A few years ago I found myself experiencing the symptoms of adrenal stress…feeling exhausted during the day and tired-but-wired at night, unable to consume any caffeine at all without palpitations, catching every little cold that went around. I went to see my doctor, and after doing the requisite bloodwork and not finding anything that stood out, we determined that what I needed more than anything was more rest. Rest, not exactly sleep…meaning, I had to re-train myself to wind down at the end of the day, get to bed at a decent time, and make sure that I was getting my exercise in during the day so I wouldn’t be getting my heart pumping at night and getting a second wind of energy just before sleep. The hardest part for me, and I am embarrassed to admit this, was learning to turn off my iPad at night.
I am a book lover but in the years preceding this adrenal fatigue I realized I had been reading a lot of heavy, serious stuff. Wonderful novels, reference books, parenting books (SO many parenting books), memoirs…and I suddenly had the urge to just lighten up. I like to read before bed and now that I was abstaining from the iPad in the evenings I remembered how great it feels to hold an actual physical book! I thought back to the books I had read and loved that lightened my mental load rather than added to it, and decided that is how I was going to heal.
I am a big fan of the magical realism genre. I believe “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel was the first book of this type that I had read back in college, and I was hooked. I think quite often we burden ourselves with the to-do lists of everyday living, and I find that these kinds of books are the key to borrowing a bit of magic in order to dig in to that part of our subconscious that allows us to imagine, to have fun, to relax, and to remember our own magic.
I do believe that reading the types of books that allow us to get lost in their stories is one path to learning to relax and release stress and tension. Below is a list of some of my favorite magical realism books.
**Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
**Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
**Blackbird House, by Alice Hoffman
**Chocolat, by Joanne Harris
**The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
**Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen
**Lost Lake, by Sarah Addison Allen
**The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen
**The Wishing Thread, by Lisa Van Allen
**The Night Garden, by Lisa Van Allen
Please let me know if you have read or enjoyed any of these! Also, I would love to know what kind of reading or genre you prefer when you need to wind down. Do you prefer e-books or physical books?
Since we are coming up on November and December which are often very busy months with the various holidays and celebrations, I would like to send someone a copy of Sarah Addison Allen’s book, Lost Lake. This is such a lovely story (not holiday-related) and would be a great way to reward yourself with a bit of self-care and relaxation during this busy time. To enter, please leave a comment answering either of the questions I asked above (what kind of books do you prefer when you need to relax? Do you prefer e-books or physical books?) between today (10/22) and 9 PM EST on Friday 10/24. All names who comment will be entered into a drawing to win the book, and the winner will be announced on Saturday 10/25.