Books have always been a constant source of comfort and inspiration in my life. I think books are the reason I even found myself becoming a therapist. I’ve always loved narrative, I’ve always valued that glimpse into another person’s world view. Books have often been one of the most helpful companions to me in times of worry or distress. A cup of tea and a few minutes in a book can make a huge difference sometimes. The books I’ve listed below are just that; five of my favourite books to dip into if I’m needing a little grounding or a reminder to slow down. I’ve read A LOT of well being books in the last five years; these titles have stood the test of time and still bring me a lot of comfort and inspiration.
- ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’ by Haemin Sunim
Haemin is a Zen Buddhist Teacher and Monk from South Korea. I picked this book up from the National Trust on a drizzly walk on holiday as a treat. What a treat it was! What I love about this book is that you can dip in and out for as little as a couple of minutes and come away with a beautifully thought out truth. When reading this I really enjoy spending time reading a couple of the short statements again and again. They act beautifully as mini affirmations. The entire layout of the book is gentle and non intimidating. I find it a very mindful experience soaking up Heamin’s poetry like wisdom. The illustrations are also really engaging and uplifting.
2. ‘Slow’ by Jo Peters
‘Slow’ is a beautifully laid out book that again is really easy to just dive straight into. It’s full of helpful ideas and inspiration to help if you’re new to ideas of self-care or don’t know where to start with slowing down. There are some really meaningful journal exercises and a star-gazing mindfulness technique that I found to be particularly moving and grounding. If you sometimes find yourself stuck in a rut with self-care this is brimming with lists and suggestions (without being prescriptive or bossy!). I often find myself reaching for this book when the world is feeling a bit hectic and I’m in need of some practical tips.
3. ‘Self-Care for the Real World’ by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Philips
This one is relatively new to me in the last couple of months. As a therapist I love the message of this book and really rate how the author’s encourage the reader to find their own unique version of self-care. This book does a great job at developing self-awareness in a compassionate way. Scattered throughout the author’s thoughts there are brilliant journalling prompts along with some tasty recipes. This book has a holistic approach which focus on the whole person’s needs. I especially liked how the two sisters that wrote this book share how their self-care differs from each other. One absolutely loves meditation as an invaluable self-care tool whilst the other finds it incredibly boring. I feel this demonstrates really nicely that your emotional needs will be different and entirely individual. I also felt that what they had to say about social media and boundaries was really well done and has had a lasting impact on me.
4. ‘The Wild Remedy’ by Emma Mitchell
‘The Wild Remedy’ simply put is such a special book. Emma Mitchell lives with depression and she chronicles her struggles in this profoundly moving book. Each chapter is a month of the year. Emma explores her experience of depression as she moves through the seasons and how coming back to nature becomes her anchor. During lockdown I’ve noticed nature like never before, if you’re the same then you will really enjoy this book. It’s also crammed full of Emma’s illustrations of the natural world around her which are so delicately and sensitively done. This is such a human diary, full of soul and wit. I absolutely loved it (and I learnt a lot about the greenery just outside my door!)
5. ‘Calm’ by Fearne Cotton
I think this book is an absolute winner. Just like Fearne’s podcast ‘Happy Place’ her friendly and non-judgemental tone carries into the pages of ‘Calm’. Woven within the pages are helpful exercises for you to complete that are reflective and nourishing. I particularly like how each chapter has an interview section in which Fearne interviews specialists (and a few well known names). I feel this gives the book an inclusive feel that reminds me when I read it that we all have our mental health struggles. Once again Fearne’s tone isn’t prescriptive or higher-than-thou. She’s honest and authentic, this makes the book both entertaining and heartfelt, especially in her descriptions of her own experiences of anxiety. I got a lot from this book and found it a really useful resource to use in my work with clients as the reflective tools are top-notch! I’ve read all of Fearne’s books, but I definitely think this one is the best.
And there you have it; my top five well being reads that I find calming and actually useful. I really hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to pop any of your recommendations in the comments below! Happy Reading Friends.