Tag Archives: Reading

Reading… Self-care in a Book

Read Something… 2019

Do people still read books?

Why do we have libraries, nobody reads books anymore?

Reading is a waste of time. I could be doing something instead of sitting around?

I kid you not, these are things I have heard people say about reading. I don’t read as much as I used to, but I honestly can’t imagine a life without reading. And when people say they don’t have time to read, I don’t believe them. If you enjoy reading, you’ll find time for it. There are plenty of things we don’t have time for, brushing our teeth, showering, putting on makeup, but we somehow find time for them.

What I noticed about people who tell me they don’t like reading, is they had unpleasant experiences with reading in junior high and high school. I remember the days of having to read novels that I had no interest in, and worse, we were required to write essays about these novels and even debate some of the topics and themes from these books. I usually did well in English Language Arts, as it was called back then, but I know it was not an activity that I always enjoyed. As a result, I made full use of my public library card. I wanted to read books I was actually interested in. It didn’t matter to me that they weren’t literary classics; what mattered was how much I was engaged in the plot, characters and setting.

Now, if you’re wondering how reading counts as self-care, here it is. Reading is a relaxing way to feed your mind, spirit, and creativity.

Open-Minded: Reading different types of fiction, memoirs, and biographies can help you become more open-minded. Reading exposes you to new and different ideas, other cultures, the life stories of people you otherwise wouldn’t encounter, and fictional worlds you wouldn’t have thought to create; the accumulation of knowledge is boundless.

Your critical and analytical skills are also engaged when you discuss the book with others in person or online. Book clubs are fun, but if it’s not your thing or you can’t get to one, you can often find others online or in person who enjoy informally discussing a book.

Cognitive Engagement: Reading helps you to concentrate. It also increases your vocabulary and thinking skills. Reading is also emotional.  I can tell you with confidence that I doubt I am the only one who has cried over a fictional character. A novel can evoke all sorts of emotion, sometimes on the same page: anger, happiness, surprise, sadness.

Reading is also an exercise in memory. 200-300 pages in you have a lot to remember, the names of characters, what happened since you last put the book down, the story line and so on.

Stress Buster: Reading can help you to de-stress. Grab a cup of something warm to drink, a throw, and make yourself comfortable somewhere. Reading suddenly becomes “me time”. We often think of self-care as something spa like, but the ability to be able to sit and read a book without being bothered is an excellent way to care for your physical and mental well being.

Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about taking time to read, it’s a pleasure, but it is also a form of self-care, regardless of what types of books you read.

There are endless types of books available for reading. If you need some ideas or prompts, here is a short and simple guide to help you experience a diverse and rewarding way to read your way through 2019.

Reading List and Ideas

  • A new release (2019)
  • A memoir or biography
  • A Thriller or Suspense
  • A fictional or true story featuring an immigrant’s life experience in coming to Canada or the United States
  • A self-help book about something you want to address in your own life
  • A Romance
  • A book that was made into a movie you enjoyed
  • A science-fiction
  • Historical fiction from a time period that is of interest to you
  • A humorous book
  • A novel where the story takes place in a country you have always wanted to visit
  • A novel that takes place in a country that you have visited before
  • A trilogy, and be sure to read all three
  • A book you started reading months or years ago and never got around to finishing
  • A book written by a Native American
  • A book about the environment
  • A book that has been banned by public high schools
  • The biography or memoir of someone who’s life sounds quite different from your own (e.g. class/gender/sexual orientation/religion)
  • A book that takes place during World War 1, World War 2, or the Depression

What I Learned During April 2017

Finally!

The month of April 2017 went by fast. It seemed like we had just begun the Lenten season and then suddenly it Easter weekend, and then April was over.

Despite the month feeling as if it went by quickly, I learned a few important personal lessons during that time.

I Love Reading and It Should Only Be Used for Leisure

Every time I see a blog post for, “How to Read X Amounts of Books in a Year” I instantly feel the need to take on the challenge. It’s taken a lot of will power and discipline to stop myself from following through on my desire to do so.

March and April I read two books. The first was Fifteen Dogs by Canadian author Andre Alexis. I loved every minute of this book. There were times I had to stop in the middle of a page and think deeply about what I just read. I realized that if I had chosen to participate in a year long reading challenge I might not have been able to take time to consider in depth what I was reading. Instead, I would have been focused on finishing the book so I could mark another one off the reading list and carry on with the goal.

Some of these challenges would require me to read at least one book per week, and at that pace, I honestly don’t think I would find reading relaxing; it would become another task added to my already too long of a to-do list.

The second book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I had started reading this novel approximately a year ago and abandoned it half way through out of boredom. I decided to finish reading it because I wanted the book off the shelf and out of my house, and because so many people I know had said the book gets better as you read along. It didn’t.

Lesson Learned: Reading challenges are great, but only if doesn’t take away from the relaxation and pleasure of reading.

Sunlight Brings Happiness to an Entire City

It’s difficult to get an entire city population to agree on anything, but here in northern Alberta, we seem to all agree that the constant darkness of the winter months affects our moods. I’m not referring to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). After 8 months of cold weather and dark skies we are known to crave warmer temperatures and most importantly sunlight that extends beyond the afternoon.

I couldn’t help but notice how excited me and my female co-workers have been about finally getting to wear spring leggings, skirts, and ankle length pants, and not to mention sandals and heels. Avid gardeners are excited about planting, and tending to the earth. Tired workers are already looking forward to relaxing in their backyards and enjoying summer BBQ’s.

Lesson Learned: Constant darkness and cold weather does in deed affect people’s moods. Sunlight not only provides vitamin D and sun tans, but also happiness.

Bullies Rarely Apologize, So Don’t Hold Your Breath

For several months I’ve been dealing with a group of bullying Christians who are part of a local Christian organization. They have consistently engaged in dishonest behaviour, manipulation, and fraud. I thought I would be able to bring about changes to this organization, but I haven’t been able to do so.

I realized that you can create a long list of policies and procedures, but if people aren’t willing to change their unhealthy ethical practices and develop a sense of integrity, it won’t work.

I allowed the bullying behaviour to take an emotional toll on me until I realized and accepted the fact that I can’t make others change.

Lesson Learned: If an organization does not want to become a healthy workplace, I have three options: accept that the workplace is toxic and find a way to work there without becoming toxic myself; stress myself out and become toxic as well; run away from there as fast as I can.

QUESTIONS and REFLECTIONS

Are you the type of person who learns lessons the hard way or the sensible way?

Which types of lessons have the most positive impact on you; lessons that were painful, or lessons that involve “aha” moments.

How do you think God teaches us lessons in life? Does he do so gently, painfully, both, neither? How do you know when God is “teaching you a lesson”?