For many of us, working from home is new and it can be stressful for some. Studies have shown that reading is key to relaxing, so I challenge you to give yourself 15 minutes (or even just 6 minutes, according to the World Literacy Foundation) to put everything else aside and read. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to. Easier said than done you say? Your health may actually depend on it.
It has been proven that reading can lower your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles, therefore relaxing you. The University of Minnesota started a site called “Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing” that references “a 2009 study at the University of Sussex that found reading can reduce stress by up to 68%”. It worked better and faster than other popular relaxation methods that they also tested, such as walking, listening to music or sipping hot tea.
In order to get the optimal relaxation benefits, follow these tips:
- Pick out a book that you know you will enjoy and try to avoid any controversial topics or stories about situations that might upset you.
- Make a special place to read that further encourages relaxation, away from any electronics that may go off begging for your attention.
- Reading an actual printed paper book is best, to avoid any distractions digital reading devices may cause.
- Then take your time reading, do not skim or rush, actually immerse yourself in the story the author is weaving for you.
The point is to escape from your daily toil and troubles and leave your stress behind for a while. One of the doctors who performed the test at University of Sussex, Dr. David Lewis, stated that; “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.” So treat yourself and meanwhile you also happen to be giving your brain some exercise.
As our world changes, it is important to keep focus on what you can control and let the rest fall into place. The next time you find yourself anxious or worried, step away from the “screens” and pick up a good book and put the world behind you for a few minutes.