The best self-care books

Our edit of the best self-care books to inspire you to make a change in 2021, from amazing true stories to mindfulness colouring books.

04/01/2021
4 minutes to read

Self-care is important for us for our mental and physical wellbeing, and it can mean many different things to different people. It could be taking time out of a stressful day to practice some meditation techniques or do some mindfulness colouring, or it may mean investing time in yourself by reading those self-care books you’ve always meant to explore, taking up a new hobby, working on your health and fitness or learning to cook something new. It’s also important that we don’t feel alone in difficult times, and there are many comforting memoirs and informative practical guides to draw on for advice and inspiration. Here is our edit of the best self-care and self-improvement books to draw comfort and inspiration from. For more inspiration, don't miss our wellbeing activities for adults YouTube playlist.

The best mindfulness books

The Mindfulness Moments Colouring Book

by Emma Farrarons

Book cover for 9781529064223

This gorgeous colouring book is full of ideas for mindfulness activities and exercises which draw on your creativity and hone your focus. It’s perfectly pocket-sized, so you can colour your way to peace and calm wherever you are. 

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. 

Read Kristen Vikjord on how to find your inner spark. 

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.

Discover more about the benefits of meditation. 

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.


The best mental health books

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.

Read Eleanor Morgan on how to help someone with anxiety. 


The best books to help you reset your relationship with food

How to Just Eat It

by Laura Thomas

Book cover for 9781529043693

Nutritionist and bestselling author of Just Eat It Laura Thomas PhD is back with this practical self-care book to help you reframe your approach to food. She uses the principles of intuitive eating, from mindful eating practices and understanding hunger and what it feels like to be full, to focusing on changing our mindset, in order to develop a judgement-free attitude to food. Laura also helps us to understand and spot diet culture in the media and society. Her wonderful practice called ‘Diet Culture Bullsh*t Bingo’ involves spotting phrases such as ‘burning off food,’ ‘cleanse’ and ‘80/20 rule’ to help understand and learn to identify diet culture (and how it affects us) in everyday life, social media, TV and even our own language.

The Last Diet

by Shahroo Izadi

Book cover for 9781509883387
Read extract

This self-care book will help you transform your relationship with food and your body, using the same tools Shahroo Izadi used with her clients in addiction treatment, and which helped her lose eight stone in weight. Focusing on the importance of positive self-perception and self-kindness, Shahroo will help you find the motivation to change habits and lose weight for good.

Read extract

Find out more about the books that can help you reset your relationship with food

The best books to help you cultivate a new habit

Kaizen

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.

Read Sarah Harvey on how kaizen can help you change your habits for good. 

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.

Here, Shahroo shares five ways to be kinder to yourself today. 


The best healthy eating books

Eat to Save the Planet

by Annie Bell

Book cover for 9781529047592

Annie Bell, award-winning recipe writer for the Mail on Sunday YOU magazine and a registered nutritionist, delivers this ground-breaking cookbook to help you change your diet and the world for the better. Offering new recipes for your weekly menu from aubergine stuffed with lamb and buckwheat to speedy cauliflower, lentil and watercress risotto, this book provides recipes based on recommendations from the Planetary Health Diet which was commissioned by Lancet-EAT and written by an international group of scientists.

30 Day Kick Start Plan

by Joe Wicks

Book cover for 9781509856190

If the thought of starting a 90-day fitness plan seems overwhelming, then Joe’s new book, 30 Day Kick Start Plan, is the Joe Wicks book for you. Joe realised that motivation is strongest during the first thirty days, and hopes that the progress you see while following the 30 Day Kick Start Plan will motivate you to make long-term changes. The book features one hundred delicious, healthy recipes and six HIIT workouts to help you get in shape, but is also full of motivational tips and practical advice to help you transform your life for good. This is the Joe Wicks book for anyone who struggles with motivation and is looking for a book that focuses on the mental health benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Pinch of Nom Quick & Easy

by Kay Featherstone

Book cover for 9781529034981

The third cookbook from Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, founders of Pinch of Nom, is full of delicious, quick and easy recipes using easy-to-find ingredients. From all-in-one family favourites to easy batch booking, these healthy yet tasty recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

How Not to Diet

by Michael Greger MD

Book cover for 9781509893089
Read extract

Dr Michael Greger, author of the bestselling How Not to Die, offers an easy approach to a healthy, plant-based lifestyle which will help you put an end to dieting and weight-loss struggles. Dr Greger explores the many causes of obesity, and breaks down a variety of approaches to weight loss using cutting-edge dietary research.

Read extract

The How Not To Diet Cookbook

by Michael Greger MD

Book cover for 9781509893119

The latest offering from Michael Greger, New York Times bestselling author of How Not to Die, is a must for anyone looking for a science-based, long-term weight-loss guide. Dr Greger knows diets don’t work. His cookbook urges readers to cut the calorie counting, quit the regimes and instead use science to guide them. Discovering valuable medical and scientific insights into weight loss, including the twenty-one weight-loss accelerators in the body, you’ll be equipped with recipes to follow as well as scientific understanding to help make healthy habitual changes to improve wellbeing.

Discover our edit of the best cookbooks. 

The best 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

by Melinda Gates

Book cover for 9781529005516
Read extract

“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. 

Read extract

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.


The best books to read if working from home is getting you down

How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace

by Robert Glazer

Book cover for 9781529068252

Robert Glazer is here to help you transform your career or business with simple tricks and tips to make virtual working easier than ever before. Robert shares the principles, tactics and tools his company has developed in more than a decade of successfully working as a joined-up but 100 per cent remote workforce. This step-by-step guide will help you build a culture of flexibility and trust as a successful remote business.

Joy at Work

by Marie Kondo

Book cover for 9781529005370
Read extract

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.

Read extract


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