There are few things as relaxing as curling up in a comfortable chair to read a good book. And I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the hunt for books that will help me get my life together. They used to call them self-help books. I call them self-care books for women. And I love reading them.
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As a stepmom with a busy career and family life, it’s important to exercise what I call “stepmom self-care.” This is the idea that, stepmom or not, taking care of yourself is an essential part of making you healthy, happy, and productive.
For me, part of this is continually trying to learn new skills and ways to approach things.
So I’ve compiled some of my favorite self-care books for women here. Some are inspirational, some are organizational, and some are just fun. Some are related to stepparenting, but all have helped me be a better parent, wife, and person.
I hope you’ll get some good ideas here! And if you think you don’t have time to read, let me share something with you.
I use Audible all the time. I listen to books and podcasts in the car and when I’m walking to meetings. Being able to read at any given moment has been truly life-changing for this bibliophile. If you don’t already have it, I highly recommend.
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You Can Do It! Books
Everything Is Figuroutable, Marie Forleo
Oprah has called her the “thought leader for the next generation.” She calls herself a “multipassionate entrepreneur.” She’s a life coach and optimist and has a great outlook.
The basic premise of her book is, you guessed it, that “everything is figureoutable.” Marie has a way of inspiring you to act through her unique outlook.
One of the things Marie has discussed in interviews is the concept that “you win or you learn.”
Not “lose.” What a great way to frame life lessons. You don’t lose, you learn.
I love this. Imagine if we could all shift our way of thinking so that failures are simply lessons learned? I know it’s not a novel concept, but it’s a good reminder.
Do It Scared, by Ruth Soukup
Ruth is a New York Times bestselling author, online entrepreneur, and blogger extraordinaire. I have been very lucky to workshop with Ruth a few times and she’s kind of an inspirational genius.
Also, she’s one of the few women taller than me. Tall girls unite!
But seriously, not only does she give great blogging and business advice, but she wrote Do It Scared to help you overcome your fears. She developed a whole system that helps you identify your fear archetype and once you do, her book walks you through how to face it and crush your goals.
Ruth also has a corresponding podcast, where she builds on all the concepts in the book. I look forward to it every week!
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
You probably read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. While her most recent book not about a woman traveling the world to find herself, it sure does tackle some of the same underlying issues.
In Big Magic, Elizabeth also talks about tackling fear. She focuses on how to live a more creative life. And asks the question: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
That’s a big question, right?
She’s not posing it to get her readers involved in the creative arts. When she talks about a creative life, she instead means a life driven more by curiosity than fear. Tackling your day to day life with more mindfulness and passion.
Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis is pretty much everywhere these days, so if you haven’t seen her on Instagram or read one of her books, you’ve probably heard of her. She is a self-made mogul who moved to Los Angeles with a high school education, started her own celebrity event planning company, and became one of the most sought after motivational speakers around. That’s the short version.
With tough love mixed in with some great anecdotes, wisdom, and humor, she addresses the guilt that women “carry for wanting something more in their lives.”
Girl, Stop Apologizing is written in a super conversational style and by the end, you feel she’s talking directly to you. Especially if you listen to the Audible version of the book that she narrates. I feel like we would be great friends if we were to go grab a glass of wine. Rachel, I’m free if you’re ever in D.C.!
Books To Help You Get Organized
I also love books that give me ways to feel more organized. Almost as much as I love wandering through office supply stores. I know, I’m weird. But both of those things make me feel like I can tackle the world.
And these books below really fit the bill. Each one of them has real-life tools that will help you get your act together.
Atomic Habits, by James Clear
Looking to start some new habits but it seems overwhelming? James Clear’s premise in Atomic Habits is life-changing.
He talks about a paradigm shift from embarking on big changes all at once to making very small changes bit by bit. He argues that it’s the cumulative effect of small changes we make on top of each other every day that will help build the larger changes in your life.
Truly, you’ll see things differently after this book.
Free To Focus, by Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt was Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers when he realized that he was sacrificing his health and relationships in the name of getting more done. He figured out a system to instead “get the right things done” and now teaches others to do the same.
The premise of Free to Focus is that you can accomplish more by “doing less.” Meaning you figure out the things you’re good at and enjoy doing and try to delegate or eliminate more of the stuff that you’re either not good at or don’t enjoy. The idea is that this will free you up to have time to “do nothing.”
