Brighten up a loved one’s festive season with the gift of a book! We bring you 10 of the best self-care and wellness books on the shelves. From gentle reading, informative research, to self-care project books, and a bestseller by the charity Mind, we’ve covered every angle. Without a doubt, 2020 has been the year for self-care.
Finally, much needed attention has been drawn to topics of burnout, stress and self-care being essential to our health and wellbeing. If there is one good thing to come from this year, it’s the salience of mental wellbeing that has been discussed in the mainstream, argued and even talked about by politicians and our own prime minister.
So, whether it’s a gift for friends and family that have just started to explore the field of mindfulness and self-care, or for the seasoned student of mindfulness, we have put together a list of 10 top books, perfect to gift to a loved one. This festive season might be a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be cherished through the joy of giving.
10 best self-care books for Christmas
Looking for the best self-care book to give to a friend this year? Look no further! We’ve rounded up some of our favourite wellness books to make your search easier. Read on to discover our best self-care books…
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life By Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles (£12.99, Cornerstone)
It’s safe to say that long haul travel has been limited in 2020. However, the culture of Japan continues to capture our attention and evokes intrigue and wonder. This book takes you on a journey into the notion of wellness embedded deep in the Japanese culture. The gentle balance of both research and opinion, helps make this seem less like a pushy ‘have-to-do’ book, and more like your friend helping you along at your own pace. Ikigai is literally a reason to spring out of bed every morning and is considered to be a secret to living a longer fulfilled life. Ikigai is perfect for the keen traveller in your close circle wishing to explore another culture.
The Japanese culture has been widely documented and highlighted in the last couple of years. From the unique seasons, hearty vegetarian cuisine, strong traditions and heritage, to the modern buzz of Tokyo and quiet backstreets of Kyoto, the culture of Japan evokes intrigue. This book is simply perfect for anyone who is interested and inspired by the Japanese culture and way of life.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (£10.99, Hodder & Stoughton)
The Power of Now makes for an inspiring show-stopping read, and this year marks the 20th anniversary since its original release, which was ahead of its time back in 2000. This popular self-help book has sold over one million copies in the UK alone. Even Oprah is a fan!
Author Eckhart Tolle has created a classic engaging self-help book. This makes for a perfect read for a friend of loved one who may be feeling slightly unsure of the future in these strange times. The Power of Now demands your attention and pulls you into an alternate realm, where you can stop and reflect on the power of being in the present. Using a question and answer format, Tolle directly helps the reader to challenge preconceived thoughts and beliefs. It holds you in the present moment where you are able to find true joy and fulfilment.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking (£9.99, Penguin Books Ltd)
It is no surprise that Denmark has been consistently voted as one of the happiest countries in the world. Why? One word: Hygge. Now, an important fact, hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is not an entity in itself nor is it an object or something you can buy. It is a concept that the Danish like to assign to a moment of pure happiness. It is a moment of true contentment with oneself. This could be a cosy evening at home reading a book with your furry friends by your side, the feeling of joy at fluffy pink clouds forming at sunset on a winter’s day, or a special moment with friends and family.
Written by CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Meik Wiking talks you through all aspects of hygge, where it originates from, its place within the world, and how to create your very own hygge through recognising hygge moments as they occur.
In The Flo by Alisa Vitti (£16.99, HQ)
Released earlier this year, there has been a lot of praise for this popular self-help book. In the Flo can be deemed a self-help book but also a guidebook on how women can utilise their 28 day cycle, to actually get more done by doing less at certain times of their cycle. Alisa Vitti argues that it’s important for women to listen to their body and natural rhythms, rather than ignoring and forcing their body to work in the modern world which leads to burnout and stress.
What makes this self-help book practical and relatable are the tips on basic elements such as eating and drinking around your cycle, and how to include these in your daily routine to benefit the most from them, during various stages in the cycle. From subjects such as how diet and fitness are linked to be hormonal levels, to how energy levels fluctuate through the monthly cycle – this book is an eye opener as much as it is a learning curve.
