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There are probably millions of self-care books out there.

The self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty big and intimidating. I’ve stood in front of that long stretch of books so many times, trying to figure out which book would enlighten me most– make me my best self. Cure me of all my emotional ailments. How do you know which self-care books are legitimate and which ones are a load of horse shit?

This Mental Health Monday, Jo (Duffy the Writer) and I are going to help you out with that. Jo has picked out five self-care books that she has personally read and enjoyed. She gives you a quick synopsis of each one, along with a little guide of who should read each book! That way, you’ll know exactly how to avoid wasting your time on a book that isn’t helpful for you.

If you’re not sure what you’re reading, let me give you a little explanation before we start. At Uninspired, we’re all about helping people in their twenties be the best adults they can possibly be. We talk about lots of things, ranging from cooking and DIY tips all the way to personal finance. But one of my favorite parts of Uninspired is Mental Health Monday.

Every week, I feature a different blogger who has something to say about mental health.

I am a therapist (in training!) myself, so technically I could write a post myself every week, but I choose not to. I have extensive knowledge on how to treat lots of different mental disorders and relationship troubles, but a lot of times, people get more hope from seeing that people have actually been through the same things as them and come out the other side better for it. Mental Health Monday is all about hope stories.

So, now that we’re all on the same page (haaah. Get it? ‘Cause this post is about books), I’ll let Jo take the wheel and talk about the top five self-care books for people in their twenties. Happy reading!

Related: 25 Blog Posts About Practicing Self-Care

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Bonus!

Self-care books are great for helping you get from your baseline up. But if you’re in an emergency situation, or just looking for more tailored help than a self-care book can provide, I’m here to help. I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Self-Care Book List For 20 Somethings

“It’s the beginning of the year, and our Instagram feeds can be full of inspirational quotes with whimsical backgrounds and Facebook posts welcoming the challenges of 2018.  It’s great that the dawn of a new year means we can start fresh and kick some goals, but sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming. Especially for young people who may have trouble expressing how they feel, or even knowing where to start.

Luckily for us, as much as our social media feeds are full of positive vibes, it’s also becoming more commonplace to also talk about mental health and self-care. Stigma and taboos are gratefully being torn down and in its place we have understanding and empathy.

So, as well as looking to improve your muscles at the gym, be sure not to forget about the biggest one you have: your beautiful, barmy, bewildering, brilliant brain. These excellent self-care books will help you do that.

Related: Classic Novels from High School to Re-Try in Your Twenties 

1. The Anxiety Book by Elisa Black There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Elisa Black talks about the triggers for anxiety and some really practical solutions to reducing attacks and symptoms in a witty, matter of fact way.  There are no air-fairy statements to be found in this self-care book, just real life observations of what it’s like to live with anxiety. And who better to write such a book than a journalist who suffers from it herself?

Read Q&A with author Elisa Black here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A Good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from anxiety and panic attacks

Related: Mental Health Monday- Understanding Anxiety

 

2. Because We are Bad by Lily Bailey

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Lily Bailey details a heartfelt childhood into adult account of what it’s like to be a young girl with severe OCD. The rituals that can make or break her world and the thoughts and anxieties that run rife through this little girl’s mind can be a little tough to read at times, but there is an ending of hope and optimism. An inspiring true story of an ordinary girl with a busy mind and her journey from childhood, teenage years and into adulthood.

Read the full book review here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from diagnosed OCD

Related: Mental Health Monday- Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors 

 

3. Presence by Amy Cuddy

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Starting your first full time job can be a daunting one. There are workplace politics, strong personalities, difficult conversations and awkward social interactions to deal with, and that’s all before you actually learn the skills of the job!

Presence gives practical exercises, power poses and examples to help you go into work, university, in fact any social situation feeling ‘present’, positive, and confident.

Read full review here

Buy from Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Introverts entering the workplace for the first time, social anxiety sufferers and those who find public speaking and presenting excruciating

Related: Mental Health Monday- Getting Through a Job Interview with Social Anxiety

 

4. UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

There are lots of expletive filled motivational self-care books out there, but this is one of the best.  Bishop, in his straight talking Scotsman way tells you why you are where you are. What’s difficult to comprehend at the start of the book is that where you are right now, however unhappy you are. That’s right! It starts tough, but talks you through some sometimes confronting thought process and negative thought loops we all get ourselves tied up in.

Read full review here

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone who feels stuck in a self-pity rut and wants to get back on track

 

5. It’s All In Your Head by Rae Earle

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

This is a self-care book every young adult should have on their shelf.  Luckily, not all of us have manic depression, OCD, or full blown, crippling panic attacks. But many of us struggle with tough days and short-term depressive episodes. It’s All In Your Head deals with all manner of mental health issues and struggles that young people experience regularly, or from time to time. What’s wonderful about this book is that author Rae Earle tells the reader that it’s OK, most of us have experienced it. There is also some sound advice on how to feel better and get better. An excellent plain speaking self help guide for young people with some great illustrations.

