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2021 marks the year I turn 29. 29 years on this earth, and it feels like I’m only beginning to get anything figured out.
The goal I have for this 29th year is to do everything possible to enter my 30’s as healthy as possible.
A huge part of that is taking care of my mental health. As someone who struggles with anxiety, the last few years especially, I have put a huge focus on my mental health.
I have always loved reading and writing, but in my early 20’s I barely read at all. Now that I am focusing so steadily on my mental health and self care, I have gotten back into reading and have found a love for self improvement type books. This is how the idea for “A year of self care reading” was born!
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, I’d LOVE for you to join me on this year-long reading adventure!
I am going to read & reflect on at least one book a month in 2021. There are SO many great books out there and I cannot wait to get started, but also do not want to overwhelm myself. If I commit to some crazy, one book a week schedule I’ll 100% get stressed and quit. (Enneagram 7w8, BLUEEEE/yellow personality. If you follow those things, you know my struggles)
Since there are so many books out there, I’m also not saying this plan of mine won’t change. You can follow me on Instagram @shorthairsandlongnaps as I’ll probably be keeping updates on this in my stories and such. (Plus I’d love to connect with you! Especially if this reading list is something you want to do with me!)
I have a kindle, which I LOVE! But for this I want to read at least half of the books in a physical book form. I think I’ll see if any of my choices are included in my KindleUnlimited subscription (which if you’re a fan of reading, you should try it out!)
Let’s get on with the books now!
So up first, these are the books, as of right now, I plan on reading. Again, this might change and I’m also going to include some honorable mentions in case you’d like to read more or want to skip one on this main list.
12 books – one for each month of 2021
1. Switch on your brain: the key to peak happiness, thinking, and health by Dr. Caroline Leaf
This book showed up on my radar when a fellow oils instgrammer kept posting it in her morning routine. I’ve been thinking of it ever since, even seeing one of my Facebook friends post about reading it, so I figured we’d start with this book.
Also, I feel like my brain really needs switched on hahaha
This author also has a book coming out in March called your mental mess. Sounds like another promising title for myself, honestly.
2. I thought it was just me (but it isn’t) – Brene Brown
Brene Brown quotes are generously peppered throughout the positive pages I follow on Instagram. Some of her words really resonate with me and I cannot wait to dig into her books.
The reason I’m choosing this one in particular to start with, out of her other options, is the title speaks to me. As someone who deals with anxiety and has dealt with postpartum depression, imposter syndrome is a real thing. Whether or not this book touches on it, I have no clue. But I just feel like this might be a great book to have in my 2021 arsenal. Mental health struggles often feel very lonely and I often find myself feeling like no one understands what I’m going through. That’s a very false statement, but it’s the nature of the beast.
3. You are a badass – how to stop doubting your greatness and living an awesome life – Jen Scincero
Another influencer found book from insta. I follow some top notch people on my blog gram. I highly suggest detoxing your social media platforms and following very inspiring people. I don’t even go on my personal Instagram regularly because the people and pages aren’t my speed anymore. Love and light, baby.
ANYYYYYWAY, this book. I saw a picture of one of the pages, read it and knew I needed to consume this book. And I cannot wait to do so. Let’s all stop doubting our greatness because we are all destined for it.
4. A year of yes – how to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person by Shonda Rimes
The author of this book is the creator of Greys Anatomy, which I have to admit I haven’t watched, but this is her story of saying yes to things she’d normally say no too.
I don’t know that it’s so much a self help book, but I like the positive energy that comes from the title and the story I’ve read in the description on Amazon. So we’ll give this a go.
5. Get out of your head: stopping the spiral of toxic thoughts by Jennie Allen
As a person who struggles with anxiety and finds myself dwelling on mistakes and the past, the title of this book was just like one of those cookies from Alice in Wonderland with an “eat me” sticker on. Swap “eat me” with “read me” and I’m in my own little wonderland.
This book seems to be a religion based book, as there is mention of God, so if that’s not your speed you can swap it out with one of the honorable mentions I’m including at the end.
6. Empty out the negative by Joel Osteen
Okay, this is another religion based book. My apologies if that’s not your thing. Again, there’s honorable mentions going to be listed below.
On that note, I’ve been mistyped as very religious my whole life, when in reality I don’t know anything about religion really. I’m still not even sure who I’m supposed to be praying to? God? Jesus? Is there a secretary Angel that screens calls? I don’t know. But I do know that 2020 has had me clinging to worship music for dear life and it makes me feel better when I’m anxious.
