Self care is about nourishing our body and mind, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy overall well being. When you look at reading it is a great way to provide ourselves with some self care. Reading often allows us to calm down, relax, and feel better. It allows us to escape for a little while from all the stress that surrounds us at work, home, and on social media. When reading we are exposed to new ideas which improves our empathy for others. We learn new things about ourselves when we read and it encourages us to discover more. We become inspired by what we read and that leads us to become more creative both at work and in our leisure. Reading really does nourish our mind and our body.
So why don’t we read more? Some of us may think we don’t have enough time to read. Others may think they can’t afford the cost of books. For most of us it probably is more of a case that we don’t think it is important enough to prioritize it in our lives. You make time for a cup or maybe a few of coffee, but some how reading just doesn’t make the cut off to be included in our lives. For me I’m finding that now that I have time, my focus is just not there for reading for very long. There always seems to be something else I could do instead that requires less focus. Perhaps it’s about time we start making more of an effort. You know kids who see parents read are more likely to read themselves. It’s a good way for us to be a role model for our children. So how do we add reading to our already busy lives?
I visited a library this week and learned more. When you open up your mind to the possibilities and explore a library as if you’ve never been to one before, it can be quite exciting! I have to say libraries have changed so much since I was a child. I remember them being a place you went to that was kind of dreary looking. We had to be super quiet in the library, even whispering too much was discouraged. No food or drinks were allowed in the library. I think they were afraid we would damage the books. I don’t remember there being much more than books, magazines, and newspapers there. Some things were archived on microfilm that we looked at when doing a research project.
Today when you walk into a newer library it is so different. Yes there are still books and magazines available, but there are so many more media options available to check out! By the time my kids were little libraries started carrying videos, cd’s, and audio books. This week I discovered something new to me. They now have available a Playaway all in one audiobook that you just hook up a set of earphones to! It’s supposed to be great for when you go for a walk or run. There are so many options now for enjoying a good book and they are free at the public library! Some day maybe I’ll try an audio book. I have a friend that says it’s great to turn off the lights, light a candle, and listen to a good audio book. Sounds quite relaxing to me.
So how do we sneak some reading time into our busy schedules? Here is where we start thinking creatively and using the time we have even if it is only 10-15 minutes.
Finding Reading Time
- Put it on the calendar. Just like any self care activities, it helps to just schedule on your calendar. It can be any time slot you want from maybe 10-15 minutes like you might have done in grade school after completing school work or 30 – 60 minutes if you want to spend longer with your book.
- Give up a TV show and read instead. That should give you a 30-60 minute time slot at least once per week.
- Keep a book in your car for those times you find yourself sitting around waiting such as when your kids have after school activities or you are in a waiting room at a medical facility or car repair shop.
- Spend 10 minutes reading during your lunch break. By the end of 5 days you will have read for 50 minutes during lunch that week.
- Take a coffee break at a library! Did you know some of these modern libraries actually sell a cup of coffee so you can enjoy it while you read in their comfy chairs or work on your laptop at a desk? I think that is just really cool!
- Take your kids to the library for some of the great teen and children’s clubs/activities offered and read while you wait. Now many library’s offer book clubs, chess clubs, lego clubs, and more for kids! While they are entertained you can enjoy some quality time with a book.
- Read yourself a bedtime story. Some people enjoy reading a good book for a few minutes before they fall asleep. Others this suggestion doesn’t work because they become to excited by the book they read. Did I mention books can be inspiring?
- Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning so you can read for a few minutes before you start your day. If you need more time, adjust your wake up accordingly.
- For those who use a laundry mat bring a book to read while you wait on your clothes to complete their cycles.
Get creative and see where you can find a few minutes to read during your day. I would love to hear your creative ideas for reading in the comments!