How to Look After Your Mental Health

You should never have to suffer in silence. Books can be a great source of comfort if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or upset, but aren’t ready to talk to someone else about it yet.
by Uptime Staff / 2021-09-15
Mental health, much like our physical health, takes work and responsibility to maintain. Much like we have to eat well and go out for regular exercise in order to keep our body healthy, we also have to keep checking in with ourselves to make sure we’re doing okay mentally, too. 

Mental health discourse and awareness has made tremendous leaps in the last few years; it’s become much more commonplace to address the startling prevalence of mental health problems like anxiety and depression across the world, felt by students, teens, and adults alike.

Still, facing up to our own inner demons can be a big ask. What’s more, seeking out therapy or professional help can sometimes feel intimidatingly expensive. Self-help, wellness, and mental health books seek to bridge that gap. They’re a barrier-free entry to the world of understanding your mind, and at Uptime we have a few hacks that can get you started on a great note. 

If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Of course, books are in no way a replacement for seeking proper help or talking to someone, but they are a great source of comfort to turn to in the moments where you might feel like you don’t have someone to talk to, or aren’t sure how to yet. 

Whether you're suffering from feelings of loneliness, shame, depression, heartbreak, anxiety, you name it - sometimes, just knowing that many people experience the same feelings that you might be can be a source of comfort. 

No matter what social media might have you believe, everyone has bad days. We’re just not always great at talking about them. By reading the words of doctors, mental health experts, and more, perhaps this can be a source of comfort, inspiration for you on the days you’re feeling low.

The Body Keeps the Score - Bessel A. van der Kolk

On Uptime

Past trauma causes mental anguish in the present day. 

In fact, much of the anxiety or depression you might feel today could very well stem from unresolved traumatic events in your past. 

The Body Keeps the Score, the game-changing book by Bessel van der Kolk (the founder and Director of the Trauma Centre) not only explains the science of this difficult phenomena, but also provides at-home exercises to try soothing harmful or intrusive thoughts.

His most important lessons include:

  • The importance of EDMR therapy, otherwise known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EDMR is a technique involving stimulating eye movements. Remembering traumatic events causes a somatic response in the body; EDMR uses eye movements and direction to distract you during flashbacks and set your body back to peace while integrating traumatic memories into the present moment. 
  • The mind and body can connect through yoga, which helps the mind reorient into the present instead of falling into the past. 
  • A network of support with whom you can discuss your trauma is essential to healing.  
quotation marksOnce you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.

To find out if this book is for you, you can have a look at our 5-minute summary of The Body Keeps The Score summary on Uptime

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone - Lori Gottleib

On Uptime

Therapy is a natural process to get to know yourself and heal, and, despite its growing popularity, it’s still stigmatized in modern society. With Maybe You SHould Talk to Someone, Lori Gottleib aims to normalize the process of therapy, outlining how it works for the average individual. Therapy can involve thinking and coping skills to treat mental illness or recovering from past trauma. 

Gottleib’s lessons include:

  • Most people who go to therapy come in for a specific reason or life event they’re currently dealing with, but the deeper-rooted issues at hand are much wider and interconnected.
  • Therapy is a long process because many patients use defense mechanisms to avoid the truth about their lives and it takes time for the therapist to break through this mental shield.
  • To make real progress in therapy, you have to let your emotions out freely. This can be heard, but the right therapist will help you feel comfortable. 

To find out more, you can have a look at our Maybe You Should Talk to Someone summary on Uptime.

Codependent No More - Melody Beattie

On Uptime

This book is an indispensable guide to creating relationships boundaries, boosting your own self esteem, and quitting your addiction to dysfunctional relationships. Codependency affects many people today, but few know how to escape its grasp. When we date too many addictive, unfaithful, or abusive partners, we can develop interior patterns that throw us back into similar situations. 

That’s where Codependent No More comes in. This book answers questions like how to get out of codependent relationships, why they occur in the first place, and how to know if you’re codependent yourself. Use the methods listed in Melody Beattie’s book to recognize, diagnose, and eventually quit your codependent tendencies.

quotation marksCodependency may or may not be an illness, but it can make you sick. And it can help the people around you stay sick.

Beattie’s hard-won wisdom includes the following ideas:

  • You’re not responsible for other people. Helping other people with their problems may seem noble, but it can become a problem of its own. If you believe that, without you, in someone’s life, everything would fall apart, you may be codependent and need help. 
  • Self-care isn’t selfish! It’s important and vital to a healthy lifestyle. Codependents spend too much time on the problems of those around them and not enough time taking care of themselves.
  • To escape codependent patterns, start with setting boundaries and sticking to them.

To learn more about how to quit your own destructive relationship patterns, have a look at our Codependent No More summary on Uptime.

The Book You Wish Your Parents had Read (And Your Children Will Be Glad that You Did) - Philippa Perry

On Uptime

This book is a slightly different take on mental health, but it answers some important questions on the importance of our upbringing on our mental health, and how we can be better parents to our own children. 

Despite your best intentions, making sure you’re raising a ‘mentally healthy’ child often falls to the bottom of the list of concerns when navigating day-to-day life. After all, there’s so much else to juggle that just getting to the end of the day can feel like an achievement in itself. 

Some of our favorite insights:

  • We parent as a reaction to our childhood. Our negative tendencies come straight from our own backgrounds. Study this to figure out how to escape negative patterns and create new ones.
  • Validate your child’s feelings, whether they make sense to you or not. Feelings aren’t right or wrong. Even if you don’t agree with how your child feels, they’ll benefit from knowing that their emotions are valid. Acknowledge their feelings and try to understand. IF you don’t, your children can suppress their feelings and end up emotionally stunted. 
  • Encourage mental health in your children by observing them and engaging with the way they relate to the world, attempting to understand them as often as possible, try to pay more attention to your child than to technology, and make sure that your child has time for play. 

To help you decide whether you'd like to buy these book in full, check out our The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read 5-minute book summary on Uptime.

In the wake of COVID-19, and the lockdowns and quarantines that came afterwards, looking after your mental health has never been more important.

Many of us have neglected our wellbeing during lockdown through no fault of our own. Feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and stress are sky-high, and for good reason; lockdown has been a tinder box for common mental health disorders. (And social media hasn’t always helped, either.)

Whether working from home has messed with your routine, un-traditional schooling methods have taken a toll on your teens, or you’re just looking for a new boost of hope, consider these four books as a start-point for how to incorporate self-care into your daily routine.


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