This book description touches on holding onto bitterness and jealousy, which lets get rid of all that jazz this year! We hold no space for old, unhealed negativity in 2021.
7. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This book has mixed reviews, mostly by diehard fans of her first book, it seems. I have not read any of her work, so I have nothing to judge this book on, besides the cover. Which I’m obsessed with. It’s the most beautiful book cover I’ve ever seen in my life.
This book is geared towards women empowerment and I am HERE FOR IT. I cannot wait to read this book.
8. Atomic Habits: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones by James Clear
Mannnnn, this one is really speaking to me. One of my biggest realizations the last few years is how many negative coping mechanisms and toxic habits I’ve adopted. Let’s break those bad habits in the new year!
9. Make your bed – little things that can change your life….and maybe the world by Admiral William H. McRaven
I’m going to say right now, I hate the title of this book because I hate making my bed. I’ve made my bed almost 0% of my life. Like why are we making the bed just to go to sleep later? But I appreciate the motive behind it. I also feel like it is a very productive habit to have and that probably sets a great tone for the rest of the day. Which is why it made its way onto this list. I’m interested to see what other “little things” it will suggest to change my life.
10. Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb
Therapy has changed my life. I truly know without a shadow of a doubt I would not be doing as well as I am today without crawling my broken self into counseling. That being said, I’m a fan of this title. The description on amazon has me truly excited to read this book.
This book is written by a therapist and from what I understand is about her experiences as a therapist and also her own person therapy journey. Very interesting.
If you haven’t yet tried therapy, I highly recommend it. Worst case scenario is you don’t like it, so just stop going. But it is truly amazing, life changing and more than just talking. You leave with validation, coping skills and weight lifted off your chest.
11. The body keeps score – brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma by Bessel Von Der Kolk, M.D.
Do a little research on trauma. It’s not always a huge catastrophe of an experience. Even people with great childhoods and “normal” lives experience trauma, but never seek help because they either don’t realize it or believe that they have not had it bad enough, etc etc. Bullying, death, frequent moves and many other normal life experiences are examples of trauma we experience and it has more impact that you (and I) ever realized.
I cannot wait to read this book.
Even if you don’t feel like you’ve experienced trauma, education on the matter is good for everyone, in my uneducated opinion anyway.
12. You’re not enough (and that’s okay) escaping the toxic culture of self love by Allie Beth Stuckey
This is a definite read for this year, because as we embark on this healing journey through books, this sounds like a good reality check that healing isn’t linear. It’s hard. It’s not one of those things that you just decide upon and it happens overnight.
Sometimes we feel like we’re failing because we don’t fit into a box that someone else has made for us. That’s a problem a lot of people need to work on because it’s setting you up for failure from the get go.
This seems to be another Christian based book but I am ready for it. I can’t wait to see this authors perspective and read her story.
So there you have it. A year of self care, self improvement and self love reading. I can’t wait to go on this journey with you in the year 2021. There is so much power within ourselves and we just need to unlock it, step into our full potential and be 100% our authentic selves.
2021 is a year of improvement for me. The last 3 years have been messy, to put it lightly. And I’m ready to see what 2021 has in store for me. If you want to follow along, join me on Instagram. Message me and let me know you’re there for the year of good reading!
Now, onto some honorable mentions. This will be great for those of you who want to skip the religion based books or if you simply want to read more.
1. The self-care prescription by Robyn L. Gobin
2. Good vibes, good life – a real world guide to achieving a greater life by Vex King
3. Super attractor: methods for manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein
4. Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Berne Brown
5. The subtle art of not giving a f*ck: a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson preorder
6. Present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for simpler more soulful way of living by Shauna Niequist
7. Didn’t see that coming: putting your life back together when your world falls apart by Rachel Hollis
8. You can heal your life by Louise Hay
9. It didn’t start with you: how inherited family trauma shapes who were are and how it ends with you by Mark Wolynn
Also some goals are to get better with my journaling. I have the mindfulness journal and want to be more intentional with using it. I feel like writing things down is a great way to release things instead of keeping them in this brain.
Here is the journal I have!
If you don’t have a kindle, I highly recommend one! This is the one I have and love.
I also really love the free kindle app on my phone, so you can try that out first and you can try kindle Unlimited for free as well with the link below!
Let’s work on ourselves in 2021!