The Self-Care Project By Jayne Hardy (£10.99, Orion Spring)
Self-care is a term that has been drilled into us all during 2020! And there are indeed many positives to be taken from the research and documentation behind the concept of self-care. First and fore most Hardy drills into the reader that self-care is not a selfish demand, but instead it is a basic necessity.
Author Jayne Hardy is the founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation, a mental health charity. Drawing on her own personal experiences of depression in her life, and modern day literature, she has compiled a true to the word, self-care book. One that can be seen as more of a guidebook, and a project book that you can follow at your own pace, allowing you to pause for reflection when needed. There is a caring narrative present throughout the book, that enables you to explore your own needs and how they can be met.
Self-Care For the Real World By Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips (£16.99, Hutchinson)
The Narain sisters share their many years of experience as guru’s and teaching self-care to others. Arguing strongly that self-care is not a means of hiding from the world and avoiding stress, but instead a means of actually being more aware and in tune with the present and one’s engagement with the world.
Drawing upon their own personal experiences and life lessons, the open and honest narrative is relatable and engaging. This self-help book isn’t a strictly textbook formula, for the topics covered in this book are broken up by pretty designs and beautiful photographs, that help take you on a journey and enable you to escape.
Niksen: The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Annette Lavrijsen (£12.99, White Lion Publishing)
You’ve heard of ‘hygge’, now it’s ‘niksen’ – another one to add to your mindfulness dictionary. STOP – quite literally, stop and do nothing – is the motto behind niksen. It can feel as though there are not enough hours in the day to fulfil our tasks and the constant ping of digital media, can make it very difficult to switch off. How do you combat the endless list of ‘to-do’s’? The niksen answer would be to tear the list up! Not ignoring it entirely, but pausing and taking time out to breath and practice the art of nothingness for a few minutes will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
At times the working week can feel never ending and many of us take our workload home to carry on with. This year especially, the switch from office to home working was so sudden and stressful, there wasn’t much time to adapt. A lot of us found ourselves swept into a frenzy of working longer hours and even more days than normal. It feels that a 9-5 working day doesn’t exist anymore. Burnout and stress are salient topics that need addressing more than ever this year. Which is why niksen offers the perfect opportunity to stop and reflect. It is a much-needed notion to be added to our culture.
Take a Moment by Mind (£9.99, Michael O’Mara Books Ltd)
The charity Mind have provided a vital source of support this year to so many lives. At less than £10, it makes a perfect stocking filler or even secret Santa present. Packed with top tips for taking a moment and pausing, this is a thoughtfully put together book with pretty imagery and gentle prose.
This book makes an ideal gift for a teenage who may be finding the balance between school and home tough this year, a student living away from home, or perhaps an elderly relative living alone. Plus, what’s really good to know is that by purchasing this book, you are helping to support their vital funds to enable them to continue to providing support and help during these uncertain times.
Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker (£10.99, Penguin)
For those seeking a more detailed, involved read, this bestselling book is a first of its kind written by neuroscientist Professor Matthew Walker. This book explores a plethora of research spanning over two decades, that emphasises the importance of sleep and how it affects our physical and mental health.
Discover the purpose of sleep and the harmful effects that a lack of can have upon our health, both in the short and long term. From REM, to the influence of caffeine and alcohol on sleep, and even how sleep can improve exercise duration – no stone if left unturned in this fascinating read.
Zen: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmayo Masuno (£12.99, Penguin Books Ltd)
This delightful book offers one lesson a day for 100 days to help teach you how to slow down and take time out from the stresses of modern life. Written by Buddhist monk Shunmayo Masuno, you are talked through the history of Zen and how it has a practical place in today’s world. From exercises such as deep breathing, decluttering a cupboard, re-arranging your home, there is an art and deep-rooted tradition behind Zen. This wonderful book explains how it can help to improve your life.