I read a lot of self-help books. It might be a bit of an addiction. Recently, I had the pleasure to be a pre-reader for a new book on self-care, Unlock the Power to Feed Your Soul: A Recipe for Transformative Self-Care, by Alison M. English.
I’d like to share an honest review so you can decide whether to add it to your bookshelf (or e-reader). I hope you find it helpful.
About the Book
The book’s author is a working mother who experienced a personal epiphany disguised as a breakdown on her 41st birthday. Despite having what might look like a great life on the surface, she describes feeling completely trapped by her circumstances. Stressors and the busy-ness of life were robbing her of joy.
Unfortunately, I think her situation sounds all too familiar for many moms. I know I could personally relate. Learn more about mom burnout.
“My soul was starving for something to sustain and nourish it. While I couldn’t control what was going on around me, I could control how I took care of myself.”Alison M. English
What follows is her realization that she had been neglecting to feed her soul. The rest of the book explains this concept of soul care, which the author solidified through research and personal interviews.
Tips and exercises are included for readers to find out what nourishes their soul and to better incorporate soul care into their life.
This post contains some affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you use them (at no cost to you). Full disclosure.
What I Learned
Unlock the Power to Feed Your Soul was eye-opening for me. I was so glad it landed in my lap because I truly feel I needed to read it. I thought I knew a lot about self-care, but this book presented a fresh concept of what it means to nourish yourself on a deeper level.
“Why don’t we feed our souls? We will say it is due to a lack of time—and it is. This is a given. There are other reasons too…But you want to know the real reason I think most of us don’t? We don’t know how.”Alison M. English
Some highlights of what I learned include:
- The difference between regular self-care and soul care.
- Some ways you can try to identify what nourishes your soul.
- What happens when you let your ego drive, and how to prevent this.
- How to tell when your soul is depleted.
- Potential obstacles that can keep you from feeding your soul and how to avoid them.
Interspersed throughout the text are personal stories from women the author interviewed about their lives and what nourishes their soul. These help to show that soul care looks different for everyone but remains vital across the board.
The stories were real and relatable.
I liked the concept she described of seasons of life—changes that come and go, such as becoming a new mom or getting a divorce. Seasons present different challenges that can throw off your balance. As life seasons change, so do your needs for nourishing yourself.
This was an important reminder to be mindful of what’s going on in your life and not lose sight of your own needs.
“The journey of life is all about seasons, and the purpose of feeding your soul is to help you enjoy every single one of them.”Alison M. English
What I Enjoyed
I really enjoyed the author’s voice. She felt like a new friend who had wrapped her arm around me so she could share some important life wisdom.
The text isn’t preachy, nor does it feel like psychobabble.
Hearing the experiences of other women made me feel like I wasn’t alone in getting overwhelmed by life sometimes (maybe more than I’d like to admit). At the same time, the message was uplifting in that there is something you can do about it.
The idea of soul care is brought to life by the author’s personal story that is woven throughout the book.
I was excited to try the exercises included, like “date yourself,” and do the work to discover my own soul-nourishing activities.
Things You Should Know Before Reading
This book provides ways you can try to figure out what your soul care looks like. From there, you’ll have to put in the work to do the self-discovery on your own. In other words, it’s not a complete recipe—you have to fill in the ingredients.
The author is honest about this, and it makes sense once you learn the definition of soul care. No one can tell you what activities will nourish your soul, because these are highly specific to each individual. You’ll see this in the variety of examples from the women in the book.
Similarly, there is no specific formula for “get X minutes of soul care per week” and you’ll be great. You have to determine whether your own needs are being met and what a balance of self-care and soul care activities looks like for you.
Tips and exercises are included to help you in this assessment.
Overall, you should expect to get the framework for how to include soul care in your life, and then you’ll need to do some homework and deep thinking to apply this framework for you.
Who Is the Book For?
“If you believe in beauty, the need for balance and the need to nourish your soul in such a way that brings you greater contentment, gratitude, and peace, then this book is for you.”Alison M. English
The author speaks from her perspective as a woman, and all of the stories and examples included are from other women. However, the concepts apply to anyone of either sex, and in any situation or season of life.
From its name, the concept of soul care might seem to have a religious connection. While this may be true for some people, a religious faith is not needed for the book and its ideas to apply to you.
The author at times speaks of her faith, but it is never in an in-your-face or preachy way. There is one chapter on faith, which is clearly labeled so you can skip over if it doesn’t resonate with you.
Unlock the Power to Feed Your Soul was an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. I would highly recommend it to anyone, and especially women and mothers who are feeling drained.
The book is incredibly timely, when millions of people across the world are experiencing lockdown due to the global pandemic. We are facing new stressors and resulting feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion unlike any experienced in recent times.
The book even includes a final chapter on how the author has put her own theory into practice during the pandemic, discovering new things about herself and how to integrate soul care into her life.
Be sure to read to the end to get those latest insights, which I found especially relevant right now.
Unlock the Power to Feed Your Soul teaches you how to level-up your self-care in a transformative way that can have a major impact on your life.
“Living out and practicing feeding my soul—nourishing it, cultivating, and prioritizing it—is a primary piece of living a full, meaningful, and beautiful life.”Alison M. English