Student Life

The Lost Act of Self Care: Reading

As you are taking on your New Year resolution, a student contributor explains how reading is the habit you should make in 2022.

Student Contributor, Alondra Arevalo

January 14, 2022

The Lost Act of Self Care: Reading
With the right book and the right motivation, reading can become the highlight of your day!
Welcome to the new year! 2022 is the perfect year to try new things, take care of yourself, and really change yourself for the better. Especially after the roller-coaster of a year 2021 was, I think I speak for all of us when I say it’s time to start fresh. While you are creating your New Year resolution and goals for this year, consider taking on reading to better your mind and your soul! I took up reading seriously again during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, and with so much time on my hands, I wanted to try to get into it again. This is how I rediscovered this lost art of self care, and how you can too!

First and foremost… Why read?

Reading is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. In fact, studies have shown that those who read for just a half-hour are 20% more likely to have greater life satisfaction, and are happier! In addition to this, reading physically strengthens your brain and helps prevent cognitive function troubles as you age. Reading also reduces stress and allows you to get better sleep.
Reading is the opportunity to give your eyes a break from the screens. Since we are always online nowadays, it’s good to take some time away and free your mind of work and stress. And of course, reading is fun! It allows your imagination to grow in immeasurable ways and visit new worlds, meet new characters you fall in love with, and let you imagine the impossible.

Where do I start?

Picking the types of books you want to start reading is definitely a challenge, but once you have, everything else is easy! I went off my interests when picking genres and books in general. For example, I love watching historical fiction movies and TV shows, and I also like watching romcoms and dramas, so I started reading historical fiction books with hints of drama.
I read The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel, and I absolutely loved the whole dynamic of the book. It was based in my favorite era of history, the 40’s. If you’re into anime, consider reading manga! And if you are into true stories and real life events, consider nonfiction books. The possibilities are endless; you can even get books that help you better yourself with self-help books! I also knew what I didn’t want to read, which is just as important in order for you to have fun with it. I’m not a fantasy person; I like it when situations could actually happen in real life. I’m also not a huge fan of mystery, since the tension and the build-up to the end makes me so anxious. However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid them all together. I was recommended The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, and I loved this book! It’s actually in my top 10 books of 2020. Don’t be scared to try new things when you’re reading, since you can find things that you end up becoming very fond of.

What next?

The thing with reading is once you truly get into it and you’ve started reading quite a bit, it becomes an addiction. Don’t worry about it too much, this is totally normal and it’s actually for the better (don’t let it get too out of hand though). When you’re really getting into it, I recommend creating a Goodreads or Storygraph account, to keep track of all the books you’ve read! You can even review them, and these apps conveniently give you recommendations based on the books you’ve enjoyed. It also keeps you motivated! You can create a schedule of when you want to read and can set goals for yourself too! For example, my goal for 2022 is 35 books, since last year I read 34. It also doesn’t really help that now I have a book buying addiction… but I consider it healthy. Also once you read, it makes it more fun to walk around your local bookstores. You end up buying quite a few things for yourself! You may find yourself talking about books with your family and friends and start recommending books to people as well. In this age where we are so connected to our screens and never really turn pages, reading is an amazing way to wind down and really escape from reality since we really do need that sometimes. Especially with the increased popularity of "Book-tok” on Tik-tok, it’s so cool seeing so many people be so invested and interested in reading. I hope this sparked an interest in picking up a book, and reading becomes fun for you too!

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