It’s officially the holiday season and there is no better moment than right before the new year to take some time for self-care. Between gifts and family events, this season can be stressful and it’s important to be kind to ourselves now and all year round! We all know about bubble baths and lighting candles but sometimes the best healing can come from reading books, especially when they’re about how to engage in self-care and return to your best and most fulfilled self. But like most movements, self-care has been whitewashed and doesn’t take into account different cultural traumas and experiences. That’s why it’s important to uplift the voices of Latinas who know the unique needs of our community, are trained and knowledgeable in this area, and can offer specific self-care advice that feels relatable to us, especially when many of us have grown up not prioritizing our mental health and wellbeing. This is not an exhaustive list but a round-up of some of our favorite self-care guides. Read on to learn more about 12 books by Latina authors to remind you to prioritize self-care.
Self-Care for Latinas: 100+ Ways to Prioritize & Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Raquel Reichard
Self-Care for Latinas by Raquel Reichard is the self-help book Latinas have been waiting for. Covering how to value our mental health, stress, and self-advocacy, Reichard explores the micro and micro-aggressions that Latinas face everyday at school, work, and public spaces, yet how there is a huge lack of self-care resources for Latinas and women of color. Throughout this book, readers will find more than 100 exercises that can be adapted and used at any time, whether in the middle of the day, or a period of burnout, or a moment when you need to process a traumatic experience. This is the ultimate reminder for us all to make time to better our lives, joy, and self-care routines.
Break the Cycle: A Guide to Healing Intergenerational Trauma by Dr. Mariel Buqué
Break the Cycle by Dr. Mariel Buqué, a leading trauma-informed psychologist, is a guide to healing intergenerational trauma that blends scientific research and exercises. Using her background as a Columbia University-trained psychologist and holistic healing practitioner, she also shares stories to show how trauma is passed through generations and how it manifests in our bodies and behavior. From there, she offers guiding points to breaking the cycle through informed therapeutic practices that have long been left out of mental health care.
The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende
The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende, known for her groundbreaking novel The House of the Spirits, is a memoir exploring her relationship to feminism, love, and mental well-being. She writes about being a single mother without resources or the tools to advocate for herself and how she grew into an independent and defiant young woman. She also shares about getting involved in the second wave of feminism, and learning how to embrace her sexuality over three marriages. Ultimately, she shows how feminism is the answer to allowing women to feel safe, valued, at peace, and in control of their bodies and lives, and that starts by being kind and loving to ourselves and inspiring the next generations to do the same.
The New Latina’s Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family, and La Vida by Sandra Guzman
The New Latina’s Bible by Sandra Guzman is a revised and expanded edition of the classic The Latina’s Bible from 2002. A decade on, Guzman has again crafted a helpful go-to guide for Latinas all about dating, sexuality, love, family, and career. In this new edition, other topics that are covered include sexual abuse, domestic and dating violence, interracial love, mental health, and gender identity to continue the conversations modern, twenty-first-century Latinas need to have. This is a powerful work of research, essays, advice, and wisdom that is a must-have for every Latina’s shelf.
Daughters of Latin America by Sandra Guzman
Daughters of Latin America is an anthology of poems and prose from 140 Latine, Black, and Indigenous writers, poets, leaders, shamas, scholars, and activists from all over the world. Spanning time, genres, and place, the book is divided into 13 parts and themes to represent the 13 Mayan Moons featuring content on love, mental health, and self-care. Contributors include historical icons and award-winners like Audre Lorde and Edwide Danticat, as well as beloved contemporary writers today like Elizabeth Acevedo, Ada Limón, Julia Alvarez, Angie Cruz, Naima Coster, U.S. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. This isn’t just a collection of writings; it’s an ode to those elders who came before and the new voices on the rise and it’s edited by former Latina editor Sandra Guzmán.
