Every year as summer rolls around, I feel plagued with the burdens of all that I have to do to in terms of work and home.
While many around me pack up and go on luxury vacations that I can’t afford, I feel loneliness and a disconnect from the people around me.
Routine tasks and chores start seeming more mundane and cumbersome than usual and I feel my old nemeses, stress, and depression creeping up on me.
In addition to other self-care habits that I have made a part of my life, I have found great comfort in such times in a beloved childhood pastime of mine; reading.
Whether you are reading an engaging tale full of larger than life characters and a gripping plot, a thrilling whodunit, or even non-fiction like biographies or self-help books, reading can bring indescribable comfort in times where the real world feels like it is too much to handle.
Seeing as how much of a positive influence reading has on my mental health, I wanted to share a bit about the different ways reading can benefit our mental health.
It is an accessible, mostly inexpensive, hobby that has incredible benefits.
When we engage with various stories that are different from our own life experiences, it gives us empathy and develops our sense of connection to other humans.
This in turn helps us understand people better and can lead to us repairing our existing relationships and build stronger ones in the future.
The Healing Power of Reading
Reading as an activity has been proven to have a positive influence on your mental acuity.
It is also attributed to improved quality of sleep, reduction in stress levels, lowered heart rate, and decreased blood pressure.
In addition to these, studies have also shown that reading strengthens the neural pathways and circuits of our brain, and you can gain all these benefits even if you read for 10 minutes a day!
In a world of materialism, social media and popular TV and films only serve to deepen our feelings of dissatisfaction with our lives, when everyone we see on these screens are seemingly living perfectly happy and happening lives.
Reading allows me an escape to other worlds, alternate lives and a sense of calm and peace.
Reading has an unmatched healing potential and it is unfortunate how we as a generation have forgotten just how much healing power is held by stories.
When I was going through a particularly rough patch, where I felt animosity and negativity towards everyone, it was a book that helped me out of the rut I was in.
The Energy Bus helped me overcome my depression and taught me how I could create positive energy in my life.
You can read the energy bus summary here to get a better idea.
Reading Is a Form of Self Care
People, especially those who are non-readers, find it difficult to understand how or why reading can be an excellent form of self-care.
Such people have probably been disillusioned by the assigned reading they were forced to do back in school.
Still others fail to understand that reading is not more “work” and think of it as an additional chore after a long day of dealing with the everyday stressors of life.
Let me be the one to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
True, it takes a little bit of effort to get back into the habit of reading, especially if you haven’t done it in a while, but once you start reading consistently, you will see that it can play a huge role in helping you deal with anxiety, stress, and depression.
Reading allows you the opportunity to disconnect from the world, slow down, and engage with someone else’s story.
This can be a great form of self care as it relaxes you, calms you down, and allows you a breather from your own troubles.
A great book that helped me learn to communicate my needs and express my desires was the Relationship Cure.
This book helped me realize the science of understanding relationships and how I could improve all my relationships, whether they are professional or personal, and what could be a better form of self care than something that allows you to improve yourself.
What other self care routine grants you entertainment, intellectual stimulation, as well as relaxation all at the same time?
I hope this has helped you see reading as a way to nurture your mental wellness.