7:21 PM May was such a busy month for me and in a couple of days we are already welcoming June, sigh. May is always a special month for me, but I also like to focus on things which matter in our society – in this case I’d like to dedicate today to our mental health, also my personal health. In case you didn’t know, May is mental health month. A topic which is sometimes a taboo, for some people it’s too much to handle, others just don’t take it seriously. It’s time to stop with taboos and be open about it. Fact is that more and more people suffer from it – this goes from depression to all kind of anxieties.

I have been there, too, and back then, no one wanted to talk about it or knew how to really help. “YOU ARE WEIRD.”
Today it’s normal to say I am stressed, I am over-worked, everything is too much. It feels like it’s a trend. If you are not stressed and overly busy, you are doing something wrong…
My history was deeper than that.

I’m socially awkward, felt no motivation, no drive, and people are always too much to handle for me – plus the daily stress that everyone normally experiences…? I felt like a ticking bomb. How did I survive? I am still on my way to heal, but I found the right approaches to find my place on this planet. I found my voice, my skills, and my outlet to let go and be happy about life. The simple things. Back when I was going through dark days, my refuge was music. My family and friends didn’t understand me much, so I only had myself to deal with everything. It was a lot to deal with, but looking back, I am proud that I made it (even without social media!). It’s crazy – today we can watch YouTube videos, read blogs, or ask doctor Google – but when I experienced depression and such, my biggest help was my Ipod, that’s it.
I listened to N.E.R.D and fell in love with Jazz which soothed my mood and especially my heartbeat.

Now I’m in my 20s and time feels so different now. All my scary thoughts are gone…I seem to have a quiet stabile routine which keeps me sane and I found so many benefiting ways to feel balanced.

The only bad boy in my life is my stupid idea of perfectionism and wholeness, also finding happiness.

All my life I’ve been chasing the best version of myself, the best creative work I can deliver, the best body I can train for – you get what I am saying. It always has to be more, more, more. Better and the best. And at the end, I have to be the happiest girl I can ever be. Guys, this is exhausting. When I told my boyfriend or other people that my only goal in life is to be happy, I noticed that this attitude is a bit off, I am off. Of course, I am happy already. I just wanted more?

The last 7 years, I go through my own kind of therapy. A therapy flavored by my favorite things, hobbies, and love from special people. As you can see….it takes time.

Mental health can’t be fixed tomorrow, but it’s important that we care.

Fact is, everyone cares differently. Some people prefer talking to a therapist, others find pleasure in sports to sweat it all out. Others read books, study, and go to classes where they can practice mental health – there are many options to win. Today I want to show you some books which helped me to understand more about myself, my body, and how mental health actually works.

I want you to know that you are not weird. I want you to feel loved no matter who you are. I know the cloudy days seem to never end and you’d rather like to end it yourself than waiting for so long, but never give up on yourself. There are people who care, even if you feel like the whole world is against you.

Find pleasure in life and get help if you don’t know how to go on. Finding help is not wrong and it’s not a sign of weakness – it shows how strong and brave you are. You are a work of art – just like everyone else on this planet. Your uniqueness is what the world needs ~

When I realized that something feels weird inside my head – I got myself a notebook to write my thoughts down (I still journal today!). In the beginning, I didn’t really know what I felt or what was wrong with my mood. Why was I always so annoyed to talk to people? Or why couldn’t I find motivation to have a beautiful day outside? I locked myself in my room and rather talked to no one…I actually dreamed about running away... all those silly ideas. I studied my thoughts and re-read all my written words. I had many places to work on… I always had body insecurities, I understood I had social phobia or an awkwardness I needed to work on, I was only happy with the BEST results – striving for perfection and absolute happiness, and I was unbalanced. I used the term “energy” super early, even I didn’t know that energies between humans really exist.

During my university time, I quit all my friendships from one to the other day, I was sick of everyone. Just like that. I was alone, again. I knew I had to learn more about this behavior. I am a nerd, so I was happy to learn all of that stuff in books.

