The popular New Year’s resolution we’re focusing on today is one that we’re making ourselves this year, and that is to read more. If you’ve been following the blog daily, you’re already reading on a daily basis, but now let’s see if we can put it to work on reading more books! I’ve always loved to read, but as I’ve gotten older I find myself doing less of it. Part of that was not having the time to do it while I was at work because even in my downtime I’m hyper aware of my surroundings so it was hard for me to actually focus on what I was reading with other people around, part of it is that I’ve developed chronic migraines and focusing on reading books is hard because it just seems like the words like to swim, and part of it (all ridiculousness here is real) is that I like to read in bed and I have no bedside lamp so that means having to get up and cross the room and turn off the light once I get good and cozy and sleepy from reading. My solution to all of that has been to dedicate a corner of my living room to being able to read cozily and make a luxurious day of it when I do decide to curl up with a book.
As you can see, it’s a simple little corner, with a recliner, an end table, a lamp, and an afghan, it’s just a part of my living room, but I have my couch positioned as a sort of a wall dividing it from the rest of the room, and when I decide to make good use of it I make a good cup of tea, some nice toast with jam, grab a good book, and settle in for a day of reading. It’s particularly nice on rainy or snowy days. I actually wish I had thought to make good use of it yesterday. I’m late writing this morning because of our hurricane force winds here in Colorado and more than 24 hours of hearing them howl driving my autistic brain into a place of way overstimulated and needing to sleep through the rest of it. Reading would have been a really good distraction if it had occurred to me at the time.
Anyhow, my point is that making reading a luxurious experience can make it one you’ll especially enjoy and want to spend time on. We’ll have lots of daily projects revolving around specific books in the future, but for today we want you to do two things. The first being to set a goal of how many books you want to read this year. We’re not going to suggest a goal for you, because some people can devour a book a day, and some may be brand new to thinking of reading as a pleasant experience. So set is as low or as high as feels appropriate for you. We set ours at 48, and hope to shatter it, but we shall see what the year brings. The second thing we want you to do today is pick out a book, any book, and start reading it. Whether you make it a devoted relaxed activity like I do, or if you’re a before bed reader, or if you are the kind who can tune out everything around you and read during your downtime at work or school.
What you choose to read is entirely up to you. I wholeheartedly agree with the meme we started the post with… everyone is a reader if they find the right book. My ex was dumb as a box of rocks, and hated reading, but I handed him Harry Potter and asked him to try it (this was back when they were still being written, I believe before Goblet of Fire came out) and he absolutely loved the series and went on to steal books I received as presents and never give me a chance to read them. So, I think I successfully converted at least one reader 🙂 But whether you want to start with children’s books (I LOVE kids books, there’s no shame in reading them, they have a lot to teach us), or classics, or books that have been turned into movies, or novelizations of movies, or manga, or graphic novels, or cookbooks, or poetry, or short stories, or watever kind of genre appeals to you, go with it. If you have a favorite book you’ve read before and feel like reading it again that counts too. All we’re asking is that you spend part of today reading something besides the blog.
We’ve set up a Goodreads account and group that people are welcome to join, just go to community and then groups and search for Daily Reasons to Live and we’ll be right there. You’ll recognize us when you see us. If you’re unfamiliar with Goodreads, it’s both a website and downloadable app where you can create virtual shelves for books you’ve read, books you want to read, books you’re currently reading, and any sort of custom shelves for genres or sorting that you want to use. You can use it to connect with other readers, friends you already have that read, and groups of people reading the same sorts of books. You can solicit or make book recommendations, review books, and enter book giveaways where you get a free chance at winning a book just by clicking that you’re interested in it. We’ve used it for many years and never had issues with spam or security, you can link it with your social media account if you want to and it’s very unobtrusive.
We haven’t yet, but as soon as I’m done writing this entry we’ll start putting together some shelves of recommended books for anyone who needs help deciding what to read. Everything will be marked unread even if we’ve already read it, because that will help us keep track of what we’ve read as a group. Don’t forget that reading can be a free hobby. Get yourself a library card. Some of the best books I’ve read were found wandering through shelves in the library and grabbing things that looked interesting. You can now get a lot of eBooks for Free too.
There are apps available to read them on now, but I personally use a Kindle Paperwhite. It’s easier for me to have a dedicated device that’s actually designed for reading, and is designed specifically to reduce headaches from the lighted screen, but still does provide enough light to read by at night and avoid that issue of having to get up and turn off the light I was whining about earlier.
Even if you aren’t excited about reading, give it a try. Reading is good for you, and great for your brain. Benefits of reading include:
- Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease (Reading regularly as an older adult makes you 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.)
- Better Writing and Communication Skills
- Enhances Your Memory
- Expanding Your Vocabulary
- Feeling Less Isolated (Identifying with characters feels like a real-life relationship to your brain, and can help you find ways to connect with people in real life too.)
- Help Process Traumas In Your Life
- Improved Concentration and Focus
- Increased Knowledge (Everything you read, fiction or non-fiction, gives you new information, and the more knowledge you have the better equipped you are to handle and challenges you encounter)
- Increased Sense of Empathy
- Inspiration to Overcome Obstacles In Your Own Life
- Preventing Dementia
- Prolong Your Workout (Most cardio exercise machines are equipped with book holders)
- Reducing Stress Levels
- Reminding You of Happy Memories
- Save Money. (As I mentioned, reading can be free, but even if you’re a germaphobe like me and prefer to buy new books or can’t get the book you want as a free eBook, the average novel costs between $8 for an e-book or $13 for a paperback, and on average takes about 6 hours to read. That’s so much cheaper than a night of food and drinks or movies or outings to keep yourself entertained.)
- Slow Cognitive Decline In Your Brain’s Functioning by 32%
- Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills (and, consequently, stronger problem solving skills)
Apart from reading, your daily tasks for today are:
Lotion up your feet. We’re tough on our feet all year round. Winter is especially hard on them between getting cold and wet and being exposed to dry air, so get yourself a good foot healing lotion and moisturize your poor feet and then slip into some cotton socks to help the lotion have time to absorb.
Clean your hallway. Wherever it may be, upstairs or downstairs or both. Give it a good cleaning. Dust any light fixture or wall art or shelves or knick knacks. Get rid of any clutter strewn about, get it put where it belongs. If you have carpet then vacuum, if you have hardwood then sweep and mop. If you have a hallway closet then tackle cleaning it out, organize it and donate anything you can’t or won’t use. And that’s all the cleaning today 🙂 One of the easiest cleaning days you’ll ever have.
Go for a walk. Wherever you want to do it. Walk around the block, walk around a park, walk a favorite trail, walk around the outside of the building you work in, walk around window-shopping downtown. If it’s too cold out for a good walk then walk somewhere indoors, whether it’s the mall or you have that gym membership and want to spend some time on the treadmill or walking around the basketball court.
Spin. I’m not talking about making you do more exercise, you don’t have to take a spin class. But you know how when you were a little kid you liked to throw your arms out wide and spin around in a circle?
There’s a reason we all did it and all enjoyed it. Spinning is a way of coping when everything feels fragmented, spinning blurs everything back together into one great big whole. If you suffer from vertigo or balance issues or inner ear problems and can’t physically spin yourself, spend a few minutes watching a ceiling fan, an electric fan, a toy top, anything you can make spin. It all has that same effect where the parts disappear and become a whole. It may sound silly, but give it a try. Sometimes the world just needs to feel a little more whole for a little while.
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Wrapped Up In Books