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Best Books for Self-Care

Love books? Love self-care? Then you’ll love my e-book, Tending Your Life!

Okay, so I’m a nerd. But as I’ve been reflecting on my own self-care journey, so much of it has been bound up in my favorite books. Here, I’m sharing my highly-curated reading list to inspire you in your self-care practice.

Trauma Stewardship

by Laura van dernoot Lipsky

I was working part-time in a clothing boutique many years ago now, when I ran into an old friend from my former yoga studio. I was cobbling together work as a yoga teacher and shop girl, and trying to be an activist at the same time. When I told my friend, also a yoga teacher and an escapee of the non-profit world, about the interior struggles I was experiencing, she told me to read this book.

In fact, she insisted that I read this book, and the rest is history. If you are hurting at seeing the world in pain, this book is for you. I can (almost) promise that it will rock your world.

This book is why this site exists.

Renaissance Soul

by Margaret Lobenstine

If you struggle with too many commitments, feeling scattered, or being put down by others for not having enough focus, please read this book.

It is sweet and simple and will help you feel less alone in pursuing your many passions, potentials, and purposes. You do not need to only do one thing in this life. You can follow your whole heart.


by Greg McKeown

Hoo, boy. This book is so freakin’ good.

Grab a highlighter and dive in. If you’re looking to simplify. If you’re looking to de-overwhelm. Or if you’re looking for fresh perspective on what does and doesn’t matter – and the tools to help you decide which is which – run don’t walk.

Another book I relied on while I was creating Sacred Focus, I simply adore this book and believe it should be required reading. While the book is mainly aimed at work and family, you could just as easily apply these lessons to your personal well-being, spiritual practice, or anything else that feels essential to you.

The Desire Map

by Danielle LaPorte

This book has gotten a lot of love over the years, but it’s worth mentioning. I still use many of the exercises in the book to make sure that my life is pointing itself in the right direction. It helps me make moment to moment decisions on my own behalf. It helps me make sure my whole life is feeling the way I want it to. I highly recommend it.

It is a gem.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

For me, self-care is one part adding activities, items, and practices that feel nurturing, and two parts stripping away what doesn’t belong. Marie Kondo’s work has helped millions clear out what doesn’t serve them and what doesn’t spark joy, on the physical realm.


from Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Wendell Berry, Joy Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, Rumi, and Hafiz

I was a poetry major in college. Did you know that? For my senior thesis, I wrote a collection of forty poems.

Poetry is still a touchstone for me. I rarely write poetry anymore, though its sensibilities infuse what I write, I’m sure. But I still take enormous delight in reading poetry, escaping into a sliver of a moment or an experience, as captured by one of the fine poets I’ve listed above. There are more whom I’m sure that I’m forgetting, but these are on constant rotation around my house.

Further reading: Real Self-Care: Poetry

Active Hope or World as Lover, World as Self

by Joanna Macy

A Buddhist teacher and environmental activist, Joanna offers deep insight on the ways that environmental destruction and other forms of oppression create grief in our culture. She also holds workshops for activists to create better practices for themselves in their work.

Her compassionate approach is lovely, and she is a brilliant knower of humanity and what we’re up against in social change. I would press these books into your hand with compassionate insistence, were you to visit me in my home.

Joanna’s teachings inspired the shape of Hella Metta, and I owe her a debt of gratitude for all of her inspiration.

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this book on the beach in Mexico over New Year’s Eve this past winter, and found it more profound and inspiring than I was expecting it would be. I enjoyed her novel, The Signature of All Things, on my trip to Vietnam in 2015, so I was excited to read more of her non-fiction/memoir.

This books inspired me greatly, and was the catalyst for my sharing all that I am now. It was while reading the books that I got the idea for Hella Metta – and realized that meditation needed to be a bigger part of what I do here in my work.

Daring Greatly

by Brené Brown

Brené is a genius. Her TED talks are remarkable. Her interviews are magical. She is an all-around brilliant person when it comes to how we can tend to our inner realms with great care in order to live happier, more fulfilled, more effective lives. However we define that.

If you’re not familiar with her work, I recommend that you dive in the next time you’re looking to binge of whole-heartedly supportive, brilliant content. Plus it’s backed up by rigorous research.


Find my full resource guide here!

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