Sunday, March 3, 2024

Four Key Lessons to Get 2021 Off on the Right Foot

Capsule x Penguin Random House

Look, if we read another article that screams ‘New Year, new you’ or ‘How to Drop a Dress-size this January’ we’re probably going to start literally screaming ourselves.  

You don’t need to set resolutions or change your body just because the year has ticked over to a new year. And, quite frankly, we’re still too exhausted to even entertain the idea of completely reinventing ourselves just because it’s January.

What we’re more into is making some gradual little changes to improve our life as the inspiration or words of advice come along. 

So, if you’re looking for some inspiration or pearls of wisdom that can make you feel good about your life – rather than feeling guilty for not sticking to those resolutions – here are four recent book releases we’ve read that we can recommend:

Write it all down…

A new year is the perfect time to turn the page on a brand spanking new journal – or to pick one up for the very first time. 

We all know that 2020 was an absolute trash fire from hell, and as a result, many Kiwis are struggling with their mental health. Which is where the wonderful Jazz Thornton and Genevieve Mora come in. 

You’ll likely know Jazz, a mental health advocate who wrote Stop Surviving Start Fighting, directed Jessica’s Tree and last year had a film released about her, The Girl on the Bridge (you may remember this interview with Jazz!). 

After first attempting to take her life at just 12 years of age, Jazz spent nine years in and out of hospitals and mental health wards, fighting her own mind. Now, having made it through her darkest days, she is a wealth of information and inspiration, which she generously shares alongside her co-author, Genevieve. She too has tackled her own demons, spending her teenage years fighting anxiety, OCD and anorexia – eventually going on to co-found inspirational charity, Voices of Hope.

This gorgeous, yet practical journal has it all to take you on an uplifting journey to improve your mental wellness. There are moments for personal reflection, goal setting and creating strategies and support systems for difficult moments – all alongside inspirational quotes, gratitude exercises and colouring-in pages.

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, this beautiful book could really help.

My Journey Starts Here, Genevieve Mora & Jazz Thornton. 

Quit wasting so much money at the supermarket…

With takeaways, Uber eats and a weekend meal out with friends completely off the cards during Lockdown in 2020, suddenly, the decision of what the heck to eat three times a day – and what to feed the kids! – became almost a full-time job of its own.

The ability to plan out plenty of meals well in advance and cut down on visits to the supermarket – without ending up with decaying bin of veges in the fridge, or breaking the bank, became an enviable skill.  

If only we’d had Sophie Gray’s new book then! But, armed with it now, this year we’ll be taking her handy hints and recipes with us to shop smarter each week.

Sophie has cooked up more than 80 new delicious, affordable recipes, plus 20 fan favourites, alongside pages of tips and tricks for every section of the supermarket on how to get more bang for your buck.

And if you’re reading this getting a shudder down your spine thinking about ‘budget meals’ you needn’t worry. You’re in good company, says Sophie – in fact, she says, “Frankly I’d rather stick a fork in my own eye than prepare meals that make me feel depressed before I’ve even eaten them.” Amen.

If you follow Sophie’s advice, in no time you’ll be cooking up mouth-watering meals and treats, while keeping your bank balance happy! Happy 2021!

Destitute Gourmet, Sophie Gray

Forget what you think you know about breathing….

After years of painstaking research, James Nestor has some advice about how you can vastly improve your health and wellbeing – all with rapid results. 

Yes, yes, it’s that time of year where every local gym, supplement company and Instagram scammer is trying to sell you the fact that it’s January and that somehow means you need to change the shape of your body. But that’s truly not what James’ message is all about – and for a start, the methods of changing your health that he describes in the book are completely free.

In Breath, he takes a fascinating look at the power of the breath – yes, the simple, mindless thing we do unconsciously, over and over again every minute of our lives. But it turns out that just because it’s something that comes naturally, it doesn’t mean we’re doing it correctly.

James travels the world, drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and studies – as well as turning himself into a human guinea pig for good measure (believe me, you’ll never want to breathe in through your mouth again after reading his study!).

The results of what he discovers are nothing short of miraculous. Modern research shows that if we make even just the slightest adjustments to the way we exhale and inhale it can have wide reaching effects on our health – from jump-starting athletic performance to halting asthma and autoimmune disease. It can even straighten scoliotic spines.

This book has completely changed the way I think about breathing – something most of us think about so little, but that can be truly life-changing if we learn new habits.

Breath, James Nestor

Stop pleasing, start living…

Is there a whole other way of living that you’re missing out on?

Early on in Untamed, Glennon Doyle beautifully illustrates an analogy that she continues to return to during the course of her highly acclaimed book. 

She tells of watching Tabitha, a caged cheetah, at the zoo – Tabitha has only ever known captivity, and essentially has no clue that she is an all-mighty cheetah. 

Glennon watches on after the crowd dissipates and sees Tabitha pacing back and forth. She seems agitated, almost as if she’s trying to remember something – maybe a crazy dream where she lives in a world without fences, with open savannahs where she can run and hunt to her heart’s content? Glennon wants to tell that cheetah that she is not crazy for daring to dream there might be a whole world outside of the only one she’s ever known. She wants to say. “Tabitha. You are a goddamn cheetah.”

In Untamed, Glennon tells her own very personal story, whilst gently letting the reader in on a few secrets – for a start, like the cheetah, you’re not crazy for longing for something more in your life, or for something that is different to what societal conditioning has told you that you should be happy with. 

Glennon has walked that road herself after she decided to let go of the world’s expectations of her and reclaim her true, untamed self. 

The result is her book – part memoir, part galvanising wake-up call, and it’s one of those books that every woman should read. it’s now a New York Times Bestseller and you’ll hear everyone from Adele, to Oprah to Elizabeth Gilbert raving about it. 

It’s written beautifully, with probing questions that will likely leave you thinking about her words, long after you’ve put it down.

Untamed, Glennon Doyle. 

For more ideas on books to help make 2021 better than 2020, check out this list.

Surviving Hugh Hefner: Why Crystal Hefner Isn’t Keeping Quiet Anymore

Sarah Lang was going to read the memoir by Crystal Hefner so you didn't have to, but she actually thinks you should. For more reviews...

The One Thing I Learned About Motherhood From Instagram That Was Actually Helpful

When it comes to looking to Instagram for useful motherhood advice, it can be a minefield. But there was one tip that Emma Clifton...

Accommodation Review: Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport Hotel

Welcome to Capsule Travels, where we bring you stories, reviews and experiences of all the best the world – and New Zealand has to...

How Are You, Today… Brooke Fraser? The Kiwi Singer Talks Motherhood, Turning 40 and The Magic of The Creative Process

In our story series ‘How Are You Today?’, we have a meandering, mental-health focused chat with some of our most well-known New Zealanders. Check...