There was a time when I thought self-care was for sissies, or self-indulgent wealthy women. The Gwyneth Paltrows of the world. Self-care was NOT something I needed. Or so I told myself. Then I became a mom. And two years later I became a mom of two, then three. Three kids four and under was the name of my game. And I was definitely losing.
My husband started sending me out of the house for a girls night or with a novel in hand to the coffee shop. He could tell before I could that I needed the occasional hour or two away to just be myself in order to avoid burnout. And he started mixing me a cocktail in the evenings and taking over the bedtime routine so that I could soak in a bubble bath with a good book while he wrangled overtired toddlers and cranky babies and soothed them to sleep.
At first I felt guilty. But then I realized I could breathe again. I could think straight. I was enjoying my kids more. And I was learning to appreciate the difficulty of the beautiful work I was doing raising these little ones.
Mothering little kids is hard and exhausting. Not taking care to protect myself from exhaustion was a failing model. I was learning a new way that required intentionality and a refusal to feel guilt over reminding myself I was a human being.
What I’ve come to realize over the years is that I didn’t suddenly wake up one day in need of self-care. We always need it, but some seasons of life have self-care naturally built in and early motherhood isn’t one of these seasons.
My college years were busy with work, class, studying, and for my junior and senior year, marriage. But I had time to shower. I could go out with friends to relax and recharge. I could binge watch LOST with Daniel. My study time happened at the local coffee pub where I could sit in the sunshine with a cup of coffee while reading medieval literature.
My days were full of little moments that kept me refreshed and fed my soul. And if I got overwhelmed, I could take a nap. I thought I had so many things on my plate. And I did! But I also had room for self-care, I just didn’t call it that because I wasn’t going to the spa or getting manicures every week.
Enter motherhood. All the activities and moments that were recharging me evaporated. I was on call 24/7 with a colicky little baby boy. If self-care was going to happen, it had to be intentional and I didn’t know how to do it. Over the years, it’s become more natural to prioritize that crucial time.
I know that two hours alone with a novel at the coffee shop can work wonders on my sanity, so we make it happen. My husband knows that a Saturday morning run is going to make him happier and more clearheaded, so time for him to exercise is a priority. We’ve figured out how to make the self-care happen so that we can be saner, happier people.
And I’ve discovered that a huge portion of my self-care happens in the pages of beloved books. Especially during seasons of survival mode, transition, stress, or loss, those books that I’ve befriended are my life lines: Enter, the Literary Medicine Cabinet…
Friends, that was a snippet from my newest ebook about bookish self-care!
Look at that gorgeous cover (designed by the lovely Katrina of Rose Harrington Art)! I am SO excited to be sending it out into the world because it was a JOY to create.
This charming 35-page ebook includes:
- Why we need self-care
- How to fit reading time into our busy days
- How to create a “Literary Medicine Cabinet” of books that fit YOU and read like nourishing chicken soup when your soul is weary
- Suggestions for good reads according to genre: classics, children’s lit, fantasy, spiritual writings and modern novels and memoirs
- Answers to your burning questions like “Which Jane Austen novel should I read first?”
- Tips for creating a yearly reading list that will challenge and uplift you
- Printable pages of book checklists with extra blanks for adding in your own favorites!
What readers are saying:
Vanessa who purchased the Literary Medicine Cabinet says, “This book is SO BEAUTIFUL. It is so well-written, clearly took so much thought and care, and the love put into it shines through. I thought it might be more like a printable, or a short list of books Haley enjoys (which would be awesome!) but this book is a multi-chapter guide for people who need books as soul-food. 110% worth it. It has already made my life a little bit better (and I’m looking forward to getting the time to actually finish reading it!).Thank you for creating such quality content, Haley. I am loving it.”
(I promise I did not pay her to say such kind things!)
Ready to crack open your copy of The Literary Medicine Cabinet and get started on some bookish self-care? Grab your copy for $7.99 and brew a delightful cup of tea!
The cover art is SO CUTE! 🙂
I too love my books and am always always looking for good reads; i.e ones that educate, make me laugh, help me to think more deeply or remind me of powerful truths. However, I’ve read lots of books and am wondering if your ebook has some suggestions beyond either the well know classics (Jane Austin) or the Catholic classics (Cather, Undset) ?
Hi Marian! Great question. I do have suggestions beyond the Austen-style classics and the Catholic classics. I have a whole section of more modern reads (memoirs, novels, travel books), a section of fantasy (some classic some modern), and a children’s lit section that includes several modern additions (that I think will become classics). So I can’t promise that they’ll be things you haven’t read, but there’s over 110 suggestions so it’s a good bet there’ll be some new-to-you recommendations 🙂
Thanks Haley! Gonna make the plunge then 😉
Lee @ Dragon'sEyeView says
I came over to your blog from Twitter, curious about your book title (not understanding it!). But after reading your post, I DO understand. There was a time when things were not going well for my family, a lot of uncertainty about the future, etc — reading aloud David Edding’s Belgariad Series every night to the children…kept me sane. It was truly literary self-care. I *KNEW* the story and *KNEW* the ending (as did most of them!) but the nightly ritual of reading…that was literary self-care. 🙂
I love that!
Oh, Haley. This is such a charming, timely, and absolutely necessary contribution to the apothecary. I’ve been so stressed the past few weeks (totally self-inflicted— we bought a house across town) and floundering for a book, while feeling desperately the need for one. It’s been the news and Calvin & Hobbes the past 48 hours. Yes, that bad! Thank you so much for rescuing me. Oswald Bastable taken with a gin & tonic should be just the thing.
I love the selections you made and can’t wait to get to the library and pick up some of the new-to-me works. I only have one quibble… (hey, booklists are the fodder of quibbling!)— Watership Down is superior in every way to The Green Ember. Richard Adams’s rabbits, like Beatrix Potter’s, are truly rabbit-ish, and his story comes often to my mind. It is True. I have to hope you haven’t read it yet. Otherwise, how could this happen?! 😉
Finally, if I may suggest the first book in the historical fiction category? The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It is stunning.
Thank you so much!
Great suggestions! It’s been ages since I read Watership Down!