The LD staff decided it was high time we all made health a priority. Enter Wellness Wednesdays, a series of weekly health challenges by LD writers (and editors!) where we commit to seven days of healthy habits and share the results with our readers. This week’s challenge: Reading.
This Week’s Participants: Katy and Sarah
Katy: Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to read? My friends always tease me when I carve out special time to “pleasure read”, but it is such a rarity as an English Major with a stack of assigned reading accumulating on my bedside table. That doesn’t stop me from continuing to buy books for pleasure, though. I can’t walk inside a bookstore without purchasing something. Last time I was home I went to my local bookstore to chat with the owner about a book I knew he’d love and get something new for myself. I picked up Nickolas Butler’s Shotgun Love Songs, a gem by an author from my beloved city that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. This challenge gives me the perfect excuse to really devour it, and it’s been difficult to put down so far!
Sarah: This will be easy, I thought, grabbing a book and devouring the first chapter. The easiest thing ever. I love reading, have a to-read pile the size of a small bookstore, and yet lately I’ve been “too busy” or “too tired,” which means here that I’d rather binge watch Stargate SG-1 with my fiance. And on this day, it was so easy. I decided to make reading part of my bedtime routine, meaning I had to tear myself away from the book to go to sleep. There’s no TV in the bedroom to distract me, and we generally try to avoid taking the laptops upstairs unless I really need to finish an article in a cave of silence, so the room really is the perfect place to get some reading done. At this rate, I figure I’ll have my book, another financial planning reference type, Prince Charming isn’t Coming, by Barbara Stanny, finished by the end of the week.
Katy: It’s so nice to know that despite how overwhelming or busy my day is, I have an excuse to take a step back from everything and immerse myself in another world. The world of Butler’s novel is familiar to me (I am from rural Wisconsin, so many of the tropes and setting elements feel authentically Midwestern), but it’s still a nice break from my own realities as a sleep-deprived college student. I’m really enjoying getting to know these characters who remind me of neighbors, public figures, or friends from my own community. I’ve been reading small bits throughout the day when I have time, but I’ve still tackled a big chunk of the book since I started the challenge yesterday.
Sarah: Oh how the tide can turn. My body aches. My fingers ache. Is that normal? To have all the little finger joints just decide typing hurts? Sitting up makes me dizzy, so I read laying on my back in bed, at 3 in the afternoon because I went home sick from work. I hold the book above my head cursing the sinus gods and the kitten who thinks it’s cool to attack my toes, the book, my hair, and my pile of tissues. Go to sleep, little nugget. Go. To. Sleep. She does, and I get a good chunk of an hour’s reading time in until I decide my eyes can’t do this whole looking at a page thing. Despite the sneezing, I feel better and slightly more productive than if I haven’t read, and this book is fantastic, so as far as reading goes, this was a win.
Katy: Wednesdays are usually my chillest days, but this one was uncharacteristically hectic. I struggled to fit in a time to read between all of my assigned reading, rehearsals and meetings, and simple life stuff. After all of the hustle and bustle of the day, I got to end my night reading my book. I didn’t get very far (once I’m ready for bed, I’m down for the count), but it was nice to end my night in some pages rather than in front of a screen.
Sarah: I have no memory of this day except for a shower. I know I went to work for a while, and was fine if not congested, and then the headache hit at noon. By three it was a migraine and my right eye was watering, I was slightly nauseous, and the world was spinning. I went home, took a shower, and went to bed. I woke up at like 9pm to eat some ramen and crawled back into my den of sadness. Nary a word was read that day.
Katy: Today was such a beautiful autumn day, and while it was too brisk to sit outside and read, I still got to hole up in a coffee shop and get some pleasure reading in between classes. It feels effortless to fit reading into my day now, especially since I am so invested in my book. I love getting to know these characters, and hopefully I’ll get close to finishing the novel in the next few weeks. I already know which book is next on my list.
Sarah: I actually made it through a whole day at work! Breathing and not being dizzy was really nice. As the day wore on I started feeling a bit woozy again, so I did my evening reading in the same position as Monday, on my back, book in air as my sinuses did their thing. My fiance distracted the cat this time, because they’re best friends. I want to talk more in depth about this book- it’s life changing as hell, but it’s going to be another piece entirely so I just have to keep my spoiler-mouth shut.
Katy: Here comes the weekend, where anything remotely productive falls by the wayside and is replaced by too much lazing around and tv watching, so I made sure I got a good amount of reading in today. I’ve made it a point this semester to start my easy mornings with a nice hot cup of coffee and anything not involving technology, so I got to cozy up in bed with my oatmeal and book this morning. In an ideal world, this would be the beginning of every day. Too bad most days are more like shove toast down my throat while running down the street with unwashed hair and coffee sloshing out of my thermos. It’s good to dream.
Sarah: I took no notes for today, assuming I would remember, but all I can recall is a list of all the delicious snacks I ate that day with my rediscovered appetite and taste buds. I also remember reading in bed and hacking like my life depended on it, because while the other cold symptoms had left, my cough lingered and made me sound much worse than I am. Apologies to the apartment I share a wall with. I went to bed early, but had managed to read for over a half hour and it was fantastic. I am absolutely extending this “challenge” by keeping this bedtime ritual in place. I’ve noticed I fall asleep with a clearer mind when I read before bed, which is super helpful as I usually fall asleep going over everything I need to be worrying about, planning my wedding/to-do list/trying to solve world hunger or just figure out how to fold a fitted sheet, and just end up being too tense to sleep well.
Katy: One of the coolest things about this challenge is I realized how balanced reading makes me feel. It takes me out of all of the stressful things going on in my life, and gives me a chance to engage in something that I truly love. I’m the queen of overbooking myself, committing to too many things, and never making room for “me time,” so this challenge definitely showed me how essential that time is, and has helped me reevaluate my priorities.
Sarah: Today I only read for 20 minutes. We had a guest for dinner and it was great, but by the end all I wanted to do was drink tea and try to go five minutes at a time without coughing. My abs are on fire, my throat is raw, and I had laundry to do before I went to bed at 8:30 like an old woman on a Friday night. Bah humbug.
Katy: This is the last day of the challenge, but I’m certainly not planning on ending my reading streak. I just sat by the fireplace in one of my favorite coffee shops and read for a good half an hour, even though I have a laundry list of other things to do, and I don’t feel like I wasted any time at all. Time spent doing things that fulfill you is always worth it, even if you are drowning in all of the more pressing priorities of student life. Hopefully this upcoming week will help me create a more balanced schedule, and I’ll make sure that it includes pleasure reading as an essential part of my day
Sarah: Today, I squandered my regained health by venturing out into the world for a much needed haircut, and then by coming home, drinking a beer and watching three episodes of Stargate SG-1 before passing out at 9:30. To be painfully honest, I forgot about the reading challenge today. But that’s OK! I plan to continue reading daily from here on out. It seems easy enough to fit into my bedtime ritual during the week- it’s the weekends that are going to be potentially difficult. However, weekends can also mean more free time, so there’s a potential for binge reading, something I wish I was able to do when I was stuck in bed sick. By the way, I am still coughing. Send lozenges.
How do you find the time to read for pleasure? Tweet us @LitDarling!