If Women Ran the World, Sh*t Would Get Done now a Spirited Woman Top 12 Holiday Book Pick!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Fatigue Prescription: An Interview with Linda Hawes Clever, MD

Linda Hawes Clever, MD received both undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University where she now serves the School of Medicine as Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs. She is founding chair of the Department of Occupational Health at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Clever was the first woman governor in the American College of Physicians.

She is also founder and president of RENEW, a special project of the Institute for Health & Healing, at CPMC. RENEW is aimed at helping devoted people maintain and regain enthusiasm, effectiveness, and purpose as they navigate the challenges of work and life.

Dr. Clever’s widely acclaimed book The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health and Life was published in 2010 and I was so excited to talk to her about it.

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us more about your book, The Fatigue Prescription.

Linda Hawes Clever: The book was born out of my conviction that you are important and worthwhile. You may have crushing pressures and troubles yet also have more resilience, courage, and resources than you think. The challenge is how to surface those so you can be enthusiastic, effective, and have meaning and joy in your life! As part of my work with the not-for-profit, RENEW, I asked people across the country and listened as they answered the question “How do you ‘renew’?” The book collects their answers and the results of other research. It offers profound yet practical ways to lift and focus your spirit and talent – along with your body, relationships, and attitudes.

Shelly Rachanow: So many people, myself included, often feel overwhelmed by all the things going on in their lives. What can we do to feel more revitalized and renewed?

Linda Hawes Clever: When you know your values, you can set priorities and do things that are central to your – and your dear ones’ – hopes and dreams. The fact is, you can’t Do It All, all the time. No one can. As you decide what to emphasize – body, soul, family and friends, outlook, learning – the frazzle drops away. . . if, of course, you can say “No” at the right time and in the right way :).

Shelly Rachanow: You organized a non-profit organization called RENEW. What inspired you to do so, and what is RENEW all about?

Linda Hawes Clever: RENEW helps people juggle work, family and community commitments and sustain their enthusiasm, effectiveness and purpose. It grew out of a terrible time in my life when I had to weather my parent’s death, my husband’s cancer (he is fine now!), losing two jobs, our home burglary and vandalism – among other things. My good friend, John W. Gardner, who had founded Common Cause and who wrote extensively on leadership, excellence and renewing, pointed out that this was the perfect time to put renewing theory into practice. With friends and colleagues, I started RENEW, which offers keynotes, workshops, seminars, Conversations Groups©, and teaches others how to convene Conversation Groups. We have a great time, doing what we do!

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us about a wonderful tool you use called the RENEW-O-METER.

Linda Hawes Clever: The RENEW-o-Meter is all about awareness, the first step in renewing. It is based on studies that have looked into ways you get and stay whole and healthy. You can total your points as you score yourself and see how much you need to renew. You can also notice which questions jump out at you. They may show where you need to start renewing – or where you are renewing and need to make sure you keep on. The RENEW-o-Meter is in The Fatigue Prescription’s Introduction and also on RENEW’s website http://www.renewnow.org/.

Shelly Rachanow: If there’s one thing readers can do right now to feel more energized, what would that be?

Linda Hawes Clever: Know that you are important and therefore that it is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is self-preservation so you can do the things you want and need to do.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Linda Hawes Clever: I would educate all people so they would use the safe water, healthy food, immunizations, and medicines I would make available to everyone worldwide. Imagine the fun--and the peace!--we would have.

For more information, visit:

RENEW Website: http://www.renewnow.org/

The Fatigue Prescription website: http://www.thefatigueprescription.com/

Email: renewjuggler@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions: An Interview with Blythe Lipman

Blythe Lipman has taken care of over 1,000 babies in the past twenty-five years. She worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Boston as a volunteer while attending Boston University and is now the president of Baby Instructions in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has set up infant rooms with turn-key operations in many preschools throughout the country.

Blythe works extensively with new parents, providing seminars, tips and daily phone calls of reassurance. Blythe presents workshops sharing her expertise and easy-to-use tips to make those first years the easiest and best! Her parent books have won numerous awards of recognition.

Though I’m not currently a mom, I know if I ever become one, Blythe's books will become permanent fixtures by my bedside! I was really excited to talk to Blythe about all her wonderful insights.

Shelly Rachanow: I LOVE the title of your book, Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions. Tell us more about it.

Blythe Lipman: Here's the Story: One day when I was running an infant room in a preschool, a mom brought little 5 ½ month old Sophie in for her first day. As she walked in with Sophie in her car-seat she said, “You have to help me. Sophie has been sleeping in her car-seat since she was born. I don't know how to get her to sleep in her crib, she just cries!” That night when I went home from work, I sat down at my computer and started writing the first page of my book.

