I have a little part of my bookshelves that I call my self-care section. In it I keep the self-help books I know really do help, some soothing fiction and any other books I find lift my spirits. When life gets too much, I can quickly dip in there and find something. I think everyone needs a self-care library - if you need a little inspiration for what to include in yours, here are some of the best books that could help to give your mental health a boost.
No Such Thing As Normal by Bryony Gordon
Bryony Gordon has done a huge amount to encourage people to speak openly about mental health and depression, including her moving interview with Prince Harry in which he spoke poignantly about the emotional impact of his mother's death. Her latest book is a mix of memoir and practical advice on what she's learned about addiction, anxiety and therapy. It's an easy, accessible read and should help anyone struggling right now to feel less alone.
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Aged 24, Matt Haig suffered so badly from depression he couldn't see a way to keep on living. In this powerful book he shares his own story and the ways he's found of dealing with life when the black dog bites. A warm, wise and life-affirming read.
A Manual For Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink
In this soothing guide to grief, writer Cathy Rentzenbrink shares how she learned to live with loss after the death of her younger brother, Matt. This wonderful book offers comfort to anyone going through a painful time, and how to find joy again.
The Sober Girl Society Handbook by Millie Gooch
If you've found yourself reaching for the bottle more often than you'd like in recent months, this new release is for you. In February 2018 Millie Gooch realised her drinking was a "ticking time bomb" and that she needed to do something. She founded The Sober Girl Society and as packed everything she's learned into this practical, no-judgement book.
Wintering by Katherine May
This meditative book is all about the restorative power of fallow periods in life (the very definition of the current pandemic) and how retreating from the world allows us to restore and repair. Katherine writes beautifully about her own fallow period after she fell ill and what she learned from it.
The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Within two years, writer Joan Didion lost both her beloved daughter and her husband of 40 years. This moving book is her attempt to make sense of the deep grief she feels.
Speak Your Truth by Ferne Cotton
The latest book from the broadcaster is based on her own experiences of losing her voice and how it made her reflect on all the other times she'd been silenced. Speak Your Truth looks at all the ways we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons, and explores how to find your voice, assert yourself and speak out with confidence.
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
The best-selling author of Wild is one of the wisest women out there and this mini-guide is packed full of her brilliant insights on life. From love to loss (and everything in between), Cheryl has reassuring advice for every situation. This bite-sized gem is the perfect book to keep by your bedside for those middle of the night panics.
First, We Make The Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson is the best-selling author of I Quit Sugar and has lived through high anxiety her whole life. Over seven years, she travelled the world talking to the experts and this book draws together the best advice on thriving with anxiety.
Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Aged 45, Alice Hoffman (author of Practical Magic) was diagnosed with breast cancer. In Survival Lessons, she's brought together all the strategies she found to cope. She begins each chapter with the word 'choose' as a reminder that even when you can’t control your circumstances, you can choose your response.
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