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An Invitation to Self-Care


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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • PART I - Self-Care: What It Is, What It Isn't, and Why You Aren't Doing It
  • Chapter 1: What Self-Care Isn't
  • Chapter 2: What Self-Care Is
  • Chapter 3: Three Kinds of Self-Care Magic (or, Sometimes French Fries and Facebook Really Do Help)
  • PART II - Self-Evaluation
  • Chapter 4: You Are Here
  • PART III - The Magical Rewards of Self-Care
  • Chapter 5: Psychological and Emotional Self-Care
  • Chapter 6: Self-Care and Your Body
  • Chapter 7: Caring for Yourself in Relationships: Partner, Family, Friends, and Others
  • Chapter 8: The Beauty of Boundaries: Self-Care Skills for Relationships
  • Chapter 9: Our Stuff, Ourselves: Self-Care and Our Belongings
  • Chapter 10: Money Care Is Self-Care
  • Chapter 11: Self-Care at Work and Play
  • Chapter 12: Self-Care and Your Spirit
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • About the Author

About the Author

Tracey Cleantis holds a master's degree in marriage and family counseling and has built a national reputation as an expert on healing losses through her popular blog "La Belette Rouge", Freudian Sips on PsychologyToday.com, and her writings for the Huffington Post. She also has had interviews and advice featured in articles in Psychologies Magazine, Redbook, and on Fox News Boston among others. Tracey resides in Pasadina, California. Find her online at traceyhappy.com.


French women learn from a young age to practice the art of self-care. It's the secret to their famous mystery and confidence. So how can we, as Americans, borrow a little of that savoir-faire and take better care of ourselves? Easy. Read Tracey Cleantis's wonderful book An Invitation to Self-Care. It will change your life! -- Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone, Ooh La La! and Bonjour, Happiness!
No one gets through this life without a few twists and turns, disappointments and surprises. This book gives you the tools to become the architect of your own support system so that you can survive any crisis and learn to thrive again. -- Lee Woodruff, best-selling author of Perfectly Imperfect
As a nutrition and fitness expert, I have seen firsthand how taking care of your health and body can radically change your life for the better. Tracey's new book guides readers to create a powerful self-care program that is uniquely theirs. Whether your goals are physical, emotional, spiritual or mental, you can't miss with this book. You will discover your strengths and areas for growth. By taking excellent care of yourself, you will have the stamina, courage, and energy to live the life you've always dreamed of. -- JJ Virgin, bestselling author of Sugar Impact Diet and The Virgin Diet
This book made me fire my hairdresser. It made me stand up to my mom, fix a pair of broken sandals, stop feeling guilty about my expensive acupuncture habit, and fundamentally change the way I run my business. It brought me a sense of peace I didn't even know I needed. I am a book coach who is constantly proselytizing about the power of books to change lives. This is what I mean. -- Jennie Nash, founder and chief creative officer of AuthorAcclerator.com
I have been exploring self-care for a long time, for my readers, clients, and for myself. I have landed here: Self-care is self-acceptance. In this book, Cleantis gets to the absolute heart of self-care and leaves you with real and radical, usable and practical tools. I promise you, you will be better for reading this book. I know I am...with this string of words fastened to my all-too-often self-careless mind: Beauty, comfort, kindness. -- Laura Munson-New York Times best-selling author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is and founder of Haven Writing Retreats
If self-care feels like one more thing you must do, do yourself a big favor and pick up this book. With humor and real-world frankness, Tracey Cleantis offers expert insight into what self-care is, what it isn't, and how to realistically move yourself up your already-full priority list. From the very first chapter, you'll learn how to treat yourself with respect and make better decisions about the way you care for your most valuable asset...you. -- Lisa Manterfield, author of I'm Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood and Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn't Happen
This book is a no-nonsense wake-up call for all of us who, like Cleantis, know that self-care is something we 'should' be doing, but for the life of us can't quite work out what it really means beyond eating healthily and taking more naps. Her inclusion of issues around money, interpersonal boundaries and physical possessions as self-care was a big 'aha' moment for me because, as Cleantis points out, self-care isn't really just about salads and scented candles, although she allows them their place too, it's about becoming properly grown-up and assuming full responsibility for ourselves and our lives in all its aspects. For those of us who didn't get the best of role models for this as children, and who live in cultures caffeinated with some version of the Protestant work-ethnic, it seems that taking care of ourselves has become something that we imagine people with more time and money than 'us' do - because, after all, we've got stuff that needs to be done first. Cleantis calls time on this, and uses her own and others stories to illustrate how self-care can become part of our everyday life, rather than an add-on or treat if we've got time or have been 'good'.

Cleantis' quirky voice goes down as pleasingly as a green smoothie, but don't be fooled - this book delivers the psychological goods and is both an erudite education in the psychology of self-care as well as a practical go-to manual of how to identify and upgrade your self-care in each of eight major life areas by applying her seven principles of self-care.

