Confessions from a Personal Development Addict

It’s true, I’m addicted to personal development and self help media of all forms. Podcasts, books, even meditation apps and organizations. At a time when everything can feel like its falling apart, this gives me a sense of holding myself together and keeping things organized. Read on for my thoughts on my current favorites.

From Rachel Hollis:

I found out about Rachel Hollis because of the success of her book, “Girl, Wash your Face”. I’m working my way through that one now, and finding a lot of motivation and positivity. There is a good amount of advice for mothers that I cannot relate to, but the rest of it is great.

I am also currently working my way through Rachel and Dave Hollis’ Next 90 Days challenge. Each week, a new lesson is emailed to you. The lessons include an instructional video and typically a task to complete for that week. This week, the focus is on habits–how to change them and adopt better ones.

Lastly, I finished the audiobook of Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing, and found some great tips for those looking to improve upon their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

The Hollises run a podcast where you can find plenty more tips, it is titled the RISE podcast.

From Brene Brown:

Brene Brown is a popular researcher and motivational speaker as well as professor at the University of Houston. I have been loving her books and podcast recently. I listened to her narration of Dare to Lead on audiobook, which helps listeners to become better leaders in their careers and personal lives. I also love her podcast, and have listened to nearly all of its episodes, which include a recent interview with Alicia Keys discussing her new book.

Other Podcasts:

I’m obsessed with self help and personal development, and some of my other favorites include:

Optimal Living Daily

Life Kit by NPR

Optimal Health Daily

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Lab

What are your favorite self help and personal development books or podcasts? Let me know in the comments.

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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Great Read about Life, Love, and Therapy

In 2019 it seems that everyone is talking to someone, and, with an overall influx of anxiety and a focus on mental health, openly speaking about therapy is more commonplace than it ever has been. But, talking about our issues and emotions has never been easy. Lori Gottlieb explores this through her own experiences as both patient and therapist in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. The memoir follows her life and the choices that led her to what she describes as a very rewarding career as a therapist.

She details her relationship with clients who present various problems. There is John, a seemingly curmudgeonly man who works on a very popular TV show. Even John is hiding painful pasts and emotions that are brought out in sessions. Then there’s Julie, a college professor coming to terms with her cancer diagnosis. Lori explains the nuances of relationship between client and therapist, and even what to do in cases of seeing someone in public.

Lori details her experiences both as therapist and as a patient with the therapist she coins “Wendell”. Lori decides to go to therapy after a shocking and unexpected breakup that leaves her anxious and constantly teary. Wendell helps Lori to unpack and rethink her thoughts about her ex, herself, and her child. Along the way, you learn about Lori’s life and about the history and methodology of psychotherapy.

I really enjoyed this read, and it provided a humorous, personable look into the histories that bring people into therapy. I think that it demystified the practice, and hopefully inspires more people to “talk to someone”.

Stay Happy and Healthy in the Cold

Shorter days and colder weather can weaken your immune system. It can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise when busy with holiday preparations and stuck in freezing weather. But there are important steps you must take to protect yourself in the cold winter months. The follow tips are important to follow when taking care of both your physical and mental health.

Avoid overeating: Healthy eating is important year-round. In the winter season, don’t go for a lot of carbs, though they may be calling out to you. Instead, make sure to instead eat a lot of protein. Add omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful to prevent depression and inflammation. This can come from either supplements or fatty fish like salmon. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure  that you are getting the correct amounts of nutrients. 

Exercise: When exercising, make a plan for the week and stick to it to ensure that you are getting in the correct amount and not straying from your plan. Or find ways to get your workouts in at home using youtube videos or home equipment. 

Wash your hands regularly. This is an important step to protect yourself from spreading sickness and infection.

Getting Warm in a sauna or heat room can also prove helpful to depression. 

Take your vitamins: Vitamin C and vitamin D are both important drugs to take to ward off colds and improve mood. Many of us lack vitamin in the winter, when it is more difficult to get natural light.

Go to bed as early as possible, get as much sleep as possible

Take time for yourself: Winter is full of get togethers with family and friends that are sure to bring on stressful conflicts and situations. Make sure to take a step back and find alone time to counter whatever is going on. 

Yes, still go outside: Bundle up and go for a walk or hike around your neighborhood to get some natural light and fresh air. 

Warm beverages: Get some warmth in yourself through liquids like tea and hot chocolate, but be sure to avoid caffeine after noon. 

Get a Mood Lamp: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) impacts more people than you are aware of, especially if you live in an area of the world that gets a low amount of sunlight during the winter months. I have been using a mood lamp each morning while I knit and watch TV as a means to get in my sun in any way. 

Layers, Sweaters: Make sure to dress for the weather. Thick socks, sturdy boots, and thick sweaters are important staples of this season. 

Stay social: It’s easy to isolate yourself when it starts to get cold out. Instead, find time to invite friends over for warm drinks and movies or games. 

Are there any other ways you stay healthy in the winter? Let me know in the comments.

Adventures in Self-Help Lit

Audiobooks are my new thing. I love the ability to consume a new book while also getting things done–cleaning, knitting, cooking, etc. I’ve been turning to my local library’s app to rent audiobooks for free, and recently listened to Dan Harris’ 10% Happier, an account of his journey through the worlds of self-help and meditation after having a panic attack on live television. Read by the author, the book was a humorous account of a sceptic’s ascent into meditation retreats and self-reflective solitude. 10% Happier also introduced me to other self-help that I’ve been exploring recently. Below, I’ve written about the recent books and workbooks I’ve read to help me better get in touch with myself and my creativity:

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: This intersperses Tolle’s own experiences with advice on how to disconnect yourself from your own mind and ego and live in the now. I’ve found the ideas outlined here to be very helpful, though at times repetitive.

Be Here Now by Ram Das: This book, not mentioned in Dan Harris’, was a little more “out there”. It is an account of the author’s experiences with meditation, interspersed in the center with illustrated musings on becoming enlightened. I found some of these ideas helpful, others outlandish.

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron: A highly popular workbook that claims to help readers connect with their inner artist. This book is split into weeks, which come along with a chapter on a different topic related to creativity, and then activities to get in touch with yourself and your creative process. My favorite part of this book has been Cameron’s “morning pages”–while completing the book you are asked to free-write three pages each morning, which I have found very meditative.

Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to our Senses by Jon Kabat Zinn: Kabat-Zinn is a master of meditation, and I have found his books on mindfulness to be essential. Wherever You go, There You Are introduces readers to meditation practices, while Coming to our Senses expands upon the ways in which the practice of mindfulness and meditation could potentially impact the world as a whole.