Books to help you be mindful

The current coronavirus crisis has given many of us time we never previously had. Time we no longer spend commuting, time to take in the world around us as we partake in our daily allowance of exercise. Time to think. 

It's that time, particularly that thinking time, that has also left so many of us feeling a little overwhelmed, more tired than usual, and worried about what's happening to our loved ones, our neighbours and communities, and the world around us.

So mindfulness is more important than ever, whether we're essential workers going out every day to keep hospitals, supermarkets and crucial services running, or whether we're working in the home or looking after families.

These seven books are great for grounding you at the end of the day and giving your mind a break from the hubbub of news.

How to Draw Inky Wonderlands by Johanna Basford

Remember how absorbing you found drawing and colouring in when you were younger? There was nothing that could distract you from being in the present, selecting the right colour or concentrating on keeping inside the lines. Tap into that feeling with Johanna Basford's How to Draw Inky Wonderlands, a guide to drawing your own flora and fauna. The book includes step-by-step exercises and prompts, as well as pages to colour, and will help you reconnect with your imagination.

You Are An Artist by Sarah Urist Green

Curator Sarah Urist Green brings together more than 50 artists from around the world in this book, where they share their creative techniques and set exercises for readers to inspire you to make your own art.

Over the course of the book you’ll invent imaginary friends, construct a landscape, find the quietest place, measure your history and become someone else. You Are An Artist will help you reflect on the world as you see it.

M is for Mindfulness by Carolyn Suzuki

Children might be feeling uncertain at this time because their routines have been disrupted or because they can pick up on the worries and anxiety of adults, so introduce them to mindfulness with Carolyn Suzuki’s beautiful M is for Mindfulness. This "Alphabet Book of Calm" will introduce children to concepts of mindfulness, such as being aware of their bodies, paying attention to their breathing, and thinking of their emotions as something that will pass. Colourful illustrations make this an approachable book for young children.

Mindfulness for Mums by Izzy Judd

Izzy Judd has suffered from anxiety for much of her life, and in this book she brings together a series of activities and exercises which have helped her find a piece of calm, and which she hopes will inspire other mothers. There are exercises for mums to do alone and with children of all ages, supplemented with quick and easy self-care tips to help people find a moment's respite.

How to be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax

Comedian Ruby Wax gets the advice of a monk and a neuroscientist for How to be Human, in which she answers questions about everything from evolution to emotions, relationships and sex. Filled with examples from Wax's own life as well as practical mindfulness exercises, this is a great book to dip into after a hard day.

Life: A User's Manual by Julian Baggini and Antonia Macaro

Sometimes you need a little help pondering life's big questions, and Life: A User's Manual, which you can pre-order now, is just the ticket. Philosopher Julian Baggini and existential psychotherapist Antonia Macara cover topics including bereavement, luck and free will, and tell readers what the greatest thinkers to ever live had to say on these subjects.

The Poetry Pharmacy Returns by William Sieghart

If you really want to take a few minutes to yourself, the perfect thing to do is sink into a poem. William Sieghart's The Poetry Pharmacy Returns is an anthology which offers a "prescription" to readers. From ageing bodies to embracing your slovenliness and the challenges of family life, there's a poem here to suit every need.

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