Reading to refocus
I’m Callie, a writer and book blogger from London, and a strong believer in taking time for yourself and relaxing! I find that in today’s world people are so focused on work, that it can become all-consuming. We wake up early, those superheroes amongst us make it to the gym, the rest of us clamber onto a packed train for an average of an hour before sitting at our desks all day long and getting back home so late that we’re already exhausted and cooking dinner alone feels like a chore!
I used to go to bed and lie awake thinking about all the things on my to-do list, stressing about work events the next day and generally being very tightly wound. I started reading before bed only recently. Don’t ask me why I didn’t before! I used to read only on weekends or during my commute, it had never occurred to me that even ten minutes before bed could make all the difference. Now I keep a book light by the bed and find that even if I only read for ten or fifteen minutes before sleep, it really relaxes me and I go to sleep with my head in the story and not on everyday stresses. Another benefit is that it reduces my screen-time before bed, which we all know is supposed to be very bad for our health.
Escaping through the pages
I’ve always used reading as a form of escapism, ever since I was little, imagining myself in the walls of Hogwarts instead of real life, which was much less magical to me. Now I’m an adult, my head is still stuck in these fantasy worlds but the goal is less about imagining my life away and more about relaxing me and relieving stress and tensions. As someone who suffers from social anxiety, reading has really helped me to centre myself and it’s more important than ever to take a moment for myself and to really unwind before tackling a new day and new projects.
I won’t recommend any specific reading materials because I think it’s important to read what is relaxing for you. While I love fantasy and thrillers, many people wouldn’t be able to stand the idea of reading a scary thriller before bed! Likewise, while I tend to shy away from non-fiction, my partner devours it with great interest. So my only advice when it comes to reading material is to find something that really interests you, that you can get stuck into. The goal is always to lose yourself in the pages, creating a little escapism and switch off from whatever you were stressing about when you got into bed.
A Horlicks moment
I first discovered Horlicks when I was very little. Now Horlicks Chocolate is my little treat! I used to get it made for me before bed by my dad, and it’s remained the perfect accompaniment for me when I’m reading. I’m still in the routine of having it before bed, but I also sometimes have it on a Sunday morning when a coffee seems too intense, curled up with my weekend book.
My top tips to aid relaxation: make time for yourself, even if it’s only ten minutes before bed. And to unwind after a long, hard day, have a warming, reassuring drink (I’ll be reaching for my chocolate Horlicks) and immerse yourself in another, literary world. And if you really detest reading? That’s what audiobooks are for!