One of my favourite things to keep me grounded and focused on my goals is by reading something a few times a week before bed. I usually choose a book or magazine that would fall into the “self help” category. A lot of people are wary of self help books. This could be for a number of reasons, but generally, asking for help is often perceived as a weakness and thus reading a self help book would be admitting weakness.
I feel completely the opposite about self help books and asking for help. I used to be afraid to ask for help for anything for fear of inconveniencing others, admitting weakness or not having all the answers. Once dove in, self help books became a way to get assistance without having to change my patterns too quickly. With practice, and encouragement from the books I was reading, I began to accept help from those who wanted to support me in small and big ways from helping to take the groceries in or cooking dinner to offering advice and support in tough times.
Recently, I stumbled on a women’s magazine called Darling: The Art of Being a Woman. Reading this magazine reconnected me to the self help reading I’ve done over the years. Here is my inspired reading list and why I love these books so much.
Darling Magazine’s mission includes leading women to practice the arts of virtue and wisdom, being a catalyst for positive change, being not only good enough, but exceptional and finding self love apart from vanity. A breath of fresh, inspirational air from some of this world’s most brave and successful women. The articles are all in short format and can be read in about 10 minutes each to fit into a busy schedule. The photos are beautiful and never retouched. If you’re missing a dose of poetry, you’ll even find that in Darling.
Gabor Mate’s book “When the Body Says No” takes your emotional life and draws a straight line from it to your health. With hundreds of research articles to back it up, it helps explain why some of the nicest people we know who bend over backwards for everyone can end up sick and why caretaking for someone who is ill can be so difficult. It highlights the importance of taking time for self care, to examine our wounds that we inevitably incur during this life and challenges us to make choices that support our healing. I took a few months to read this book because every chapter hit home so deeply. This is a must read if you’ve been trying everything to get healthy and not getting the results you’d like. The emotional life has the ability to control our immune, cardiovascular, digestive and other systems of our body; it’s time to pay attention.
Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” literally changed my life. It flicked a switch that is still on as I navigate owning a business, being a partner, a daughter, sister, auntie and clinician who cares deeply for my patients. This book helped me finally understand that perfection is never 100% unattainable. No matter how many times I have been graded or had feedback getting 100% in life isn’t about doing everything right. I now understand that it’s about doing my best and that my best from day to day changes. What’s most important is to love myself, be compassionate as I would be to a friend and to know that to be seen deeply is what fosters connection. To be vulnerable with safe people in your life is what allows the feelings of love to permeate and bring light to the darkness. The book reads like part auto-biography, part science article and part comedy. Small thought provoking chapters make it super accessible. She has a few TED talks as well that give you a taste of her work.
The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser takes you step by step through the process of using diet and lifestyle to restore your health and prevent illness. The diet information is totally on point with evidence to back it up. What I love most about it is that at least half of the book is dedicated to the lifestyle component. With so much focus on diet, it’s easy to lose the forest through the trees. Diet, even though difficult, can be comparatively easier that changing our lifestyle. However, if diet is the path to get you through the forest, lifestyle is what controls the obstacles. No matter how good of a path you have, a snow storm of stress, a flood of sleep deprivation and a quick sand lagoon of inactivity will take you off course.
The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne covers everything you need to know to get started managing a chronic and/or autoimmune condition with diet. Take all the time you could spend googling cures to what ails you, cut that time down by 25% and increase the quality of information you get by 10 fold. It’s an encyclopedia that will change your life.
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo is full of great recipes that I come back to over and over again. Her handouts and explanations of healthy fats, carbohydrate sources and others are extremely easy to use references. The recipes are also coded for FODMAP, nightshades, eggs and nuts. If you’re avoiding or minimizing any of these foods this book is a great place to start. Where possible she indicates the substitutions you can make. The extra information in this book about why dietary approaches are helpful for so many conditions is essential.
Lost and Found by Geneen Roth is one of many excellent books that Geneen has written on our relationships with food. Lost and Found is about the window that our consumption habits have to our overall relationship to the world. Ever realize that your shopping because you’re stressed, or eating because you are lonely? This book is a great stepping stone for anyone starting to look at their habits and triggers and wondering why it’s all so hard to change.
Move your DNA by Katy Bowman covers the science backing up how essential restoring natural movement is to our health from our feet to our head. I am still working through this one but it is already challenging me to become more active and give my body it’s “movement nutrition” that it needs. We are designed to move and I know I’m happiest when I’m standing, squatting, jumping, walking and stretching. I’ve been taking more walks outside in the mornings and find that it sets my day off right.
I hope these books help you on whatever your journey you are on. No matter the work, it’s worth doing. Feel free to share this post with others who may be contemplating or journeying all ready!
Until text time!