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  • Kelly Wood

2022 Christmas Reading List | What I'm loving

Book Reccos, in no certain order:

Honestly anything by Dr. Gabor Mate. And if you don’t like reading, google him and listen to him on multiple podcasts where he has been interviewed. He has been doing incredible life-long work with the population of people on the downtown east side of Vancouver, and has research, insights and theories about how we fall into addiction and chronic and damaging stress. He’s one of those people who makes really important observations on our culture that 1. Explain phenomena that we’ve always known but couldn’t put into words 2. Will revolutionize the way we see and work with mental health and addictions in the future.

The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban – I heard her interviewed on We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle and liked what she had to say, so got the book. Boundaries are hard unless you’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to weave them into your life, or unless you’ve just always been very clear and direct. Not being clear on my boundaries has created all sorts of chaos in my life and 2022 has been a year in figuring out how to recognize when I’m allowing a boundary to be crossed and then communicating clearly about it. Melissa Urban’s book has a really good definition of what boundaries are and great tips and even scripts for what setting boundaries looks like. Her Insta is also helpful.

Permission To Feel by Marc Brackett, PhD - Marc Brackett's research, along with Susan David's Emotional Agility are really powerful places to start to amp up your emotional literacy. Generally, our society has very few words that we use regularly to express our feelings - mad, sad, happy, upset, stressed, overwhelmed. Dr. Brackett's work suggests that the more clear we can get in using the right words for our feelings, the better we know ourselves and the better we express ourselves to others. After I read his book, I had a very annoying phone call and when I got off I was so mad. I went to his mood meter, and took a minute to see that in fact I was furious, deeply frustrated and a little disgusted. Just checking into how I was feeling lowered my emotional temperature and changed the conversation I was having with myself about my experience. He also has an app How We Feel. Check it out.

Rest is Resistance, A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey – hands down the most inspiring, on point, important book I have right now. I am so grateful for her brave voice preaching the message that rest is divine, rest is our right, and rest must be taken. She starts her book by saying, ‘Rest saved my life. This is my truth.’ Rest also saved my life, and like Tricia I got access to wisdom, creativity and my ancestors through rest. My life is more in alignment with my purpose here on earth than I ever could have imagined in my time of hustle and grind. She positions rest as a call to arms against capitalism, racism and the patriarchy and references stories in her life, and her family’s generations to weave an incredible manifesto. GET IT. I think this book might actually be even more powerful as an Audible book, because she reads it and has the most beautiful voice. For me, I’ll have both Audible and the physical copy so I can flip back and forth and bookmark and highlight.

Wintering by Katherine May This book had the same profound effect on me as did Quiet by Susan Cain (if you are interested in learning about the introverts in your life, or if you’re introverted and want to see and hear yourself in a book Quiet is yours to read!). Wintering uses Winter and cold as a metaphor to explore closing in and using quiet and rest as healing. She is a poetic writer who deeply serves people who have experienced burnout or breakdown with this insightful, beautifully written book

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace – Getting sober, and sober curiousity are huge trends these days – and I am so thankful for it. I believe my daughter just might grow up in a culture that looks at alcohol in the same way we now see smoking cigarettes – something so incredibly harmful to our bodies, minds and mental/emotional wellbeing. Annie Grace was a marketing exec and found herself as a high functioning alcoholic with a big job and a family at home. What I find so interesting in this book is that she not only includes research on the psychological and neurological effects of alcohol but she goes into the pressure ‘big alcohol’ puts on our lives – companies that make massive profit positioning alcohol as the good time elixir through clever and incessant marketing. Interesting reading for sure if you’re thinking of slowing down or quitting drinking.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr – This is an older one, published in 2014. The reason I’m putting it on the list is because of her work in this book on the inner critic. It was foundational in my understanding of my own inner critic (I’m not good enough) and I use or reference her work in my coaching practice all the time. If you’ve ever heard me say, ‘well, yes, but what does your inner wise one say?’, it’s inspired by this book. Tara Mohr invites people to stop playing small so that they can create the life they’re meant to live.

The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier - How much do you love giving advice? Telling people what you think they should do, how they should do it, when they should do it? Ya know what? People don’t like hearing your advice as much as you like giving it – and that’s a promise. MBS breaks down why people like to give advice and how to break the habit. He outlines different strategies you can use rather than advice – curiousity, good open-ended questions, and giving people time to reflect on their own, good, authentic answers. If you’re looking to up your relationship game, this book will help.

And always, Burnout – Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia and Emily Nagoski - I have referenced this work again and again in my coaching practice, my self-care, and in my supporting friends and family. This is an important work for you to read if you’re feeling like you’re struggling with high, prolonged stress, or if you’re in burnout. There is also a healthy dose of burning down the patriarchy in this one – as well as science backed information and processes on how to recover. They talk about completing the stress cycle, allowing stress to flow in and through your body, rather than capturing it and storing it. 100% recommended

And something for fun, The Wild Unknown Archetypes by Kim Cranz – I was given these cards by one of my favourite people for my birthday a few years ago, and now I’ve picked up Kim Cranz’s The Wild Unknown Tarot Cards as well. Coaches, the way I use these cards in sessions is the same way you might use a metaphor – to allow the client to interpret their life or situation through the imagery or description of a card they choose. It’s fun and different and effective.

Happy reading my friends!

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