My favourite self help/lifestyle books

With May being mental health awareness month and today marking the beginning of mental health awareness week, I thought it was the perfect time to do a review of the best self help and lifestyle books I’ve read. I’ll also include what I’ve got next on my book shelf to read.

I am one of the millions of people across the world that suffer from a mental health condition and while I’m very open and honest about my mental health and how I’m feeling, not everyone is so comfortable talking openly about it. If you know anyone who you think is struggling, especially during these difficult times, then please reach out to them because you might just turn their day around. If you are suffering with poor mental health yourself, then please reach out and ask for help! There’s nothing wrong with needing help now and then and you’d be amazed at how many people might be going through the same feelings you are. I’ve put some links below to places that can help if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a member of your family, a friend or your GP.

Mind – Support lines and Elefriends online community

NHS – Helplines and how to access mental health support

Time to change – Mental health help and support services

I suffer from anxiety and have a history of depression which will never completely go away. I still have down days where I struggle to get out of bed and spend the whole day in my pyjamas doing nothing. For me, my anxiety is the worst, I obsess and overthink every situation that I can because of the way I am. I know it isn’t healthy or helpful but anyone who suffers with this can tell you it’s not a choice, your brain just does it. The global pandemic has catapulted me into a whole new level of anxious I didn’t know I had in me. I’m clinically vulnerable so will be in isolation for at least 12 weeks and I’m so scared that this virus is somehow going to find it’s way into my home that I dream about telling people to stay two meters away from me. Read my post here to see what I mean about getting food deliveries.

Someone once told me that I needed to try reading self help books which offended me for two reasons. One; I’ve probably read more self help and lifestyle books that this person knew were published. Two; that’s not something you say to anyone, let alone anyone with mental health struggles. I’ve always been a lover of a self help or lifestyle books, anything that I felt might make me a better version of me. I’ve read so many books on the subject I actually found myself helping a member of the public in a book shop pick out books for her teenage daughter to help with her confidence and anxiety and I don’t think she realized I didn’t work there until I joined the till queue behind her with my books.

I’ve spent some time thinking about my favourite self help and lifestyle books and thought I’d share them with you and hopefully you’ll enjoy them too. It took me a long time to think about the titles I liked the most and ones that really changed my life. I’ve included links to all the books I mention and also a link for Audible or Amazon Kindle Unlimited if you prefer to listen or read your books this way. Both have a free trial period so you can test the waters first for free! So in no particular order, here’s my top six;

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

‘Wabi-sabi’ by Beth Kempton – Wabi-sabi is a Japanese belief that embodies the beauty of imperfections and the fact that all things change over time. Beth Kempton writes about how we can apply this to the modern, fast paced world to focus on the things that matter most to us. I loved this book, it gave me pleasure in slowing down and appreciating the little things. I’m guilty of trying to move too fast and get too much done in not enough time but after reading this book, I allowed myself time and space to just enjoy life and understand that life is imperfect, and that is a beautiful thing.

‘Reasons to stay alive’ by Matt Haig – This book is written about Matt’s experience of depression and how he rebuilt himself after hitting rock bottom. It’s a must read for anyone who has or is experiencing depression and really helped me get through some tough times. The way Matt tells his story is so personal and relatable, you really feel as though you’re listening to a friend.

‘Get your sh*t together’ by Sarah Knight – I absolutely love the way Sarah writes this book! It’s so ‘normal’ and easy to read. I’m terrible for worrying about what other people think I should be doing and in the past I have even let that change what I want to do, buy or think. This books cuts through all of that and helps you to literally ‘Get your sh*t together!’ As it says on the front, ‘Stop worrying about what you should do so you can finish what you need to do and start doing what you want to do.’ Very well put I must say.

‘An unquiet mind’ by Kay Redfield Jamison – This book tells the story of Dr Kay Redfield Jamison’s first hand experience of bipolar disorder. Parts of this book really resonated with me (even though I don’t have bipolar) and the way it is written is so real. The epilogue at the end brought me to tears with how she talked about her illness in such a raw and amazing way, I’ve never read anything so true about depression.

‘L’art de la simplicite’ by Dominique Loreau – I used to be a bit of a hoarder and not only of things but of mental clutter too! This book was brilliant at helping me learn to let go and live a clearer, simpler and more clutter free life. Not only does the book itself look beautiful, but the way it’s written is as well. It will make you want to overhaul your life and definitely for the better!

‘First, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson – This book completely changed the way I saw my anxiety. Within the book, Sarah meets with a whole host of people including the Dalai Lama and writes about how to be your best even with anxiety. She talks about changing people’s perception of anxiety into a thing of beauty rather than a problem that needs to be gotten rid of. This is my number one read for anyone with anxiety.

I’ve also pulled five books from my book shelf that are on my ‘next to read list’. Let me know if you’ve read them and what you thought!

‘Japonsime: Ikigai, forest bathing, wabi-sabi and more’ by Erin Niimi Longhurst

‘Missing out, In praise of the unlived life’ by Adam Phillips

‘Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ’ by Daniel Goleman

‘Silence your mind’ by Dr Ramesh Manocha

‘Happy every after, escaping the myth of the perfect life’ by Paul Dolan

I’m really looking forward to reading these books and I’m sure I will get something amazing from them when I do. Let me know what your thoughts are on my post, what you’re doing for mental health awareness week or month, or just say hi below!

Published by Alexandra

Well being coaching. Lifestyle blog with new updates at 8pm every Monday night.

6 thoughts on “My favourite self help/lifestyle books

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I haven’t read a lot of self-help books mainly because I didn’t quite like the few ones I actually read! Your list sounds really interesting though and I might come back here next time I want to read a self-help book! 😊


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