It’s kind of an awesome idea – that you can actually find time to not be “on” and not be working.
He also sells an accompanying planner to help you execute the strategies you learn in the book.
It’s no-frills and very different from any of the cute Erin Condren type planners I had used before. But you know what? I love it.
It helps me look long term to plan out my year and my quarter, which I’ve not had much success doing with previous planners. And it helps me stay organized between a couple of different digital calendars.
7 Habits Books, by Stephen R. Covey
There’s a reason Steven Covey has sold over 50 million copies of his The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.
The strategies he developed work. In my first job out of law school, 7 Habits was required reading. It made our staff more thoughtful, strategic, and efficient.
He expanded his 7 Habits empire with The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Families, and it’s just as fantastic. He takes his 7 habits and translates them into ways to improve how your family operates. To include how you communicate with each other and how you treat each other.
As an aside, his son wrote a 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens that simplifies the concepts for teens. I think it looks awesome, but I’m admittedly still trying to get my stepdaughter to read it. Stay tuned!
Books To Help You Stepparent
When Craig and I got engaged, I scoured Amazon for stepparenting books. I was determined to study up, follow a plan, and do it right.
Well, I quickly found that the resources were sorely lacking. In no small part because there is no real blueprint to all this. Every situation is different.
That being said, I found a few books that I can recommend to anyone who is about to be or is currently on the stepparenting journey.
Stepparenting With Grace, by Gayla Grace
This devotional is based on scripture but also includes encouraging words for blended family stepparents. It is soothingly inspirational.
I don’t necessarily open it up every day, but when I do it makes me feel centered and calm.
A Career Girl’s Guide To Becoming A Stepmom, by Jacquelyn Fletcher
There’s no silver bullet book that will teach you how to stepmom.
But A Career Girl’s Guide was written for women like me.
Women who had been working for a long time and found themselves with all the challenges and benefits of an instant family.
As much as I adore my instant family, life changed drastically when I met Craig. I had been living alone for 10 years. Working a lot, traveling a pretty decent amount, and generally doing whatever I wanted.
I’m super thankful for my current life, including how different it is from my former life. But it did take some getting used to. Career Girl’s Guide addresses the challenges in an easy to understand way.
Building Love Together In Blended Families, by Gary Chapman and Ron Deal
You might remember Gary Chapman as the author of the 5 Love Languages books. They’re all about the different ways people give and receive love. And how to ensure you’re giving your love to your family and loved ones in ways that they can receive.
Just released this month, he’s now got one on blended families. It makes sense. Stepfamilies are really different than biological families. Giving and receiving love is not as easy, so I can’t wait to read this.
(yes, full disclosure – I haven’t read it yet. It just came out and I’m expecting it to arrive in my mailbox any day now. I’m going to devour it, so I’ll update this section once I do!)
Books To Inspire You
On Fire: The 7 Choices To Ignite A Radically Inspired Life
Okay, John O’Leary is not a female writer and this is not a book geared specifically towards women or families. However. I can’t even tell you how much I love On Fire.
I first heard about author John O’Leary on Ruth Soukup’s podcast (see above) when she interviewed him (Episode 93 if you want to listen to it).
I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I found myself in full-on, have to re-do your makeup kind of tears on my commute to work as I listened to the interview and ingested his story.
John suffered burns on literally 100% of his body when he was in a horrific accident at 9 years old. Doctors were surprised he survived. He did, but it took him months of excruciating recovery, to include having his fingers amputated.
And he has said he’d do it all over again because it gave him a “radically inspired life.” And he has devoted his life to inspiring others. His is truly a remarkable journey and his optimistic and spirited outlook is contagious.
Daily Devotionals and Journals
If you’re going to do something on the daily, it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. A Year of Self-Love will give you daily quotes and easy reads that you can look at in a minute or two each day.
As we talk about self-care for women and putting ourselves first every once in a while – it starts with taking just a minute or two for yourself. A book like this will get you off to a great start.
Or if journaling is more your style, use the Gratitude Journal For Women, a 52-Week Gratitude Journal, or just a cool notebook.
I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for self-care books for women. It really is so important that we take care of ourselves, and I want to help you however I can! Please drop any self-care books you’ve loved in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!