Reading as Self-Care

reading as a form of self-care

Reading as Self-Care

Reading As Self-Care


If there’s one thing I always wanted to instil within my children, it was a love of reading. I see reading as self-care. For me, reading can transport you away from the stress and anxieties of daily life. With a good book, this can even happen within a couple of pages. For me, reading is more accessible than meditation.  It may not produce those alpha or even theta brainwaves that are linked with meditation, but it feels incredibly relaxing. I tend to have a number of book on the go at any one time. I’m always reading one or two self-development books, listening to a couple of things on Audible. Fiction-wise, I swap between tackling something literary, and reading modern or even pulp fiction. Over our various lockdowns so far I’ve read Watership Down, Emma, The House of Silk, Return of The Native, Dominion, Existential Kink, Circe, and a handful of thrillers by Robert Goddard, to name a few.

Millions of worlds to explore


reading as self-careI always feel a pang of sympathy for anyone who doesn’t read. There are countless numbers of universes waiting to be discovered, all just by opening a book. There have been times, however, when I haven’t felt like reading. I’ve been too distracted, and can’t get into a book, for instance. While magazines and news-sites serve a purpose, it’s reading that has the extra dimension of self-care.

Why not magazines, you ask? While I love reading magazines, what I often see is a lot of advertisers and journalists setting impossible standards. We are told to buy this, to look like this, to dress our homes like this. It’s often another pressure in our already pressured lives. even if you think you’re immune, it does creep under your skin without you knowing.

Getting into the Habit

If you’d like to add reading to your self-care it really helps to make it a ritual. Where could you read? In bed on a Sunday morning, or last thing at night? Sunday mornings was my habit while I was single. I used to fetch hot-buttered toast and a cup of tea back to bed and read for a couple of hours. In the bath? All my book are dog-eared and water stained as this is my favourite reading-spot. Candles, a cup of tea or glass of wine, and my book. I can stay there for hours, topping up with hot water and ploughing through the chapters.

The commute. of course, is another great time. At the time of writing, however, most of us aren’t travelling to work. However, we can use that same time to pick up a book. It’s about developing the reading habit and seeing how much much enjoyment we can get.

You can even listen on Audible and combine it with getting some exercise on a walk or run!

Benefits of reading as self-care

The benefits of reading are huge. The enjoyment of reading a great story itself: something that is hard-wired into us all. It’s also  the opportunity to learn about new places, people and cultures. Joining a book club, even online, is an easy way to find a community and connection. I tend to read a book while my partner listens to it on Audible. We then discuss what we think as we go along. We’ve done this with The Existential Cafe recently, and had some very thought-provoking discussions.

I’d love to know your reading routine and what it brings for you…

Paula Gardner coaches women over 50 on careers, confidence and visibility. You can book a discovery session with her via the contact form here.


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