I always knew there were no instructions for new parents and the book had been in my head for years, but little Sophie was the baby that pushed me to sit down and start writing. And my thought was to have a book that was in list form so parents only need to go down the list and pick the tip that works best whether it be crying, sleeping, eating, bathing and a myriad of other topics. Let's face it, when a baby cries, moms don't have the time, patience or energy to sit down and read cumbersome chapters in a book or on the internet. They want their baby to feel better immediately and that is what my book does...provides those tips to help NOW!

P.S. Little Sophie was sleeping in her crib that first night. I taught her mom how to put her in the crib using a swaddle and sleep positioner so she felt safe and cozy in her crib.

Shelly Rachanow: One of the biggest things that's always scared me about being a mom is that I would do something “wrong.” What words of wisdom do you have for parents who may feel the same way?

Blythe Lipman: I don't think there is a parent in the world that isn't afraid that they are going to make a mistake. Here are my words of wisdom for every new parent: Each baby is wrapped up in it's own unique little package. They are all wonderfully different. So there is no right or wrong when caring for your baby. What works for one baby may not work for another baby and that's okay. Just go with your gut and your heart when caring for your baby. You will receive lots of well-meaning advice, just smile, say “thank you” and do what works best for you and your baby. While I give new parents lots of tips when caring for their babies, I teach them confidence. When a parent is confident, then the rest is easy.

Shelly Rachanow: These days, many people live away from their families and don’t always have their own parents, grandparents, or siblings around to lend a hand with a new baby. What advice do you have for people in that situation?

Blythe Lipman: Don't ever be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help, whether it be from a babysitter, husband or a friend. Being a parent puts many new pressures on us that aren't always easy. And trying to be a “Supermom” won't make any difference to your baby, it will just exhaust you! Remember to take care of yourself, too. When the baby naps, you nap...the dishes will still be there when you get up!

Also, pick one book or reference, (hopefully my book!) to use when you have questions. Too many resources can be confusing and frustrating. You know the old adage: “Ask ten people the same question and you will get ten answers!”

Shelly Rachanow: You have some wonderful tips in your book for what to do when a baby won’t stop crying, for making sleep time easy, and so much more. Give us a small sample of things people can do in those situations.

Blythe Lipman: Some ideas include:
  1. Put a receiving blanket in the dryer for a few minutes and make it warm and toasty (not hot), then swaddle your little bundle in the warm blanket.
  2. Turn on your clothes dryer and lay a receiving blanket on top of the dryer. Then gently lay your swaddled baby on top of the dryer on her back. Gently stroke her cheeks with your fingertips and say “Shh.” The warmth from the blanket, the vibration from the dryer, and your calming presence should stop the tears.
  3. If you know your baby isn't hungry, doesn't have to burp, her diaper isn't pinching and she is just having a cranky day, walk outside with her. Just open the door and step outside, the change in scenery usually calms any baby!
Shelly Rachanow: What’s the most important thing you want new parents to know?

Blythe Lipman: Babies grow up so quickly. Don't expend your energy worrying about your parenting skills. Just enjoy each and every moment and be confident that if your baby is eating, sleeping, growing and giving you lots of smiles, then you are doing a great job!!

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” – Don Herrold

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Blythe Lipman: If I ran the world I would make sure each woman gave herself permission to be exactly who she is, to make decisions based on her knowledge, experience and confidence. And to take care of herself first, not last. We women are very strong but tend to put ourselves last, and if we don't we are considered selfish. That's the wrong message to teach our daughters (and sons).

So many times I thought, if I just finish this task then I can take a nap, eat a piece of chocolate or do something just for me. It dawned on me a number of years ago that I will never take care of me with this attitude. It's like doing the laundry, there is always another piece to wash...it's never done! So now...the “new me” takes a minute to stop, breathe and think about what I am doing and if it's working.

I do realize that age and experience play a part in getting to know yourself, but maybe with a different attitude and more confidence, we'll take better care of ourselves sooner.

For more information or to contact Blythe, visit:

Website: http://babyinstructions.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baby-Instructions/10150134590360453
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BabyInstruction
Radio Show: http://toginet.com/shows/babyandtoddlerinstructions
Podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/baby-toddler-instructions/id342291190
Arizona Midday Channel 12 KPNX

And to set up an in-home, video or telephone consultation, as well as a workshop, contact Blythe at babyinstructions@cox.net.