05 Sep September Stress or September Self-Care? 5 Books to Read This Fall
Come summertime, it seems like every website or magazine compiles a list of the best “Summer Reads”. I don’t know about you, but I love them. I always look forward to having more time to curl up with a good book, especially when I am anticipating more free time, and preferably if that free time takes place on a beach.
So, in honor of the much-anticipated summer reading list, I have compiled the ultimate September reading list.
You may be thinking, “What?! With back-to-school, back-to-work and back-to-reality, I won’t have any free time to read!” However, I kindly suggest you keep an open mind during what is arguably the busiest and most stressful time of year.
This may be the time of year you need a stack of books next to you the most. Even if those books take precedence over school assignments or work deadlines. Let’s face it, re-entry into reality is hard after summer vacation. I am recommending my tried-and-true books to de-stress and help you combat anxiety, whether that anxiety is chronic or situational.
My best advice to you is to make time, especially when your gut says you have no extra time. I always find that is exactly when prioritizing some “me time” is essential. The great thing about all of these books is that you can literally open to any page in every single one of them and learn something new.
Pro-tip: keep a book where you need a book. I, personally, find it helpful to keep some of these books all over: by my bedside, in my handbag, in my office, by my bathtub, on my Kindle, and on my iBook app on my phone. I never know when I will have a few extra minutes to read, when anxiety will strike, or when I am in need of some calming inspiration.
My favorite thing about these books is that, while they are not clinical literature, they support both DBT and CBT therapy and many of the suggestions for stress-relief in these books are similar to skills taught in both therapeutic modalities. I find it fascinating, while reading, to see the similarities, and you may, too!
My Top 5 Book Recommendations for September
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
While I have gotten so much from this book, my favorite part is when Chodron suggests that if and when you find your mind wandering into a spiral of anxiety and catastrophic thoughts, you should literally stop what you are doing and say “Thinking!” out loud to yourself.
This reframe allows you to realize that you are entering a zone of spiraling thoughts, and it can help you be mindful and aware that it is time to separate “feeling” from “fact”.
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
This book is all about how we talk to ourselves and acknowledges that we are in constant dialogue with our thoughts. It is important to be mindful of that because although we feel that all of our thoughts are factual, they are not – especially those anxious, catastrophic thoughts.
Singer describes our negative and anxious thoughts as a roommate living within us. Would we tolerate a negative, roommate who was always insulting us? Would we listen to that constant negative chatter? Or, would we tell that roommate to stop and start asserting ourselves?
- Be Here Now by Ram Dass
Half coffee-table book, half self-help, this book is untraditional with it’s drawings and yogic philosophy, yet I always find if I am having a rough day, that opening to a random page can tell me exactly what I need to see, hear and start to think about.
- Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Note to self: keep this one on your bedside table! Inspired by his popular, encouraging morning and evening tweets to his fans, the brilliant creator of Hamilton compiled a book complete with illustrations.
The result is a book that is best kept at your bedside and opened each day to a random page. It offers exactly what it says it does: a morning message and one for the evening. It’s a wonderful way to start and end your day.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu. Recommended version by Stephen Mitchell
I first read this book when it was assigned to me my senior year of high school. It helped me shape my thoughts then, and helps me to do the same now. While this is an incredibly ancient text, the words and messages still resonate in 2019, and they always help me think of something more helpful and beneficial than what I am thinking in moments of stress.
I hope this list inspires you to start thinking about a self-care routine as you embark on all the other routines that come back into fruition once life starts getting busy again. Whether that be reading, writing, or any other sort of creative outlet, please try to make time for yourself to decompress, reflect, and nourish your mind.
Please feel free to email me to let me know what you are reading. I love receiving recommendations as much as I love making them.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, change of season!
Authored by: Jaime Gleicher, LMSW