Get Your Head Straight: The Best Self Help Books
1. Part memoir, part thoughtful and practical advice, The Self-Care Project is written by a woman who has come to understand the importance of self-care through intense personal experience. Jayne Hardy, founder and CEO of online mental health community The Blurt Foundation, lost most of her 20s to depression, feeling so little self-worth that some days she simply could not get up. The Self-Care Project is a result of her mission to help people change the way they see themselves, encouraging us to apply the same patience and respect we give to others to ourselves too. “Every micro-action of self-care is a way to stick two fingers up to depression.” Reading this is like a therapy session with a trusted, empathetic friend determined to help you turn things around, minus any irritating self-righteousness. There are exercises at the end of each chapter to help you engage, from unloading your worries onto the page to making tangible lists of what you want to “do, be, have and feel”.
Buy it here:
USA The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you
UK The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you
2. Holistic health guru Julie Montagu also knows how important looking after number one is and, in this uplifting-without-being-patronising book, she shares her tips and advice on how to make time for you amid fast-paced modern life. Her advice is clearly divided into 12 months for more manageable reading, with each month covering a different aspect of self-care, from digital detoxing to building self-esteem. There are no lengthy blocks of text, which will appeal to those struggling to see how they could possibly put themselves first, let alone find the time to read about doing so. Montagu began realising the importance of self-care while bringing up four children at the same time as caring for her husband, who was unwell for seven years. Her journey discovering that taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of others is inspiring and relatable and we love the realistic 21-day self-care challenge at the end with its easy, quick-to-do relaxation and mindfulness exercises.
Buy it here:
USA Recharge: A Year of Self-Care to Focus on You
UK Recharge: A Year of Self-Care to Focus on You
3. Ikigai is the Japanese “key to happiness”. Finding your own ikigai involves learning how to discover your purpose, nurture your friendships, throw yourself into your passions and leave the all-too-familiar sense of urgency behind. The word roughly translates as “a reason to jump out of bed each morning”. This heart-warming little book is gently supportive rather than annoyingly chirpy and pressurising. Science-based studies back up ancient proverbs and words of wisdom from the longest-living people in the world, including 100-year old painter Carmen Herrera whose motto is “I go day by day”. Curl up on the sofa with this and enjoy an insight into Japanese culture while picking up some self-care tips you may not have considered before.
Buy it here:
USA Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
UK Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life
4. Is there really such thing as a happiness expert? No, we weren’t convinced either, but Andy Cope is a qualified doctor in the subject, so we figured he deserved our ear. His refreshingly straight-talking tone and British humour, coupled with a genuinely useful look at how we can address our own mindset and remove the self-imposed limits on our happiness, makes for a great read for anyone feeling a general sense of dissatisfaction with where they are in life. Cope describes his self-help offering as a “personal development comedy” and his quirky approach - using a map to outline the tour the reader will take, through the Zombie Land of mundane distractions and out of the Forest of Negativity towards the Island of Enlightenment - is refreshingly fun without being cheesy. OK, so it’s a bit cheesy, but sometimes that’s nice. It made us smile, anyway.
Buy it here:
USA Happiness: Your Route-Map to Inner Joy
UK Happiness: Your route-map to inner joy
5. In these uncertain times, it’s safe to say we could all use an antidote to chaos. Jordan B Peterson may not be able to solve those woes, but he is a reputed clinical psychologist whose to-the-point message about the importance of individual responsibility and the inherent pointlessness of the pursuit of happiness makes for fascinating reading. It’s all about finding meaning as a defence against suffering, he says, drawing on an abundance of examples from his patients and his own experience. Unlike many self-help books, there isn’t a hint of fad in this book, which though intellectual, grips with its clever application of age-old truths to the problems facing us today. It is clearly structured around 12 key “rules” from “make friends with people who want the best for you” to “pet a cat when you encounter one on the street”. Intrigued?
Buy it here:
USA 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
UK 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
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