Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Putting my Mental Health First (Even with Reading)

I have come so far in regards to my mental health and my general wellbeing. However, I still get times when my mental health dips. Whether that be my anxiety, depression or OCD. At times like these, I can easily become trapped in my whirlwind of over-thinking. There is always so much that I feel like I should be doing and things that I worry about that probably do not even need to be worried about. Through therapy, I have learnt that my brain can tell me irrational things and I have to not let my thoughts spiral. When I start to feel bad, the best thing for me to do is fight my instinct of either laying under my duvet, or obsessively thinking and to stop. Just pick up something and distract myself, whether that be with music, an audiobook, a physical book or a game. 

I have recently started replaying Pokemon Platinum, one of my all-time favourite Pokemon games. I use Spotify often and depending how I feel, I will put clothes away, read or just surf the internet whilst listening to upbeat songs. I play audiobooks whilst I craft or do work tasks. 

The thing is mental health isn't just one linear equation, at least not for me. Yes, my mental health has improved but I have realised that now I have got to this part in the process that I need to continue to fight my negative thoughts and feelings. If I do not fight them, they just continue but if I do fight them, it can and does help. 

Recently I was sitting there, thinking again and again about how I should be reading instead of watching boxsets and YouTube. I did not feel particularly excited about picking up the book I had started reading. However, I finally opened the book and began reading whilst having the volume of the show turned down. The book was not relaxing my mind. When I read a good book, I become immersed in the story world. I have to know what happens, either with the romance, or the reason behind a phenomenon, or what is going to happen to characters on a quest.

I realised that I needed to put my mental health first, even with my reading choices. Some books, although they can be great reads, are just not suited to me and that's OK. We read to expand our minds, to venture into other worlds and to follow interesting characters. We also read to relax, escape or for enjoyment. I love learning new things but at this point in time, the best books for me to read are fun and interesting fantasies with strong characters and possibly a cute romance. And that is more than OK, that is great. Whatever we read, we must remember that we are reading because we want to and that it is OK to DNF a book or not read certain books. Read what you enjoy or want to read about because that is what reading is all about. Everyone is unique and these individual qualities are what make us different readers and allow us to provide our own views on books we read and that is just wonderful.

Do you find that you gravitate towards certain genres or tropes which make you feel relaxed or enjoy a book?

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