I love reading a book and coming away with a wide eyed, open mouthed everything has changed look on my face. In the last year or so I've put down a book with this look on my face more regularly than usual. A lot of the books creating this mind blown sort of feeling fall under the self help category. I know. Eye rolls all around.
Self help is like a bad word to "serious" readers. It's sometimes thought of as light and fluffy and really, really, hokey. But trust me. None of these books I'm about to tell you about fall under that category. And they're not even all listed as "self help." But if you're looking to change your life (or even just the way you think about things) for the better, you need to check these out.
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
If you’re looking to break a habit in the New Year, this is the book to get you there. Gretchen Rubin is nothing if not thorough in the research she puts into each of her books and Better Than Before is no exception. Here she outlines four motivation types, which allows you to understand yourself (and other people!) better. By digging into your specific type, you can learn strategies to motivate yourself to make the changes you’re hoping for.
This book is kind of mind blowing in the way it reframes the way you understand yourself and the people around you. Not only is it instrumental in creating better habits for yourself, but it is an incredible tool to use when dealing with difficult people.
Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore
Skincare expert Adina Grigore completely transformed the way I think about my skin. While before I thought of my super sensitive, rosacea-addled skin as problematic, I now think of the food and products that disagree with it as problematic. It's a tiny shift with huge implications. It means my skin is not the issue. Instead, the foods (like gluten and dairy) and products that disagree with it are the issue. If I avoid them, my skin will be happy and glowing.
My favorite part about this book is that it's not a one-size-fits-all fix. Instead, Adina focuses on finding out what does and doesn't work for you. With sections on nutrition, skincare, and simple DIY products, this book is my new skincare Bible.
It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
If you have any struggles with food or body image, this one’s for you. Food blogger Andie Mitchell had a difficult family life from a very young age and food became her best friend. This memoir tells her story while chronicling the shifts in thinking that helped her find a balance both in the ways she thinks about food and the way she thinks about herself.
Throughout the course of the book, I found myself nodding along, completely relating to Andie’s feelings and—possibly more importantly—understanding the thought processes behind the changes she made and seeing how and why they would work
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Do you have the creative bug? In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her perspective on creativity and inspiration while challenging readers to face their fears, embrace curiosity and let go of suffering. She details her own creative process, which is surprisingly similar to the process we all face when tackling a creative endeavor.
It’s eye opening to see that a successful author faces the very same challenges that you do. Whether you’re trying to write a book or you just really want to learn how to knit, Elizabeth Gilbert’s signature combination of no bullshit and nurturing will inspire you to take the leap.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
This book is as funny as you might expect it to be. What surprised me though, were all of the nuggets of wisdom tucked into and in between the laughs. While it’s a memoir of sorts, Poehler also encourages readers to do things their own way—and to allow others to do the same. One of my favorite mantras I learned from this book is good for you, not for me. Poehler teaches readers that there’s no one right way to do anything. You need to search for the right way to do things for you. I don’t know that there’s a better mantra for all of the moms out there than that one.
Before digging into this book, you should know that it’s not all laughs all the time. Poehler also talks about her struggles and imperfections, which is completely refreshing. If you need a boost, this is a great place to start.
JENNIFER GARRY is a writer and the mom of two girls who talk as much and laugh as loud as she does (just ask her husband). She writes about motherhood with humor and brutal honesty on her personal blog, Cuddles and Chaos. Read all of Jennifer's posts.