Monday Self Care Challenge: Rediscover the Ritual of Reading

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Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures. You can learn things about exotic places and historic times. You can escape your own life and run away with fictional characters. You can be inspired, and surprised, and enthralled.

But when was the last time you read an actual book (not a magazine, blog post, article, or bedtime story) cover to cover? For many of us, life happens and we forget to indulge in the ritual of reading. We may quickly scan news articles and blog posts, but we rarely take the time to indulge in a novel. By all means, keep reading your articles and blogs, but also try to make time to indulge in an actual book — this takes more dedication and time, but is such a rewarding and pleasurable act of self care.

Lately, I have been reading a lot. It is my escape from daily stresses and my time to myself. It is my way of staying in the loop on current topics, of chasing inspiration for this blog, and of learning about things I may not have the ability to experience in my day to day life.

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I’ve realized that it does take some effort and practice to keep reading when you are busy. It becomes tempting to just click on Netflix and binge-watch yourself into oblivion after a long day at work. Although this is a simple pleasure in itself, this week I challenge you to rediscover the ritual of reading.

The key with reading is making it a habit. Choose a time that you would like to read, such as first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, or right before bed in your snuggly pajamas, and practice that ritual at the same time each day. Soon you will find yourself reaching for that book on your nightstand without even thinking about it.

So, this week, I challenge you to carve out the time to read an actual book. A novel or nonfiction — whatever you prefer — but I encourage you to read a physical book rather than an electronic version. We spend enough time staring at electronics, and in my opinion, the real pleasure of reading lies in holding an actual book in your hand.

For a little inspiration, here are some books that I’ve read lately and loved.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Currently Reading).

Lovely writing and a unique, unpredictable story line.

Simple Matters by Erin Boyle.

Inspiration and guides for how to simplify every aspect of your life. I read this in about two days and have already referenced it again several times.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

A quick read with tons of unique (and some strange!) tips and insights on how to declutter your home.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

An entertaining, humorous read on how saying yes to your life can open you up to opportunities and happiness.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

An inspiring read on creativity that makes you want to bust out your paintbrushes or start writing a novel.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams.

A lovely historical fiction novel with a captivating story that transports you between Europe during WWII and 1960s America. I also recommend her novels “A Hundred Summers” and “The Secret Life of Violet Grant” if you enjoy historical fiction.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Another excellent historical fiction with beautiful writing and an unpredictable story line.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

A thrilling page-turner. I read this in two days.

Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore.

A great read if you are interested in the way what we put in and on our bodies affects the health of our skin.

I am always looking for book recommendations, so please comment below if you have any books you couldn’t put down. I hope you take part in this week’s self care challenge — this is your permission to put a few obligations aside, snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea, and indulge in a great book. Enjoy!

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