A Bookworm's Guide to Self Care
Are you a stressed out bookworm? Do you need to take some time for yourself? Honestly? Same. That’s okay. You’re allowed the need to recharge. You don’t have to feel guilty about needing to do something for yourself so you can make yourself whole and come back relaxed, charged up and ready for anything you need to do. I decided to share with you guys all the ways I try to wind down and do something for myself. I don’t count bathing as self care, guys. I know a lot of people will say to take a nice bath or a shower to have some time for yourself. But guys, being clean should not be extravagant. Self care, in my
opinion, is doing something that you would have had to ask your parents to do when you were younger. “Can I go to the store?” “Can I take the day off of school?” So let’s stop counting our showers as “me time.” You should be able to have more time for your own mental health than just the time you clean yourself. But listen, if a nice bath calms you, I’m not knocking it. Hopefully the following things that work for me will work for you, alongside your calming bath.
1. Go buy books.
I know you already have unread books. I know you are running out of shelf space, if you’re not out
already. If you love books you know that browsing books is calming. It is something I could spend actual hours doing, and I have. Bookstores are full of our people. Go to your people, wear a mask, stay six feet apart, drink coffee (or tea if you’re into that) and browse those books for as long as you want.
Not wanting to leave your house? There are a TON of online booksellers. If you are wanting to buy a book from an indie author but you’re not sure where to buy from, you can always check with that indie author. I have found that authors, for the most part, have been very friendly and kind when you ask them where you should purchase their books! So if you need a push to go buy books, consider this it.
2. Makeover your reading nook.
Whether you make a new reading area in the garden or you give a little face lift to your current reading area, making your reading space clean, tidy and calming is a great way to feel accomplished and refreshed. It’s kind of like how you sleep better when you have fresh and clean bedding. It is more relaxing to read in a space that is calming to you. I recently made over my nook and it really made such a difference. You can see from the before photo that I had tons of clutter, my dog’s toys were strewn about everywhere and my trusty old reading chair is showing its age in stains and small rips. I bought a slipcover that was super soft, cleaned up and organized my space. Aside from actually getting the slipcover, the whole task probably took about 15 minutes. I lit some incense, kicked off my slippers and relaxed in my new and improved reading space.
3. Take a day off from reading OR spend an entire day reading.
This one depends on how you’re feeling about your reading lately. Sometimes, I’ll have this feeling where nothing I read is grabbing me, even though I’m reading books I know I would normally like. Those are times when I’ll start a bunch of books and then stop and start something else. Some folks call it a reading slump. If that’s the case for you right now, don’t worry. Give yourself a break from reading for a day. Don’t try to force something that is not working. Maybe try to watch that show that all of your friends are talking about, or get out into the garden and pull those weeds You could even just scroll through instagram for a while. When you need a reading break, do something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power.
If you are the opposite and you just want to sit and read your book, let me tell you, it is absolutely 100% okay to take a day off from responsibilities to sit and read your book. Don’t do this all the time or those neglected responsibilities will be the reason you need a break. But every now and then we need to take a day to sit and read books for hours on end. Trust me, the things you were supposed to do will still be there when you come back. We all need a day to ourselves sometimes and you should try not to feel guilty about putting your needs first.
4. Physically write out your TBR or make a list of your unread books.
Sometimes doing something creative but set in structure, is just what your mind needs. You can make your TBR like a bullet journal or you can just write out the list. You can be as creative as you want. But the structure is in the rules you make for your list. Are you going to write out all of your unread books? Or are you going to make a list of the books you want to read this month? Making lists and crossing things off of it gives you this amazing feeling of accomplishment.
5. Give your friend a book you really liked.
You don’t have to give up any of your precious books, you can send them their own copy or you can have it sent to them from an online store. Neurologists say that our brains make us derive pleasure from giving gifts. Studies have actually found evidence that we have a greater sense of happiness when spending money on others as opposed to when we spend the money on ourselves. (I read about a study on the science of giving in this article.) It also gives you and your friend a book in common that you can chat about. I like to show my kids books that I liked as kids. Seeing them enjoy something that you enjoyed is really an amazing experience.
6. Get outside.
Us bookworms aren't exactly known for getting outside and soaking up some of that vitamin D. In fact, most Americans spend 90% of their lives inside. I like to get out in the garden since I am not one of those exercising types. According to some researchers, going outside and being in nature can help to alleviate feelings of pressure and stress. (You can read about that here.) You’re not into gardening? Cool, try a hike. Or maybe walk around your neighborhood for a few minutes. Whatever you decide to do outside, just the act of being outside will help a bit.
Doing something for yourself can feel foreign and can give you guilt. But that’s a habit we need to break. You’re not a bad person for needing a break and you’re definitely not a bad person for taking that break. So go out and do what you need to do for you, you book nerd.