How Reading Helps Me Take Care of My Mental Health

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As a child, I don’t remember getting toys as a gift. If I got a toy it was something educational, so I mostly got clothes and I got books. To be honest, I never thought that anything was wrong with not getting toys. I enjoyed my gifts! One of my aunts would buy books for me (eg., Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew) and she would also read them and we would talk about them (we basically had our own book club!) I feel warm and happy when I think of the times we would lie in bed reading together. So, I always associate reading with pleasant memories. As I got older, my passion for reading remained the same. I was always excited to get a new novel and I enjoyed psychological thrillers (still do to some extent). I find myself more drawn to non-fiction and biographies, however, in the past couple years I have been stepping out of my reading comfort zone a bit more by reading fiction!

As an adult, reading has taken on a slightly different meaning for me. While I definitely still consider reading to be a fun activity, it is also one of the most important coping skills I use. When I read, I can remove myself from whatever stressors I’m experiencing, just for a few pages or chapters at a time. In addition, reading a chapter or two before bed (when I feel like it) helps me to wind down and get ready for sleep.

Here are a few ways that reading helps me take care of my mental health. Let me know if you have similar experiences:

  • reading allows me to take a “time out” from a busy schedule
  • when I read, I can learn about new places, cultures, and experiences of others
  • reading is something I can do at anytime as long as I have the book/audiobook/or e-book on hand
  • I don’t have to spend money for reading if I use the library! (great way to save money)
  • reading helps to expand my imagination and curiosity about life
  • reading just before bed helps me to slow down my mind and body to get ready for sleep (I try not to read on my iPad so I don’t have additional screen time, I read a paperback)
  • audiobooks really test my ability to focus on one thing at a time – it takes more effort for me to follow along an audiobook.
  • reading is a good way to find a community – I joined a book club and also reactivated my bookstagram account on Instagram! (@risseyreads)
  • I can be free to decide what I want to read (it’s not required reading for research) and I made a choice to prioritize Caribbean and diverse authors!
  • I can feel okay about say no or not finishing a book if I don’t enjoy it – this freedom releases me from any one else’s expectations about what I “should” read
  • I learn about more helpful coping skills through the books I read
  • I find happiness in going to a bookstore or browsing online to check out new book releases and other book recommendations.
  • reading definitely sparks joy!

Here’s my recent post where I shared about one of the most powerful books on my bookshelf

I would love to know more about what you read and how reading helps you!

~ Karisse C

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