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Sept. 24, 2022

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Check It Out: Give yourself a wellness reboot

The Columbian
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August is National Wellness Month, and I have to say that I sure could use a good dose of wellness right about now. It’s been a very busy summer so far both at work and at home, leaving me feeling tired and stressed out. Add in the recent heat wave, and I feel like I’m dragging fifty pounds of bricks behind me. Time for a reboot.

If you, too, feel out of sorts, consider going to the library to check out some books about wellness. The library’s collection has numerous titles related to health and wellness, quality of life and stress management, so why not take this month to bring some balance back into your hectic life? And it’s a perfect time to do this because school will be starting up again soon which means the holidays are close behind, and oh my stars, before you know it we’ll be singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Sigh.

Here’s to bringing calm and balance back into our frenzied lives. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

• “The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu” by Katja Pantzar.

A few columns ago I wrote about “Pantsdrunk (Kalsarik?nni): The Finnish Path to Relaxation (Drinking at Home Alone in Your Underwear).” If drinking in your underwear doesn’t sound particularly appealing, perhaps another Finnish concept — sisu — is more your thing. Defined by Katja Pantzar as “a unique type of fortitude, of resilience, of not giving up in the face of a challenge, big or small, that anyone can develop,” sisu incorporates movement, forest therapy and healthy eating as a way to improve one’s well-being.

• “Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit” by Candice Kumai.

The desire to achieve maximum wellness knows no borders. Find out how Japanese practices and traditions can lead you on a path to healthier living by checking out Candice Kumai’s “Kintsugi Wellness.” Kintsugi, by the way, is described by Kumai as the art of “… repairing broken vessels by sealing the cracks with lacquer and carefully dusting them with gold powder.” I like this concept. Instead of treating the broken pieces as something to be discarded, they are recognized for their beauty and allowed to shine again.

• “Living Well on the Road: Health and Wellness for Travelers” by Linden Schaffer.

Nobody enjoys getting sick while they’re traveling. Sometimes it can’t be avoided – maybe you’re on a cruise and the dreaded norovirus strikes. Ugh. But there are ways to give your body a leg up, so to speak, when you’re on the road and away from your normal routine. Sleep, exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness can do wonders when a traveler is overtired, overstressed, and relying too much on fast food for energy. Read this book before your next trip and you might actually return home rested and refreshed.

• “Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids” by Whitney Stewart.

It isn’t easy being a kid, and worries and stress can pile up pretty fast. It’s never too early to learn how to practice mindfulness and meditation, and “Mindful Me” is a great place to start.

• “Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 120 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness” by Scott Kloos.

We know that nature does a body good. So why not let nature nurture your body through medicinal plants? Add this book to your reading list and learn how to create your very own wellness garden.

• “Radical Beauty: How to Transform Yourself from the Inside Out” by Deepak Chopra and Kimberly Snyder.

According to the publisher’s description, Deepak Chopra, a physician and alternative medicine advocate, and Kimberly Snyder, a certified nutritionist who has worked with multiple celebrities, offer a healthy living guide “… focus(ed) on internal and external nourishment, sleep, living naturally, avoiding excessive stress, and better understanding the relationship between emotions and inflammatory foods.” So, that afternoon candy bar that caused a brief sugar rush followed by a major energy crash? Yeah, I should probably avoid those.

• “Unmedicated: The Four Pillars of Natural Wellness” by Madisyn Taylor.

To not have to rely on medications to alleviate physical and psychological ailments may seem impossible. But Madisyn Taylor, the cofounder of the holistic website DailyOM, believes it is possible, and with step-by-step guidance she teaches readers how to heal naturally.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at

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