Skip to main content
Mental Wellness Picks

Everyone experiences anxiety, stress and low mood at some point. Throughout the pandemic, many have been reporting elevated stress levels and poorer mental health, so it’s never been more important to ensure we are adequately coping with life’s challenges.  

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of tools and resources available that can help. Keeping your mental wellbeing top of mind and taking small steps toward self-care can go a long way in helping to relieve stress and persevering through periods of anxiety. Take a look at some of our recommendations below for mental wellness and mindfulness books, podcasts, apps and more! 

Add These Self-Care, Mental Wellness and Mindfulness Books to Your Reading List: 

1.     Daring Greatly by Brené Brown – This book taps into the power of vulnerability and how it can transform “the way we live, love, parent and lead.” It also debunks common myths surrounding vulnerability, making the case that it is a measure of courage rather than a signifier of weakness. 

2.     Resilient by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. – In his book, Dr. Rick Hanson focuses on practical ways to deal with stress, handle conflicts and navigate relationships. It also aims to help readers develop inner strength to overcome barriers and find peace. 

3.     The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. – This book helps us gain a better understanding of trauma and how it can affect not only our lives but those of the people around us, too. It also discusses how traumatic experiences can be overcome through innovative treatments like neurofeedback, mindfulness and more. 

4.    The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens by Lisa Schab -- In addition to the societal pressures that every young person faces, having low self-esteem is yet another challenge that can serve as the root of emotional problems. Schab’s book provides strategies and exercises for teens to achieve confidence and learn to respect themselves for who they are. 

Tune Into These Self-Care and Wellness Podcasts:  

1.     Unlocking Us by Brené Brown - Hosted by the author of Daring Greatly from our list of books above, this podcast aims to uncover what it truly means to be human by having honest conversations with many experts who have different backgrounds and life experiences.   

2.     Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris - Harris believes that happiness is a skill that can be built up, much like any muscle in the body can be strengthened in the gym. From meditation to coping tools and everything in between, this podcast aims to help you improve your mental wellbeing.   

3.     Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin - While this weekly program focuses largely on mental illness, it also offers great insights on taking care of your mental wellbeing. Like other podcasts, the show invites experts in different fields and personalities from the world of entertainment, sports and more to reflect upon their personal journey to achieving mental wellbeing. 

Try These Meditation, Mindfulness and Wellness Apps:  

1.     MindShift CBT - Anxiety Canada created this free app as a means to fill the gap caused by a crisis in access to treatment for Canadians. It uses evidence-based strategies and techniques like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy “to help users learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of their anxiety.” 

2.     Stop Breathe Think: Meditation - Offering daily check-ins on your wellness and activity suggestions based upon your current mood, the app’s meditation and mindfulness exercises will help you adapt to simple habits that relieve stress in just a few minutes each day. Free to use, but a premium subscription with additional resources is available as well.  

3.     Headspace – You’ve likely already heard about Headspace. This app focuses on mindfulness meditation and helps you focus, calm down and achieve a good night’s sleep. It also teaches you how to apply mindfulness to your everyday activities, making it a great tool for stress or anxiety management.    

Find Support with YMCA Mental Wellness Programs:  

1.     Y Mind Teen – This is a free, seven-week mental wellness program that is delivered both online and in person. Supporting teens aged 13 to 18 who are experiencing anxiety and stress, Y Mind Teen is led by trained mental-health professionals and allows participants to make connections with other young people experiencing similar feelings. To learn more, email or call 604-673-6182. 

2.     Y Mind Youth – This free, seven-week program is also delivered online and in-person, and supports young adults aged 18 to 30. It teaches evidence-based strategies to help cope with stress and anxiety. Learn more by contacting or 604-673-6182. 

3.     YMCA at Home: Health and Wellbeing Series - Get the tools you need to keep your mind healthy and strong on your own time! This compilation of free videos from the YMCA provides with mindfulness tools, lessons in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, leadership and professional-development sessions and more. 

Final Word 

Are you struggling with mental health, or do you know someone who is? Here are some additional mental health services and programs listed on the Government of British Columbia’s website.