I started reading philosophy books – I always had a thing for it. I learned about the human being in general and I found a fellow mate who was sick of human beings, too, Nietzsche. I love Nietzsche. Believe me, I read a lot of philosophy. And somehow it gave me something no one else could give me. First of all knowledge…but also acceptance. I always felt I was the only one thinking this way. I felt alone, or no one would ever understand me. Reading these books, I realized there are so many people who share the same thoughts or feeling of solitude. It calmed me down that even the great writers, inventors, scientists, or painters have the same story to tell or at least they didn’t seem so perfect to me anymore. There is no perfectionism. In case you want to study some philosophy, too, my favorites are: Plato, Nietzsche, Aristoteles, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Seneca, Kant....oh my heart is beating fast... How about  a little trip to psychology with Carl Gustav Jung and Freud? 

Then, a couple of years ago, I was brave enough to start reading self-help books. I thought it was weird getting a book that tells me how to be happy or seize the day – who is this person to know all that stuff? Who gives this person the power to say that he or she can heal anyone out there…. ‘cause that’s the purpose, right? I checked the blogs. I wanted to read the cool stuff – not the deep psychology stuff. It’s trendy to talk more about it, so there are plenty of books now which also talk about mental health in a more approachable way. Something to smile about when the topic is already drowning and negative. I couldn’t really find stuff that interested me, so I thought I might study something that gives me piece, endurance, and inspiration.

I was new to running and so many runners talked about meditation and Zen Buddhism – I was intrigued and so I started to read books on mindfulness, Buddhism, and this great Far East wisdom. Thich Nhat Hanh became my favorite really fast. I also watched some videos which featured him and I really got hyped with everything he actually said. So pure and so simple – this was something I could relate to. Thich Nhat Hanh was a good therapy to me.

Due to my running (which saved me the most!!!) I also started to read more and more literature about sport performance. Reading about how our body functions during workouts and especially reading stories from people who like the same sport that I do. Motivation, failure, injuries…mental training, runners have great stories and inspirational words to share. I loved this as well and I continued buying more and more athleisure stories and victories.
I never thought that philosophy and sport books would give me so much insight in to my own being, strength, and potential.

When my friend Lara introduced me to the term "empath" or "highly sensitive people", my puzzle was completed. I always got to hear that I am way too sensitive about everything, I'm super emotional, and I take everything too personal. I'm a fun person actually, but in the next moment I can get pretty upset, or I just cry. I love crying... I felt bad about my emotional roller coaster — it's not my intention to be that way! I felt ashamed. My friend gifted me a book about highly sensitive people and I ordered myself two more! Lara changed my life forever with this. All of a sudden, everything I did and how my emotions went felt right.
Fact is there are people who are sensitive about energies — not many, but we exist. And yes, empaths or highly sensitive people need a lot more time to deal with certain things, but our heart is also full of love and passion — we are the deep ones. It's a gift.

My journey has been crazy wild so far, but I am beyond thankful and happy to gain so much more knowledge, because I wanted to get myself to know better!

I also studied a lot about nutrition and what important things our bodies need to be healthy and well functioning. Over time, I dismissed the thought or wish of being skinny and beyond toned — I just wanted to be healthy and well nutured.
Lately, I am finally (again after 7 years...) learning more about anxieties. I always pushed this away from me just like the word awkward. I don't like their sound and I know that after hearing them, people would immediately put me in a certain box, labeling me.

I just read Sarah Wilson's "First, We Make The Best Beautiful" — there couldn't be a better timing!! (I mean reading this 4 years ago would have been nice, too...) I told you that I am sick in my posts from last week. I got my first summer cold EVER. What happened? Stress. Too much stress, no balance, I'm on a running pause right now, and too much brain fog is just throwing me off. My better half opened my eyes and told me to slow down (the conversation was deeper than that). All the advice he gave me was also found in my anxiety book! Boom, I was finally seeing a light — is this possible? I freaked out and never felt so relieved... More about that soon.

If you have further questions about this you can always talk to me!! Sometimes you only need a good listener to feel better again!

So this was my story about finding the books which helped me surviving so far. Now let's finally start with the books themselves.
Let's begin with Thich Nhat Hanh's "No Mud, No Lotus" — a perfect example for the people who suffer and want to experience full joy again. Suffering or feeling pain, isn't something super negative, we just have to learn how to deal with it right. A big topic is compassion and understanding — understanding your pain to transform it to happiness or a feeling of joy. Thich Nhat Hanh is a beautiful teacher of mindfulness and I love how easy he talks about a topic which seemed so far away from me. Mindfulness isn't that hard, we only need to sit down and understand our situation better. Being aware, being in the moment — with yourself, your loved ones, and everything you do. When life is overwhelming you again, Thich Nhat Hanh also provides you with the best breathing methods to keep you focused or stressed less.

