As the year draws to a close, we often find ourselves looking forwards to the year ahead. Will this be the year I get my act together? Will 2019 be the year I take my gym membership card out of its usual place in my wallet? Will I finally be able to get up in the morning without snoozing my alarm 17 times?

The answer to these questions is probably not. Although it may be tempting to see a new year as a solution to all our perceived problems, this way of thinking usually does more harm than good. How often have you pledged a New Year’s resolution only to wake up hungover on New Year’s Day in a haze of self-loathing?

In such a fast-paced world, and especially in January, we feel pressured to be busier, more active and more productive than ever before. Yet January is a month where the nights draw in earlier, the mornings get colder, and frankly we’re all still exhausted from the festive season. January should be a time to rest, to hibernate, and to gather our energy before Spring makes its slow arrival. It feels counter-intuitive to start the year with a major life upheaval, with promises to change ourselves beyond all recognition. Instead, I find that January is the perfect time to slow down and curl up with a good book; a time to turn my phone off, put the kettle on and ignore everything for a little while.

At a time when the hum of self-criticism is loud and unrelenting, these books will ease the panic of another year gone and offer relief from the chaotic world outside. From the myth of adulthood to the joy of food, they provide the perfect anti-dote and remind us that we’re not doing so badly after all.

AF.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh

Eat Up! – Ruby Tandoh

Adulthood is a Myth – Sarah Anderson

Not Working – Lisa Owens

Dietland – Sarai Walker

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim