By Reneé C. Fountain
Ah, the crisp, cool arrival of fall. Summer fun in the sun has become a distant, happy memory, and all the hustle and bustle of vacations, beach parties and summer camp have finally settled down.
So whether you’re gearing up for back-to-school, or just need a little me time, there’s no time like the present to renew, recharge and revitalize your body, mind and spirit.
Perhaps you’d like to de-stress a bit and get some clarity before work kicks back into high gear or all of those school projects begin to take on a life of their own. Former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe has the perfect answer – and it only takes 10 minutes a day. In Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day (St. Martin’s/Griffin; June 2012) Puddicombe demystifies the world of meditation, making it incredibly accessible and easy. Far from being new-agey, Headspace can help you learn to unwind easier, sleep better, control cravings and achieve more emotional balance.
The book’s companion website contains a wealth of healthy information that even includes animated visuals illustrating the relaxation methods. As an extra bonus, you have access to 10-minute relaxation audios, narrated by the author, which takes all the guesswork out of getting started. Simply click on a session, lie back and let the bliss come to you.
If it’s your body that needs a bit of attention, Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever: A 4-Step Permanent Weight Loss Plan (Avery; September 2012) provides excellent advice, motivation and direction. Pete Thomas holds the title of the “Biggest Loser of all Time” after his highly successful stint on the NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser.”
Thomas discusses the mental aspect of weight loss, as well as the mechanics. In addition to a step-by-step of his tried-and-true approach, exercise and meal plans are also included, along with worksheets and schedules to help you reach your own personal goals.
In My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes) (Viking; September 2012) Luisa Weiss’ memoir tells a heartwarming story of holding on to home – whether she was in Boston, Brookline or Berlin – through her love of cooking. Weiss relates her life story through words of heartfelt love and reflection, punctuating them with a generous infusion of savory, mouthwatering recipes so you can experience your own moments of Zen in the kitchen.
And, what better way to relax and unwind after a stressful day, as well as complement that beautiful meal sitting before you, than with a nice glass of wine? For those who often shy away from choosing a wine because it’s all just too complicated, Eric Asimov, chief wine critic for The New York Times, puts the mind at ease in How To Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto (William Morrow; October 2012). Asimov details his foray into the wine world, as well as his thoughts and feelings on the highly debated, subjective topic of what makes one bottle of wine better than another. Asimov aims to take away the fear factor with his suggestion to forget all those “experts” and their point system and just go for it. Wine is meant to be an adventure, , and with so many different types and varieties, it’s an opportunity for a fun, new experience every time.
So, now that you’ve cleared your mind, set yourself on the path to a healthy body and renewed your spirit with good food and drink, there’s only one thing left to do: relax and enjoy it!
Author bio: Reneé C. Fountain is a freelance writer and regularly contributes to the New York Journal of Books, Kirkus Reviews and Bookfetish.org