Your kids have just been put to bed. The last clean dish has been stowed in the cupboard. The day’s work is done and the cosy, lamplit corner of your living room or bedroom is inviting you to come have a seat, grab a hot cup of tea or maybe hot chocolate and dive back into your latest book. You can escape the demands of the day, your work, your family and any of the other one million and one things that scream for your attention during the daylight hours.
Ahhhhhh!!! There’s nothing like reading is there? And for any of us hurried and stressed out mothers, working women and worn-out wives, reading can provide not only a wonderful way to relax, but also impart a host of benefits for body, mind and soul.
Let’s start with the obvious reasons for reading. It relaxes us and allows us to take quiet time and lose ourselves in a different world and escape our own. This is a great relief for women who spent much of their day involved in the small and large moment-to-moment details of managing our own and our families’ lives. This respite, if only for a few minutes before bed each night, is crucial to helping us unwind and relieve some stress, an experience we need and deserve. Also, there’s nothing like an engrossing book and addictive plot to give us something to look forward to at the end of the day.
And as if a juicy romance or thrilling mystery weren’t reason enough to keep you turning those pages, reading serves up a host of brain-sharpening and health benefits as well. According to a recent study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA, adults who spent free time on activities like reading had a 32 percent slower rate of cognitive decline later in life than those who didn’t. Another study further perpetuates the argument for reading with its findings that regular readers are two and a half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
But what about the social benefits of reading? Sure we all like the quiet time associated with a good page turner, but engaging with others to discuss your latest read can also encourage your reading habit and keep your mind sharp when discussing and analysing what you’ve read. To that end, book clubs can be a great way to not only share your reading hobby but also to enjoy a social function as well. Check with your local bookstore, which is likely to offer its own book club. Or search the Internet for groups in your area. Be on the lookout for clubs with other women, fellow Muslims or those groups which choose books that cater to your specific interests. These groups are a great way to branch out in your reading selection and hear about works you may not have otherwise. Plus, a monthly gathering is a great excuse to get out of the house once in a while – something many mothers and busy career women can appreciate. But remember, even if a chatty social setting isn’t your cup of tea, that cosy lamplit corner of your own home will serve just fine.
Carissa D. Lamkahouan is a career writer and journalist and mom of two children, a son and a daughter. She enjoys fitness, reading, and travelling to Morocco, the homeland of her husband. She has been a Muslim since 2005 and lives in Houston, Texas.