With Omicron concerns set to see Valentine’s Day shelved for many this year, mental health experts are encouraging Kiwis to switch the focus to themselves, as new data shows thousands of us feel isolated and many are turning to self-help resources.
Recent Ministry of Health research shows that the pandemic has not only impacted our stress levels, but more than 12 per cent of New Zealanders have reported feeling lonely some, most or all the time.
Counsellor and relationship expert Leanne French says it’s unsurprising that Kiwis who feel isolated are looking to books for solace and support.
French says the number one best-selling self-help book in NZ on Book Depository currently is Letters to You by Kiwi author and mental health activist Jazz Thornton.
She says the book is designed to be used as a tool when encountering difficult emotions and experiences to help the reader feel less alone.
French, who is also the author of Fairytale Love – How to Love Happily Ever After, says Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for us to all show ourselves some of the love, care and attention we often dedicate to others.
“The COVID pandemic and climate ravaged world are filled with doom and gloom and pessimism which can extinguish our light if we allow it. Self-love keeps our pockets filled with joy, increases optimism, builds resilience, fortifies our mental health and enables us to cope more so that we can be of better service and find deeper meaning in trying circumstances,” she says.
French says self-love manifests by having healthy, hopeful, positive thoughts and attitudes about who we are and what we’re capable of.
“Self-help books are a useful guide to empower and encourage you on your journey. They can help build and solidify your foundations by offering hope and inspiring you to really look at your own ways of thinking and behaving when faced with struggles and triumphs,” she says.
French says when we practice self-love we give ourselves what we need and feel more rested, resourced and relaxed.
“How you feel about yourself determines how you relate to others and how they relate to you. If you don’t love yourself, you’re likely to be more critical and less accepting of others and find it hard to either attract or soak up the love being offered to you. It could also make you needier of being given to in a particular way.
“Self-love is like being sassier and more confident with charming magical powers. Charming people give out love and make others feel special because they listen more carefully, are optimistic and pleasant to be around.”
“When you love yourself and give yourself what you need, you’ll be more rested, resourced and relaxed, and you’ll realise how much you have to offer when your cup is full. Relationships have an astonishing tendency to thrive when things are more harmonious, positive and balanced,” she says.
French says loving yourself means accepting yourself completely, as you are, with gentleness, kindness and compassion. She says Kiwis need to focus on being curious about their own needs, wants and wishes and treat themselves in a consistently nurturing way.
Mitch Lang, spokesperson for online bookstore Book Depository, says globally, the self-help category has had steady growth since the onset of the pandemic, with New Zealanders following this trend.
“Valentine’s Day is the perfect reminder that it’s important to take time and space for ourselves and to adopt some self-love practices. These can include anything that brings us joy along with setting aside some self-time with a book that speaks to our soul,” he says.
The top 10 bestselling self-help books by Kiwis ahead of this Valentine’s Day are:
- Letters to You: Words of Support and Inspiration for Difficult Times – Jazz Thornton
- Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness – Vex King
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero
- Your One Wild and Precious Life: An Inspiring Guide to Becoming Your Best Self At Any Age – Dr. Maureen Gaffney
- Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat for Difficult Times – Katherine May
- The Salt Path – Raynor Winn
- This One Wild and Precious Life: The Path Back to Connection in a Fractured World – Sarah Wilson
- The Gift of Self Love: A Workbook to Help You Build Confidence, Recognize Your Worth, and Learn to Finally Love Yourself – Mary Jelkovsky
- Lost and Found: My Story of Heartbreak and Hope – Toni Street
Lang says New Zealanders wanting to access self-help or other books from their collection of over 20 million titles can use the 10% discount code YAY10 (valid until 27 February 2022) and receive free delivery on their order.
Counsellor Leanne French’s Top Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s Day:
- Make a love list so you can refer to it for inspiration. Knowing what makes your heart sing keeps you enlivened, motivated, passionate, engaged and excited about life.
- Follow your dreams and learn something new.
- Willingly surrender to peace filled opportunities.
- Sing, dance and move your body.
- Create a beautiful visual mood board to bring future delight and contentment into your world.
- Eat simple, healthy, delicious food.
- Belly laugh. Have midnight feasts, pillow fights and fun adventures.
- Be guided by your intuition.
- Set healthy boundaries.
- Use your best china and other good things!