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Excerpt: Women allowing for 'time out'

Some people can sleep just about anywhere, but most people require an environment that will help them unwind and relax. Laurel House is the author of "The Guru's Guide to Serenity," and she has advice about how to get a good night's sleep. Read an excerpt from her book.
/ Source: TODAY

Some people can sleep just about anywhere, but most people require an environment that will help them unwind and relax. Laurel House is the author of "The Guru's Guide to Serenity," and she has advice about how to get a good night's sleep. Read an excerpt from her book below:

Savor Your “Me-Time”We are living in a time of fast-paced overachieving. Rushing through our day forces us to rush through our lives, and all too frequently we miss the most important, yet simplest details that make us truly happy. Baths, spa treatments, massage, yoga, meditation, cooking, art projects, gardening, knitting, sacred spaces, stretching, relaxing, and breathing deeply are often completely overlooked and undervalued. 

We have been raised with the mantra that we can have and accomplish anything and everything, if we work hard enough. This concept, though common today, may still be a bit foreign to our mothers or grandmothers, many of who were raised to raise and born to breed. They were praised for their bundt cakes, perfect children and sparkling floors. They were ladies who lunched and kept well-groomed. They adored their husbands and cherished their children. In fact, they very well may have doted on their kids a little too much, maybe even to the point of imposing, because as the 1960’s progressed, many young blossoming women set themselves “free.” 

Being a housewife was suddenly “out,” and free loving was “in.”  But, when the realization took over that the hallucinogenic heydays were coming to an end, many women traded their tie-dyed shirts for suits. They quickly dismissed the role of the 1950’s housewife and explored every crevice of political and economic freedoms that had for so long been denied to them. The feminist movement was birthed and soon, these women, briefcases in hand, invaded the predominantly male working world. For many, housekeepers were hired to facilitate the abandoned role of the mother, creating a new variable into the family unit- the nonkindred caretaker.

Women today want to have it all. We, the “do everything” women of the 21st century, want to raise our own children, while continuing to make a substantial financial contribution to the family, pleasing our spouses, maintaining friendships, while simultaneously being happy ourselves. Impossible? Maybe. But we certainly persist. For most of us, this equation of life can be a little daunting, with the ultimate result being an extremely overextended, overwhelmed, ostensibly flaky woman. We end up spending so much time trying to do and be everything that we forget to be ourselves. We overlook the most important, though seemingly insignificant details, like nurturing our spirit and our soul. So where does this leave us? We are left in a constant state of crisis.

Midlife crisis is no longer solely a term to describe men in their fifties who suddenly come to a point in their lives when they realize that everything they have accomplished has not produced the happiness and fulfillment that they had expected. Unfortunately, “do-everything” women are also experiencing a mid-life crisis. Instead of running off and buying an expensive car, getting tattoos, or leaving their spouses for their secretaries, women are feeling emptiness and a longing for times past. Having spent a lifetime nurturing our children and pleasing our bosses, employees and co-workers, we are in dire deed of nurturing and bettering ourselves. Giving ourselves permission to take a “time out” is an issue for many of us who have always catered to the needs of others. In our moment of crisis, we are realizing that we have spent our lives living to work and not enough time working to live.

But it is not just those of us in our fifties who are in a crisis situation. New terms have been created to describe the confusion, depression and instability of those children who have been caught in the crossfire. Those girls, turned women, are our friends, daughters, or maybe ourselves. We have graduated from college with the mantra ingrained in our heads that we can be anything and do everything. And suddenly, many of us are shocked by the reality of life. We have new fears and doubts about relationships as our parents or friends’ parents get divorced, a harsh reason that “happily ever after” often fails along the way. Some young women expect to find successful careers that pay enough money to purchase a house and a car immediately. We are all too often way too keen to be all grown up, which manifests in jump-started marriages that quickly crumble, careers that prove to be unsatisfying, and a sense of self that seems to be diminishing. We have fallen into the “quarter life crisis.”

While self-help books are fine, at the age of fifty or even twenty-five, we are tired of being preached to and promised to be “saved.” We need more than to hear that stress is bad and finding time for ourselves is good. We need, instead, real-life tips, advice and suggestions as to what we ourselves can do and how we can do it to achieve a stressless, or at least less stressed life.

Celebrities are often the barometer for what is “hot.” And though their lives are filled with glitz and glamour, even celebrities need a break, a moment’s rest that is purely for themselves. It is personal time minus the Hollywood boyfriend, the manager, the agent, the makeup artist, the paparazzi and even minus the fans. They work so hard to maintain their perfectly sculpted outward appearance, but sometimes, like us, they need a little inner nourishment as well. From yoga to knitting and the dependable bubble bath, celebrities somehow find a way to work alone time into their jam-packed schedules. Although some celebrities are able to conjure up calm on their own, most need a little bit of guidance from their “gurus.” From personal trainers to aestheticians, yoga experts to aromatherapists and herbalists, these purveyors of serenity offer celebrities spiritual and emotional health and well-being while helping them develop the creative outlets that nurture the soul.

“The Gurus; Guide to Serenity” is a compilation of some of the tips and advice that gurus give and celebrities receive. So as you begin to read this book, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy some “me-time.”