What are you reading to reduce your stress?

Go for the alternate universe once in awhile

Yeah! Finally about to log in to my wordpress site. It was down since last weekend–hence the no post for two weeks. I’d love to say I’ve been writing like crazy in the interim, but that wouldn’t be quite true. (Too bad good intentions don’t count.) I have written some–but then life imploded and yeah, well, haven’t been writing so much. So here is what I intended to post last weekend. Still totally applies. In fact, I’ve been re-reading the first book in the series–but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the post from last week. Maybe then it will make sense.

Yesterday I read a book for most of the day. Not a horrible thing to do. Didn’t hurt anyone.

Life always coming right behind you

Wasn’t bad for my health, nothing like eating the 2 bags of on-sale-after-Easter candy that I have hidden away from husband and kids. Still, I had a lot to do. A LOT TO DO. (When you type it with all capitals it means it is really, truly true.) Laundry. A novel that was (and still is) crying piteously for attention. A week’s worth of cat hair and … other unidentified crud to be vacuumed up. Top that with meals, grocery shopping, bills, and visiting my Mum–and all of a sudden reading sounds like a really stupid idea. (I could type it in all capitals but then you might think I’m exaggerating. And quite frankly, I’m not sure my self-esteem could handle being thought STUPID.)

Except it isn’t stupid. Sometimes when life is going so fast it makes your head spin, that’s when you should take a time out. And that’s exactly what reading is–a vacation from your life. A chance to not be for a little while, and still come back.

Reading takes us places

I didn’t always used to be so understanding of my passion (my husband would say it should read habit or addiction instead). Just when I would be feeling completely overwhelmed, I’d find myself reading–and often reading something I’d already read! Nothing like going from being overwhelmed to being even further behind and mad at myself (There was usually guilt in there too–I’m a Christian after all. I think it’s a requirement.) But it still wouldn’t stop me from reading the next time. (OMG–it really is an addiction!) I often wondered what was wrong with me.

Stress Relief

I found the answer to that (well, to the reading part of what’s wrong with me–let’s not get crazy here) when I was searching for the benefits of reading to share with teachers and students for March is Reading Month. There are lots of benefits to reading (at least 26 according to Brad Isaac), including improving vocabulary, memory, concentration and focus. But one of the most interesting things I learned was that reading reduces stress levels up to 68%–according to research from the University of Sussex. So while It is true that I get further behind by reading, afterwards I am better able to deal with whatever stuff needs dealing with.

Of course, now that I know reading reduces stress, I try to utilize it in a more productive manner. To deal with the death of a close friend this past week, I read an hour or so every night before bed. It helped me sleep a little better. Definitely worth trying the next time you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Necromancing the Stone

So what was it I was reading? (and re-reading) A FABULOUS book called Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride. It is a sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. The characters are believable, the dialog very witty, it’s full of action (makes me laugh out loud–and cry, but that’s pretty normal for me), and most of all, it makes me see the world a little differently. Although it is fantasy, it explores the topic of friendship, family, and identity. Oh, and it stays with me. I re-read parts of it about 3 hours after I had finished it because I couldn’t get it out of my head. Still thinking about it. Sigh. I love good books. Here’s hoping my book(s) strikes people that way some day.