Books and mental health: a World Book Day and Uni Mental Health Day special – OurWarwick

Books and mental health: a World Book Day and Uni Mental Health Day special

Rebecca Preedy | Ancient History and Classical Archaeology with Study in Europe Contact Rebecca

It’s been a while since I’ve had five minutes to sit down and write a blog post! Doing an MA has been a lot of work. Between that, two part-time jobs, and an ambassador role, I’ve been stretched a little thin lately. Mental health is always important, and during busy times it can be hard to remember to take time for yourself to relax and unwind. Reading has always been a tool I have used to support and sustain good mental health, which is why I thought it was so fitting that today is not only World Book Day, but also Uni Mental Health Day! Here are just a few ways that books can help your mental health:

  1. Escapism

One of the most beautiful things about books, particularly fiction, is that it gives us the ability to travel through time and space at any moment in our everyday lives. Whether on the bus, sat at home with a cuppa, or even in a half-hour lunch break at work or between lectures, books allow us to be transported to escape from the mundanity or stress of the day. Whether it’s a gripping historical drama, or a mind-bending fantasy, sometimes all we need is a quick break from reality.

**Escapism book recommendation: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (I finished this one the other day and was so absorbed! A beautiful LGBTQ+ fantasy that gets you laughing out loud and feeling genuinely warmed up from the inside)**

2. Brain exercise

People always talk about the benefits of physical exercise for mental health, but exercising your brain is just as important! Reading is an ideal way to exercise your grey cells in a non-academic way. It keeps your mind active and improves memory skills. Reading has even been shown to reduce chances of developing Alzheimer’s in the elderly! Your brain might not be a muscle in technical terms, but it’s important to remember that it needs exercise just like the rest of your body in order to stay happy and healthy.

3. Self-help

Some books are literally designed to aid your mental wellbeing. Whether they target specific mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, or have more general goals like building self-esteem, self-help books are an excellent tool to help you practise better mental health.

**Self-help book recommendation: The Little Book of Otter Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney (This was a gift from my sister because otters are my favourite animals, and it’s full of adorable little titbits on how to live daily life like you ‘otter)**

4. Screen break

Reading is a way to keep your mind occupied without the endless scrolling through social media. It can be tempting to lie in bed for an hour before going to sleep catching up on all the Instagram reels you’ve missed, but the blue light from your phone can stop you being able to sleep properly. Winding down with a couple of chapters of your book before bed can help you relax more naturally, and won’t disrupt your sleep cycle. If you’re too tired to read, try an audiobook instead! Even during the day, it can be nice to take a break from your screen with a good book. Try switching out one episode of your latest Netflix obsession with one chapter of a book and see where it takes you!

Happy reading all! Do remember that if you are struggling you can get in contact with Warwick Wellbeing or Nightline for help!


Rebecca Preedy | Ancient History and Classical Archaeology with Study in Europe Contact Rebecca

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