Self Care: Escaping with Books

This has been a very challenging year for everybody. We have all been impacted in some way from COVID. Many have lost jobs, suffered serious illness, lost loved ones, and we have all been impacted by the rising costs of basic necessities such as food and household supplies. In challenging, stressful times such as this, it’s more important than ever for us to practice self-care and take care of our emotional and mental-health wellbeing. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can give us the mental break we need to escape the negativity and stress surrounding us.

I’ve never been much of a reader, but in recent months I have been feeling incredibly overhwhelmed and stressed. I came to the realization that I needed an escape from everything I was watching on the news and dealing with at work and in my home life. I am one of the fortunate “essential workers” who have been able to continue my regular employment functions, but it’s been more stressful than ever before. After reflecting on ways that I could achieve the mental break I desperately needed, I decided to give books a try, more specifically, fiction books. Sounds corny, I know. I went to the bookstore and wandered down the clearance isle. Then I remembered the old Kindle I had boxed away many years ago. Why wasn’t I using that thing anymore? Maybe it was the fact that it was over 10 years old, and technology has changed a bit. I’ve been using the Kindle app on my iPad and laptop for a while, at least for textbooks and professional non-fiction books. Long story short, I decided to purchase the latest Kindle PaperWhite, and I started reading again. I’ve discovered a love for books that I never knew existed.

I just celebrated my 45th birthday last weekend. My, how time flies, doesn’t it?!? I mention that because I’m getting older, and I haven’t kept up with the latest technology and programs/apps available. A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of FREE digital books through my local library. I honestly had no idea this was available! I haven’t stepped foot in a real library in over 20 years. If you’re like me, then let me introduce you to a great, free service that will help you during this time when finances may be a little constrained. Download the OverDrive app onto your phone or tablet device. You can register for free, and then connect to your local/regional library. No worries if you don’t have a library card or account. That’s free too. Just use your address for the library cloest to you, and they will issue a digital account. Then…. welcome to the world of free electronic book borrowing! Find a book or audio book that you want to read, borrow it for 2 weeks, and then you can download it on your Kindle device. It’s so easy, and it’s such a wonderful program that will save you a ton of money! Oh, did I mention you can borrow magazines too?! So cool!

Let’s talk about the Kindle PaperWhite a minute. I am the first to admit, as someone who works in the IT industry, that the Kindles can seem like outdated technology. But sometimes simpler is better. What do I love most about my new PaperWhite?

The pages of the book come to life like a physical book, even in the pool with the bright sun blaring down over you.
  • No Glare! The coolest thing about the Kindle is the no-glare technology. You can read it outside with the sun blaring down right on top of you, and it looks just like you have a real book page in front of you. Absolutely no glare whatsoever! I can’t even see my iPhone screen out in the bright sunlight, so this is a huge benefit of the Kindle versus an app on your phone. I have spent many days out in the pool reading with the sun right abovce me, and I can read every word on the page without squinting. It literally looks like I’m reading a physical book.
  • Lighting technology: You can read at night without a harsh, bright, back-lit tablet/phone screen that hurts your eyes and lights up half the room. The Paperwhite uses e-text LED lighting technology that allows you to read the page without using a bright light that is harsh on your eyes.
  • It’s Waterproof! What?!! I love the fact that the new model is waterproof! That doesn’t mean you should take it scuba diving and try to read under the water, but I have enjoyed so many days out in my pool, relaxing on the raft, and reading books without ever worrying about it getting wet or falling into the water. This is such a huge benefit. I could never take my iPad or phone out in the pool, and I certainly couldn’t take a real book out there without getting the pages soaked.
  • Storage Space: Most phones and tablets have limited storage space available. The new Kindle Paperwhite has twice the amount of storage as earlier versions did. You can choose between 8 and 32 gigs of storage space. That’s enough space to hold hundreds and hundreds of books.
  • Battery Life: You know how your phone will barely last a day before you need to charge it again? Well, the battery life of a Kindle is incredible. I can usually use it for 3-4 weeks without ever needing to charge it.
  • Light and Easy to Travel With: It goes without saying that the Kindle is small and light. You’re literally carrying hundreds of books in the palm of your hand. It’s so small yet the perfect size! It’s so light in your hand, so you don’t feel the heavy weight of a physical book.

The only “con” that I see with the Paperwhite is that it’s based on traditional black and white technology. The screen isn’t color, and this may feel like a step-back for some people. We have evolved into beings who expect the latest and greatest bells and whistles, but the beauty in this device is the simplicity of the screen. Most books aren’t printed in flashy colors, and the Kindle PaperWhite reflects the concept of a real book. Sometimes simpler is better, so what some people may see as a “con” of this device, others like me see it as a selling point.

Well, my beautiful peeps… that is it! If books are not your thing, then please take care of yourself during these challenging days. Find a way to de-stress and escape in a positive way. Maybe for you it’s crafts, puzzles, crochet, or physical activity. Whatever your preference, stay safe and take care of yourself physically and mentally. There’s only one you, and you are important!

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