Reading as Self-Care

Sometimes getting my family to read feels like making them put their toys away- or making them put on pajamas and brush their teeth. A lot of times, my children love reading- and sometimes they- ugh don’t. I wont tell you about the books collecting dust on my husband’s night stand.

However, I think reading is as important as brushing your teeth, or meditation, or yoga. It’s a foundational self care practice to help us maintain our mental health.

When I was young, the best friends I made were people who I could connect with over books and reading. One of my favorite hangouts was reading quietly in the library with my best friend. While, my sister would hole up in her room to read, I would use reading as a social activity- and I still do. So, I come by this life philosophy honestly. It’s a part of my core identity. I loved reading when life was stressful.

Reading Allows You to Form Your Aesthetic

Clearly, we learn what is important to us through our experiences. The same is true with the types of books we choose and what speaks to our sense of self. I’ve learned that I find comfort in magical realism, but I also love the nostalgic feelings that books like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables bring. For me, I found out who I was through books. I found out my tastes, my morals, the core of my identity, all through reading.

Reading Gives You a Break From Your Reality

This one is pretty important to me. Life can feel tedious if we don’t bring in some new experiences. I have big Gemini energy, so- there are a lot of things I need to do to shake things up in my routine. In my life, reading is either an education or an escape. Sometimes the same book for both.

Reading Gives You a Stronger Vocabulary

It should go without saying- but- as a professional reader, I’ve noticed my writing and speaking vocabulary expand. Who I was before I went to college and who I am after is directly correlated with being a book nerd and having to practice that in writing. It helps our brains stay sharp as we get older (cough,parents,cough), it also helps our brains develop (cough,chidlren,cough). If you want to be a person who is understood, you need to be a reader.

Reading Helps You Be a Better Person

When we escape from our reality, we enter into someone else’s when we decide to open a book. This process helps us expand that capacity into real life when hard times call for compassion and human dignity. By being able to separate from ourselves for a few minutes during the day and see the world from a different perspective, we are growing our empathy muscle. We learn that we’re all in this ish together.

While, taking a nap is highly recommended during this time of pandemics and quarantine- if you have the time and space for one, reading is a close second. Right now when we need to feel close, but we’re far apart to keep us and others healthy, books can be that window into the world we cant go out in right now.

Published by BrandieKnits

I am a reader of many beautiful things, a fantastic knitter and a lover of wine. I love writing stories. I am a daydreamer and very neurotic, but my husband married me anyway. Bless that man. Really, I am just a girl who finally figured out what she wants in life.

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