I never thought of reading as a form of self-care until I became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago. In fact, I gave up making time for reading for a couple years after having our first child because I just didn’t think there was time for “that kind of thing” anymore. Even more, I didn’t see it as important.
After choosing to stay home with my kids, I realized I needed a way to take care of myself that didn’t include just sitting in front of the TV all night after the kids were in bed. I started getting up earlier in the morning to drink my coffee and read for 15 minutes. I was totally surprised by how something so simple could make such a difference in how my day felt.
Instead of feeling like I was still half-asleep and scatter-brained, I felt like I was awake, settled and ready to start the day with my kids when they woke up. It didn’t matter what I was reading - the point was that I was taking that time for myself, doing something that I enjoyed, and caring for my own well-being.
That is when I decided to make reading a more intentional part of my life again. I started to view it as something that was more than just a fun hobby. It turned into a form of self-care for me, and I look forward to it every day.
Here are my 5 tips for reading for self care:
1. Schedule time for it - we don’t always ‘have’ the time, but we choose to ‘make’ the time. It might mean sacrificing something else such as 20 minutes of sleep or extra TV time, but if it is really important, we will make the time to do it.
2. Create a cozy space to read in - find a comfortable chair with a cozy blanket, a chair on your front porch, or any spot that is comfortable and free from distractions so you can enjoy your reading time.
3. Grab your favorite drink - I always drink a cup of coffee while I’m reading in the morning, or at night I might brew some decaf coffee or tea. It makes reading more inviting and fun when I have a warm drink next to me.
4. Choose books that you are in the mood for - I used to make a “to read” list for the month, but I rarely stuck to it because my mood would change throughout the month. Sometimes I’d be in the mood for a light and fun book, and other times I would look for something fast-paced and mysterious. Other times, I needed a personal development book to inspire me. So, I’ve decided to reach for books that I am in the mood for at the moment. I try to listen to what type of book I am craving and read that, because I almost always enjoy it more and get more out of it.
5. Use a journal to jot down your thoughts - I love to keep a list of the books I read each month, and what I thought. It’s great to jot down your thoughts as you are reading and again when you are done, even if you have to take some time to process your thoughts after you are done reading. If I’m reading a personal development book, I love to note ideas that might help me in some area of my life. It’s also great to have some notes jotted down if you are going to be discussing a book with a book club.
Do you use reading as part of your self care routine? I'd love to hear from you below!
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