We all need to set aside time for self-care, especially if we're having a hard day or going through a tough time. But it matters even on the normal days – those where we go to work, follow our usual routine, and live without any major shifts in our universe.
When we forget to look after ourselves or feel we're too busy, it all adds up and soon starts reflecting in our mental health, physical health, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm.
No matter how busy you are or how much you feel like you don't need it, prioritise time for self-care. You need it and so does everyone else.
One of the best ways is to pick up a good book and indulge in a little bibliotherapy. I've written about the best books for anxiety, but here are some more of my favourite self-care books for relaxing with.
1. Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki
Before writing this article, I wrote about Goodbye, Things for a new project I'm launching, livewildly.co. As I said in that article, if ever there were a good time to read this book, it'd be this time of year.
When we're being told to buy more and redeem coupons in the next 23 minutes (or else you miss out on your one shot of getting everything you never wanted), the best response is to remember what's really important.
Buy less, declutter what you don't need, and make more room to indulge in what makes your life fantastic.
2. Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom by Colleen Saidman Yee
Take care of yourself by looking after your body and your mind. Yoga is one of the best ways to do that, and this is a great guidebook.
3. What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey
This book surprised me. I'd never read much of Oprah's writing before, and I had no idea I'd highlight more sentences than not. It reminded me to savour life's simple pleasures: to sit under the trees, drink coffee as slowly as possible, and have dedicated reading time in the evening as self-care to look forward to all day.
4. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
This is one of my favourite tiny self-care books from one of my most loved writers – and every word in it is golden. Gratitude is a selection of essays from the end of Oliver Sacks's life and is full of so much beauty, wisdom and art.
Read it, nourish yourself with regular time for self-care, and remind yourself what you're doing here on earth.
5. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim
I wrote about The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down in a previous post, describing it as a simple and timeless guidebook of Buddhist wisdom for any challenge you might be facing right now.
"Surround yourself with close friends and share food and drink. Watch a silly movie. Find a song that speaks to your heart. Go somewhere you’ve always said you wanted to go – the Grand Canyon, the Camino de Santiago, Machu Picchu. All by yourself. Just you and the road. After spending time alone, go to your own sacred space. Close your eyes and clear your mind."
6. How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
It's no surprise this book made the list. How to Love is a wonderful guide to taking care of yourself and others, and one I've been writing about a lot on the blog recently. The first step to taking care of yourself is sending a whole lotta love in your direction.
My posts on How to Love:
- 7 gentle pieces of wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh on loving ourselves (How to Love Part 1)
- Thich Nhat Hanh’s guide to loving others (How to Love Part 2)
7. A Pukka Life by Sebastian Pole
I came across a copy of A Pukka Life in a bookshop when I was at university and fell in love with it. It's from the founder of the Pukka tea company, Sebastian Pole, and is a guide to living well – a big one, especially if you get the lovely hardback.
It's rooted in Ayurveda and alternative health, so I'd recommend it if you're open to that, but there's a lot of good advice for taking care of yourself in any case.
While The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down is focused on your mind and actions, think of A Pukka Life as the link to your body and health. I think both guides beautifully complement the other.
Enjoy more from me
- Retreat into my new book, Your Life in Bloom: Finding Your Path and Your Courage, Grounded in the Wisdom of Nature.
- I'm also the author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, a book about my time living alone by the mountains.
- If you love books, are feeling a little lost right now, and would love some gentle comfort and guidance, join The Sanctuary, my seven-day course to rebalance your life.