I enjoy reading a good book every now and then. However, most parents can agree that finding time to read can be difficult when we’re busy looking after our kids. From cooking, to cleaning and helping them with their homework, or simply building a stronger relationship with them by getting to know them as they grow into adults…all welcomed tasks of parenthood.
My son is spending this weekend at my best friend’s house where there are kids around his age whom he gets along with really well. It’s an incredibly nice gesture of my friend and his wife which means that I have most of my weekend to myself, which is incredibly rare. I pondered about what I was going to do with my time, all of which included self-care….something I felt I needed to do a better job of late:
- I could go to the gym and exercise.
- Maybe I can pack my backpack and head to Buntzen Lake for a nice hike.
- Go swimming! I haven’t done that in a while.
- Get some nice, tasty dim sum with my ex wife (who remains one of my greatest friends)
- Text a friend to see if she’s free for dinner tonight.
- Watch some television.
- Go Shopping.
I was incredibly productive today, thus I managed to go for dim sum, text a friend (who was busy), go swimming, watch TV, go shopping for a new book and read! Now that’s what I consider a successful day of self-care!
“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
– Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings
I decided to pick up a book called the Rosie Project by Graeme Simision. It’s a fictional story about a highly intelligent man named Don who lacks a lot of social skills, but is determined to find his future wife. It’s a nice light-hearted read, something I enjoy very much, when I’m not reading self-help books.
Today, I had a wonderful realization about reading. Epiphany? No…just a realization. Reading is actually a very powerful tool for practicing mindfulness. When you read, whether it’s a novel, self-help book, blog or newspaper article, you pretty much have to be present in order to understand what you’re reading. From time to time, your mind will wander with thoughts of the past and future, but while reading, you’ll always be drawn back into that book you picked up. In meditation, we center ourselves to our breathing when our mind drifts. In reading, we center ourselves to the book and take in every word that the author has carefully scripted out.
When we read, we soak in the imagery that the author has created through words and we learn new ideas, feel inspired and remain present. In my book, Living with the Dragon, I share some other useful tools about being present and why it’s so important to do so. For those living with depression or anxiety, we sometimes need to find things to distract ourselves with and what better way to do that than with a good book!
I’d love to hear what you’re currently reading, so please feel free to share!