The best self-care books

Our edit of the best self-care books to draw comfort and inspiration from in difficult times, from amazing true stories to mindfulness colouring books.

3 minutes to read

This year, the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week is the role that kindness, to ourselves and others, plays in our mental health. As we all stay at home and practice social distancing, we need to take care of ourselves and each other. More time spent at home is a great opportunity to indulge in self-care and invest in yourself, by reading those books you’ve always meant to read, taking up a new hobby, working on your health and fitness or learning to cook something new. But it’s also ok just to cope in these difficult times, and it’s vital that we all protect our mental health. Here is our edit of the best self-care and self-improvement and adult colouring books to draw comfort and inspiration from. For more inspiration, don't miss our wellbeing activities for adults YouTube playlist.

Books to read if you want to practice mindfulness

Inner Spark

by Kristin Vikjord

Book cover for 9781529043587

Kristin Vikjord’s guide draws on her experiences as a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher and mindfulness facilitator to help readers to embrace the challenges of modern life. Offering a practical toolkit of exercises to help you find and nurture your inner spark, Kristin explains how the brain’s pathways work, and how and why it is so important for anyone having a difficult time to have a toolkit for reconnection. Kirsten guides the reader through three sections of the book: normalisation, clarification and agency with the mind of a clinical psychologist and the heart and soul of a yoga teacher. 

Art of Mindfulness

by Emma Farrarons

Book cover for 9780752265940

While away the hours at home with this creative art therapy book to soothe anxiety and stress. Full of beautiful colouring pages, drawings to imitate, patterns to create and lots of guided sketching, Art of Mindfulness is full of mindful activities to help you achieve a sense of calm.

The Little Book of Calm Colouring

by David Sinden

Book cover for 9781509812660

Soothe stresses away and lose yourself in some creative colouring with this beautifully hand-illustrated colouring book full of stunning anti-stress designs and inspiring quotations.

Stress Less, Accomplish More

by Emily Fletcher

Book cover for 9781509876167

In these difficult times, many people are trying to balance working from home in less than ideal conditions – possibly while caring for children – with looking after their own physical and mental wellbeing. In Stress Less, Accomplish More, Emily Fletcher shares an ancient meditation technique to relieve stress, clear your mind and increase productivity. All you need is somewhere to sit, a little training and some time to yourself.

Ten to Zen

by Owen O'Kane

Book cover for 9781509893676

This simple but effective guide helps to get you in the right headspace for challenging times in just ten minutes a day. Using four therapeutic models – mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy – you will learn how to settle your mind quickly, to retrain your brain to deal with stress and to restructure unhelpful patterns of thinking.

Books to read if you're feeling anxious

The Anxiety Journal

by Corinne Sweet

Book cover for 9780752266275

Many of us are probably feeling a little more anxious than usual right now. The Anxiety Journal encourages you to use CBT techniques and mindfulness exercises to better understand your anxiety and achieve peace and calm. Practical, supportive and uplifting, this is a journal for anyone who struggles with anxiety, whether in the form of phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety (GAD) or day-to-day worrying.

Anxiety for Beginners

by Eleanor Morgan

Book cover for 9781509813247

Eleanor Morgan offers an insight into the often crippling effects of anxiety disorders, her book serving as a guide for those living with anxiety and for people who have friends or family who suffer. Eleanor combines her own experience with expert research to investigate what contributes to so many of us suffering around the world.

Books to read if you're looking to cultivate a new habit


by Sarah Harvey

Book cover for 9781529005356

If you’ve been wanting to cultivate a new habit but life keeps getting in the way, more time spent at home could offer the opportunity you’ve been looking for. Kaizen means ‘change’ ‘good’ – this Japanese philosophy offers a step-by-step method to help you build positive new habits and break bad ones by making small, incremental changes to slowly improve your life. Focusing on cultivating patience and shaping solutions for yourself, kaizen promotes positive, mindful change. The kaizen method has been adopted by businesses and sports teams all over the world and can be applied to any area of your life, from work and money to exercise and relationships.

The Kindness Method

by Shahroo Izadi

Book cover for 9781509881826

In these difficult times, we could all benefit from showing ourselves a little kindness. If you want to use this time to make a change, Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi believes there’s only one way to make change last, and that’s to be kind to yourself. The Kindness Method was developed through a combination of professional training and personal experience and will leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to make a change, whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on alcohol or improving your relationships.

Books to read if you want to feel uplifted 

In Love with the World

by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Book cover for 9781509899326

The moving story of meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s journey into the wilderness and a near-death experience during his four-year wandering retreat is as inspirational as it is spiritual. Through Rinpoche’s intimate account of his search for the self during his suffering, he demonstrates how we can transform a fear of death into a life filled with joy.

What I Know for Sure

by Oprah Winfrey

Book cover for 9781447277668

A collection of the best of Oprah’s columns for O, The Oprah Magazine have been revised and updated in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful book packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme – joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity and power – these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women, while providing readers with a guide to becoming their best selves.

The Moment of Lift

Book cover for 9781529005493

“When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.” In The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates shares the remarkable stories of women she has met over the past twenty years and the journey she took to achieve equality in her marriage. Through these stories and the startling data about the world issues that most need our attention, Melinda presents a rousing call to action for women’s empowerment. 

The Stranger on the Bridge

by Jonny Benjamin

Book cover for 9781509846436

In 2008, Jonny Benjamin stood on Waterloo Bridge, planning to jump, until a stranger stopped to talk to him. That stranger saved Jonny’s life. In his candid memoir, Jonny tells the story of how he got to the bridge in the first place, how he continues to manage his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, as well as what happened when he tried to find the stranger who helped him, six years later. The Stranger on the Bridge is a book about second chances and the power of connection.

Books to read if you want to eat healthily at home

Tin Can Cook

by Jack Monroe

Book cover for 9781529015287

As we all try to visit the shops less, and the supermarket shelves are a little barer, Jack Monroe is here to help with seventy-five delicious recipes that can be made from tinned and dried ingredients. From red lentil and mandarin curry to Catalan fish stew, this is simple, affordable and great-tasting food.

Books to read if working from home is getting you down

Joy at Work

by Marie Kondo

Book cover for 9781529005370

The KonMari method has helped millions cull the clutter and transform their homes, and now its creator is back to help us organise our working lives. In her new self-care book, Joy of Work, Marie Kondo shares how her trademark organisational methods can transform the way you work, giving you more time and headspace to focus on career goals. Many of the techniques in Joy at Work can be used just as effectively when you’re working from home as when you’re in the office.

Here, Emma shares her top tips for things to do when you're not feeling creative.