5 Books to Encourage Self-Awareness and Self-Care

Self care is an essential part of our day-to-day and yet so many of us put it to the wayside as we go about our busy lives. As a result we’re exhausted and depleted; we’re craving a slower pace, self nurturing and time out.

Indeed, it’s common to hear that so many women out there know in their hearts that they need to make some lifestyle changes but they don’t have the energy to implement them.

Next time you’re sitting on the couch and reach for your phone, why don’t you pick up a book instead? Your phone stimulates your brain with it’s endless information and bright lights whereas paper pages lets you slow down and escape; reading is an immediate relaxant.

If you’re looking for an inspiring read perhaps you could consider a few of our favourites. They are perfect as stand-alone reads and even better as a collection to keep handy when you’re seeking inspiration.

1. Buddhism for Mothers 

Even if you’re not a mother, this book is a simple and very easy to read guide on Buddhism. Author Sarah Napthali doesn’t pretend to be perfect - it’s her imperfections that teach her so much about her mindset and attitude. And as she discusses her faults and her mishaps, she ultimately makes Buddhist teachings much more relatable.

“...I am a very ordinary woman. Most Buddhist writers have a long list of credentials as long as any reclining Buddha. Some of them could be enlightened. Most have spent years in retreat and have had some very impressive teachers. I, on the other hand, have never been on a retreat of more than two nights (and I had to take my sons) and can’t remember ever meditating for more than an hour and a half. I’m no spiritual giant but rather someone who is bumbling along, constantly humbled by how much I still to progress, but also amazed at how much Buddhist practice can improve my day.”

2. The Way of the Happy Woman

If you’re after a book that will hold your hand right throughout the year and offer you yogic guidance, nourishing recipes, a deeper understanding of your body in the seasons and the best advice for deep, plentiful self-care, then look no further. Author Sara Avant Stover blends yogic and Ayurvedic wisdom as she encourages the reader to honour the body, mind and breath.

“Rushing around, adhering to overflowing schedules, and listening to demands dictated by some outside authority, we ignore our inner wisdom, our innate rhythms, and out intimate connection to nature’s cycles. Instead of being slaves to others’ demands, we need to start trusting and living from our own inner impulses. Otherwise, we’ll never know how it feels to reside comfortably and confidently in our own skin...”

3. Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love

Kate James is a Melbourne-based coach and mindfulness teacher who is renowned in her field. Her book Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love offers bite-sized pieces of inspiration for those seeking confidence and faith in their life decisions. Her advice is incredibly practical; so much so that you can read a page and implement a suggestion right then and there. Kate recently released Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life - a superb addition to your bedside table that offers sound advice on practising mindfulness and simplifying your home, career and life.

“Work, relationships, exercise, shopping, cooking, sleeping and mundane things like tidying the house get in the way of doing what you love.

Don’t wait until you can find the time or have spare time, you need to make time.

   get up at 5am

   Cut back to a nine-day fortnight

   Take a career break

   Stop watching television

   Switch off social media

   Meditate. It will make you feel like you’ve got more time

 4. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

Granted this book is a little heavier than our other favourites. However, it’s message is profound: even the most enlightened beings still have to do their laundry. Author Jack Kornfield brings together a collection of stories and anecdotes from people of all religions - Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew and Sufi - and details how an enlightened heart can navigate the real world of family, relationships, emotions, pain, sickness, loss and death.

“The true task of spiritual life is not found in faraway places or unusual states of consciousness: It is here in the present. It asks of us a welcoming spirit to greet all that life presents to us with a wise, respectful and kindly heart.”

5. The Simple Home

A month-by-month guide to self-reliance, productivity and contentment, The Simple Home is a heartwarming book that sings the praises of simple living. Author Rhonda Hetzel is in her late sixties and shares such wisdom about keeping a home, saving your pennies and growing a bountiful garden. This book is like a big hug for those who want to simplify their lives and leave the consumerist world behind.

 “I am a woman who has been profoundly changed by my home and the work I do there. After spending much of my working life being ‘busy’ earning a living, I was exhausted, disappointed and in need of a change. Time passed, that change happened and I discovered the significant joys and rewards of a simple home.”