Welcome to Wellness Wednesday

Sarah Gelman on October 09, 2019

I’m a passionate resolution-maker—as covered in my first ABR post on How to Read More—and my resolution-making isn’t confined to the start of a new year. I recently came to embrace the “genre” known as wellness, and I’d argue that wellness and resolutions have a lot in common. They’re both based around hope—hope for something better, healthier, happier, and more productive. And what’s more hopeful than books you haven’t read yet?

There are few things in life that give me more energy than a beautiful stack of books just waiting to be discovered, so please know that this short list of upcoming reads took great restraint. And while January is the Super Bowl of Wellness, there are many exciting wellness books coming our way in 2020. This is just a handful.

Sarah Adler is a Seattle-based nutritionist and life-coach whose work I was introduced to at my favorite exercise studio, The Bar Method. Simply Real Eating: Everyday Recipes and Rituals for a Healthy Life Made Simpler (November 2019) is Adler’s second cookbook, and her first to be traditionally published. Her premise is “simple”: She eats real food—no junk, additives, or processing. Most of her recipes have a manageable list of ingredients and suggestions of items to swap if you don’t eat this or that. Just know, this isn’t diet food. It’s real food… and cocktails. Adler’s blog, Simply Real Health, is one of my favorite destinations when I need a wellness pick-me-up, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her latest book. While I love that Adler is my own private Seattle celeb (guys, we once took a prenatal yoga class together!), I hope this new book propels her into the name brand she deserves to be.

I’m not sure there’s ever been a book I felt was written more for me than The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting by Rachel Bertsche. And when I received an additional advance copy of this book, I walked over to my colleague who also has young children and handed her this book—and her eyes lit up as much as over-tired eyes can light up. I think it’s safe to say that Bertsche is onto something. Bertsche explores the idea of “free time,” how parents use this limited resource, and suggestions on how to use this time in a more fulfilling way. I’ll give you a quick tip: If you have an hour of free time, don’t waste it scrolling through social media and mindlessly snacking. This may become one of my essential baby shower gifts, along with perennial favorite How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids.

I will admit the first time I looked at the table of contents in The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier and Fitter—One Month at a Time and saw January’s chapter was called “Dry Month,” I put the book at the bottom of my stack. But so many of the other monthly topics resonated with me—Push-Ups and Planks; Less Sugar; and Mindful Tech—so I put aside my initial fear and subsequent guilt of giving up my nightly Chardonnay habit for a month and decided to embrace this book. Written by Jennifer Ashton, the ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, The Self-Care Solution reminds me of one of my most beloved wellness books, Phoebe Lapine’s The Wellness Project, in that the writer tries one self-improvement challenge every month. My promise to you is this: I will try every one of the monthly “challenges”—then report back.

I’ll give you a peek inside our world: Publishers regularly pitch us books many months ahead of their on-sale date so that we can decide to feature them in our editorial coverage. The presentation of The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey (March 2020) hooked me. The author had a years-long battle with a mysterious illness that doctors not only couldn’t diagnose, but they also suggested wasn’t real. So she digs into the multitudes of illnesses that are misdiagnosed or ignored by doctors, and comes up with a new understanding of these chronic illnesses, who they are affecting, and why. Personal sharing time: I once suffered from years of debilitating nausea. After lots of poking, prodding, and tests, my doctor gave me anti-nausea medication that caused intense fatigue. My choice in these situations was now either being nauseous or falling asleep—not ideal. Yet he never figured out what was wrong with me, just how to make that one symptom feel better. So while this book may not be your typical wellness book, I have a pretty good hunch that many of us have experienced similar situations and can’t wait to feel understood and heard, rather than dismissively told to “just relax.”

How often do you ask someone how they are, and they reply, “Busy!”? In Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving (March 2020), author Celeste Headlee makes the point that our current “live to work” mentality is a product of the Industrial Revolution. And we need to Just. Slow. Down. We should be living smarter, not harder, and getting comfortable with unscheduled free time. Add in the fact that this book has an adorable sloth on the cover (perhaps sloths will be the llama of 2020?) and this is near the top of my to-read list.

You may recognize the name Dallas Hartwig as the co-creator of the Whole30 program and the co-author of the book It Starts with Food. His upcoming book, The 4 Season Solution: The Groundbreaking New Plan for Feeling Better, Living Well, and Powering Down Our Always-On Lives (March 2020), looks at how humans should be living according to the season. We’re living in an endless summer: we go to sleep at the same time, eat strawberries all year around, and stick to our workout routines despite the weather and our energy levels. Hartwig pushes for us to eat, move, sleep, and connect seasonally.

Just this morning I was on a business call with someone who told me multiple times to stop apologizing. The sad part is that I hadn’t even realized I was doing it. And even sadder was that prior to my call, I had been listening to the Rise Together Podcast, hosted by Rachel and Dave Hollis. Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing (see where I’m going here?), built a successful business based on wellness, and was arguably one of the first to do so. Her husband, Dave Hollis, eventually quit his prestigious job at the Walt Disney Studios to join her company as CEO. I find them each fascinating, so I can’t wait to read his upcoming Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment. And I also plan to give it to my husband, which isn’t something I say about a lot of books in this category.

This is the first of a new monthly series, Wellness Wednesday. Expect to see book reviews, author interviews and confessions of a wellness junkie.

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