We are plagued with many things in 2020: massive fires, multiple hurricanes, politicians—and, oh yes, COVID-19. On any given day we might also read about locusts, killer hornets, asteroids, sun storms, the most recent update to Windows 10, and the snow in Antarctica turning green. There have been scattered reports of bubonic plague. I have not yet heard about boils, flies, frogs, or cattle keeling over, thank goodness, but 2020 isn’t over.
In the midst of it all, most of us have strategies for keeping our serenity, many of which have been written about here. I want to share a technique I’ve discovered. On days on which I use it generously, my muscles relax, my appetite improves, my mood lifts, and my body goes into a relaxed state I’ve never gotten from drugs or aerobic exercise (not that I’ve actually worked hard at aerobic exercise, but that’s a topic for another day).
This technique is easy to do and it utilizes a simple tool: the book. That’s it, folks. The thing that works best in these troubled times, for keeping me calm, cheerful, and in a hopeful frame of mind, is reading a good book, preferably one with a happily-ever-after. It needs to be a good one, one of those that grabs you by the throat and keeps you up finishing it.
On days when I have a good romance to read while pedaling (ok, I do exercise. A little) the combination of the two things, pedals and romance, leave me in a relaxed state like little else. On days when I foolishly grab my phone and check the news and social media while pedaling? Not so much. I finish as tense as I started.
The best days are ones in which I just give in mid-afternoon, sink into a book, and don’t come out until the lights go out and I’m the last one to sleep. The next day, every muscle in my body is relaxed, and I am happy. Until Beloved puts on the news. Or I check my smartphone.
I recommend it. Grab a book. (Hint: there are many of them here) Your body will thank you. Now, where did I leave my e-reader…