Who isn’t in desperate need of a little more mindful self-care these days? I know I am, especially as summer winds down and I start to enter serious hibernation mode — but from keeping my cell phone ringer turned all the way up at nap time to rescheduling my deep tissue massage appointment every. single. month., self-care is something that always, always takes a back seat to everything else I have to do in a day. Sound familiar? If so, then you (and yeah, me) might need a little help taking care of ourselves: creating some space in our lives to relax, rest, and reenergize — all without feeling guilty about the 17 other things we could be doing instead of getting that manicure, going to that yoga class, or taking that mid-week siesta. These books about self-care — filled with stories, tips, and tons of ways to get your zen on — are a great place to get started.
As the hustling, bustling (see what I did there?) woman that you are, setting aside time for self-care isn’t only deserved, it’s also the key to making sure you’re able to continue being your totally badass self. Here are nine books perfect for your fall self-care regimen — because you’ve definitely earned all the down-time you can get this season.
'Practice You' by Elena Brower
Journaling has long been one of my go-to self-care practices — especially when I’m in need of a little reflection, a little reconnection, and a whole lot of grounding. Out this month, Practice You by Elena Brower invites you to do exactly that: reflect on where you are right now and how you got there, reconnect to your purpose, and ground into your innate wisdom and power. Packed with more than 150 beautiful and inspiring prompts and mindfulness exercises, Practice You is the perfect journal for both writers and artists — or anyone interested in some creative me-time.
'The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment In A World Obsessed With Happiness' by Emily Esfahani Smith
I have read my fair share of books about finding happiness and I’ll be honest: a majority of them don’t tend to make me feel much happier. But Emily Esfahani Smith’s The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment In A World Obsessed With Happiness is one exception. Rather than directly focusing on happiness itself, Smith instead focuses on meaning — the real key, she argues, to a happier and more fulfilled life. Sharing real-life anecdotes as well as thoughts for how best to generate more meaning in our own lives, our communities, and the larger culture as whole, The Power of Meaning will have you rethinking happiness — and in turn, finding more of it.
'A Monk in the Bee Hive: A Short Discourse on Bees, Monks and Sacred Geometry' by Skye Ann Louise Taylor
Anybody who knows me, knows I have a thing for bees (they’re basically the key to life on Earth, in case you didn’t know.) But whether or not you love bees as much as I do, A Monk in the Bee Hive: A Short Discourse on Bees, Monks and Sacred Geometry by Skye Ann Louise Taylor is a slim, gorgeous meditation on life, patience, stillness, nature, order, geometry, and — of course — bees. Part memoir, part environmental exploration, A Monk in the Bee Hive invites you to slow down, find stillness, and begin to notice all the amazing, powerful connections between humans and the rest of nature.
'Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation' by Karen Brody
The heart of all self-care, at the end of the day, is rest — amirite? But too often, self-care just becomes one more thing to stress about: traffic on the way to that manicure, the guilty-pleasure novel that ended up keeping you awake all night, that bestie who unintentionally turned your coffee date into an hour of complaining about her ex… sound familiar? The next time you’re in need of a little self-care (so, all the time) check out Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation by Karen Brody — a self-care suggestion that’s actually all about deep, restful rest, and nothing else. Out in November, this 40-day yoga nidra program will help you break the cycle of fatigue, sleep better, feel healthier, and engage in life fully and joyfully — and just 45 minutes of yoga nidra can feel like 3 hours of sleep to your body. Can’t beat that.
'The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life' by Phoebe Lapine
If you don’t already know her from her blog, Feed Me Phoebe, Phoebe Lapine is an author, a gluten-free chef, and a culinary instructor who specializes in teaching people how to feed themselves to wellness and stay well — body, mind, and spirit. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her early twenties Lapine struggled with fad diets until she invented a lifestyle that worked for her: overhauling her eating habits, beauty routine, and exercise regimen until she found the perfect balance of what made her well. The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life is Lapine’s yearlong journey of self-care — funny, relatable, and ultimately hopeful.
'Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life' by Albert Flynn DeSilver
Whether you’re a professional writer, a hobbyist, someone who uses a pen and paper to decompress at the end of a long day, or someone looking to add a little more creativity into their self-care schedule, Albert Flynn DeSilver’s Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life will totally amp up your self-care writing routine. Zeroing in on how to access the source of creativity, Writing as a Path to Awakening demonstrates how a regular meditation practice can help connect you to your deepest, most subconscious you — and then how to express that you on paper. Offering advice about how to spark your imagination by connecting to the groundless source of creation, tips for using poetry in your meditation practice, and much more, this one is a must-read.
'Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Woman' by LiYana Silver
Being a feminist in today’s world — and basically any world I, my mother, or my grandmother can remember — is hard work, and we all deserve a little support and self-care for getting out there and fighting the good fight (day, after day, after day). Liyana Silver’s Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning on the Wisdom of Being a Woman invites you to pause and remember why and how much you matter in this world. Heartfelt and encouraging, Feminine Genius will teach you how to listen to and trust that innate wisdom and profound instinct deep inside all women. Filled with advice, inspiration, and helpful exercises, this book is all about connecting the knowledge of your body to the wisdom of your spirit in order to find empowerment, balance, fulfillment, and nurturance.
'How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life' by Heather Havrilesky
Second only to my love of bees is my love of advice columns — and if you feel the same about the writer behind the Ask Polly advice column, Heather Havrilesky — then you’ll love her collection of mostly-new (and a few favorite classic) responses to the kinds of questions that plague most of us all day long, to some degree or another. That collection, titled, How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life is hilarious and relatable, reminding you that self-care doesn’t have to be all meditation and massages — you will definitely benefit from a little laughter too. And, of course, all this real-world advice.
'The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription' by Lauren Walker
Another title out this month, perfect for your self-care shelf, is Lauren Walker’s how-to guide for energetic self-care. Offering simple, personalized ways to use yoga and energy medicine to connect with your body and feel your best, The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription will encourage you to look within yourself for the root causes of everything from a headache or allergies to stress at work and more by offering key principles from Ayurvedic medicine — one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems — along with recommended yoga poses to help you relax, reenergize, and bounce back an even better you. Check it out.