taking warm baths, getting a massage, saying no, or setting new priorities. It’s about building self-esteem, becoming emotionally strong and empowered, and developing the kind of character that makes you decisive, clear, and honest about who you are and what you want.

Oh, and by the way, contrary to common fears or beliefs, self-care is not about being selfish. It’s about having integrity. When you take good care of yourself, you have the time, space, and energy to give to others because you want to—and you do so from a place of love, not because of habit, guilt, or obligation.

Who doesn’t want someone like that in his or her life?

So take a deep breath, get excited, and prepare to start a new self-care journey. One step is all it takes to gain momentum. And that step begins now . . .