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A Book Review of “The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges


Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles every Thursday. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

What’s the Big Deal?

As a writer, editor, podcast host, and mental health advocate, Anna Borges’ articles have been floating around the Internet for quite some time: BuzzFeed, SELF, Her Campus, and more have seen her editing and writing skills put to good use. Now, all the tips and tricks that have gone into her few-page articles have amassed into a 200-page book that the mental health community can’t stop talking about: The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care. Praised by newsletters like Bustle, both the New York and Los Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly, The Definitive Guide is definitely all it’s cracked up to be.

“The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges

“The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges

Book Summary

The Definitive Guide is an alphabetical list of self-care terms and their extensive definitions, paired with pictures and examples. For A through H, some terms in the book include: affirmations, astrology, best-case scenarios, boundaries, bullet journaling, candles, cloud watching, cognitive distortions, dance, drop the plot, educate, fidget toys, fika, fresh clothes, gratitude, and habits.

I already feel better, don’t you? Letters I through Q share terms such as: identify problems, indulge, journal, knit, know yourself, leave situations, let go, let it out, little acts of kindness, make your bed, manage your expectations, mental health days, move, nature, news boundaries, organize, pamper, plogging, and question—and these aren’t even the beginnings of all the activities.

In the last third of the book, R through Z include even more phrases: radical acceptance, recalibrate, rom-coms, safety outfit, self-compassion, skin care, stargaze, tarot, therapy, TIPP, understand your anger, unfollow, unplug, verbalize your needs, volunteer, win file, work, yoga, and zzzz (sleep). An extremely helpful chart gathers all the book’s terms together to find out what self-care would work best in the moment, and a therapy FAQ, other resources, and a list of further reading top it all off.

Quick Facts

  • Author: Anna Borges
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Genre: Self-help, happiness self-help, mental health
  • Ratings: 5/5 Barnes and Noble, 3.8/5 Goodreads
  • Release date: November 1, 2019
  • Publisher: The Experiment

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You’ve read and enjoyed books like Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch, Are U Ok? by Kati Morton, or Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
  • You’ve ever struggled with mental or emotional well-being
  • You occasionally (or constantly) put your own needs on the back burner to suit those of other people
  • You’re frequently stressed, worried, sad, or lonely and would like some coping skills, from simple to serious, to help with that
  • You’re frequently bored and would like to learn some new activities or hobbies to both alleviate that feeling and improve your well-being simultaneously

. . .no matter what it means for you personally, self-care should also be a lifestyle—a highly personalizable lifestyle—because taking care of yourself and taking ownership of your health isn’t something you do just once. It’s a responsibility we have to ourselves.

— Anna Borges, “The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care”


“Borges’s welcoming tone and plethora of ideas will be helpful for readers whether they’re looking for ideas for being just a little bit happier or struggling with serious mental health concerns.” —Publishers Weekly

“While there’s no magic pill or one-size-fits-all prescription for self-care, The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is an engaging A-to-Z guidebook filled with options for creating a personal and versatile self-care toolkit that will last a lifetime.” —forewordreviews.com

Anna Borges, the book’s author

Anna Borges, the book’s author

The Takeaway

For me, Anna Borges’ book is a necessary, myth-busting powerhouse filled with more than just definitions—other people’s experiences, beautiful varied drawings, sizable quotes, and quick infographs all combine to make The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care a lifeline for those with mental health struggles and a crucial guide for those without.

So although some people may think, at first, that self-care is “extra” or selfish, The Definitive Guide shows them it’s not. Self-care is extremely important for the well-being of ourselves, and others too—after all, when we show up for ourselves, we can show up tenfold for other people. So invite a little TLC into your life, and watch what happens; the changes might just amaze you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.