Do you recommend this book?: yes! 4/5

Did it help?: yes, but I have to re-read some passages over time, which is not a negative.

This book is for?: anyone who feels negative or lost, people who want to learn how to deal with pain, people who want to learn about mindfulness, self-compassion training.

On to the next one by Elaine N. Aron, “The Highly Sensitive Person”. I told you that my friend recommended me to dig deeper in the world of empaths or highly sensitive people. THAT WAS ONE MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH — I love this book! It didn't only open my eyes, it also gave me sanity for the first time. The moment when everything makes sense is just priceless. Thank you again, L ~ This book feels like my therapy bible…I learned all the important facts and especially “basics” of a highly sensitive life. General health and the lifestyle of a so called HSP, how to deal during adolescence and being pushed into different categories from people who don’t understand our behavior. Elaine N. Aron also touches topics such as love life, work life, and also healing aspects – all the important life stages are covered here and I felt more than safe when I finished this book. Again, it only shows you how special you are. Having more emotions or feeling harder than the rest is a blessing, because we experience everything longer and more intense… when I fall in love, I fall for real. What a beautiful thing…

Do you recommend this book?: yessss! You need to read this! 5/5

Did it help?: yes, indeed! I thought I was the weirdest person on this planet with the most awkward anxieties or habits. I was about to loose my mind and then, all of a sudden, one understands that one is not alone in this. Yeah, many people told me this shall pass, but they didn't understand me (no offense). I'm not weird, I'm blessed - I finally learned to accept me and I am proud to be me. 

This book is for?: people who care too much, overthinkers, never resting minds, social awkwards, emotional people.

I always had body issues... I never fit into the clothes all my classmates wore... it was natural to me to strive for a skinnier body than accepting my beautiful curves. I read a lot about diets, what food helps me to loose weight, but somehow I always quit or never understood what this was actually about. One day, I gave up on diets, I decided to focus on being healthy, but I was still curious to find out about a couple of tricks here and then. My Asian co-workers always tell me about TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and I am amazed by this wisdom. Why don't we live that way? I didn't grow up learning that warm water is better for my system... I researched, because I got curious. I found "How Not To Die" by Michael Greger. Weird title, but I felt this investment was right. I read the book in 2-3 weeks, because it got me so excited! Food started to become a passion of mine again! Learning about all the different benefits and daily tips, I felt on the perfect road to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I learned nice recipes as well and I found access to more medicine knowledge without being confused which I usually was. Dr. Greger makes food really easy to understand and to incorporate any tiny detail into the daily life. This is not a hardcore diet book — here you will learn a lot about food and its healthy benefits to our bodies or existing diseases.

Do you recommend this book?: sure!! 4/5

Did it help?: Oui, oui. I re-connected with food. I finally understood what the body needs to perform right! I learned good tips that keep my body moving and most importantly stay healthy. We all need a healthy relationship with our bodies!

This book is for?: people who are interested in food and nutrition, people who are sick and tired of diets, people who want to learn more about food and its healing power concerning special diseases.

Here’s another classic I don’t want to miss! Via the Off Color Book Club, I once presented “Ice Cream for Breakfast” by Laura Jane Williams. Why I got this book? Because the cover promises that rediscovering your inner child can make you calmer, happier, and solve your bullshit adult problems. I thought this was a fun way to approach to a subject I am not really feeling comfortable with: growing up and feeling more and more lost. The book is not a typical self-help book, but it is a good start to learn about yourself via a funny, maybe a bit sarcastic, but also pure way. Yes, there’s a lot of bullshit we are facing and life isn’t fair all the time, but hey, we can make this a lot easier! We must keep our inner child and stop being so strict with everything. There is a lot to be serious about – but the things which should be easy, shouldn’t give your life a hard time. Laugh, be adventurous, sleep, explore, get to know yourself better, and make sure to also take your time and slow down. The world is yours! It really is. Laura Jane Williams also makes us write many lists via the readings, so it’s the perfect interactive book to learn a lot about yourself, likes, and fears, before the book even ends.

