books to nourish your mind, body, and spirit
According to the Oxford dictionary, to nourish something means to provide with food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. Some of my earliest and most meaningful childhood memories have something to do with books. There was the day in kindergarten when I was asked to stand before my peers and read aloud for the first time. As a shy and introverted kid, I was petrified with fear and my reading skills were not that well developed for my age. I remember returning home from school in tears. To my mom’s credit, she took notice and immediately comforted me and asked me to share what was so upsetting. Upon hearing of my embarrassment and shame at stuttering as I tried to read out loud while my peers laughed at me, she encouraged me to practice reading out loud. She assured me that if I practiced, someday I would be able to read so quickly that others wouldn’t be able to keep up with what I was saying. I took her words to heart and we got a library card from the public library down the street so I would have access to books appropriate for my reading level. By the second grade, a note hand written by my teacher in my report card declared, “Jessica is reading up a storm.”
My childhood came with a fair share of challenges and when home life was stressful and chaotic, I self-soothed with books. They exposed me to experiences I didn’t have access to and fueled my imagination as I dreamed of a brighter future. As I became more interested in health and well-being as a competitive athlete in high school, I began to select books on physical training and nutrition. I also developed a love of memoir and autobiographies, with a preference for strong role models and inspiring heroes who overcame challenges that eclipsed the everyday drama in my life. In this way, reading did not only nourish my mind, but also my body and soul.
What I love even more than reading books is sharing my favorite reading with others. For years, I’ve kept a list of the books I’ve read so I can keep track of titles and when I read each one. It’s been a dream of mine to launch a blog to further develop the discipline of pointing people to the books nourishing me.
Recent Book Reviews
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
How do we foster joy in our everyday lives? Joy is a topic that I’ve been curious about for many years, especially how to cultivate a joyful life amidst suffering and hardship. I picked up this book after a friend recommended it to me as we were reflecting on how to address root causes of mental health concerns. Though the book was published in 2016, it was especially poignant as I read it in the middle of year 3 of a global pandemic alongside …Read more...
This book should be a desktop reference for anyone who is responsible for managing other people. As burnout rates reach epidemic levels, it is critical for all health and well-being professionals to understand the contributors to this global problem. As someone who has struggled with burnout in the past, I picked up this book because I wanted to better understand how I can prevent it from reoccurring. And as a friend and family member to numerous others who are experiencing burnout, I wanted to understand …Read more...
Finally, a fresh and insightful perspective on how to make health behavior changes that will stick! I read this book because I got so much value from Dr. Michelle Segar’s previous book, No Sweat. That book focused on how to strengthen your motivation for physical activity specifically by shifting your mindset about it. Before I read that book, I was a miserable gym rat who didn’t really like my workout routine but felt like I had to keep it up to maintain my weight as I got older. Through the many interactive exercises and helpful client stories, I was able to identify a whole new way to approach physical activity. I’ve transformed my exercise habits and have been able to sustain an active lifestyle that I like so much that I get creative about keeping it up while I’m on vacation. I picked up The Joy Choice because it specifically addresses how to sustain healthy eating behaviors and that is an area I still struggle with.Read more...