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How to Turn Reading into a Stress Busting Pastime

Updated on September 10, 2012
A relaxed indoor setting with proper lighting and furniture is perfect for reading. [Image courtesy: Marcus]
A relaxed indoor setting with proper lighting and furniture is perfect for reading. [Image courtesy: Marcus] | Source

Creating a relaxed environment for reading

We all need downtime, when our bodies can recharge and minds rejuvenate. Unfortunately, we cannot always afford to take a long vacation by the beach or go out and party every evening after work. But worry not; there is one great way to unwind and relax, and it does not cost a lot and can be easily achieved from the comfort of your couch.

Reading is one of the older hobbies known to humans, and it is still popular notwithstanding the onslaught of television. As a matter of fact, the Internet, iPad, laptops, and various other devices have made it possible for people to read on the go. More on that later…

Turn Your Living Room Couch into the Ideal Reading Nook

First off, designate a quiet corner where you can set up your reading paraphernalia. You do not need a whole lot of space. Just a small area where the kids are not frolicking and the spouse cannot be heard when they yell for you to pick up the phone is good enough.

Next, get the supplies. A good book is a necessary. But if you live in a cramped apartment where luxurious book shelves would not be feasible, make do with a Kindle or similar device. Really, there is no end to the number of things you can use these days, from the now-old-fashioned desktop computer to your brand new mobile phone.

Supplies would also include comfortable furniture. You can sit on the bare floor if you prefer the hippie lifestyle. You could place a special rug, a bean bag, or an old-fashioned settee with a footstool in front of the radiator (or fireplace, if you have one!).

You would also need a small table at hand, because a lot of us need a cup of coffee or hot chocolate handy while we read. Green tea, however, is something I would recommend – it soothes and calms, and puts you in the perfect frame of mind for reading.

The only thing remaining is lighting. Books are immensely comfortable to read because they do not reflect light into your eyes – not to an uncomfortable level, anyway. If you are using one of those newfangled devices (no, I am not as old as I sound) you need to adjust the monitor light.

Find a space near a window, if possible. That would allow you to use natural light to the hilt. If windows are not handy, use a good quality reading lamp. There are plenty of beautiful and affordable lamps for sale in the market, particularly on eBay. You can find lamps at flea markets and garage sales too, if thrift is your kind of thing.

Try the Outdoor Mode

You can try variations of the living room setting elsewhere. Your garden, or the grassy patch under your favorite tree in a public park, or even a café can be turned into your own personal reading space. Tablet devices have made it ever so easy for people to read anywhere, at any time.

If you need a break from work, simply use your lunch hour to read. There is no place that cannot become a reading nook, given the determination. But you will need to focus attention on the book if you want to derive any kind of benefit at all from reading. If your surroundings distract you too easily, you would find it difficult to achieve that level of concentration. Yes, reading needs focus, and perusing through written words is one of the best ways to relax while building a habit of giving your focused attention to one task at a time.

There was a time when reading was a habit that was inculcated into children just about as soon as they were old enough to attend school. Things have changed a lot and many of us might need to develop the habit of reading before we can start enjoying its benefits. Setting up a place where you can consciously read a book every day is the start of this process. You are never too old to cultivate a good habit.

Reading outdoors is achievable as long as you are focused enough. [Image courtesy:Michal Marcol]
Reading outdoors is achievable as long as you are focused enough. [Image courtesy:Michal Marcol] | Source

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      ambikach 5 years ago

      FitnezzJim, let's hope Kindle and similar devices will be able to fill some -- if not all-- of the void left by the near-total departure of books from people's lives.

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      ambikach 5 years ago

      JLBender, thank you for appreciating this little Hub. Your wife is lucky. There is nothing quite like snuggling down with a book on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or a cold rainy evening.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Useful article, with lots of good tips. To follow on your comment about how we used to be taught to read as much as we could in days gone by - Voracious reading seems to be one of the things that influenced folks to develop a broad base of knowledge and insight. What will replace this in our younger children as they grow up? Where will they get the ability to learn to conjecture, and seek out answers on their own? It seems to me that they also need to be able to learn to sort through all the junk they'll find on the internet.

    • JLBender profile image

      JLBender 5 years ago from Greensburg, PA

      Interesting post. I am not a huge reader, but my wife is. For her, reading novels every night is an hour or two escape from reality.