Do you recommend this book?: Hell yeah! 5/5

Did it help?: Sure. Just like Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, I often have to re-read certain pages, because I feel like I need to inhale certain quotes one more time, but I love how pure and honest this book is written. I was miserable for so long and I was pretending to be the one person who suffers the most on this planet…I know it sounds funny or you might think I’m extra. But reading this book, it really opened my eyes that my life had been designed to be too complicated – this is something so unnecessary, I needed to change it – if not now, when will it happen? I am still super childish deep down inside… this was the perfect invite for me to let my inner child come out again and just be.

This book is for?: anyone, for people who want to laugh, ice cream lovers, people who want to learn more about themselves, people who want to enjoy their life more.

I already talked a bit about my latest crush and a topic I was pushing away from me. Last week, I bought Sarah Wilson's "First We Make The Beast Beautiful" and I couldn't be happier. I feel a little déjà vu reading this book, because I feel as empowered as the day I read the HSP book. Realizing my struggle and accept my being - loving myself, no matter what. I am an axious person who has no reason to worry or to be sad about! Life is too sweet to not enjoy it! Sarah has a beautiful writing style and she takes us with her on a very personal road trip... we get to know all of her and at a certain point you actually don't notice anymore that this book is about her, because you feel like "Oh, she's talking about me! I did the same...I feel the same...I know this too well...". I was laughing, I was shocked. This feels a bit like my story. What a strong woman, I thought! It's crazy what she's been through. 
300 pages full of life tips on how to deal with your anxieties. Sarah includes a lot of philosophy as well and so many quotes make you feel inspired all the way from the beginning until the end of the book. She shares her passion for hiking, finding peace in meditation and she gives personal recommendations what to read further on. This is like a phone call to a very good friend with all the soothing words you want to hear. I love this book!! 

Do you recommend this book?: Hell yes! Of course! 5/5

Did it help?: Well, I read the book this week... I never used the term anxiety when I talked about my condition, but now that I know that I'm actually anxious as well, I feel another relieving breath. My personal puzzle is feeling almost complete and this is the first time in my life where I feel like now I finally have the tools to work on myself. I know "what's wrong" and now it's up to me to follow the rules and just enjoy life. Finally. 

This book is for?: people who fight with anxieties, parents who want to learn more about anxieties, people who feel overwhelmed a lot, people with phobia - all kind of nervousness. 

Today I have shared many words with you and I feel bad that for Mental Health Month, I was only able to give you this post. I hope it’s a good beginning for you, if you happen to look for great books to fight your demons or at least understand what’s up inside of you. I know it can be a tough road and luckily there are so many books out there to be read… invest in some books and get to know yourself better – it can help a lot!

*If this isn’t enough for you, I can and also want to add that there is so much reading material out there, which you can use as a therapy to deal with your anxieties, fears, or darker days. After reading so many books, crossing so many different subjects, I have to admit that today, when I’m feeling low (I still feel like a piece of shit here and then and I love doubting myself…) I rely on the weirdest books to help me feel better again. One example is another OC Book Club book favorite “Game Changers” by Molly Schiot. A book of inspiring badass women in sports who all have a great story to share! I’m an active person myself and I struggle during my training times so much…what did I do? I got myself a copy of this book to see who else is out there. Oh boy, there are many ladies out there and I love how much they inspired and motivated me to kickass and follow their example! Another thing which soothes me so much lately is reading cookbooks or cooking magazines. Pictures of food calms me down and it makes me happy. Learning about different cultures and their food habits makes me be really thankful and I am happy to be on this planet with so much diversity and good vibes! Cooking itself was my enemy earlier…now I love being in the kitchen to experiment and meditate… more and more I found wholeness in the tiny things.

As I already mentioned, I'm not fully healed yet...I am on my way. 

I have to say though that this journey turned from pain into pleasure and right now I don't want to miss a day! All the stuff that I learned made me who I am... 
Once again...being different is the best thing that could happen to us! 

Mental health is no joke - if you know someone, please make sure to not give up on this person. Be around and offer your help! If you feel lonely, desperate, or you suffer from pain, please don't give up on yourself as well! Get yourself help, read, get active, journal your thoughts - just keep on moving! 

If you want more book inspirations or you want to exchange about this, make sure to reach me via email, Twitter, or Instagram - I'm there! 

Thanks for reading this!
To you: you are beautiful! x K