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

Domar: First of all "should" in my book is a four letter word. Our humorist said, "Do not should upon yourself." It's a guilt-inducing word. If one of your friends said she was going to goof off for two hours, would you think she was a bad person? No. We need to be just as compassionate to ourselves as we are to our friends. Make a to-do list with things to be done and the other half is self-nurturing activities. And the best part of any list is the crossing things off.

Moderator: Sometimes when you sit down and examine your life, you see that you really need more help than you can give yourself. Where do you go?

Domar: There are lots of ways to get help, whether it's from friends, family members, church or spiritual organizations, support groups, or seeing a mental health professional (which I highly recommend, of course, being one myself).

Moderator: I'm a single mom with absolutely no time. How can I make this concept work in my own life?

Domar: Nobody has no time. I understand that being a single mom is extremely challenging. No question. Single mothers have the highest level of stress. There are a couple things you can do. If you know another single mom, take turns taking all the kids, so that each one of you has some down time, every other time. And look at how you can be more self-nurturing WITH your kid or kids. It's not going to hurt any of you to have ice cream for dinner once in a while! That's a lot of fun! It's not going to hurt any of you, when you come home from work exhausted, to put on some crazy music and all of you just dance! It's not going to hurt anyone to wear really funky nail polish! There are a lot of creative ways you can better care for yourself which don't involve a lot of time or money. It's just a matter of sitting down, thinking about what you NEED, and putting the thoughts into action.

Moderator: You talked about some spiritual paths to take, but these require that I really break out of the mold. How do I start this?

Domar: You don't have to break out of a mold. A lot of people were brought up in one religion or spiritual orientation and may or may not feel comfortable in that as an adult. It may be that you don't happen to like the local minister and you can go to a different town to see if you like that one better. A lot of people I know go to the Unitarian Church even though they were brought up as Catholics or Jews! Being spiritual doesn't necessarily mean being religious. It means being connected, finding that your life has meaning, etc.

Moderator: Do you think that some of your techniques will be put to use in fertility clinics around the country to help infertile couples?

Domar: That's one of my goals. You know, we are trying to train mental health professionals around the world so that more infertile people can have a chance to learn these skills. Hopefully, I just submitted a book proposal to write, hopefully, the standard mind/body guide to infertility. We'll see if the publisher buys it or not! (laughs)

Moderator: You have a heading called catharsis, insight, action. What does that mean?

Domar: I think that in any situation, you need to tune in to what you're saying to yourself. If you think of your brain as being like a tape recorder, all of us have tapes that play over and over and over in our heads. Ninety percent of these tapes are negative, and almost all of them are false. The first step is to figure out where these thoughts come from. They only come from two sources. They either stem from something someone said to you a long time ago, or it's your fear speaking. Figuring out where the thoughts come from is halfway towards resolution.

Moderator: I love the aspect of "bitch and moan" friendships. How do you change then?

Domar: (laughs!) Well, this is a problem with a lot of female relationships that women feel so free to complain and are so loathe to talk about good things because that will be perceived as bragging. Try doing 'news and goods' with your friends. The next time you talk to a friend, the first thing you say to her is, "what new and good thing happened to you today?" You can do that with your husband, kids, friends, cousins, parents, etc. And it forces you to see the glass is half full. It's not bragging, we get enough bad stuff on the news.

Moderator: How important is girls' night out?

Domar: It's very important. You can get so much from your girlfriends. A number of studies have shown that social support is crucial to our physical health. Women with lots of close friends tend to live longer and are less likely to die from breast cancer. So, go out and hang out with your friends!

Moderator: What if you're single and every night is girls' night out?

Domar: Great! But don't do it to the exclusion of meeting guys if that's one of your goals. We're having a Self-Nurture Symposium in Boston on Saturday called Self-Nurture: Mind, Body, and Spirit at the World Trade Center in Boston on April 29th (that's Saturday). There will be keynote talks by myself, Miriam Nelson and Loretta LaRoche as well as numerous workshops on everything from fitness to mid-life health to an experiential self-nurture workshop. There's a website, it's at www.mindbody.harvard.edu or you can call 617-632-9563 for more information. I have a book I co-wrote with two physicians, entitled 'Enhanced Fertility' and that will be coming out in October. It's published by Simon & Schuster. That's a real medical book.

Moderator: Dr. Domar, thank you for joining us today. WebMD members, please join us every Wednesday at 9 pm EDT here in the Mind and Body Auditorium for our live weekly event.

Domar: Thanks a lot!

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