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I think it is safe to say that we could all use a little extra self care these days. Some of us are still in lockdown working from home or and some of us are navigating a workplace with Covid-19 restrictions. Either way, we could all use some time for ourselves to escape the stress of our daily routine.
So many people see reading as a chore, and honestly I always blame this on required reading in high school and college. But that is another discussion for another day.
Reading can be used as a self care method! I believe every person can find enjoyment in reading. You may have to try a few different genres before you figure out what you like, but if you are willing to put in the time, then I think you will find many positive benefits to including reading in your self care routine.
Table of Contents
What is self care?
Let’s just go ahead an clear one thing up right now: self care is not selfish. Now read that over and over until it sticks.
Unfortunately, our society is driven by “the American dream.” I’m not even sure what that is anymore, but I know the concept causes us to focus on our careers above all until we reach the point of burnout.
Self care is anything that you enjoy that relaxes you and gives you a mental and physical break from day to day life.
Self care can be as simple as indulging in your favorite dessert at night or spending time relaxing in a bubble bath. It can be going to the salon for a pedicure or taking a long walk after work.
The possibilities of self care are endless and highly personal. But very rarely do I see reading listed as a form of self care.
Why should we use reading for self care?
Reading is an escape, and that is what self care is all about-escaping whatever is going on in your life to cause you stress.
Reading is a different activity from listening to a music or watching TV. You have to give more focus to reading a book, which means you are less focused on what is causing your stress.
Reading a book before bed can also help you sleep better at night. When we take our phone or tablet to bed at night, we are more likely to check our email one more time and find a new task for the next day sitting in our inbox. But reading a book is a relaxing activity that will help you unwind before turning in for the night.
How do I get started?
If you are not a reader, you may find it overwhelming to visit a bookstore or library. Honestly I get overwhelmed by it sometimes, but in a good way because I can’t wait to start browsing!
Find a genre you like
First, determine what kind of TV shows or movies you like. Personally I like horror and thriller movies the best, so I tend to pick up my mystery/thriller books than anything else. I love trying to figure out the twist endings, and the fast paced thrillers keep me coming back every night so I am more likely to keep up the habit of reading even after I finish a book.
My Mystery/Thriller Book Recommendations
If you enjoy dramas, then authors like Liane Moriarty and Lisa Jewell will be a great fit for you. Both authors write mostly domestic dramas with a mystery. But the main focus is on the relationships between the characters, not the mystery. For the romance lover, I would recommend Christina Lauren or Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. There are so many subgenres of romance too. Personally I enjoy romance books that make me laugh, but you may enjoy a more hard hitting romance book.
My Drama and Romance Book Recommendations
I also really recommend checking out Book of the Month if you are new to reading. I’ve been a member of this subscription service since 2018 and find it to be the best value for your money! I have a full review of the service here and a special link for my readers to get their first book for only $5! (Several of the books of my recommendations lists above are available through Book of the Month!)
Don’t put pressure on yourself
I am a book blogger and I don’t read every single day. It is okay if you come home after a long day and just want to scroll on TikTok for an hour. We’ve all been there!
When you put pressure on yourself to read when you don’t want to, then it no longer feels like self care. Instead, reading starts to feel like homework. So don’t read unless you want to!
Stop reading a book you aren’t enjoying
Let’s face it-if you aren’t enjoying the book you are reading, then you are less likely to pick it up or even finish it. And if you do finish the book, it will probably leave a bad taste in your mouth for reading another book.
It is okay to DNF a book. What’s that, you ask? It means “did not finish.” I DNF books all the time. Life is too short to spend time reading a book you aren’t enjoying. Not to mention there are literally thousands of books out there to choose from! So why waste time reading something you don’t like when there is sure to be something out there for you!
Don’t make reading a competition
One of the big debates in the book community is whether we should set a yearly reading goal on Goodreads. Personally, I find a goal motivating, but you will most likely be overwhelmed by it if you are just starting to read.
If you are a goal oriented person, however, you may find it helpful to set a goal for 12 books in a year. That’s just one book a month! And the average book is around 300 pages, so that’s only 10 pages a day.
But reading should not be a competition with yourself or others. So don’t get caught up in the numbers of it all. Just focus on finding books you enjoy so you can enhance your self care routine!
Track your reading
I know this seems counterproductive to the previous tip, but you may find tracking your reading will help you hold yourself accountable for keeping up the habit of reading.
There are so many ways to track your reading, so it is really up to you to find what method works for you!
If you enjoying journaling, you may think about creating a spread for your bullet journal. What I love about bullet journaling is how personalized you can make your journal. If you are minimalist, you can do something as simple as keeping a list of books you read each month. You can also just keep a running list of books for the entire year.
If you are more visual, you may enjoy a bookshelf tracker spread! I have a printable bookshelf tracker in my Etsy store that can be printed in three different sizes to fit various journals.
Related: Bookshelf Reading Tracker on Etsy
If you prefer to keep track using technology, you can start a Goodreads or StoryGraph account online. Both platforms have apps for your smartphone, and you can choose to keep your profile private if you want. I have used Goodreads for years, and while the app is not the most visually appealing, I find Goodreads to be sufficient for keeping track of my reading. I have a StoryGraph account as well, but I have not used it as much as I expected to this year.
Try an audiobook
Sometimes audiobooks are the only way I can fit reading into my day! I find audiobooks to be very relaxing, but I also love that I can still read while doing other things, like driving to work or going for a walk.
It may take some time to get used to audiobooks if you’ve never tried them before. It can help to follow along with the physical book while you listen. Sometimes I start a book physically then switch to the audiobook when I have a feel for the characters.
There are a ton of audiobook services available, and I have a full guide for you to get started!
Related: Best Audiobook Services of 2021
I hope you found this helpful and I would love to hear how you make reading part of your self care routine! Drop me a comment down below or join my book club on Facebook!