Jorden Williams, Content Designer at BANES Carers Centre, shares seven suggestions for uplifting reads, with unpaid carers in mind. And with more suggestions coming from carers in Mobilise community, we have also updated this article to include an additional four books.
Let’s be real, most of us don’t have the time to commit to reading 10 books! And this article isn’t meant to give us another pressure to add to our to-do list. But carving a little 'me time' out for ourselves is an essential part of taking care of ourselves.
Our 'Carers Guide to Self Love' can give us an extra hand with this.
Reading is often something we run out of time to do – but half an hour with a good book can do wonders for our mental health.
So let's plan some time for ourselves, make a nice cuppa, pop our feet up and grab one of these books to dip into.
Reading isn’t only a great way to unwind, but it can help us recharge for a new day, and maybe we’ll even learn something new. So bookmark this list and see what jumps out to you next time you want a good read.
This great selection is vouched for by others in the caring community, covering everything from practical issues like cooking on a shoestring to finding joy in our days.
We’ve included links to where you can purchase each book, but don’t forget to check out what your local library has on offer!
1. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by
Yes, of course this is on the list.
This seems like an obvious choice because EVERYONE recommends it, but it’s for good reason, we promise!
Many of us will have seen Charlie’s touching illustrations doing the rounds on social media, that can just stop you in your tracks.
They’re gorgeous, uplifting and universally relatable, often reflecting on themes of courage, resilience and love. It’s like the book already knows us, and who doesn’t want a little pep talk every now and then?
We can find it at Amazon, for £9.00
2. Cooking On A Bootstrap by Jack Monroe
Jack shares over 100 simple and budget-friendly recipes that you can knock together even if you’re not a culinary whizz.
Favourites of ours include the aptly named recipe ‘I Cannot Get Enough Of This Five-Minute Thing’ and the delicious ‘Moonshine Mash’.
The recipes are all about cheap, filling and nourishing food for you and your family. Jack has thought about everything from what you might have lying around to how you might ‘veganise’ the dish. Definitely a handy one to have in the kitchen.
We can find it at Book Depository, for £11.70
3. Happy by Fearne Cotton
Whether you’re listening to her podcasts or reading one of her many books, there’s just something about Fearne’s tone that’s inviting, relaxing and makes you want to savour each moment.
Fearne has now written 4 books relating to mental health, so it was hard to choose just one! But we knew we had to showcase her first book, Happy.
It’s perfect to devour in a day or something to keep dipping into for a serotonin boost. Her simple, practical steps will help you find a little joy in every day.
We can find it at The Works, for £3.00
4. Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring by Penny Wincer
A beautifully written and honest account of the realities of caring. Penny draws on her personal experience of caring, previously for her mother and now for her son. She weaves this with others’ stories to offer an insightful and often moving read.
If you want a taste of what’s to come, you can listen to her powerful interview on BBC Sounds where she reflects on what it is to be a carer. And also her chat with Mobilise's CEO James Townsend, on their podcast 'Who Cares Wins'.
We can find it at WHSmith, for £11.55
5. The Sun and Her Flowers - Rupi Kaur
The Instagram sensation’s second collection of poetry touches on love, loss and growth.
Beautiful reflections of the world around us, accompanied with delicate illustrations make this a win for us.
This is not a book to read cover to cover, it’s just perfect to dip in and out of when you need a little inspiration in your day.
We can find it at Amazon, for £8.38.
6. It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and Other Lies)
by Scarlett Curtis
This is a fantastic collection of writings about mental health from over sixty influential people. These personal stories cover a range of issues that aim to dispel the myths surrounding mental health.
It offers us a raw insight into the personal struggles of authors, celebrities, politicians and much more, and promotes the message that you’re not alone.
An inspiring read that you can easily flick through when you want a lift and some reassurance.
We can find it at Waterstones, for £7.49
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama
A personal account from one of the most iconic women in the world – what’s not to love? In this witty and honest portrayal, the former First Lady shares not only her triumphs but the struggles she faced along the way.
Her reflections are warm and relatable, as she touches on issues like juggling motherhood and work, and the impact of seeing someone you love struggle with illness.
A beautifully written page-turner you’ll find hard to put down! If American politics sparks your interest, you can also check out Barack Obama’s latest memoir, A Promised Land.
We can find it at The Works, for £15.00
In addition to these seven books suggested by Jorden, unpaid carers in the Mobilise community have also shared some book recommendations:
8. Who Cares?: How to care for yourself whilst caring for a loved one by Sara Challice
A book suggestion recommended by a carer in our community, this is a personal account by Sara Challice who cared for her husband for 13 years after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
In her book 'How to care for yourself whilst caring for a loved one', Sara speaks on the impact of stress while caring, how this can affect our physical health, and the importance of not only regaining our health but also how we can start enjoying life again - a challenge that most carers face. The book includes practical tips to help guide us towards a decision best for us, as well as providing some empathy and understanding.
"I found Sara’s advice extremely helpful and her story is inspiring; she is very good at showing you how to look at difficult situations in a different way, so you can change your approach and become more resilient, healthier, and better able to care for your loved one." - Member of the Mobilise Community
9. The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring by Hugh Marriott
Recommended by carers, The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring includes how to cope with the emotional and practical aspects of looking after someone.
It acknowledges that as carers, we can get lonely and burnout and yet there is no 'formal training' for us to get this right.
Hugh aims to bring into the open everything he wishes he'd been told when he first became a carer and paints a picture for those who don't know what being a carer feels like.
We can find this on Amazon, for £10.99
10. The Carers' Handbook by Jane Matthews
The Carers' Handbook by Jane Matthews includes the essential information and support for those of us in a caring role.
Whether we're new to caring or have been at it a while, this handbook aims to help us care for ourselves, make sense of any natural feelings of guilt or resentment and understand how our relationships may be affected in the process of caring.
It also details how we can emotionally and practically prepare for when our caring role comes to an end.
We can find this on Amazon, for £10.99
11. What I wish people knew about Dementia by
This is an engaging read whose purpose is to take the difficulty and find a way to overcome it.
It's both for those of us caring for someone with Dementia or living with it and a reminder that not all is lost when our loved ones lose their memories.
Wendy includes both her experiences and stories of other patients who have gone through this, offering a practical and emotional guide to life after a dementia diagnosis.
We can find it on Amazon, for £14.99
Share your ideas with us
This is by no means an extensive list of all the wonderful books out there that can support us with our caring role. We just hope this has inspired you to take some time for yourself.
We'd love to hear if you have other books you have really enjoyed, so feel free to join our friendly Mobilise Community to share your ideas.
About the author
Jorden Williams is the Content Designer at BANES Carers Centre.
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