3 book reviews

3 Books That Got Me Through 2020 | By Kaitlin Emig

Last Updated: January 9, 2021By

In the early months of 2020, I was living in fight-or-flight mode — a term that I didn’t fully understand until reading these three books. I turned to these personal development books because I knew for me to change my life, I needed to change my mental state. As an avid walker, I enjoyed listening to these as audio books; I bought a durable pair of headphones to ensure people passing by me on the sidewalks couldn’t hear my self-help books talking aloud from my pocket. This past year, long walks outside helped me find the mental space I needed to receive clarity and rejuvenation.

As the springtime showed signs of life coming out of a long hibernation here in Canada, I saw small changes happening in my life. First, I envisioned my future and developed healthy habits to free myself of my past anxieties. I followed through with my goals and found additional support along the way. Over the course of the past nine months, I secured a work visa, found meaningful work as a forest school teacher, became an ambassador of a women’s outdoor empowerment group and landed an editorial internship with Jaunt Media Collective, the publisher behind YOGA + Life magazines.

Here are three books that got me through 2020 — a year we will all remember, a year I am choosing to remember for the exponential growth I found in myself. May these recommendations find you seeking a brighter version of yourself.

man's search for meaning

Mans Search for Meaning  

By Viktor E. Frankl

Nothing says you can get through a pandemic like a personal account of a Holocaust survivor. Frankl’s memoir of spiritual survival in Nazi death camps is woven with a psychiatrist lens on how he and others faced the inevitable suffering. Offering stories of his psychiatric patients and his logotherapy theory, he argues that life is full of suffering, but we can choose to cope with it in meaningful ways and move forward with renewed purpose. I listened to this book on a two-day backpacking trip while enjoying the fall colors of the high mountain larch trees and contemplated my own purpose amongst such majestic landscapes.

unfuck your brain

Unfuck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers

By Faith G. Harper

This book helps readers understand how trauma effects our brain and creates patterns that lead to break downs, addictions and mental illness. Doctor and counselor Faith G. Harper explains the science behind why our brain misfires signals after a trauma and how to retrain it back to preforming optimally. Unfortunately, the audio book version isn’t the best quality, but I still enjoyed her down-to-earth message. The author uses a lot of swear words to get her message across, which might offend some readers or offer a more personal approach to others. See the honorable mentions list for another book about anxiety that doesn’t use strong language as often if you are of the former.

nonviolent communication

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life 

By Marshall Rosenberg

This book has been on my list after receiving a nonviolent communication training years ago. Then, I entered a committed relationship while enduring the stress of a pandemic and learning how to effectively communicate became my upmost desire. The life-changing communication tools presented in this book are applicable to anyone seeking deeper relationships, personal empowerment and connecting peacefully. Dr. Rosenberg is world renowned for this communication theory and practical uses in restoring our personal, political and cultural power.

Honorable Mentions

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative By Florence Williams

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples By Harville Hendrix

Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want By Tamar E. Chansky

author Kaitlin EmigKaitlin Emig seeks adventure through mindful travel and outdoor pursuits. Her first oversees traveling experience as a teenager opened her worldview to everything beyond the rainbow. Growing up in Kansas and studying English and Writing in Iowa, she was far from the mountains that truly called her. Once moving to Colorado to teach skiing and yoga, she felt in her element. Adventure still beckoned however and for the last three years she’s lived in New Zealand and British Columbia. Her goals of freelance writing to share her outdoor pursuits has led her to an internship with Jaunt Media Collective.




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