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Every teenager and young adult!


Jo-Ann Duff – Duffy The Writer

Jo-Ann, or Duffy as she’s known in the wordy world, is an ex-pat Brit who has lived an incredible Australian life since 2005. Duffy is a freelance writer, and when she isn’t creating engaging content for small Australian businesses, she has her nose in a book as a reviewer for Australian publishers and independent authors. You can follow Duffy on all social media platforms @duffythewriter.

For Mental Health Monday this week, we’ve got Laura, a mental health blogger who focuses specifically on body focused repetitive behaviors.

Body focused repetitive behaviors are a sort of spin-off of OCD. The person has an obsession with a certain behavior having to do with the body, and a severe compulsion to complete it. I’ll let Laura talk about it more in a moment, but first I want to talk a bit about what Mental Health Monday is. If you’re a MHM veteran, you can skip down to the good stuff. If you’re a newbie, stick around!

Uninspired’s goal is to help women in their twenties balance building their futures and having fun. On Sundays I write posts that have to do with dating, personal finance, learning to cook, or DIY projects. But on Mondays, there’s another aspect of twenty-something life I like to focus on. That’s mental health (duh). Your twenties are this wild free-for-all where we’re under a ton of pressure. Y’know, to set up the rest of our lives. In the attempt to be perfect, we forget self-care. And when we forget self-care, eventually, we’re going to burn out. More than likely, that burnout will manifest as depression or anxiety, but in some cases, it can manifest as something worse. So, MHM helps readers like you remember to take care of yourselves, and teaches you that you’re not alone.

I could’ve written all the posts myself, but instead, I’ve opened it up to amazing writers and mental health warriors like Laura, whose cause is body focused repetitive behaviors. I only have one personal experience, but there is someone out there who has been through what you’re going through. And I’m going to find them so they can show you that you can do it too. Click here for the very first MHM post.

Laura’s focus on body focused repetitive behaviors comes from her own personal experience.

She has dealt with excoriation, which I’ll let her explain, but it led to her passion for the cause. She has advice that can help you if you’re dealing with it yourself, and also if you’re not sure how to treat someone who deal with it. If you’d like to connect with Laura outside this post, you can find her blogging at the Canadian BFRB Support Network and HealthyPlace.com. She primarily writes about BFRB’s and other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, but she’s also a fiction writer! If, after this post you’d like more information about body focused repetitive behaviors, you can also read her book series. She’s a multi-talented woman!

You've probably heard of OCD, but there are some lesser known related behaviors called body focused repetitive behaviors. Click here to find out more.

Bonus!

Body focused repetitive behaviors like skin picking are usually a symptom of something rather than an affliction all their own. They can be a part of OCD or body dysmorphic disorder, which is often caused by trauma. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

“Walking around with bandages on your skin and scars on my body is like walking around with a neon sign that says, ‘Look at me! I’m different.’

I’m acutely aware of that sign and how people’s eyes are drawn to it. Partly because of the questions I’ve received in the past and partly because I’m hypersensitive how people are perceiving me. Others have tried to tell me I’m overreacting and people aren’t looking for that reason or at all, but when I have people constantly giving me the side-eye, I know better.

And after 22 years of living with dermatillomania, diagnostically referred to as excoriation (skin-picking) disorder, I know that look all too well.

When you’re visibly different, sensing eyes on you is a sixth sense. And seeing the looks cross their faces—looks that’ve been mirrored in the faces of your friends and family—it leaves no question.Two summers ago, I decided to stop melting and wear shorts. I was scared to show my skin for years because of the comments and questions I’ve received. Questions like ‘what happened to your face/arm/insert-other-body-part-here?’ They seem innocent, but these people are not usually really concerned. People seem to be implying, ‘am I going to catch whatever that is?’

I’m a master of excuses when it comes to those questions. Cat scratches, bug bites, and allergic reactions are just a few in my arsenal. And I’ve seen many a skin picker armed with these as well. Nonetheless, the questions still feel awkward and the tone was never lost on me. So, avoiding them was best.

But I decided I wasn’t going to care anymore. One because I’m finally comfortable enough talking about this issue. Two because I legitimately hate being sweaty. My mind equates it with being unclean (even if it’s not entirely true).

I’ve picked my skin since I was five. Summer after summer I’d be extremely uncomfortable in warm clothes. But at the time, I figured the discomfort was worth it. The discomfort of stares and questions would be worse, especially for the years I didn’t understand what I was dealing with.

And what exactly am I dealing with?

Dermatillomania falls under the category of body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). It affects two-to-five percent of the population and is an OCD related disorders in the DSM-V. Dermatillomania (and other BFRBs) is seen as a grooming behavior in overdrive, because, really, we all pick skin to some extent. My brain’s stop switch for that behavior is just faulty, so I pick my skin to the point of damage, wounds, bleeding, scars…you get the picture.

