Self-Help: How Women Can Better Self-Nurture (cont.)

Moderator: So this involves a real commitment on their parts?

Domar: Absolutely. It's a 10-session program.

Moderator: How do friends play into this?

Domar: You know, it's a lot of fun to self-nurture with your friends. Women are more socially isolated now than at any other time in human history. Think about it ... until 20 years ago, for all of man's history, women lived amongst other women, with mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and sisters. And women cared for each other. They didn't need to self-nurture because they cared for each other. But in the last 20 years, not only do we have nuclear families, but women work outside the home, so they're very socially isolated. Women need to be around other women. They have a unique gift in terms of compassion, empathy and sharing. And social support is crucial for our mental and physical health.

Moderator: You mentioned that as a result of this, we now seek everything from a relationship with a man.

Domar: That's right. Because we don't have the women amongst us and I think that's one of the reasons why divorce rates have gotten so high. No matter how great a guy is, he cannot meet ALL of your needs. When women had each other to talk to, the faults of the men would be kept in perspective instead of becoming all encompassing.

Moderator: How can teenage girls reduce the stress in their lives?

Domar: Mm hmm (agrees). They have a lot of stress. I was at a private school last week and had a meeting with faculty staff and students talking about the self-nurturing process and we talked about how important it is both in terms of body image and relationships, for example, what a teenage girl will put up with in order to stay in a relationship.

Moderator: What do you find out about the state of teenage girls today?

Domar: It's scary. The prevalence of eating disorders, the obsession with being thin, the lack of self-esteem, the obedience to the media. You know, that's not okay! So, we're hoping to have a self-nurture day to teach the students how to better care for themselves and think more highly of themselves.

Moderator: Why is there so much pressure put on children these days? What can parents do to relieve it?

Domar: That's an issue of the parents. My daughter is in pre-school and I hear other parents frequently complain that the day is not structured enough. One parent actually took her kid out because every time she went to the school, the kids were "just playing" and she wanted her kid to be "learning." My response is "four-year-olds SHOULD just be playing!" That's what's so great about being four! That's their job! They'll have plenty of time in their lives to work.

Moderator: Why are girls becoming sexually active so early nowadays?

Domar: I think there's a lot of peer pressure, to be "cool,' and because they can. When you watch TV, every TV show they turn on, their role models are having sex, so why shouldn't they?

Moderator: How can you nurture your relationships with your adult siblings?

Domar: I think one of the best ways is to recapture the things you enjoyed doing when you were kids. One of the beautiful things about siblings is you have so much in common in terms of your childhood experiences. So, go back and play Monopoly or Life. Have a snowball fight, or rent a movie that you watched together as a kid. It'll make you feel good.

Moderator: Let's talk about the workplace where it's difficult to nurture.

Domar: It can be very difficult to nurture yourself in the workplace, especially with so much pressure to work the long hours. And yet the expectation of working the long hours, ironically, decreases performance. So I tell my patients or people that come to my workshops, to look at their jobs and see how they can nurture themselves at work, which means that they might, every Monday morning, buy themselves one Freesia so that their desk will smell nice all week. Or arranging a lunch with female co-workers once a week just to gossip and have fun. Or take a brisk walk every day at lunch time -- that's a really great thing to do. You need to look at what you NEED at work. You spend a lot of your life there.

Moderator: My husband gives me absolutely no support when I try to do anything for myself and I'm at the end of my rope. How can I make him see what I need?

Domar: I think you can set up an equal system. Say that the two of you arrange a system that he gets to do what he wants every Tuesday evening, and you get to do what you want to do every Thursday evening. Men are always suspicious that women are goofing off. Leaving a man home all day with the kids is great for letting them realize how hard it is. They think being home with kids is really easy, yet those that try it realize it's hard work. If any wife can explain to her spouse that she needs some down time in order to BE a better wife and better mother, hopefully, she'll get cooperation. Women who are well-rested and self-nurturing are better companions. They're more fun, interesting to be around, they may be more interested in sex, these are all things that men appreciate!

Moderator: I always have this voice in my head that I "should" be doing something constructive in my down time. How can I get this voice out of my head?