This post on 5 Books for Self-Care was kindly written by Bijal from ReadwithBP for more information about her work and her social media channels check below.
Life can be overwhelming, and we tend to forget to charge our minds and re-energise our lives with new thinking and fresh ideas. Reading is a form of meditation and escapism and can benefit our reasoning and understanding of life and how we feel. Some books will calm you; others will challenge your existing thoughts. And the small minority of books you will hate but will be glad you read because from it, you would have still learnt and developed. I have come across many self-help books that I detest but stumbled upon some that I love and here’s a list of suggestions you may be drawn to:
#1 The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
As children, the stories in Hundred Acre Wood were a mere fantasy. And the friendships between characters lay behind the words on the pages and cartoons on the television. But Benjamin Hoff incorporates the teachings of Taoism within the fictional children’s story. Taoism is a religion dating back to 550BC in China, teaching ideas of the simplicity of life, understanding humans and being at peace with one’s self. At first glance, Eeyore is moody, Owl is a representation of wisdom and Pooh thinks of nothing but honey. But there are lessons beyond these personalities that we can learn from as adults.
Hoff strategically takes excerpts from the original children’s story and applies scenarios to real life. So, whilst you’re taken on your own fantasy animal adventure, you are able to learn about your own life and apply highlighted sections to your own world.
“This mind tries too hard, wears itself out, and ends up weak and sloppy… Things may get a little odd at times, but they work out. You don’t have to try very hard to make them work out; you just let them.”
Hoff links this teaching to the honey-loving bear:
“There you are! I say things when I’m not trying. So it must be a very bad accident.”
And then he thought that perhaps when he did try to say things he wouldn’t be able to; so, to make sure, he said loudly: “A very bad accident to Pooh Bear.”
#2 You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Jen Sincero takes a very casual narrative approach when preaching about being a badass. She breaks down our attitudes as humans and explains how to kick negative energy into something positive. She talks about our subconscious thoughts, the ego, the universe and individuals as one big science experiment, as balls of energy in the universe.
I’m not the biggest fan of spirituality and vibrations. But if it is your cup of tea, you may like this. I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to take on all the information in books. And it’s okay to favour one chapter over others like I did. Whatever speaks to you and makes you feel better is the main thing.
The author reminds us that we are unique as individuals and we often hold ourselves back from being great. When I read this book three years ago, I was introducing myself to affirmations and self-love. The importance of understanding your thoughts and feelings is often dismissed and neglected. It’s brushed off but it doesn’t take much to reassure yourself how amazing you are. I learnt that by changing your mindset and thinking, everything else around you will align, and you become a more positive person.
Her narrative approach is witty and the least intimidating of all the self-help books I’ve read. I’m afraid that many authors are doing too much to be funny and make their readers feel comfortable. And forget that they are writers with a goal to help their readers. Jen Sincero balances her teachings and comedy well and highlighting the book was a joy rather than a chore.
“You are loved. Massively. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. It wants to give you everything you desire, it wants you to be happy. It wants you to see what it sees in you. You are perfect.”
#3 You Are Dope by Ovie Soko
Okay okay, hear me out. Another celebrity/influencer who writes a book to commercialise from their fans… I get it! They preach the same topics, repeat points, can be self-obsessed and you’ll never be as rich and as successful as them. I agree. Ovie’s approach is different because he tells you that it’s okay to be different, unique and stand out of the crowd. That’s what makes you special. And you may fail or have moments of emptiness. But if you are patient and persistent, you’ll find your way out and be bigger and better.
Ovie does this in a less cheesy, more conversational way. I find some authors writing styles can be intimidating, complex and confusing. What is their point? Ovie is straight to the point in his writing, he is relatable and suitable for a young reading audience.
Winning the hearts of the nation, he focuses on social media and what others think of you or rather how you perceive others. The energy others direct to you is something to be aware of. But more importantly, your attitude towards the false world of image and perfection on social media is something we should control.
I reckon you’ll be able to pull some information from this book and apply it to your life. The writing prompts provided every so often will help to evaluate your own life, reflect on your thinking, how you can change and improve your life.
“We can’t allow false pictures of perfection to affect our internal peace and the joy we’re guaranteed to find if we follow our own dreams. You have to embrace what make YOU special, not what you think should make you special based on the pressures of social media.”
#4&5 Heart Talk & Where to Begin by Cleo Wade
Cleo Wade is a best friend. She is the voice you wish you had inside your head. Telling you to be kind, helping you to heal and teaching you how to love. Her writing is like a breath of fresh air giving you a new perspective on life. She mentally stimulates you to think and speak to yourself better.
Heart Talk and Where to Begin are easy reads for those who aren’t fans of heavy content. Some pages are emptier than others and the beauty of it is that you can choose what you want to read. You can flick through the pages and choose content based on your mood, how you’re feeling and what you want to see. With her focus being self-love, they are books for those who want to dig deep into their own lives and thoughts and need new motivational mantras.
Like I mentioned before, we neglect self-care in our busy lives, and it doesn’t mean we have to go on holiday, take a trip to the spa or run to get a manicure. It’s the simple things like talking to yourself, journaling, affirming your confidence and abilities. I believe self-care is needed for at least ten minutes of each day. Wade’s writing is a perfect approach to this through her inspirational reminders and kind words of encouragement. I felt lighter, at peace and in tune with myself after these quick reads.
“The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design. This means you have, at all times, the power to redesign it, make moves, allow shifts, smile more, do more, do less, say no, say yes – just remember, when it comes to your life, you are not only the artist but the masterpiece as well.“
Do you have any books to recommend? How have they helped you? Let us know below!
Bijal Patel is an aspiring writer who studied BA English with Creative Writing at Brunel University London and currently studying MA Public Relations at University of Arts London. She writes poetry, drama and short stories, with acting experience, inspired by existing writing and music. She is an avid reader who enjoys urban, young-adult fiction such as work from Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo.