The holiday season is upon us, and with all the joy surely comes a fair amount of stress. So in the midst of the hustle of picking out gifts and coordinating holly jolly get-togethers, why not treat yourself to a gift (or two, or three) of self-care?
My favorite way to love up on my heart and soul is with books. I have stacks and stacks of them all over my desk and in my home studio, and my phone is jam-packed with audiobooks that I listen to every time I’m in the car (which is a LOT with a gaggle of kids in tow).
You might have already seen my two previous “book favorites” blogs, My Top 10 Books for Creating Spiritual Shifts and 9 MORE Books for Creating Spiritual (Money, Relationship, and Happiness) Shifts. There are a LOT of amazing recs in those posts, so check them out as soon as you finish reading through this list.
I’m especially excited for the recommendations in this post because they’re all brand spanking new (released in the past year), and I’m including affirmation decks for the first time ever. I use affirmation decks ALL THE TIME as inspiration for meditations, for setting an intention for my day, or to stick in cards or books for my friends. I pin them to my dream board above my office desk to remind me of my goals (and my awesomeness). You’ll get three of my favorite decks in this blog—I know you’ll love them all.
So without further ado, here is my list of 9 Inspirational Books & Affirmation Decks to Gift Yourself This Holiday Season (or any time of the year because you deserve it!):
1. Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz
This sweet, insightful, and delightfully colorful little book lives on my desk right next to my unicorn pen and pencil cup and on top of my Passion Planner. It’s filled with offerings of love and “me, too” musings that will have you whispering “yes, yes, yes” and nodding your head in agreement. This book is for creatives and anyone who feels like a sqare peg in a world of impossibly round and rigid holes.
From Amazon.com: From the creative mind and heart of designer Adam J. Kurtz comes this upbeat rallying cry for creators of all stripes. Expanding on a series of popular essays, this handwritten and heartfelt book shares wisdom and empathy from one working artist to others. Perforated tear-and-share pages make it easy to display the most crucial reminders or to pass a bit of advice on to someone who needs it.
As wry and cheeky as it is empathic and empowering, this deceptively simple, vibrantly full-color book will be a touchstone for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who wants to be more creative–even when it would be easier to give up and act normal.
2. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand
I am in love with this book. In keeping with my theme of total, unfiltered honesty, I have always thought of Russell Brand as a total kook. But I’ve also always been a little fascinated by him. I picked up this book upon recommendation from my friend Anna David, a New York Times bestselling author and recovering addict. Though I’ve never suffered from addiction, very close family members of mine have, so I decided to give Recovery a try. What I was delightfully surprised to find out is that the 12-steps-as-lived-by-Russell-Brand that he so eloquently and hysterically lays out in this book can also be applied to all areas of “struggle” in my own life. He describes recovery as the journey from unawareness to awareness. Yes, give me some recovery. I highly recommend the audiobook read by Russell Brand himself, so it’s also linked below.
From Amazon.com: With a rare mix of honesty, humor, and compassion, comedian and movie star Russell Brand mines his own wild story and shares the advice and wisdom he has gained through his fourteen years of recovery. Brand speaks to those suffering along the full spectrum of addiction―from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar addictions to addictions to work, stress, bad relationships, digital media, and fame. Brand understands that addiction can take many shapes and sizes and how the process of staying clean, sane, and unhooked is a daily activity. He believes that the question is not “Why are you addicted?” but “What pain is your addiction masking? Why are you running―into the wrong job, the wrong life, the wrong person’s arms?”
Russell has been in all the twelve-step fellowships going, he’s started his own men’s group, he’s a therapy regular and a practiced yogi―and while he’s worked on this material as part of his comedy and previous bestsellers, he’s never before shared the tools that really took him out of it, that keep him clean and clear. Here he provides not only a recovery plan, but an attempt to make sense of the ailing world.
3. The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
Oh, Oprah, how do I love thee? Let me count the Sundays. Super Soul Sunday is like going to church for me. I drink up the wisdom of Oprah’s guests like nectar from the Tree of Knowledge. This collection features the best of the best of her interviews, and I plan on using it like a daily devotional and inpiration for my own leadership practice.
From Amazon.com: Oprah Winfrey says Super Soul Sunday is the television show she was born to do. “I see it as an offering,” she explains. “If you want to be more fully present and live your life with a wide-open heart, this is the place to come to.”
Now, for the first time, the aha moments of inspiration and soul-expanding insight that have enlightened millions on the three-time Emmy Award-winning Super Soul Sunday are collected in The Wisdom of Sundays, a beautiful, cherishable, deeply-affecting book.
Organized into ten chapters―each one representing a powerful step in Oprah’s own spiritual journey and introduced with an intimate, personal essay by Oprah herself―the Wisdom of Sundays features selections from the most meaningful conversations between Oprah and some of today’s most-admired thought-leaders. Visionaries like Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, and Shonda Rhimes share their lessons in finding purpose through mindfulness and intention. World-renowned authors and teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hahn, Marianne Williamson and Wayne Dyer, explain our complex relationship with the ego and the healing powers of love and connection; and award-winning and bestselling writers like Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Elizabeth Lesser explore the beauty of forgiveness and spirituality.
Paired with beautiful photographs, including many from Oprah’s private property in California where each episode of Super Soul Sunday is filmed, The Wisdom of Sundays promises to be a timeless keepsake that will help readers awaken to life’s wondrous possibilities and discover a deeper connection to the natural world around them.
4. Practice You: A Journal by Elena Brower
I feel every bit of love, care, and attention that Elena infused into the pages of this book. I feel it on a soul level. Use this artfully crafted guide as a journal and a map for your journey home.
From Amazon.com: When the way forward seems uncertain, where can we turn for guidance we can trust? For yoga luminary, meditation teacher, and artist Elena Brower, the answer has always been close at hand.
“Whenever I’ve needed direction, strength, or centering, I’ve so often turned to my own journals. Why? Because many of the answers we seek are found within ourselves.”
Now, for those compelled to the pen and page, Elena invites us to gather our own wisdom through writing, self-inquiry, and reflection. Practice You is a portable sacred sanctuary to record our flashes of insight, find our ground, create and clarify our goals, and bear witness to our own evolution.
With more than 150 beautiful pages of questions, teachings, inspiring imagery, and plenty of space to write, draw, and reflect, this journaling adventure guides us into nine compelling portals to our highest ways of living.
5. Crystal Muse by Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro
There’s a tiny shop in a local farmers/flea market that my mother used to visit almost every week. The owners are a married couple, the husband a retired science teacher. The shop is packed with every type of crystal and fossil imaginable, many transformed and affixed into pieces of handmade jewelry. Years after my mother’s passing, I would return to the shop and start collecting the crystals. I had no idea what any of them should be used for… I was just drawn to them. Feeling an insatiable desire to connect more meaningfully with nature and ritual (and my mother), I sought out and found the perfect book for the task, Crystal Muse.
From Amazon.com: Crystal Muse explores how you can transform life’s challenges into opportunities for growth by being equipped with the right crystals and mindset. Learn how you can connect with crystals and empower your life by using this guide to set such transformational intentions as:
—Attracting love through learning to love yourself
—Relieving anxiety by surrendering to meditation
—Becoming a magnet for prosperity
—Crystallizing a breakthrough
—Consciously conceiving a new life
—Cutting your unhealthy energy cords
—Getting rid of insomnia to sleep with your mind fully at rest
—Cultivating the connection with your creative spirit
—Aligning with the energy of the moon
—Grounding yourself with the energy of the earth; and
—Finding the temple within
These practices are a collection of over 25 years of rigorous research, world travel, and spiritual quests by holistic healer and crystal expert, Heather Askinosie. For over two decades, Heather and her business partner, Timmi Jandro, have been offering insights into crystals through their crystal healing business, Energy Muse. Throughout Crystal Muse, Heather and Timmi share their personal stories on the path toward alternative practice and explain how these remedies can work for the reader’s life too.
