I found my passion for reading much later in life.
Sure, I have fond memories of my Dad telling us bedtime stories, the Greek Myths were the best, or when I discovered my favorite childhood book, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. However, during school, my love for reading was lackluster at best. Being bombarded with countless case studies and reading assignments made reading seem like a chore. Ugh. However, post school in the working world I discovered reading…
What came hand in hand with the fancy finance job were arduous hours, endless commutes, and heaps of stress. It was then that I started to read. Diving into a book gave me that one moment of peace in my day, helped me to de-stress, and in fact made me more pragmatic in my decision making. It was incredible…it was my sanctuary.
It turns out there are several benefits to reading in addition to de-stressing. Here’s the 411 on the perks…
Maybe one of these benefits piques your interest to consider opening up a book before bed tonight! If so, here are 8 practical tips to get you started…
Find a moment in your day/life where you would like to introduce some peace and calm i.e. commute to work, lunch break, before you go to bed etc.
Identify this time, and instead of scanning your instagram feed or checking emails just one more time, try reading. It may provide some beneficial peace and calm, rather than feed into further ‘busyness’/stress.
That said, IF you are in a phase of life where you have NO time i.e. school, just had a baby, fill in the blank…then don’t try to force yourself to create this new habit. Be kind to yourself and set an aspiration to circle back and give it a try a few months from now.
I would not advise going from cold turkey to a goal of reading a book a week. Set a timer and just do 10 mins of reading at a time/nightly. At first, you may wish that your alarm couldn’t come soon enough, but a few days in you might be surprised to find that when the ding goes, you actually want to keep on reading…at least until the end of the page, maybe till the end of the chapter!
I have found that on a commute, lunch break, or right before bed are some of the best times. It is a wonderful way to press the pause button on work, life, and daily stressors.
At times, I would be headed to bed hoping to decompress, and I would suddenly be in a frenzy taking notes of great ideas from the non-fiction book I was reading, and sleep was the last thing on my mind!
Yes, we have Amazon and audible at our fingertips which is awesome, but I would put a vote in for the wonderful public library!
I rediscovered the beauty of public libraries when I moved back to the States. They are phenomenal. You have access to a myriad of resources ~ books, movies, speaking events with esteemed authors, education and business courses online and in-person, free tax preparation, events for kids, I mean the list is exhaustive. And the best part, all of these resources are FREE! Yes, FREE!
Public libraries offer book apps now too, which give you instant access (no need to trek to the library). The app not only offer digital books and audiobooks but also movies and TV shows. Hoopla and Overdrive are the two most frequently used apps by libraries.
Audiobooks (from the above app on my phone/ipad/desktop) have been a game changer for me. The app/audiobook gives me more flexibility to listen to books during those in-between times i.e. commutes, between meetings or tasks, while you’re cooking or working out etc.
Goodreads is an awesome resource to find a good book. You can search for books countless of ways — author, genre, time period, event and so on. I find this to be a very helpful reference for good books.
If you find a good author, series, or genre — go with the flow and perhaps read a string of books from the same author. I’ve been in a love affair with Anita Shreves’ books recently!
Keep a log of the books you have read and ones you want to read. My Grandmother taught me this. I remembered her laughing that sometimes she’d even forget books that she’d read or the exact story line. Although shocked at the time, I now muse that I have the same moments of blurring story lines/books I may or may not have read.
It is tremendously rewarding to look back on the list of books you’ve read over the years. (This goes out to A-type/achievement-oriented folks who love hitting goals.) It also allows you to reflect on books you’ve read, topics you’ve learned, stories that have provided insights into your life, advice that you’ve implemented.
It is also a wonderful list to share with friends/family during get-togethers or when you wonder into the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Union Square.
I keep the list on the notes app in my phone. Super simple. I just update it when I’ve finished a book. Normally with the name of the book, author, date I finished book, and then for fun give the book a rating of 1/10.
If you’re more of a team sport kinda person then this is a great motivator to get you reading! Not to mention the added wellness benefits of sharing great experiences with friends/making new ones that a book club provide.
Ask your friends if they’d like to start a book club. You can keep it super easy and meet just 1x a month or quarter. If that might be too much coordination, having a book club with your partner or another family member in your house can be great fun. In addition, there are now several ‘virtual book clubs’ you can join with like-minded folks ~ Oprah and Reese Witherspoon’s are 2 rather fun ones. Oprah’s has a newsletter, Facebook group, and Goodreads group. Reese Witherspoon’s you can follow on her book club instagram account.
I didn’t think I could write an article all about reading without giving just a few book suggestions. That said, I think that it’s very subjective if a book will resonate with you. But here are some recent reads that I’d love to recommend in no particular order.
*For books to learn more about wellness…that is a whole other article. Email me and I can give you tailored recommendations.
So, armed with these benefits and tips…whip out a book from your bookshelves tonight to enjoy…think of it as an experiment… you can always decide later if it’s not a good moment, but I bet you won’t regret it!
I hope you enjoyed and found this article helpful. If you did perhaps share with a friend!
Be well 🙂
P.S. Hi all. I wanted to be sure to let you know, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. That said, any products I mention in my articles are ones that I love and use myself, and carry no bias.
Originally published at medium.com