If you have been following me for a while, you would know I always turn to books as a coping mechanism. They have been there during the darkest phases of my life including the death of my father. And more recently when my mother was hospitalized.
I am often asked for mental health book recommendations. Personally, I feel self-help books are not the magic pill. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for them. But there is a time and place for every book. What works for me might not work for you. And vice versa.
I am sure you are well aware about how beneficial reading is for mental health. It helps reduce stress and alleviates depression. It keeps the brain stimulated reducing the risk of dementia. Bibliotherapy is applied to patients suffering from anxiety, depression, trauma or addiction. And often suggested to those struggling with loss.
Today I share with you time-tested tips on how to read to boost mental health. Tips that I swear by. Tips that apply toboth avid and new readers.
Schedule a reading time / Make a plan
Reading is food for the soul and it is time to put yourself first. Make a plan and schedule a reading time that works for you. Reading before bed is a great way to unwind. Or perhaps you can start the day with a good book. This is your me time and defend it passionately.
Set the mood. Put on some soothing music, light a candle, and curl up with a book.
Read what works for you
Self-help books are great and some of them are indeed life-changing. But let’s get real. They do not always work. The worst you can do when you are overwhelmed is to force-read a book with all those swimming words.
If you are a new reader or otherwise, try out different genres to find one that works for you. Feel good books. Cheesy romances. Fantasy fiction. They are called comfort reads for a reason.
On days when I am feeling low, romance picks work like a charm. There is something comforting in the escapist reads with happily ever afters.
Steer clear with trigger warnings
A few months after my father passed away, I recall reading an indie romance. Out of nowhere, the story veered to the protagonist struggling with the guilt of not having done enough to save her father. That sent me on a downward spiral since it was the guilt I was struggling with too. It took me weeks to recover
The reading community is still undecided whether trigger warnings are spoilers but they are extremely beneficial. Before picking a book, make sure to check the trigger warnings. Although the two books come highly recommended, I would not suggest Book Lovers and The Reading List if you are coping with a loss of a loved one.Reading To Boost Your Mental Health: 6 Time-Tested Tips @CindyAnnDSilva @nooranand @bakezbydaizy #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Experiment with Audiobooks
There are days when you don’t want to do anything and just stay under the covers. Audiobooks work perfectly in such a scenario. They also work best for days when you have too many things on your hands and are struggling to find time to read.
Join a reading community
The only other thing as much fun as reading is talking about the books.
If you are a blogger, post a book review on your blog and kick start a conversation. Join a book club and diversify your reading. Drinks and chit chat are the cherry on top.
Take a break
One of the Reader’s Bill of Rights is the right to not read.
If you are unable to read, don’t fret. It is not worth it. The idea is to improve mental health and not add to the anxiety. By all means, binge-watch that show that has been on the watchlist for a while. No one is judging you here.
Reading To Boost Your Mental Health: 6 Time-Tested Tips #CauseAChatter #MentalHealth #BookChatter @blogchatter #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Hope you find the tips beneficial and they set you on the journey for reading to help boost mental health. Do you have some tips to share? Would love to know them. Do share in the comments below.
Image by Canva