6. [PREORDER] Close Your Eyes, Get Free by Grace Smith
What Grace offers in Close Your Eyes, Get Free is nothing short of remarkable. It’s rare that a self-help book provides such real, practical tools for the reader, and this book does that and so much more. By sharing deeply personal stories along with sound scientific research, Grace more than convinces us of the power and effectiveness of hypnosis. She also gifts us a practice that will no doubt usher in true self-healing and limitless growth for anyone who is willing to accept it. Forget everything you ever thought about hypnosis, and prepare to be surprised, inspired, and healed by this book. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
From Amazon.com: Meditation, mindfulness, and other alternative healing practices continue to find their place with Western audiences. Now, Grace Smith introduces the next wave: hypnosis. Close Your Eyes, Get Free shares the practical advice and exercises that Smith uses to great success in her private hypnotherapy practice. While hypnosis may have previously conjured an image of entranced participants squawking like a chicken, the reality is something far more peaceful—and useful. Readers will learn how hypnosis can be the most rapid and effective tool to increase self–worth and empowerment, reduce stress and anxiety, quit bad habits, and more. Close Your Eyes, Get Free is the bridge that takes hypnotherapy from mysterious and misunderstood into the mainstream, offering practical strategies and simple exercises anyone can do anytime, anywhere for a deeply relaxed and focused state.
7. [AFFIRMATION DECK] Wild Soul Oracle Deck by Elizabeth DiAlto
How can I adequately describe the pure magic and wild energy that is Elizabeth DiAlto. I’ve known this woman for a long time and I’ve loved witnessing her evolution as a soul-searcher, truth-seeker, and loving teacher. Her first card deck will lead you to connect with yourself in new and wonderful ways. I can’t wait to hear how much you love it.
From wildsoulmovement.com: In our modern, media-saturated world there are more than enough others trying to tell us what things mean and asking us to trust them. With this deck, I am offering you untouched images of flowers, healing mantras and messages, illuminating reflection questions and rituals. Each of these invites you to CONNECT to the meaning, wisdom, and truth WITHIN, and TRUST YOURSELF.
8. [AFFIRMATION DECK] The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
You will be bowled over by the breathtakingly beautiful artwork on these cards, skillfully rendered by Gabby’s best friend (and my doula client), Micaela Ezra.
From Amazon.com: This inspiring 52-card deck offers spiritual guidance to help you find strength when you are down, synchronicity and support when you are lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy in all circumstances. Now it is in your hands. Surrender to the guidance that the cards provide, practice patience and peace, and trust that the Universe has your back.
9. [AFFIRMATION DECK] Badass Affirmation Cards & Stickers by Angie Bee Hotz
Angie Bee Hotz is not only one of my favorite people on the planet, she’s also a badass mom-of-4, doula and student midwife, my personal magical mala maker, and the woman behind the hilarious and much-needed series of Badass Affirmation decks. You’ll find decks and stickers for childbirth, bring home baby (postpartum), everyday life, body love, and more in her Etsy shop. I share these cards with all my mama friends and doula clients, and I know you’re going to want to get at least a few decks to keep and pass around.
From Etsy.com: Everyday life is a mixed bag. It can be joyous and blissful, and it can be stressful and overwhelming. And holy craptarts, It can be many things all at the same time and you can feel lots of big feels all at the same time. Help yourself get through with these unique and original affirmation cards designed for the everyday. Need a little more than the typical flowery affirmations? These edgy and sweary affirmations will help you get through.
I know you’re going to love what I’ve offered here, but I also want to share the classics that are the pillars of my collection. If you haven’t already, check out my first book blog, My Top 10 Books for Creating Spiritual Shifts, and pin the image below to spread the love on Pinterest. Another great list to check out is 9 MORE Books for Creating Spiritual (Money, Relationship, and Happiness) Shifts. Happy reading!
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BexLife.com and the Blissed In® wellness movement, is a mother-of-five, TV host, meditation guide, author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. Her first book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (Hay House 2017), is available now, wherever books are sold.