Monday, September 6, 2010

Destressing With A Book

What do you do when you’re stressed?

In England, the cure for woes of all kinds has traditionally been a cup of tea—heavy on the sugar if you’ve had a shock.

I think for most women who aren’t on a diet, and many who are, chocolate has probably taken over this cure-all-ills role. (It certainly has for me.) And maybe coffee with its stimulating dose of caffeine has usurped the humble cup of tea.

I’ve been thinking about this because for a variety of reason both writing related and otherwise, life’s been stressful recently. Unfortunately, I’m a comfort eater. The first thing I turn to is food. But after I’ve dosed up on calories my favorite stress-reliever is losing myself in a good book.

The type of book I choose depends on the circumstances. If I need to retreat from the rat race for a while and chill out, I usually go for fantasy or paranormal romance to take me out of this world. If I feel bruised by something and I’m looking for emotional reassurance, my choice is always romance, usually in a genre I don’t write. I have a weakness for a good Harlequin Presents to give me a dose of contemporary fantasy.

When my stress is more due to the monotony of office work or end-of-year tax returns, I tend to opt for something exciting or funny and I’ve recently been reading Little Black Dress chick lit.

But I don’t need to be searching for a temporary escape from life to dive into a book. I love the luxury of a week-long vacation where I can spend all day reading without feeling guilty that there’s something else I should be doing. For days sitting beside a pool, or under an umbrella looking out over the sea, I choose a mystery with a hint of romance.

What makes you want to pick up a book?

7 comments:

Joan Leacott said...

HI Helen, I'll pick up a book for just about any reason; to get in the mood for writing, to relax before I go to sleep, to while away time on the subway. But, the main reason is because I love reading. It's just feels so darn good.

Joan Leacott
heart, humour, and heat... Canada style

Lee Lopez said...

Anything. I'm a stress eater also, so a book and a great story will keep me busy enough to stay out of the food!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Helen, chocolate is not my stress-relief anymore. Now it's almonds. Hubby has to hide the packet (a 5lb) so that I don't finish it in one sitting. as for reading, historicals for relaxation, contemporary for study of the genre. Lying on the beach reading is my dream that I haven't fulfilled yet. Not from lack of beach but from lack of time.

Cai said...

Hey Helen,

You mean I need a reason to pick up a book? LOL Just kidding.

Like you, I turn to books when I need an escape. My favorite mode of escape is Historical Romance. I find the civility of the past quite interesting and calming...though if I'd been living in that era, probably would have been in trouble most of the time for being a bluestocking! LOL

I used to turn to food for stress relief, but since changing my eating/exercising habits in January, now will go for a walk or get to the gym instead.

I've also downloaded the audible book app for my iPhone and will listen to while I walk. :)

Jill James said...

I've been reading since I was 3 1/2 so it doesn't take a lot for me to pick up a book. I love getting lost in a historical. The feel of a time when men were men and women were glad of it. Pirates, rakes, and lords, oh my!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'd agree chocolate is my stress reliever or any other time works for me. Reading to me is comfort, but I still feel guilty snuggled into a story when I can see so many other things that need to be done. My Mom was a super neat housekeeper so that will most likely hang over my not-so-neat personality as guilt. Of course, a good historical can draw me into daydreams of another time and guilt will fade away for a while anyway.

Joanne said...

Helen,
You're right. Nothing is better in beating the everyday stresses than food. My favorites are chocolate (M & M's) and coffee. (black and strong)

Currently my favorite books are any written by the brilliant Harlan Coben.