Ok, so that title is a bit of a clickbait, but well…it’s February (aka Valentines Day month) and the 15th (which is apparently Singles Awareness Day), so I thought I’d share different books that focus on as many kinds of healthy relationships as I can.
Coming from someone who kinda finds self-help books cringey as a concept, this was also a challenge I set for myself to find titles I would actually read publicly. This is not to say I’m judging anyone else for reading or liking such books! I just don’t like admitting to needing help, pretty much ever.
(…Feel free to recommend me a self-help book to get over this.)
With that introduction out of the way, let’s dive in!
The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook by Tim Desmond
I will admit that I frequently and freely judge books by their covers, and this ’14-Day Plan to Transform Your Relationship With Yourself’ by Tim Desmond caught my eye because 1) it’s pretty and 2) it screams workbook first and self-help book second. Also, I think many people’s unhappiness with themselves stems much of the time from being far too hard on themselves about things that are normal and natural to the human condition. We are people, we are messy. But we don’t have to be miserable messes, and here’s an actionable guide to getting on the road to being kind to ourselves!
Desmond’s aim with this book is to improve your ability to motivate yourself; regulate your emotions; learn resilience; lessen self-criticism and destructive behavior; heal painful experiences; and be more present and compassionate with others. It also contains downloadable audio recordings!
Here are some fun facts for you: March was National Nutrition Month, April is National Food Month, and according to the Islamic calendar (which is lunar, so the months shift along the Gregorian calendar), April is also going to be Ramadan!
As a quick primer, Ramadan is an Islamic holy month best known for being the time in which Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down. Yup, we don’t even drink water. But don’t be alarmed! We don’t avoid food and drink entirely; our meals just happen at a specific time. We have the suhoor, a pre-dawn meal to help us through the day, and the iftar, a post sunset meal to recover!
Publishing a book in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on the topic of cleanliness and how we’re overdoing the clearing off of our skin microbiome, and too often, is… bold. The author, James Hamblin, addresses this in the introduction, as you’ll find no mention of COVID-19 in the pages of Clean (also available on Overdrive as an e-book and an e-audiobook), since this was written before the pandemic hit. Its message, however, makes for even queasier reflection once we start thinking about how much 2020 has seen an uptick in the use of hand sanitizer and soap – and a necessary one, of course! I’m not even suggesting for a moment that we should reconsider how much we’re washing our hands in the midst of a pandemic where washing our hands properly might literally save lives. But similar messages have been raised about how we’re destroying our skin microbiome on a much more frequent basis than might be healthy: Beyond Soap by Sandy Skotnicki, was published back in 2018, for example, along with Missing Microbes by Martin J. Blaser (2014), which talks about antibiotic overuse and how that is changing our relationship with the microbes around us.