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Book Review Series: Why reading should still be important to you

So you’ve just finished reading the last chapter of your scary huge textbook, you have to collect and read a pile of research articles, and you have to find time to proof read your 15 page research paper before tomorrow. Academic reading has consumed your life? As a graduate student with year-round school, please trust me when I say ME TOO. When I get home from class at night the LAST thing on my mind is reading a nice book for my mental and emotional health. To be completely frank, I’m so sick of reading that I’ve completely lost touch with how much books used to take care of me. I always feel so conflicted when I pick up a book, thinking “if I have time to read this, that means I have time to catch up on readings for school.” I get in such a weird headspace that I end up putting the book down and doing something else, whether it’s productive or not. I feel like I’m cheating my grades if I start reading for “fun.” This continual pressure is taking away my time to care for myself and I need to make a change. Recently I’ve made a deal with myself that I am going to let books start to take care of me again.

I want to see myself in their characters, I want their stories to make me think about the world, and I want their messages to comfort and ease my soul.

Books are such a magical way to find connection with people and stories without having to leave the comfort of your own thoughts. I love books. I’ve lost touch with what they used to mean to me, and that troubles me beyond words. They are the ultimate daydream. When I want to find a little solitude and enter a new reality where my stresses don’t exist, I read a book. Books have become the enemy and I am not okay with that. I want to renew my relationships with books and let them ease my stresses and soothe my soul.

I will be reading a new book every month and writing a short review about what the book has meant to me, how the book has impacted me, and how it might impact you in some way. Books are for learning. Books are also a form of rejuvenation for your mind and soul. I will be reading the soul hugging kind and recommending some of my favorites to the folks out there like me who have taken an accidental leave of absence from books and want to find enjoyment and fulfillment in them once again. I want to let books take care of me in the way that they used to. If you find yourself making these same remarks or these same excuses, please let me validate for you that you are not the only one. If you’ve recognized your relationships with books needs some attention, I invite you to join me in this new promise of self-care.

If you find some connection between my thoughts and your own experience, let’s meet back here and start a dialogue on the books I have chosen. The first book I am going to read (actually revisit) is a classic comfort read of mine that I just recently re-read as I renewed my commitment to reading: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I love this book. Meet me here and let me tell you why you would too.

It Is OK Not To Be OK

In conversation the other day, a friend and I were discussing the use of anti-depressants in society. I want to start by saying that there is nothing wrong with taking or being prescribed anti-depressants and helping to find balance within oneself, but there seems to be this growing need especially among young people for a “fix-it” pill. If grades are slipping, if someone isn’t their usual self, or maybe someone is nervous about their future, it’s all too common that medication will be suggested. Many times all we need is to just have some time to sort it all out within ourselves and to know that we are surrounded by safe, loving, and supportive people while we do it.

its-ok-not-to-be-ok1In case you are one of these people who just doesn’t feel ok, please know that IT IS OK NOT TO BE OK! Don’t put yourself in a box, don’t hold it in, don’t feel like you have to run away. We all need to allow ourselves the time and space to be sad, angry, upset, confused, or scared without feeling like that is somehow not allowed. One of the most beautiful things about being human is that we can have these emotions and be completely aware of them.

If and when your emotions take a more than usual lasting toll, or bring really negative and uncomfortable thoughts to your mind… talk to someone, reach out, make it known that you are not OK. Come talk to one of our therapists here at Sanctuary Counseling… don’t feel like you have to hide and medicate who you are because others feel uncomfortable about your raw emotions. After all, they are YOUR emotions. Feel them, experience them, address them, and embrace all that makes you, you.

Sending love and positive thoughts your way, always.

 

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