Dwelling by Melissa Michaels (of The Inspired Room) will make you see self-care differently. Self-care or self-love have become buzzwords lately.

Most people seem to agree that self-care is important, but there are very different definitions of what it should look like. After reading Dwelling you’ll see self-care differently.

If you’ve seen my favorite books on simple living and decluttering, you know I was already a fan of Melissa Michael’s work. Her newest book, Dwelling, did not disappoint. The tone of the book is different than others I have read of hers, so it’s helpful to know what you can expect to find in it.

self-care differently

What you’ll find in Dwelling

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The chapters titles in Dwelling give the reader a good sense of what you can expect to find in the book. They are:

  • Well-being (commit to healthy, happy choices)
  • Sanctuary (create a refuge)
  • Loveliness (create loveliness in your dwelling)
  • Savoring (slow down to soak up joy)
  • Streamlining (simplify your process and priorities)
  • Foraging (gather peace and health from nature)
  • Nourishing (feed your mind, body, and spirit)
  • Gathering (share your journey)
  • Thriving (trust your new momentum)

After reading the titles names, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. It already felt like a breath of fresh air with a new perspective on self and soul care. Also, I like almost any book that includes simplifying as a chapter.


The most basic theme is caring for your home, body, mind, and spirit. To do that you need to understand how you’re uniquely designed and honor your current season in life. Taking care of your well-being starts with creating healthy habits for yourself and your home.

Decluttering and incorporating what you love is part of creating your haven from the world. Other ways to practice soul care are by slowing down and noticing nature.

Melissa enjoys using essential oils and refers to them a few times throughout the book. She advocates for using them for smell and mood in your home.

Melissa encourages you to set the tone for your day by creating a morning routine that works for you. End the day with an evening routine that prepares you for rest. Simplifying your schedule and prioritizing your tasks will help you to feel more balanced and allow for margin.

Melissa talks about the pros and cons of social media. It allows people to connect who otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t but it also creates inaccurate pictures of peoples lives. We shouldn’t compare ourselves with pictures we see on social media and would be wise to limit our use of it.

She talks about feeding your body and soul with healthy food and thoughts. Relationships and community are important for introverts and extroverts alike.

It just may be more challenging to get introverts (like Melissa) to leave their cozy home. She discusses the importance of nurturing your family relationships and to enjoy the time you have with them.

Melissa will cause you to see self-care differently as you strive towards your goals of mind, body, and soul care.


Melissa writes in a personal and transparent way. She shares her own struggles and her writing is relatable. Although I rarely write in books, I found myself marking up about every 3rd page in this one.

She feels like a kindred spirit who sees the world very similarly to me. I really do want to meet up with her one of these days to have coffee. She lives less than an hour from me, so it could happen 😉

I suppose this is the ultimate definition of relatability in her writing. She already feels like a friend.


Each chapter of the book includes questions and action items. To get the maximum impact from Dwelling you’ll want to spend some time reflecting and journaling. Melissa guides you through the process and gives you things to consider and steps to take towards creating a greater sense of well-being.

This was my favorite part of the book. It takes these concepts and ideas and makes them actionable. She asks good leading questions to get the reader thinking. I am certain I will be referring back to these sections as I work through making changes in my own life.


Dwelling was a deeply inspiring read that made me see self-care differently. So many of the topics and action items included in the book were identical to things that have been on my goals list.

While reading the sanctuary chapter, I took a pause from the book and immediately got up and cleaned off my kitchen counter. Yeah, I am weird like that. I later went through and decluttered the pantry after reading the nourishing chapter. This book has challenged me to refocus.


Melissa writes in a gentle non-confrontational way, but you may feel convicted after reading this book. If you’re like me and her words resonate similarly with you, Dwelling serves as a reminder to work on areas of your life you may have been neglecting.

How we treat our bodies matters. I tend to put this on the backburner. Currently, I don’t regularly exercise nor do I always make the healthiest eating choices. Reading Dwelling reminded me of areas I need to continue to work on for the health and well-being of myself and my family.

Redefining self-care

In a culture that sometimes defines self-care as getting your nails done (which it can be, but that would be significantly limiting its scope and definition), Dwelling will get you to see self-care differently as you think more holistically about what it means to practice true self-care.

It takes intention and effort to figure out how you’re wired and what it will look like for you. Self-care varies with your season of life and taking time to reflect helps guide how to best spend your time caring for your mind, body, and soul.

She advocates for finding a healthy balance in life and for being intentional about how we refuel. Caring for ourselves means doing things that aren’t always easy, but it is important for our well-being.

What you won’t find in Dwelling

With a name like Dwelling, one could presume the book is focused on your home. It isn’t. That is a small part of this book, but not the primary focus. If you want a book more focused on home, Melissa has written a handful of other beautiful books on home including:

As a sidenote, in my next home, I want Melissa Michaels and Myquillyn Smith to team up to decorate it. They both have excellent design aesthetic and I’ve been inspired by all of their books.

Who should read it

If you want to create healthier habits in your life, I highly recommend checking out Dwelling. It would be a great one to do with a group of close friends too. In fact, I plan to read it again with my sister so that we can discuss it.

After reading Dwelling by Melissa Michaels you’ll see self-care differently and will be inspired to incorporate more self and soul care into your life.

Are you working to declutter your home? I created the free Declutter Plan of Attack worksheet to give you simple step by step directions to take to regain control over your home and your stuff. Go from overwhelmed to a manageable plan by filling out the form below 🙂

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  1. I remember reading years ago that I am my own art, which means that my appearance and surroundings reflect that. I believe a deep understanding of self is essential to creating your image and living space and no one can tell you what that is; you must discover it by trial and error. It may change over time.
    Other people would certainly say that my senior apartment is “cluttered.” I see it as CURATED. It reflects me and my interests and as such, is just perfect. Perhaps it is that decorating trend that is called maximalism. I only know that while I may appreciate someone else’s minimalist decor, I find it cold to actually BE in. I also believe that decorating in a particular style is pretty easy. It is hard to have to design an eclectic space that incorporates the things you love and have collected over a lifetime. These ideas became especially apparent to me when I downsized from my house to a senior living apartment complex. Some of my neighbors here threw out everything and started from scratch: fresh, new, modern and minimalist. Others are still struggling to make the transition from what was, to what now must be. Less. In order to have more LIFE, we must have less THINGS as we age. But what does that actually mean? It is different for everyone and just like the rest of life’s complicated issues, you will just have to figure out what is right for you. And do that.
    PS. I bought the book.

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