Sometimes the unhealthiest people are the ones who spend most of their waking hours taking care of other people.
The author of this book is a longtime professor of clinical psychology and a more recent member of the Christian clergy. She is also a Black woman who specializes in working with other people of color, showing them the importance of caring for themselves.
Self-care is a spiritual discipline, she makes clear in her introduction, adding eloquently: “We are not spirits that are simply housed in bodies. We are our bodies. There can be no spiritual life that does not engage the body.”
Her book is designed as a seven-week program for getting back on track. Week 1 is about understanding self-care, focusing on gratitude, wellness, and learning to love oneself. Week 2 is about mastering the fundamentals including hydration, diet, rest, and healthy relationships.
Week 3 sets the reader out to start practicing, and at the end of every day’s reading is a practice suggestion. This one appears at the end of Day 19, “Moving Beyond Self-Judgment”:
“Continue monitoring your self-talk and, today especially, your thoughts about your body. When you notice that you are judging yourself, repeat this affirmation inspired by Psalm 139: 'I am beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.' To take this practice deeper, repeat the affirmation to yourself while looking at yourself unclothed in a full-length mirror.”
At the end of each week there is a single-page summary “Week in Review” followed by a short reflection with questions, a prayer, and an African American hymn. (Both author and book are Christian.)
Week 4 is devoted to setting healthy boundaries; Week 5 to caring for our emotional selves; Week 6, to “Caring for Our Minds”; and Week 7, to "Practicing Self-Care for Everyday Life.”