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The Woman's Comfort Book: A Self Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life

1 rating: -3.0
A book by Jennifer Louden

With over 200 prescriptions for giving yourself a break, this book helps the reader to sort out guilty feelings about self–nurture and to define her comfort/self–nurture needs. In this book the author delivers a host of creative and comforting … see full wiki

1 review about The Woman's Comfort Book: A Self Nurturing...

The Woman's Comfort Book Stresses Me Out!

  • Sep 5, 2007
Pros: Substantial enough to make a good door-stop.

Cons: This book makes me gag and makes me want to punch someone, especially the author.

The Bottom Line: This "self-help" book is corny, annoying and full of cliches. It really stresses me out.

The Woman’s Comfort Book, by Jennifer Louden, has been sitting on the shelf above my desk. There it sits, collecting dust. It's not because I don't have stress and a need for comfort in my life. Indeed, with two young children at home combined with a demanding career, I sometimes live just on the edge of sanity.

Sometimes I can use some advice to help me keep my life in balance. In theory, this book seemed like it would be just the ticket. The 209 page book has approximately 50 chapters aimed at helping the anxious, burnt out, overextended woman to relax and recharge her batteries. When I purchased this book recently, I was hopeful. Alas, at least for me, this book does not work. In fact, reading it increases my stress level. First let me tell you about the contents of this book, and then I will give you my personal opinion. I will tell you about the content in a very objective fashion, and save all of my subjective thoughts for the very end.

What are the chapters like?
The chapters are 3-4 pages in length. Each chapter proposes a remedy for woman’s stress, then tells you what supplies you’ll need, when to do it, and what to do. For example, one chapter is called “Hiding under the covers”, and describes this remedy as follows

“Give yourself permission to stay in bed or on the couch for a day, and do whatever you like”.

We then read three paragraphs on why doing this is good for the soul, and again I quote:

“Allowing yourself to retreat gives you the critical time you need to reflect on your life and balance yourself. By taking time for yourself in such a lavish way, you are saying to your mind and body, “I deserve the same amount of love and care I give to others.”

We are then provided with a list of supplies. This includes:
“Your bed or couch.
Fluffy blankets and lots of pillows.
Snack food, books, magazines. Whatever fun and totally silly things make you feel good”

Next, we are told when to do it. Here is a sample:
‘When you’ve been fighting a cold or have been having a lot of headaches.”
“When you’ve been feeling moderately depressed and you don’t know why.”

Then we have 2 ½ pages of instructions telling us exactly how to accomplish this day in bed. For example:
“Gently tell yourself with your nurturing voice that by taking a day off and allowing yourself to be blue or tired you are performing a very important duty”

“Put a freesia or rose in a bud vase on your nightstand”

“Create a tray of food to have in bed. Consider an attractive place mat and your prettiest dishes. Try a bowl of grapes, a raspberry tart, or a few chocolates – whatever your body craves.”

Can you give us a second example?
Sure. Another chapter is called “Courage Rituals”. Here we are told the following:

“It takes courage to make nurturing yourself a priority. It takes fortitude to meet your own needs. It takes boldness to listen to and trust your intuition. It takes bravery to overcome comfortable but stultifying life patterns. It takes spirit to experience pleasure. It takes heart to come into closer contact with yourself.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but those sentences above just about make me gag! It’s all so cliché and saccharin. I just cannot read that stuff without grimacing. Oh, I wasn’t going to get into my personal reaction until later. Sorry. Ok, back to the book.

Again, we are told about the supplies we will need:
“Time, patience, and gentle persistence.
A pen and several sheets of paper.
A small group of friends (optional)"

Next, when to do it:
“If you have set a goal and need an extra dose of courage to help you achieve it”

What to do:
Now we read over two pages of these “courage rituals”. Let me paraphrase this junk. Oops. I mean these words of wisdom. We are supposed to admit aloud that we are afraid to care for ourselves. Then we are supposed to create a deprivation list, listing all the self-nurturing activities we deprive ourselves of. Then we are supposed to meditate about all this junk. I mean stuff. I quote from the book:

“Close your eyes and relax. Focus on your breathing. Realize that each breath you take is irreplaceable, a one-time-only event. Breathe in and out a few times and let this fact sink in. Now, hold your hands. With your eyes still closed, caress and explore your hands. Absorb the fact that this is the only pair of hands like these in the universe.”

Then, we are supposed to have courage rituals with friends. Let me paraphrase this part.
Here’s the deal: We should meet with other women when there is a full moon. Have each woman bring a musical instrument. Hold hands. Close your eyes. Do some meditating and breathing. Play the instruments. Ask each woman to write down the fears that are blocking her pursuit of self-care. Recite blessings. Exchange kisses and hugs around the circle.

Blah-blah-blah. I’m sorry, but when someone starts babbling to me about nurturing my intuition for self-care, I just want to scream and punch them out! That will probably reduce my stress level more than any of that caressing my own hands crap!

Finally, I have to share with you, Dear Readers, this other example:
From the chapter on the benefits of “touch”.

“Caress a furry geranium leaf. Walk across the scratchy warmth of a concrete patio. Hold a struggling fish”.

WHAT THE ....? Is she nuts? HOLD A STRUGGLING FISH???? That’s supposed to RELAX me??? NO WAY!!! Egads!!!! Please, if anyone reading this feels that holding a struggling fish will give them comfort and self-nurturing, I’ve gotta hear about it! Please write to me or send me an email. Ok?

Is there a complicated table in the book?
Oh, yeah. The complicated table. Almost forgot to tell you about that one. It’s a real gem. Smack in the middle of the book is a table that continues for six pages, in a tiny font that is really unpleasant to view, telling you which chapters to read, depending on how you are feeling that day. Which chapters to read when you “can’t hear your intuition”, or are “feeling fat and ugly” or “have nothing to wear” or are feeling “lustful”.

Ok. Enough objective description. Now, let me tell you what I REALLY think of this book.

Personal reaction:
Well, you probably have figured out by now that I do NOT like this book. Many of the forms of relaxation described just seem like common sense: take a day off, explore nature, make time for friends, take time to appreciate things, rest. I truly HATE, HATE, HATE the new-age “listen to your nurturing inner voice” tone of this book. Finally, this book is even physically difficult to read. It is written in a small font that is difficult on the eyes. The book is not aesthetically pleasing; there are no pictures, no jokes, no sense of humor at all.

Ok, folks. I’m ready to “listen to my intuition”. It is telling me to toss this book in the trash. Then I’ll meditate about how good that feels! That should help me a great deal. There! That should reduce my stress level!


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