The More Or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges is an A-Z listing of a wide variety of different self-care strategies. The book is visually appealing, with illustrations and an easy to read layout. Parts of the book are targeted specifically at people with mental illness, but it would still be relevant to people who don’t have a mental illness.
The author explains that she sees four types of self-care that involve nourishing the body, mind, relationships, and spirit. She makes it clear that self-care is not selfish, an excuse, self-reliance, one-size-fits-all, or a cure. I very much agree!
I thought it was very insightful that the author acknowledged the privilege involved in being able to attend to self-care, as some people don’t have anything to spare beyond their focus on survival.
Throughout the book, “their care” sections contain stories from contributors about how they attend to their own self-care.
Some of the strategies suggested are more internally-focused, including recognizing cognitive distortions and practicing radical acceptance. Others relate more to interactions with others, such as maintaining boundaries, saying no, and asking for help.
A few suggestions are a little on the “out there” side, like astrology, crystals, and tarot cards, but they’re presented in a down-to-earth rather than “woo woo” manner.
Speaking of down-to-earth, I liked the author’s comment on medication: “medication isn’t for everyone, but it’s a totally viable option to talk about with your doctor.” Simple and straight to the point.
I enjoyed the suggestion to build your personal blanket fort, as well as giving your inner voice a name. She used the name Donald as an example, which of course made me think of talking to the inner critic as if it was Donald Trump…
At the end of the book, there’s a tree chart suggesting different self-care activities to suit different conditions. Personally I love that kind of thing.
I was impressed with the variety of different self-care strategies suggested. While some were about creating immediate or short-term positives, others might be difficult to do but would have longer-term benefits. There was also a mix of low-effort and high-effort activities. Overall, I thought it was quite well balanced.
The More Or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is available on Amazon.
I received a reviewer copy of this book from NetGalley.
You can find my other book reviews here.
The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.
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