Taking a Break from Self-Help Books

I put away all of my self-help books. It was an embarassing amount. I own books about eating vegan, eating paleo, drinking smoothies, drinking juices, cleansing, detoxing, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, ACT, CBT, and that’s really not even the whole list, but you get the idea. I also cancelled some library holds about creating a capsule wardrobe (not joking) and how to clean (still not joking) and how to sleep (yes, really).

At one time, each of these books DID help me. I still credit a book about ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) for saving my life and even the absurd number of diet/eating books offered new knowledge and understanding. I’m not knocking anyone who chooses to read these types of books and I probably will again, someday. I just need a break.

National news and our liar-in-chief are exhausting. Being unwell and now recovering from surgery where I woke up with fewer body parts is exhausting. Being scared about finding a new job and still needing to buy a car is exhausting. At first I turned toward my book stash for help. I thought it would be healthy to revisit the lessons I’d read and learned and implemented in the past. I also started looking for new ways to improve my life, my home, myself. (To be fair, I have had A LOT of reading time lately.) I read about psychology and nutrition and energy and choices and eventually my head just started to spin. When I caught myself writing “go outside” on my todo list, I finally recognized the crazy.

I need to stop trusting books more than my own body. I need to stop reading about how to meditate and actually do it. Instead of holing up on the couch reading about how sun exposure really helps, I need to go the frak outside. This is probably obvious to most of you. I still struggle with trusting myself. It took years (YEARS! Very Hard Years!) for me to finally understand that Depression Lies. I would have terrible, awful, no-good thoughts and think they were true and, well, that lead to terrible, awful, no-good things happening. I learned to recognize the lies (most of the time), but I think that is when my obsession with self-help books started. If I couldn’t trust myself to know what is best, then surely this Published Author would be a better resource.

Now, though, I am stronger and braver. I know my body feels best eating certain things, but I also know that old school Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies will heal my soul. If I miss a day or week or month of meditating, I will get a reminder at the right time to start again. I will learn to trust my instincts to live the life I desire.