Stress. Just saying the word increases my stress level. We all have stress in our lives and look for ways to relieve it. If you are searching the interwebs about reading for stress relief, you have come to the right place. My goal is to help you relieve stress and maybe even expand your mind in the process.
Stress comes in many shapes and sizes.
Stress is different for everyone. Whether it’s screaming kids, an unreasonable boss, or you are moving to a new house next week and are nowhere close to ready. We all have stresses in our lives, it’s a pretty normal part of life actually. People deal with stress in very different ways. Some people go to the gym and burn it out. Others will eat comfort food. Unfortunately, there are several unhealthy ways to deal with stress.
Reading for stress relief is both easy and enjoyable!
Did you know that reading is calorie free and super cheap!! Now that’s some stress relief that anyone can benefit from! This is a topic I would like to discuss further and really encourage everyone to give it the old college try.
How often do you read for enjoyment?
Daily, weekly, once a month? I would strongly encourage reading a book about something you enjoy, as part of your daily routine. It’s a way to relieve some of that pent-up stress in your life. I like to read every night before I go to bed, this is a great way to wind down and just forget about all the worries and woes of my life.
Ten, twenty, thirty minutes, whatever you can spare is all it takes.
Actually, the study in the link below suggests it only takes 6 minutes of reading to slow down the heart rate and ease tension. According to this article, reading can reduce stress by up to 68%, better than listening to music or drinking tea.
Reading is a relaxing distraction on your lunch break!
Read during your lunchtime. Take a break from that annoying co-worker, or unrealistic boss, find some time to let your mind go, and take a break from the day. If you have a lunchroom, find a quiet corner and pull out your book, or e-reader, and read about something that will take your mind off work. I like to get out of the office, find a quiet spot outside and read, even on short lunch breaks.
I look forward to my lunch break so much more than if I messed around on my phone.
Not to sound anti-social, but people tend to let you be if you are reading a book. Even if you really enjoy your co-workers, they tend to discuss work on lunch breaks. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to say the word ‘work’ on my lunch break. Reading gives you an escape, even if it is temporary.
Read up on something fun you want to do!
Do some research on that vacation that you have been wanting to take or that garden you have been thinking about planting. Even if you can’t take that vacation right now, it’s fun to learn more about it, planning is fun! Reading about a potential project will get you motivated and make it even more fun! Plus you will get loads of ideas!
Reading is a great way to learn a new skill!
Reading for enjoyment may not only help to reduce your stress level, but it’s also a great way to learn something new. If you have always wanted to learn how to grill pizzas on your barbecue or grow an indoor garden in the winter, you can use this time to read about it and learn something new. I recently read up on sous vide cooking, since it’s all the rage right now. We have cooked some amazing chicken dinners with our newfound kitchen appliance. This is due to the fact that I wanted to learn something new.
I hate my commute!
If you commute via public transportation, this is a great time to either start your day with a good book or wind down after a long stressful day at work, and just let your mind wander as you explore a new place or new activity. Who cares if the guy in the seat next to you is using your shoulder as a pillow, you can still read.
If you drive to and from work, try listening to audio books.
I am old school, so I always refer to these as books on tape (even if they are CD’s). If you have a smartphone and Bluetooth in your car, you are set. I do this all the time. I download books from the library onto my phone and I listen to them on the way to and from work. It takes away some of the stress of my commute. There it is again…stress, in a new form this time… driving! Just be sure you follow all the proper rules of operating a motor vehicle. Don’t let that epic car chase scene you are listening to make you think the rules of the road don’t apply because they still do.
It is important to find subjects that interest you.
Read a murder mystery, and exercise your mind trying figure out who did it. Even 15 minutes of time away from the grind can be a tremendous help. This may even make you more productive at work. It’s rejuvenating and motivating and is a mental break from the day!
There are thousands of great books out there that encompass a wide variety of topics.
Whether you are into gardening, travel, movies or whatever suits you, there are books on every subject. You need to find a subject that you are interested in and something that will keep your attention. No point in trying to read about the history of Halloween, if you have no interest in that at all. You will not enjoy the book and will not read it. I have done this more times than I can count.
Sometimes a friend will suggest a book and I am just not into it, that’s OK!
So, pick something you enjoy. Personally, I love a variety of books, non-fiction books, thrillers are great too! I love to read about people and their real-life stories. I also enjoy a good Jason Bourne novel or something along those lines. Trying to immerse me in the character to see what it might be like to be in their shoes. This can take you out of reality for a little while, and maybe forget what was stressing you out, to begin with.
Be sure to share a new book you liked with a friend!
Spread the word about a great book, they will probably suggest one to you too! Word of mouth is my favorite way to learn about a new book! Who better than my friends and family, they know me best! It’s a great way to have a non-stressful conversation too, discussing a book. It’s just as fun as chatting about a recent movie or show.
So to recap, reading can definitely help to reduce the stress in your life.
Even if it’s just for a little while, reading something you enjoy will help you to chill out, and clear your head. So it’s time to give those brain muscles a rewarding day at the spa, you deserve it! Make it a priority and you will quickly see the benefits!
Have an absolutely relaxing week and remember, read on my friends!
Kris and Steve:)