Most of us experience countless demands on our daily time and energy. To make matters worse, the holiday season always adds to the hustle and bustle of our normally busy lives. But no matter how busy you are, it’s important to take a few moments for yourself every day. Reading a book is a great way to pamper yourself and relax. It’s a simple yet effective way to relieve everyday stress. Imagine yourself sitting in your favorite chair with your feet propped up, a steaming cup of tea in one hand, and a good book in the other hand.
Reading can be a big stress reliever because it allows you to put yourself into someone else’s mind. You can momentarily escape your own troubles as you live someone else’s dream, solve their mystery, or experience their love. And with reading, you don’t have to feel guilty about taking time to do something just for yourself. Reading enhances your vocabulary, which enables you to speak and write better. This is a benefit no matter what your occupation. As an avid reader, I’ve discovered many ways to not only make time for myself to read, but also ways to find a book I’m sure to enjoy.
Making Time to Read
Some of you are probably wondering how you’ll fit another activity into your busy routine. Maybe you think you’ll never make it all the way through a 250-page novel. Don’t worry; you do have the time to read-you just don’t know it yet. Here are some practical suggestions on how to make time to read.
- Read at the same time every day. If your life is shaped by routine, why not make reading an essential part of the routine? Before bed or during a lunch break are both great times to read. Pick a time of day and stick with it.
- Read in the same place every day. If you have a favorite chair, keep your book on the table next to the chair so it’s there every time you sit down. If you read in bed, keep your book on the nightstand so you remember to read before you go to sleep.
- Use a bookmark. This will allow you to pick up the book throughout the day whenever you have a few spare minutes.
- Take a book with you. Open your book and read a few pages whenever you have a chance. Waiting rooms at doctors’ offices are a great place to read. Also, if you pick up your kids from sports or after-school activities, read a few pages while you sit in the car waiting for them to finish.
- Read one chapter at a time. If you have a long lunch break or other extended periods of free time during your day, try reading a whole chapter at a time. Setting goals, such as one chapter per day, will help you finish a book quickly.
- Read a book of short stories. Books like Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and other anthologies of short stories are a great alternative to lengthy novels. Finishing an entire story in 10 minutes can be greatly rewarding.
Finding a Book to Read
After you make time to read, you can select the perfect book. Here are some suggestions for finding a book that will interest you.
- Read about something you’re passionate about. We all have something in life we’re passionate about. Whether your passion is children, gardening, teaching, faith, or volunteering, there are books about everything imaginable. Selecting a book that incorporates something you’re passionate about will make your reading worthwhile and enjoyable.
- Read books that movies you like are based on. Several current movies are based on books. The novel is almost always better than the movie because there’s more action and more things are going on between the pages. Lord of the Rings, Sea Biscuit, and Mystic River are all great books that recently were made into movies.
- Read books by an author similar to your favorite. A librarian or bookstore owner can recommend other authors similar to your favorites. Web sites like Amazon.com also provide recommendations. For example, if you like John Grisham’s books, try reading a book by Scott Turow, Perri O’Shaughnessy, or Nancy Taylor Rosenberg.
- Read a holiday book. If your days are hectic with holiday shopping and preparations, reading a good book can help you focus on what the season is all about. Children’s books are especially heartwarming. I recommend reading any of the following holiday books by yourself or with your family: The Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas, Santa Calls, Santa Mouse and the Rat Deer, Shhh!, Hurry, Santa!, Father Christmas, The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale, The Christmas Story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street, Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Little Drummer Boy, The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree, Berenstain Bears’ Christmas, A Cup of Christmas Tea, and A Little House Christmas. AA!