Insightful, realistic and practical, this book fills a massive gap in our culture's blind spot around self-care and I can't think of a single person who wouldn't benefit from reading it because, as Cleantis points out in one of her myth-busting sessions, self-care isn't just for mothers, health-care providers and other caregivers. It's for all of us who want to be fully adult. -- Jody Day, Author of 'Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Life without Children' and founder of Gateway Women
You cannot withdraw from a bank account into which you never make deposits. Self care is the deposit we make in our selves as bank accounts. The many exhausted and unhappy people around us suggest few of us are clued into the how-to of self care. This book is a gift to all those amongst us! Here Tracey Cleantis proposes seven principles of self care - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual - and shows us the rewards of self care. Writing with empathy and enablement, she will set you off on a path of self awareness and self care that is bound to benefit your wellbeing and consequently, your roles and relationships. I couldn't recommend it more especially if you are juggling demands of work, leisure, friendships, family and care duties, and let's face it, who isn't? You can thank me later, but better still, buy a friend a copy too! -- Shefaly Yogendra, PhD, Board Director and Advisor to CEOs
Self-care is the most selfless practice we offer ourselves and those in our lives, but we often trip over our own internal messaging and lousy excuses. In An Invitation to Self-Care the myth of sacrifice has been busted. Tracey Cleantis silences the noise around self care, applies the factual argument for the care of you and provides the roadmap. A must read for mothers and truly -- anyone with a heartbeat. This book is absolutely going to change lives....It's like the self-care Bible. -- Jeanette Schneider Creator, Lore and Little Things and Love, Me: Love Letters To Your Past and Future Self
Self-care has become a frequent phrase in our culture. We are admonished to do it, shamed for not doing it or guilty for ignoring it. But what IS it? Ironically, I learned a lot about that when I was a caregiver for an ill and disabled spouse. If I did not attend to self-care, I became unable to meet the high demands of her illness and our life together. Still, I could not have defined it in such eloquent terms as Tracey Cleantis in her new book, An Invitation to Self-Care: Why Learning to Nurture Yourself Is the Key to the Life You've Always Wanted.

In an inviting and conversational tone, Tracey helps us evaluate what we are doing to successfully and less successfully take care of ourselves in every aspect of our lives, including personal, work, play, financial and spiritual. She helps to make the daunting project of attending to ourselves reachable and inviting, offering powerful tools to evaluate, invent and implement self-care starting right where we are. Building on the lessons of her first book, The Next Happy, she shares how she herself created a life that invites the very best results, from a compassionate and forgiving place. Not only will you gain valuable tips on how to take better care of yourself, you'll also recognize the powerful ways you are already doing so. A must read!" -- Cheryl Jones, LMFT Therapist, educator and host of Good Grief Radio
An Invitation to Self-Care is the step-by-step plan I have wished I had for my clients for years. Having the privilege of styling beautiful and successful women, I see how important it is for people to care for themselves in all areas of their lives. Tracey's new book will help everyone look at where their self-care shines and where they need to be more self-nurturing. A fuller, healthier and richer life can be achieved when Tracey leads you through her powerful analysis of your life and self care plan. With Tracey's book your self-care will shine! -- Chris Greene, Celebrity Hair Stylist
"An Invitation to Self-Care, by Tracey Cleantis, LMFT, explores the true meaning of taking care of oneself. Going well beyond the idea that self-care involves simply indulgences and rewards, the book offers seven principles to guide self-care and asserts that only through regular and sustained self-care can one hope to achieve self-actualization.

"The seven principles that the book asserts are the foundation of self-care include recognizing that it is a lifelong practice, self-love, taking personal responsibility for one's actions, noticing what matters most, attention and responsiveness, realistic expectations and practices, and finally, recognizing that self-care must happen before self-fulfillment is possible. Combining quizzes, personal stories and interviews into the text, the book offers insight into both self-care and self-sabotage and helps individuals explore their own beliefs and behaviors and how these can be viewed in terms of self-care.

"This is not only an informative book, but one that is easy to read and relate to. The author makes use of familiar references, such as the food-guide pyramid and Maslow's hierarchy of needs, to illustrate her points. Her writing is generally down-to-earth and honest, with just a touch of humor. For example, in a chapter about taking care of one's body, she writes, 'I'm not going to impart a lot of Thou shalts and Thou shalt nots to live by, especially in regard to eating low-carb, Paleo, wheat-free, meatless, or whatnot.'

"The message of Invitation to Self-Care is a powerful one. The idea that not only is it okay to prioritize taking care of oneself but that it is absolutely necessary in order to care for one's responsibilities and to lead a fulfilled life is liberating. The information and guidance the book offers will help many to start on a healthier, happier life journey."
* Foreword Reviews Magazine, May/June 2017 *

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