‘The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care’

Out in Print

“The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care”
by Suzanne Falter
©2020, Brilliance Audio, $25.99
©2020, Sourcebooks, $15.99
304 pages

You’ve always taken care of those you love.

You’ve ensured that everyone is safe and happily occupied. Elders have groceries, errands are done and you keep in touch with the people you miss. You’re taking good care of everyone around you — but as in the new book “The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care” by Suzanne Falter, who’s taking care of you?

In the last three months, if you’ve learned one important thing, it’s this: when it comes to doing for others, you are not a bottomless well. You give and give and give, but lately, you find yourself running empty.

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Something similar happened to Falter: after her daughter, Teal, died, she began to feel that nothing had meaning anymore and that the life she’d “cobbled together” wasn’t what she wanted. She’d left her husband and come out as a lesbian, but that was all she’d done for herself. She ran out of energy for everyone else and everything.

Desperate for something better, she quit working (which, she admits, isn’t an option for everybody). She started listening harder to herself and to others. She started asking herself what she wanted out of each new day she’d been given.

And from that sprang an awesome life.

If you’re depleted, she says, there are “essentials” you’ll need to heal, starting with plenty of sleep, exercise and avoidance of food, drink or substances that aren’t good for you. Be open to love, but make yourself a priority. Learn to lean on friends and family; in fact, find an “action buddy” to help you get through. Take real time off — not just a turn-off-the-phone-for-the-evening time, but real vacations away. Learn to meditate or, at the very least, to sit quietly with yourself. Look for fun now and then and use it to “feed your brain.” Finally, once you’ve found the “essentials” that seem to work best for you, learn to implement them into your daily life.

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“Get help where needed,” Falter says, “for that may make all the difference.”

Page through “The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care,” and you may notice that this book is very new-agey. Very new-agey, as in: “New-Agey” should be on the cover in four-foot-tall neon letters. You might also notice that if you’re an “extremely busy woman,” this book will make life even busier.

Filled with worksheets and demands to “breathe,” there’s a lot to do here to get this books’ full use. That doesn’t make it unhelpful: for anyone at the end of her corona-rope without a knot, it may be a complacency-squasher. Author Suzanne Falter writes with the voice of authority when discussing how she clawed her way back from the brink, using loss as a springboard for many of her best points — but beware: some of those points are from “Teal’s Journal,” making it more… new-agey.

Still, for the reader who desperately needs quick bites of help in a hand-holding, alternative, worksheet-loaded format, “The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care” may be the ticket. If that’s advice you truly need, take it.

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