Reading before bed – my daily bit of self-care

Reading before bed - my daily bit of self-care

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved books and reading. My parents have a photo of me as a toddler, asleep with a board book spread over my face. By 3rd grade, I had already been through the entire Little House series, some of the titles multiple times. In middle school, I discovered Stephen King. My mom always encouraged me to read, and never really limited what books I was allowed to check out (visiting the school and public libraries were regularly scheduled events!).

In college, my tastes changed to lighter reading, chick-lit like Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin. But even when I was working 2 jobs, taking classes, and student teaching, I read for pleasure.

Two years ago, I wrote a post about why every mom should join a book club. Since then, my book club has disbanded for several reasons. But I never stopped reading, and I love talking to people about books.

Reading is my self-care. Yes, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, and I love getting pedicures every now and then. But reading is cheap, easy, and doesn’t require me to go anywhere or get dressed.

I’ve heard so many people say they don’t have time to sit and read, but like anything else, if you want to do it badly enough, you find a way. My sister and several friends choose to listen to their books, using programs like Audible. Other friends exclusively read on devices, like a Kindle, that allows them to download books and take them anywhere without the need to keep up with physical copies. For me, I will always prefer physical ink-and-paper books. I almost always have one with me, even if I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to read. However, I always take a few minutes before bed to get in a couple of pages (or chapters!). It is time that is typically uninterrupted, as the kiddo has long ago been put to bed. The house is quiet. My chores are done (or as done as they’re going to be for the day). The time is mine. The added benefit is reading helps me fall asleep.

invest in a good book light! it makes a world of difference

It is widely known that reading to your babies and children has countless benefits, including building vocabulary; introducing concepts like letters, numbers, and sequencing; and promoting increased communication. But it is just as important to continue reading as an adult! Continuing to read once you’ve grown out of picture books and Dr. Seuss is good for both your mental and physical health. It helps to reduce stress, can work to lower your blood pressure, and can fight some symptoms of depression! 

So what should you read? Absolutely anything! I typically prefer general fiction and thrillers, but joining challenges, book groups on Facebook and promotional book tours have pushed me to read outside my comfort zone – books including historical fiction and memoirs, that I typically wouldn’t have picked up of my own accord. If you don’t know where to start, visit a library or used bookstore, ask a friend, or just go to the book section in Target and grab something with an interesting cover! Joining Goodreads can help you track what books you’ve read, provides suggestions for what to read next, and even gives you a breakdown of your year.

So far this year, I’ve read 45 books, falling short of my goal of 60. Regardless of whether or not I hit my goal, I have read some really good books and taken care of myself at the same time. Some of my favorites this year, in case you need a recommendation are:

How do you make time to take care of yourself? What good books have you read lately?