Updated: Sep 13
One of my goals for 2023 was to start reading again, and halfway through the year I've already met my goal of reading 25 books! Reading was a hobby I picked up in January to help get me through that seasonal depression until hiking season, and it's become a daily hobby that I still look forward to every night.
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Besides being a relaxing hobby, reading is also an opportunity to work on yourself and improve your mental health. I always thought that reading self-help books was cringe, but I gave it a shot this year and soon found myself devouring every mental health book I could get my hands on. It felt like having therapy every day. I learned so much about myself from reading. Below, in no particular order, are all the books in the first 6 months of 2023 that I would recommend if you're looking for a mental health glow-up:
The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest. I once saw an Instagram video that said this book felt like having therapy every single day, and it's completely true. I plan on re-reading this every year to remind myself that I'm often the only person standing in my way.
When You're Ready, This is How You Heal by Brianna Wiest. Honestly, this book had a lot of the same messages as The Mountain is You. But I think a lot of us need to hear things more than once for them to sink in, right? It's still worth the read.
101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Wiest. I'm technically not finished with this book yet. This book is a part of my morning routine, and I read an essay every morning while I'm writing my affirmations and gratitude list. This book is a lovely positivity boost in the morning or on a break at work.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This is the only novel that I've included in my list, and it's for a good reason. If you have ever caught yourself daydreaming about the different choices you could have made in life, like, "If I had gotten this degree instead, if I had moved to this city, if I had dated this other person, my life would be better," you need to Read. This. Book. If you regret any of the choices you've made in life, this book is a must-read.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle. This is an incredibly powerful memoir filled with nuggets of truth that changed my life too. Expect to finish this book changed. It's honestly hard to put into words. I hope you read this book and rediscover the wild part of your soul too.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lillies by Tara Schuster. This book is part lighthearted memoir, and partly an outline of how to start a journaling and gratitude practice. She very matter-of-factly tells you how to fix your life. I'd been told to journal countless times, and this book is the one that convinced me to start.
Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir by Dolly Alderton. This book has some negative reviews on Goodreads because despite the title, the author doesn't deliver a lot of life-changing advice like the other books on this list. But sometimes it's just comforting to know that other people don't have their life figured out either, and that's the value in this cheerful and funny memoir.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. He takes the pressure off of trying to be happy every second of every day. This book dives into the importance of feeling all of our emotions instead of constantly striving for happiness. There is peace in letting bad days be bad days.
Atomic Habits by James Clear. Does this book provide clear and concise advice on how to build healthy habits? Absolutely. This book also asks the reader to deep dive into finding their purpose, and was a big motivating factor for me starting to write.
Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner. Dr. Gildiner recounts the stories of five former patients, all heroes who survived trauma and came out the other side. Their bravery and resilience is inspiring to read, and will remind you that whatever you are going through, you will make it through too.
Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynn Jackson. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think everyone needs a reminder that the universe is on their side. This book found me at the right time and was an incredible source of comfort and confidence.
If you're wanting to glow-up this year, these books are a fantastic way to start. If you're looking to upgrade your E-reader, I personally love tablets that come with a pen like the Kindle Scribe or my Samsung tablet so I can journal or take notes in the column as I'm reading. I'm actually running low on books to read now! If you have any recommendations that you would add to this list, please comment and let me know!