Before I go farther, this is not self-harm behavior. At the risk of confusing things, the act of skin picking can be used by those who self-harm, but the condition dermatillomania is not self-harm because it lacks the intent of harm. When I’m picking my skin, I’m not thinking of harming myself at all; if I could do this without the damage to my skin, I would probably still do it. That’s the way my brain is wired. If someone is picking his or her skin exclusively for the sake of harm, it is diagnostically not dermatillomania.

The reason I make the distinction is for treatment’s sake. If you try to medically treat dermatillomania and other body-focused repetitive behaviors as if they were self-harm, the results just won’t be seen.

Research on body-focused repetitive behaviors is minimal, but there is some.

Other kinds of body focused repetitive behaviors include trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), onychophagia (nail biting disorder), dermatophagia (skin biting disorder), and rhinotillexomania (nose picking disorder). There are more, potentially even some that we’re not aware of because research for BFRBs is in its infancy. For instance, the DSM only added Dermatillomania in 2013, and it still has not listed onychophagia, dermatophagia, and rhinotillexomania.

There are only a handful or two of doctors and researchers really doing work focusing on these behaviours, so the research is somewhat hard to come by. Also, very few people are talking about BFRBs. Even most medical professionals don’t know about them.

The two-to-five percent statistic may even be higher because of how few people actually get diagnosed with these disorders. With the age of the internet, it’s becoming more prominent online, but in real life it is still severely stigmatized.

Although it came from a place of concern and trying to help, my family was probably the worst when it came to stigma. They would try to shame or scare me out of picking my skin, which a) doesn’t work and b) only made me feel worse about myself. I developed a deep, deep feelings of worthlessness and felt like a failure because I couldn’t just stop.

Beyond my inner circle, stigma came and comes in many forms.

Strangers and people on the internet (where I share my story and about dermatillomania through blogging) gave me disgusted looks. They’d tell me I’m just doing this for attention and could stop if I wanted to, or I’m diseased and shouldn’t leave my house, or just flat out that I’m disgusting.

And those who don’t stigmatize are prone to offering unsolicited advice. Again, they’re well-meaning, but telling me about this skin product or this healing method isn’t conducive to my recovery. When I was a young child, my mother took me to my pediatrician to try to find out what was wrong with me. The end result was my doctor prescribing me ointment or cream to help my skin heal. The problem with that is my skin isn’t slow to heal or needs a little boost, it’s because I literally tear it open over and over again. For me, the average picking spot lasts at least a month because I keep going at it.

If you’re reading this as someone who’s never heard of dermatillomania, you might think this is a really horrible existence to have. Truth be told, for me, it was.

Was because I now accept my disorder and understand that it’s going to be exhausting. It’s going to be physically painful (for instance, showering is an adventure because the water stings). Sometimes it’s going to royally suck whether it’s because of ignorant comments or because I’m just at my exhaustion limit.

No, I’ve not given into it. One of my favourite quotations comes from Michael J. Fox: “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it.”

For me, my way through it is to stop beating myself up for not being able to stop. One of the hardest realities those with body focused repetitive behaviors face at this time is there is no cure. There are treatments and recovery absolutely is possible. Although, you may need to tweak the way you think of recovery if, for you, recovery means stopping or cured. I used to cry over the fact that I still picked my skin and I hated myself for not having the willpower to stop. But here are the two biggest secrets (that aren’t really secrets since I tell everyone) that I have, which tie into one another.

Dermatillomania and other BFRBs are not about willpower.

The faulty stop mechanism I mentioned earlier is literally a difference in our brains.

Does that remove responsibility from ourselves in terms of taking care of ourselves? Absolutely not. We have to be active participants in our own recoveries and have to actively pursue self-care, but we are not at fault for our disorders.

Because I’ve realized these things, I’ve been able to do things like wear shorts even though my skin isn’t perfect. This summer, I’ve had my leg wrapped in a tensor wrap over gauze. Sometimes I feel that self-consciousness, but now I know the world won’t crumble.

Having a solid support network plays a big part in my ability to do this. I have a community who cheers me on and lifts my spirits. I also have the love of my significant other and my family to back me up, too. If you don’t have that support in your life, start with online communities.

Here’s another hard truth: some people are going to be assholes.

The good thing about this is  their words aren’t reflections of  our reality. Misinformation and ignorance (sometimes willful) fuel these people’s comments. Sometimes we can help these people see reason by explaining our situation or steering them toward reputable resources. But sometimes we can’t and we have to know when to pick our battles.

My point is that dermatillomania and other body focused repetitive behaviors do not have to be our end. And our situations don’t have to be tragic. It can be a really difficult path, but we can make it through it with the right resources and support. I didn’t believe that for many years, but now that I’m living it, I know that reality is completely obtainable.


Visit the Canadian BFRB Support Network or the TLC Foundation for BFRBs for more information about BFRBs and support.


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