today I’m finally diving into something I’ve been wanting to do for at least six months: creating my first ever self care book club!
the past 12 months for me have been unbelievably transformative; I honestly feel like a completely different (better, more balanced) person today, and I attribute so much of my self development and feelings of centeredness to the books I’ve consumed.
I’ve always been really into nonfiction books, but this past year has really led me down the self-development and self-care rabbit hole. what started with a few books that friends had loaned me or publicists had sent me became a voracious consumption of paperbacks and audible downloads, learning everything I could from different schools of thought and powerful spiritual teachers.
my tastes have run the gamut, and even when I don’t necessarily connect 100% to an author’s message, I always take away something profound and meaningful that I can apply to my life.
it’s funny (in a kind of ‘not funny at all’ way) — the time that I was in a writing job at an online magazine was the time that I read the least. I was always so exhausted from work that last on my list — always — was reading something I wanted to read. If I was reading, it was competitor sites, trend reports, and anything that could influence how effectively and powerfully I could do my job.
this lead to a serious disconnection and lack of self awareness and self development. In turn, I trusted myself less, was out of tune with my “gut” and intuition, felt stalled and trapped, and deprioritized my wellbeing to the point that I had a serious season of rock bottom, both in terms of my physical health and emotional health.
fortunately, during my life reset (surprise — that’s what my forthcoming book is about!) I made a commitment to reading paperback books on the beach, and the rest is history. the stories I was reading hit so close to home for me; I was consumed and enchanted, and learning so so much about myself, my life, my relationships, and what I wanted for my future. it was the clarity I needed.
I can’t wait to share these books with you. there is SO much to be gleaned and learned from my favorites, and so much you can take away and immediately apply to your own life to feel like a happier, stronger person. I’m so thrilled you’re going on this journey with me to hone in on your emotional and mental fortitude and feel more freedom and joy in 2019 (and beyond!).
this list will comprise books I’ve read and loved, books I’m currently reading, and books I plan to read (and yes, many of these are from last summer’s reading challenge). I’ll update throughout the year with notes and additions, but the gist is this:
- we don’t have meetings over wine (I know, bummer) and we don’t have check ins. this is a choose your adventure book club.
- you don’t have to go in any particular order. pick one and let the good times roll! again, choose your adventure.
- you don’t have to read every book on this list, but like if you have the time then like why not you know
- use this time — reading for self care — to carve out more you time in your life to recharge in ways that feel good. that’s the most important part! taking time for yourself, and discovering resources and tools to feel happy and healthy and balanced.
- more books will be added to this list sporadically, so check back in when you can or subscribe to beauty & the beach updates!
- yes, I’m totally down to read your favs, too. email me, message me on the contact page, DM me on IG, or leave a comment.
are you ready to read?! or listen!? let’s dig in!
- The Clarity Cleanse, Dr. Habib Sadeghi. this man has legitimately changed my life, and it started with me reading a book on the beach. the clarity cleanse isn’t like a diet book, and it’s not the master cleanse — it’s about cleansing your brain and your spirit of negative experiences and emotions that you’ve been holding onto or have buried deep. these things are impacting our bodies in ways we never could’ve imagined, and this wizard-slash-doctor breaks down how to root these things out, heal yourself, and move forward.
- I Thought It Was Just Me, Brené Brown. everyone needs to read this. seriously, everyone. I learned more about life, vulnerability, and the ways shame plays a role in our lives than I have from pretty much any other book. Brené Brown is a gift to our generation and this planet. this was a book I didn’t know I needed, but now one of my top recommendations.
- You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero. there were some excellent bits in YAAB, and it led me down the ‘power of manifestation’ tunnel to many more books. important to keep in mind: I don’t feel that this author addresses mental health issues in a responsible way; things are glossed over and improperly assessed. take those sections with a grain of salt (they’re brief!) and the rest has some beautiful pieces of advice in a ‘tough love’ style.
- Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis. highly, HIGHLY recommend the audible version of this one, because the author is super captivating and endearing. I love trying to hear an author’s “voice” in their writing, and sometimes the best way to do that is to actually hear their voice reading it. this was one instance in which I think listening made me enjoy the book even more. lots of positive vibes and food for thought from a self-starter kinda gal.
- Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis. I’ve had this pre-ordered for months on audible, and finished it this past week (it just came out March 5!). another dose of motivation, solid pep talks, business and life advice from an entrepreneur and author I admire (and with whom have quite a few random things in common). you can tell Rachel read “The Power of Habit” before writing this, so it’s like a combo of that book and her last book, with new bits of wisdom. think: a successful & confident older sister sharing her best advice with you in a very non-condescending way.
- Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert M. Sapolsky. a clinical psychiatrist told me to overnight this book from amazon after one of our conversations (I was interviewing him for a story on huffington post). I’m about five pages in TBH but it’s already so freakin’ fascinating. essentially, we’re destroying our bodies with stress without realizing it. super tight. apparently there’s a happy ending.
- Perfectly Yourself, Matthew Kelly. Matthew Kelley is actually one of my favorite authors; he’s engaging, funny, and can describe things an an infinite amount of ways so that they make sense to different groups. though most of his books are centered on modern catholicism, this one is decidedly more general. it’s rooted in authenticity, and shedding expectations that you, culture, society, parents, friends, etc have put on you so that you can live more freely, happily, and purposefully — perfectly yourself. if you feel like you’re somewhat disconnected from your true self, and/or you want to figure out who you really are (career, personality, relationships, etc), this one is a must.
