It’s true that “self-help” is a genre where you have to sift through a lot of “find your paradise, star boy!” to find the genuinely strong and authentic material. Although! It’s worth it! Are you looking for answers to some of life’s most pressing questions about purpose, relationship, and care?
Look no further if that’s what you’re looking for. This collection of five self-help books is the best of the best, with all the wisdom and authenticity you’d hope… and none of the nonsense.
1. ‘The Art of Showing Up’ by Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Who it’s for: It’s the Adulting 101 book we all should’ve received when we were in our twenties! Anyone who fails to strike the elusive balance between self-care and service to others will learn from reading this.
What you’ll learn: How do we live a happy, supportive life while still improving our relationships with our loved ones? This book delves deeply into the subject. Within 10 pages or so, you’ll have sorted out your goals.
When it comes to adult friendships, we’re woefully inept – we barely manage to show up for our own commitments, let alone maintain our relationships. Even before self-isolation we were experiencing a loneliness epidemic: we communicate through texts and emojis, and rear away in horror from an unsolicited phone call, even if it’s from our mum. Flaking out on plans is routine, both online and off.
The Art of Showing Up offers a roadmap through this morass, to true connection with your friends, family and yourself. Rachel Wilkerson Miller teaches that ‘showing up’ means connecting with others in a way that make them feel seen and supported. And that begins with showing up for yourself: recognising your needs, understanding your physical and mental health, and practising self-compassion. Only then can you better support other people; witness their joy, pain and true selves; validate their experiences; and help ease their burdens.
2. ‘The Body Is Not an Apology’ by Sonya Renee Taylor
Who it’s for: It’s about everyone who has been made to feel humiliated. Anyone interested in learning more about the social causes of body shaming and inequality. Anyone who has been looking in all the wrong ways for self-love.
What you’ll get out of it: It’ll guarantee a 50% to 85% reduction in self-hatred! While that isn’t a true fact, you would be a better person for having read Taylor’s thoughts. Have faith in us.
Readers of The Body Is Not an Apology have been clamoring for guidance on how to do the work of radical self-love. After crowdsourcing her community, Sonya Renee Taylor found her readers wanted more concrete ideas on how to apply this work in their everyday lives. Your Body Is Not an Apology Workbook is the action guide that gives them tools and structured frameworks they can begin using immediately to deepen their radical self-love journey–such as Taylor’s four pillars of practice, which help readers dismantle body shame and give them access to a lifestyle rooted in love. Taylor guides readers to move beyond theory and into doing and being radical self-love change agents in the world.
“In this book, you will be asked to draw, color, doodle, talk to friends, take risks, and perhaps step outside of what feels like your natural gifts and talents,” Taylor writes. “I encourage you to release the need to be ‘good’ at what you are doing and instead strive to be authentic. Perfection is the enemy of radical self-love because it is an impossible illusion. When the voice of perfectionism chimes in, take a deep breath, remember that the work is about the process, not about the product, and give yourself permission to be fabulously unapologetically imperfect.
3. ‘The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care’ by Anna Borges
Why it’s so powerful: This is a self-care strategy glossary. While this can seem simplistic to others, Borges’ book goes to considerable lengths to include knowledge, counseling skills, and professional advice on how to decide the type of self-care that can better benefit you at any given time.
What you’ll get out of it: A much deeper understanding of how to take care of yourself in a long-term, reliable manner. It’s also a great book to have on your coffee table to remind you to take care of yourself every now and then.
“For most of us,” writes Anna Borges, “self-care is a wide spectrum of decisions and actions that soothe and fortify us against all the shit we deal with.” You may already practice some form of self-care, whether it’s taking an extra-long shower after a stressful day, splurging on a ~fancy~ dinner, or choosing Netflix over that friend-of-a-friend’s birthday party. But when life gets so overwhelming that you want to stay in bed, some more radical care is crucial to maintain your sanity.
The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is here to help you exist in the world. Borges gathers over 200 tips, activities, and stories (from experts and everyday people alike) into an A-to-Z list—from asking for help and burning negative thoughts to the importance of touch and catching some Zzz’s. Make any day a little more OK with new skills in your self-care toolkit—and energy to show up for yourself.
4. ‘Brain Hacks’ by Lara Honos-Webb
Who it’s for: Everyone who feels exhausted by life’s demands. If you want to change your work and home lives, this book will teach you how to work harder, concentrate more, and achieve your goals with ease.
What you’ll get out of it: At long last, a book that teaches us what to do because we all can’t seem to get something done! This book will teach you how to be a more successful person in the world, and how to “be the master of your head,” as Honos-Webb puts it. It’s really cool.
Modern life requires a lot of our brains. We need to stay organized, manage our time wisely, and make important decisions. These essential skills—known as executive functioning—affect every aspect of our lives, from how we function at work and home to how we manage stress.
Written by clinical psychologist and author of The Gift of ADHD book series, Dr. Lara Honos-Webb, Brain Hacks offers powerful guidance and strategies that will improve your executive functioning and help you work smarter, feel better, and achieve more of your goals.
With chapter-by-chapter concentration on the main areas of executive functioning—focus and attention, planning and organization, cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation, and impulse control—Brain Hacks: Life-Changing Strategies to Improve Executive Functioning offers:
- An overview of executive functioning and self-assessments to identify which executive functioning areas pose your greatest challenges.
- Explorations of the 5 core skills of executive functioning, including summaries, techniques, and brain hacks to make them stronger.
- Real-world strategies and exercises to strengthen your executive functioning skills and apply them to everyday challenges.
Using the proven, life-changing strategies in Brain Hacks, anyone can significantly enhance their executive functioning skills. Even those who have struggled with executive functioning in the past can transform from being controlled by their brain to being in control of it.
5. ‘Find Your F*ckyeah’ by Alexis Rockley
Who is it intended for: Are you dissatisfied with your current position? Are you looking for a purpose, a passion, or a motive to get out of bed in the morning but can’t seem to find one? This book will help you unleash your “f*ckyeah” and re-ignite your passion.
What you’ll get out of it: By the end of this novel, you’ll be pumped up for the next chapter of your life, and you’ll have a better idea of what you want the chapter to look like.
Grounded in cutting-edge science but translated for people who speak emoji, Find Your F*ckyeah disrupts the warm and fuzzy “personal growth” fads made fashionable by mock gurus and self-proclaimed #selfcare experts. This bold guide combines humor, pop culture, and psychology to show us why the one-size-fits-all success formulas and trendy morning routines keep us caught in a cycle of boredom and stress, never fully sustaining our happiness. With hard science, guided experiments, and modern wisdom—from Beyoncé to Carl Jung—Alexis Rockley takes us step-by-step through the biological, cultural, and social factors that create our self-limiting beliefs. Debunking self-sabotaging ideals like “You Are a Living Brand” and “You Have One Calling,” Rockley encourages us to discover our real, uncensored selves and find a sense of purpose, even when we don’t have all the answers. For those of us tired of feeling the pressure to be better, do more, and work faster—to self-optimize and fall in line—Find Your F*ckyeah teaches us how to find joy where we are right now and to let our genuine self-expression guide us.