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez explores the experience of being a Latina and a woman of color in the U.S. Covering imposter syndrome, colorism, racism, white fragility, patriarchy, and so much more, Prisca blends her research with her personal experiences and upbringing to uplift and validate brown girls in an Anglo-American world. When our mental health needs and well-being are often not prioritized, validated, or celebrated by the self-care movement or therapeutic world, this is an essential guide to learn how to love and advocate for ourselves. By the end, readers will not only feel empowered, but also feel less willing to compromise and erase who they are.
Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice by Alma Zaragoza-Petty
Chingona by Mexican American activist, scholar, and podcast host Alma Zaragoza-Petty is the ultimate how-to guide for reclaiming our inner chingona (badass mujer). Using this belief as a foundation, Zaragoza-Petty uses her childhood experiences between Acapulco and Los Angeles to show how embracing the chingona spirit enabled her to speak up, speak out, and advocate for herself in the face of oppression, white supremacy, and colonization. Readers will learn how to use our badass instincts to face trauma, use our pain for good, heal ourselves, and celebrate all the chingonas we come from. Most importantly, she reminds us that by healing ourselves, we can start to heal our communities and the rest of the world to fight for dignity, justice, and a chingona spirit for all.
Uncolonized Latinas: Transforming Our Mindsets And Rising Together by Valeria Aloe
Uncolonized Latinas by Valeria Aloe is a self-help guide to transforming our mindsets and how we move through the world as Latinas, immigrants, and daughters of immigrants. Readers will learn how to decolonize their mindsets, mental health, and identity, as well as how to embrace who they truly are in all their cultural beauty and experience. Aloe also shows how to use these tools in everyday life like the workplace and mentoring opportunities to thrive, navigate capitalist systems, and transform us from the inside out.
I Am Diosa: A Journey to Healing Deep, Loving Yourself, and Coming Back Home to Soul by Christine Gutierrez
I Am Diosa by psychotherapist Christine Gutierrez uses the concept of our inner Diosa, or “goddess,” to show how we can completely radicalize our self-care and self-love routines. Written especially for Latinas healing from trauma and emotional wounds, the book gives readers the tools to reclaim their worth, self-esteem, and their true inner self and soul. Throughout the book, Gutierrez offers personal anecdotes and stories, mantras, mediations, and journaling prompts to engage with the sacred feminine voice in all of us and become the women we’ve always dreamt of being.
The Latina Guidebook for Self-Care by Natalie Zamudio
The Latina Guidebook for Self-Care by Natalie Zamudio has one goal: to help Latinas establish a consistent and health self-care routine that will improve their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Blending personal narratives and research, Zamudio shows the correlation between poor self-care and stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and health issues. On the flip side, prioritizing self-care can lead to improved relationships, increased productivity, and positive mental wellness. As a result, the guidebook offers tangible and culturally relevant self-care strategies and activities that can be used at any point throughout the day. These include meditation, journaling, exercise, and spending time outdoors.
Mija by Kim Guerra
Mija by poet Kim Guerra is an ode to Latinas, a love letter to las madres e hijas and the process of generational healing. The poetry collection is written in Spanglish to honor the reality of many first-generation Latinas who mix both languages. The book itself was a part of her healing journey, imparting the knowledge and words she would’ve wanted to her as a young girl. “We are seeds,/ nopales,/ mariposas./somo/ valientes/ y resistentes,” she writes. It’s a beautiful reminder to prioritize amor propio and that healing starts with you.
The Pain We Carry by Natalie Gutierrez
When it comes to culturally competent care within mental health, it’s rare if it exists at all and so the work of Boricua psychotherapist Natalie Gutierrez in addressing BIPOC trauma is that much more significant. The book is broken up into four parts exploring trauma within the BIPOC community, toxic stress, ancestral pain and guidance, and systemic racism. “This book can’t just be about all our pain, it must also be a reminder of and a journey toward healing. I wrote this book as if we were communing together, and the reader was confiding in me about their pain and wounding,” Gutierrez previously told HipLatina. “[I want readers to] take their power back and pour love right back into themselves as an act of resistance.”
Additional reporting by Virginia Isaad