The holidays are famously stressful. Arm yourself ahead of time with one of these relaxing reads.
The world is a tad intense these days. While books can’t make everything better—well, actually, who says they can’t? This holiday season, don’t hesitate to give your loved ones (or yourself) a helping hand in the form of these surefire finds.
The Poetry Remedy by William Sieghart
Some years ago, poetry enthusiast William Sieghart developed a project in which passersby could share a topic of concern and be “prescribed” a poem in response. The Poetry Pharmacy, as it was known, was a huge hit. “Suffering is the access point to poetry for a lot of people: that’s when they open their ears, hearts, and minds,” Sieghart writes in The Poetry Remedy: Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind, and Soul, which brings the pharmacy home. In it, he gathers poems for numerous struggles of the human spirit, from loneliness and glumness to social overload, one-sided love and everything in between, each with a brief introduction. With this book on your shelf, you’ll never be at a loss for comforting words. Pair with herbal tea and a comfy blanket.
When You Kant Figure It Out, Ask a Philosopher by Marie Robert
Is there any consolation quite like finding your modern-day woes reflected in the writings of ancient minds? We can’t help but feel less isolated when the ancient teachings of Spinoza, Plato and others seem to speak directly to our innermost questions. In Marie Robert’s slim, digestible When You Kant Figure It Out, Ask a Philosopher: Timeless Wisdom for Modern Dilemmas, she presents typical bummers and sticky situations, then reveals how philosophy can help you reframe and move on. Got a super-surly teen? Squandering your life on social media? Had to part with a beloved pet? The words of Levinas, Epicurus and Heidegger may not solve these problems per se, but they can give you refreshing insight, and sometimes that’s all you need. “Philosophy should make our lives more meaningful,” Robert says, and this down-to-earth book paves the way. Pair with a gift card to a favorite coffee shop and a new journal.
Good Mornings by Linnea Dunne
For some, mornings are best when started with a bang—a three-mile run or a vigorous yoga class. Others wake happily with quiet time among plants and furry friends. No matter your personal preference, thinking carefully about small daily rituals and fine-tuning them can be a step toward a healthier self. Linnea Dunne helps us see the potential for ritual everywhere (Face-washing? Yep. Journaling? Of course) and shares ideas for creating a valuable sense of ritual in your mornings, whether you’re “time-rich” or “time-poor,” in Good Mornings: Morning Rituals for Wellness, Peace and Purpose. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to rituals. The trick—and pleasure, particularly with this pretty book as your guide—is in discovering which rituals are meant for you. Pair with a basket of fresh fruit and granola, facial cleanser and a Turkish towel.
The Official Bob Ross Coloring Book by Bob Ross
From the department of “Why Is This Just Now a Thing?” comes the coloring book to end all coloring books—The Official Bob Ross Coloring Book: The Colors of the Four Seasons. The coloring book trend may be on the down slope, but there will never not be room in our hearts and on our coffee tables for Bob Ross and his happy little trees and clouds. With this book, you can forgo painting technique, if that sort of thing stresses you out, and simply create green trees, blue skies and brown cabins to your heart’s content. Best of all are the Ross quotes on every other page. To wit: “Anything we don’t like, we’ll turn it into a happy little tree or something, because as you know, we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.” Or: “Let’s put a few little highlights in here to make them little rascals just sparkle in the sun.” Or: “Let’s just dance in a happy little sky today.” Don’t you feel better just reading those words? Pair with colored pencils, CBD oil and a forest-scented candle.