Where intentional living and self-care intersect {and 8 books I love}

Where intentional living and self-care intersect {and 8 books I love}

Books about intentional living and self-care

Some women struggle with believing that they should take care of themselves and some struggle with overscheduling and finding the time to make it happen (I tend to fall into the second group).

What I’m realizing this year, though, is that intentional living and self-care go hand-in-hand.

At it’s core, living intentionally means living in a way that fits you…that considers your personality, your needs, your wants, your goals, your passions and your purpose (and if you have a family, that includes your family’s personalities, needs, wants, goals, passions and purposes as well). Self-care means taking care of your needs—and not just the very basics like food and water—so that you can live out that passion and purpose as well.

8 Books Where Intentional Living and Self-Care Intersect

That’s why this list is a collection of both traditional self-care books and others about the broader topic of intentional living. We know that self-care includes things like margin in your day, time for yourself, pursuing your passions, etc. But it also means finding an authentic community, living creatively, and loving others in a way that fills your tank as well as the recipient’s.

The books on this list are ones that I think about often. They’re filled with big-picture principles and day-to-day tips that make them worth reading again and again.

Note: Many, but not all, of these books are written by Christians and include elements of faith in their principles.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

I read this book at the beginning of 2014, and while it’s taken me a full year to really put some of the principles into practice—setting office hours, leaving margin in my day, etc.—every page is packed full of practical tips for escaping survival mode and living a fulfilling life. I would say this is the broadest, most practical handbook on this list!

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner

I’m just about halfway through this one, but if you fall into either category above—unsure about the importance of self-care or unsure how to make that time—this book is full of practical tips and insights. It’s written in a casual, conversational style, and it’s a must-read for anyone who struggles to prioritize self-care!

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I loved this book, Gretchen Rubin’s experiments, and her thoughts and research on happiness so much. While joy is lasting and not reflective of our circumstances, happiness is a worthy goal as well, and this book is about finding ways to increase your happiness by changing your circumstances, surroundings, and routines…and embracing the fun of life. Discover practical tips for things like decluttering and creating a morning routine that works as well as more philosophical practices such as contentment and gratitude.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

Emily P. Freeman is one of my very favorite authors (I can’t wait to read her next book, Simply Tuesday), and I love A Million Little Ways for its encouragement to live our art, not by becoming an actual artist or even by exploring our creative side, but by seeing everything we do as a chance to be artists—whether it’s wiping the kitchen counters or having a conversation with a stranger in the checkout line. There are a million little ways that our lives can bring glory to the Creator, and very little of it has to do with the art we hang on our walls.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

This book has been slow reading for me, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. Every time I pick it up to read a section, I’m drawn in and want to highlight every other sentence. But then I set it down for a few weeks before picking it up again. That said, Brene Brown’s call to embrace vulnerability in your life—at work, at home, in your close relationships and with strangers—is one that resonates within me. When I try to “protect my image,” I end up exhausted and stressed, but living with vulnerability is freeing. I literally feel lighter, as if I can breathe more deeply.

{And the final chapter—on Wholehearted Parenting—is well worth the cost of the full book. Seriously life changing.}

Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

Notes from a Blue Bike is about intentional living, but it’s also about “paying attention to who you are and what you need” to live a rich, fulfilling life rather than just running to keep up with the hamster wheel. While this book tells Tsh’s story, there are important principles within that framework that make me want to reconsider various aspects of my own life to be sure I’m living authentically and with purpose.

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

As an introvert, I like to pretend that I’d be perfectly happy on a desert island without anyone else around, but the reality is that we all need friendship and community. In Bread & Wine, Niequist describes the kind of community that fills you up rather than leaves you exhausted and discouraged—an authentic community that happens around meals and the table, without pretense or expectations. Finding this kind of community is definitely a key to intentional living and self-care.

{Next month’s Live course theme happens to be “Connect,” all about community and friendship. If that’s something you’re longing for, be sure to join us!}

Love Does by Bob Goff

Love Does by Bob Goff

At first glance, it may seem a little crazy to include a book about loving others on a list of self-care books, but I loved this book so much, not because it made me feel guilty for not loving perfectly but because it inspired me to love extravagantly and live an extraordinary life. From the official description: “When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real.” When we love well—not out of obligation or habit, but intentionally and delighting in the loving—we benefit most of all.

What books about intentional living or self-care would you add to this list?

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. What an extraordinary list! I haven’t read ANY of them, though I have read some of Brene Brown’s other books. I will be putting them on my “want to read” list over at Good Reads!

  2. Thank you for this list! I will be referring back to it often. There are 2 that I would add to the list: “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst and “Own Your Life” by Sally Clarkson. I am working through both books and I highly recommend both of them! 😉

  3. I am working my way through Daring Greatly now as well and I’m having the same experience. When I first started it, I almost stopped because it was uncomfortable to read because it hit so close to home. Now I think I mentally and emotionally can only digest a chapter at a time. I need time to process the information before I can move on and retain the next chapter.

  4. I’ve read most of these books and they are also some of my favorites. “Bread and Wine” and “The Fringe Hours” really changed my perspectives. “Love Does” was wonderful too…as was Crystal’s book. I need to add Tsh’s new book to my list now!

  5. I am reading Daring Greatly now and looking forward to finding out all the good stuff from the Wholehearted Parenting chapter. Thanks for this list!

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