- Off, Tanya Goodin. I cannot recommend a digital detox more strongly, and this wildly brief read helps guide you through setting boundaries with tech (including mini detoxes, full blown off-weeks, and simple ways to create better barriers).
- The Secret, Rhonda Byrne. I know, I know. If you’ve heard of this one, you might be thinking “girl ur insane” but hear me out. I don’t truly believe that bad things happen to people because they called them in/manifested them, but I do fully believe in the idea of holding a positive thought front and center cognitively, and aligning your actions to bring these positive thoughts to life. just… just read it, ok?
- The Amazing Power Of Deliberate Intent, Esther and Jerry Hicks. my astrologer gave this book to me on a set of CDs, so I know I’m off to a good start in convincing you to read this lol. even if you’re not into the woo-woo, “the secret” style mindset of manifesting, the tools of “raising your vibration” and frequency can help literally any person feel better. they give seriously practical advice on how to break the cycle of negative thoughts, recover from feeling terrible, and get to a place of positivity so you can take better care of yourself. the language is a little funny, it’s not like a best friend talking to you — a tad more robotic — but I found it to be exceptionally helpful.
- The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown. you’ve likely heard that expression about your perceived weaknesses actually being your strengths, but this book makes that statement feel real. whether you think you struggle with feelings of worthiness or not, this is definitely worth a read to strengthen your confidence and compassion, while also understanding the other people in your life better.
- Unf*ck Yourself, Gary John Bishop. aside from the delightful Scottish narration and hilarious use of profanities, this is a truly powerful book. listening to it on audible was such a treat, and felt like I was getting a pep talk every time I got in the car.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson. remember when I said you may not 100% connect with an author’s message but you can still learn something? that’s pretty much exactly how I feel about this one. a book that felt a little too negative (and borderline petulant) for my tastes, but one that nonetheless offered bits and pieces of wisdom. I have friends who loved it, so I felt like it was worth including.
- The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz. a short-and-sweet, brief-but-powerful book about life. the agreements: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, always do your best. dive into what these mean and how to apply them in a little book that’ll take you roughly two hours to read.
- The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein. I listened to Gabby’s audible track and loved hearing her explain these principles so passionately. it’s so much more than a “trust the universe” kind of book, despite the fact that that’s kind of the gist of it. less pinterest-quote, more personal-power-generator.
- The Judgment Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein. this one is a book you don’t think you need until you read it. all of us judge. all of us are judgmental. we all judge different things, for different reasons, at different times, out of different fears. this teaches you how to let go, and teaches you how judgment negatively impacts your life and your ability to be your happiest, truest, most expressive and fulfilled self.
- You 1, Anxiety 0, Jodi Aman. I read this one via paperback, and it helped tremendously with my vocabulary around anxiety. part (I mean truly, just a part — this sh*t is so complex) of what makes mental illness is our inability to talk about it openly. lack of vocabulary certainly feeds into this, so when you’re equipped with a new kind of language to talk about your feelings, it’s incredibly empowering. highly recommend even if you don’t think you have anxiety, because I didn’t realize I had it until I was 25!
- The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg. a close friend of mine loaned me this science-centric, practical book centered on why we do things — as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a culture. it’s one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, and it’s rooted in facts and research, so it’s not just “life advice.”
- The 7 Principles of Stress, Ori Hofmelker. this one is on my to-read list, and it’s centered on something I’m quite curious about — how some levels of stress can actually be good. I’m excited to discover how stress can be beneficial in certain cases, outside of running for your life and adrenaline that helps u lift cars when there’s someone trapped underneath etc.
- Fulfilled, Anna Yusim. another on the to-read list, a psychiatrist addresses feelings of discontentment from a place of both psychology and spirituality. the cover is really pretty. I have a hardcover.
- Balanced Body Breakthrough, Caroline Jordan. sweet Caroline Jordan is one of the kindest, happiest people I’ve ever met, and her book BBB is her literary manifestation of her brilliantly positive coaching. all about not pushing yourself too far and finding what your balance is.
- The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin. a friend of mine sent me this book when I was in the throes of my worst stress, and somehow it’s still on my to-read list. basically a woman was not happy despite being a successful lawyer, wife, mom, etc so she made her life an experiment.
- Feeling Good, Dr. David Burns. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Burns on more than one occasion, and he’s a brilliant doctor and psychological philosopher, IMO. his book Feeling Good has been touted as an alternative to antidepressants thanks to its powerful teachings.
- Healthy Brain, Happy Life, Dr. Wendy Suzuki. I got started on this book years ago before I fully drowned in chronic stress, so never ended up finishing it. the time is nigh. my body is ready. and by body I mean brain. basically it’s about how a neuroscientist cures her own depression, so it should be pretty tight.
- Medical Medium, Anthony William. my dad gifted me this book and I can’t wait to read all about the founding father of the celery juice trend.
- Thank and Grow Rich, Pam Grout. I just discovered this on accident, and haven’t read it yet, so it’s on my to-read list — but I love the play on the classic Napoleon Hill book title, “Think and Grow Rich” (which I’m actually halfway through as well — it’s part of Rachel Hollis’s recommended business reads so I’m all up in it). I’ll circle back once I download it.
- Becoming, Michelle Obama. I’ve had this downloaded on audible and I’ve been waiting to carve out some time to commit to several chapters at once. it’s 19 hours long, so next time I’m road tripping or stuck in 3-4 hours of LA traffic visiting my best friend, Michelle will be my copilot.
happy reading! I can’t wait to hear how these books make an impact on your life.