‘Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence’ Is Our December Well-Read Book Club Pick

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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The word convalescence doesn’t come up in conversation so frequently these days. Maybe you don’t even know what it really means—and if you didn’t, I wouldn’t blame you. Merriam-Webster defines it as “to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness.” The dictionary uses convalesce, the active verb form of the word, in a sentence like this: “…the long months that the soldier spent in the hospital slowly convalescing.”

You may notice a key concept here: time. Convalescing is not just recuperating, but intentionally doing so slowly—accepting your state of unwellness and then treating it, however long it takes. No wonder it’s an unfamiliar idea in 2023, when hustle culture (and the lack of a social safety net) means a lot of us feel like we have to get back on the horse as quickly as possible.

Enter Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence by British physician Gavin Frances—our December SELF Well-Read Book Club pick. In this brief meditation—which is truly a perfect cozy winter read—Frances explores an alternative path: What if we revisited the healing model, and centered listening to our bodies and engaging in a more intentional recovery? In other words, what if we actually rested?

This time of year tends to be hectic and full of obligations—despite the desire so many of us feel right now to slow down, lean into the short, dark days, and experience genuine comfort and joy with our loved ones. If you’re not able to fully convalesce this holiday season, perhaps you can at least make time for reading, and take some of the wisdom from this quick, delightful read into the new year—one we hope will be peaceful, restorative, and bright.

Grab your copy of Recovery below. (It would also make a great last-minute gift!) We hope you enjoy it—perhaps alongside a good bed rot? Happy New Year!

‘Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence’ by Gavin Francis

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