20 Self-Care Books for Anxious Times

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Sarah S. Davis

Staff Writer

Sarah S. Davis holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's of Library Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah has also written for Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Psych Central, and more. Sarah is the founder of Broke By Books blog and runs a tarot reading business, Divination Vibration. Twitter: @missbookgoddess Instagram: @Sarahbookgoddess

In anxious and worrisome times like these, it’s crucial to care for yourself. But with everyday bring fresh chaos, how can you soothe your soul? Each of these 20 self-care books takes a different approach to guiding you towards a self-care practice. Ranging from health self-care books to psychology self-care books and, of course, happiness self-care books, you’ll find gentle wisdom and actionable advice for how to heal yourself.

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama

Who better to kick off this list of self-care books than first lady Michelle Obama? In Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, Obama expands on the wisdom of her bestselling memoir, Becoming. This guided journal focuses on helping you through the process of becoming who you want to be. Gentle enough for anyone going through a tough time, this self-help workbook is a careful nudge.


The Body Is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Acclaimed poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor’s The Body Is Not an Apology is a stirring manifesto for radically embracing ourselves. A definitive must-read, The Body Is Not an Apology will help you heal from toxic frameworks, like misogyny and body shaming, and find true self love once and for all.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse by Charles Mackesy

This enchanting story follows a boy and the friends he makes as he journeys through the countryside on the way home. A tender tale of kindness, compassion, and radical self-acceptance, this short-but-sweet book is a cozy mood lifter.

Do What Feels Good by Hannah Bronfman

Wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman draws on her personal history to help you learn to love yourself right. This book casts a wide range of content, with recipes and beauty routines, to bolster your body, food, and life. Do What Feels Good takes a holistic approach to self-help and self-care with an approachable style. Jump around or read straight through, either way you’ll find some tricks for your self-help toolbox.

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson

Author and actor Phoebe Robinson’s trademark wit makes this self-care book a funny but powerful read. Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay will help you find a sense of humor when the world seems darkest and you need to love yourself the most. Robinson’s essays prove that laughter really can be the best medicine.

Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda

From beloved playwright and author Lin-Manuel Miranda comes a tiny book with big nuggets of wisdom. At night, in the morning, during the afternoon…no matter when you open Gmorning, Gnight, you’ll be armed with self-care energy.

Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King

Instagram lifestyle icon Vex King brings a New Age-y approach to this self-care book. King helps you learn to harness the good vibrations and manifest them in your own life for maximum impact. King’s approach combines banishing toxic energy and cultivating a more loving attitude towards yourself through meditation, rewiring negative thoughts, and finding your true purpose.


Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim

Zen Buddhist teacher Haemin Sunim adapts the wisdom of Buddhism into your everyday life in Love for Important Things. Sunim’s book focuses on developing loving acceptance of yourself in a time where perfectionism is glorified. Love for Important Things will help you find more love, compassion, and wisdom.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

If you’ve ever been in therapy, you’ve probably wondered what the therapist is thinking and how other people’s sessions go. Therapist and author Lori Gottlieb answers both of those questions in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, her insider’s look at the therapeutic process. This book is a passionate love letter to the complicated therapy relationship and the potential of therapy to transform lives.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur Book CoverMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Poet phenomenon Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey is an empowering read for anyone going through a tough time. Milk and Honey will pull you through any storm. Kaur’s voice and vision are both accessible even for poetry newbies. If you haven’t already experienced Kaur’s poetry, start with Milk and Honey. In this poetry collection, Kaur builds a narrative where the unnamed narrator reaches a dawning awareness of her power and beauty in face of a toxic and oppressive culture.

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

From the visionary Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth, this award-winning memoir/self-help book will see you through the rough times and help you transform into a kinder approach to yourself.

Navigate Your Stars by Jesmyn Ward

Originally a commencement speech, Navigate Your Stars is Jesmyn Ward’s uplifting look at how her views on education, gender, and class transformed over time to make her more self-aware and appreciative of the larger journey. Ward’s book is illustrated with Gina Triplett’s dreamy and calming artwork.

The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey

Self-help guru Oprah Winfrey has assembled a beautiful book of quotes, insights, and soothing photographs. This is one to dip in and out of and perfect for someone struggling to read a lengthy story. The overall focus is on finding your life’s purpose. If you’ve lately been feeling like your personal compass is spinning without a clear direction, definitely let Oprah help you find the right path forward.


the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace

Poet amanda lovelace’s words spear the patriarchy with feminist poetry. Each of her books are excellent, but start with the princess saves herself in this one to begin dismantling the harmful, internalized mythology and celebrate your unique power.

The Self-Love Workbook by Shainna Ali

Therapist and mental health advocate Dr. Shainna Ali helps you manage large and small-scare personal transformation with The Self-Love Workbook. Dr. Ali’s book is packed with exercises and prompts to help you care for yourself and learn better self-care practices.

Spark Joy by Marie KondoSpark Joy by Marie Kondo

A tidy mind is one that can stop focusing on physical—and emotional—clutter and begin to focus on loving yourself. Who best to lead the way than Marie Kondo? After her international breakout hit The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo became a global sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo expands her vision for tidiness and helps you organize your life, everything from your memories to your love life.


Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel

These days gratitude books are everywhere, and Meera Lee Patel’s Start Where You Are is a must for anyone looking for a guided journal during tough times. Patel’s Start Where You Are begins with self-acceptance and continues with prompts helping you grow and heal.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Glennon Doyle’s hugely inspiring Untamed is a rallying cry to love who you are, with all your imperfections and contradictions. Doyle uses her own story of picking her life back up again after devastating events in this tale of resilience that belongs on any essential self-care list.

Year of Yes coverYear of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

As the show-runner behind multiple acclaimed TV series, Shonda Rhimes must be a superhero, right? Not quite, as she says in Year of Yes. Rhimes’s career was humming along, but she still felt self-conscious. In Year of Yes, she experiments by saying “Yes!” to new opportunities that scared her. Follow her lead in this honest book about caring and advocating for yourself.


The Witch’s Book of Self-Care by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Manifest a life of self-care with Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Witch’s Book of Self-Care. This little book contains everything a witchy person needs to draw down some self-love and self-soothing.

For more self-care and self-help books, check out Book Riot’s coverage: