In Part One I described the importance of being able to completely switch off sometimes and how to relax “more efficiently”. For people like me, who are overthinkers and overworriers and always on the edge of overwhelming waves of anxiety, relaxation is crucial to keep a minimum amount of sanity to get by.
As important as it is to switch off sometimes, it is just as important to keep the mind stimulated. Too often we get flooded with dull information. Every second we look at the screen of our smart phones and scroll through endless nothingness is a lost second to our maximum attention span. We become numb to the world around us. Uninspired and hollow. Have you ever felt that way?
Ideally there exists a balance between mental stimulation and relaxation to reach full potential at whatever it is you do in between. It took me all year to figure out 2015 lacked both.
(That doesn’t mean in any way that photography doesn’t fulfill me enough or bores me now. But just like all art, it can’t exist in a vacuum. It is always an expression or reflection of emotions and events in and all around us.)
How did I decide to close the gap of not having enough mental stimulation? The solution is easy: Books! I was reading so many books all the time before I graduated from University and then I just stopped. My resolution for 2016 is to read 50 books. In January I read 15.
My favourite January reads were “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr and “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent. Both of them are wonderfully written works of historical fiction.
Here is a list of all the books I’ve read in January in a chronological order. (Click on the titles to read my reviews on goodreads):
- The Girl on the Train (by Paula Hawkins)
- Why Not Me? (By Mindy Kaling)
- The Life List (Lori Nelson Spielman)
- All The Light We Cannot See (By Anthony Doerr)
- Men Explain Things To Me (Rebecca Solnit)
- Station Eleven (By Emily St. John Mandel)
- The Martian (By Andy Weir)
- Not that kind of girl (by Lena Dunham)
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North (by Richard Flanagan)
- The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) (by Philip Pullman) (reread)
- The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) (by Philip Pullman) (reread)
- The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) (by Philip Pullman) (reread)
- Lyra’s Oxford (His Dark Materials #3.5) (by Philip Pullman)
- Burial Rites (by Hannah Kent)
- Eleanor & Park (by Rainbow Rowell)
Currently I am listening to “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte on audio book (whenever I am editing, cooking or cleaning the house) (for free!) and I’m reading “The Love that Split the World” by Emily Henry (which I already love after only two chapters).
Apart from feeding my hungry brain, I already noticed a huge improvement of my English skills (as I’m reading all these books in English) So far I don’t regret the time invested in reading one bit.
Would you be interest to get a regular update about my favourite reads and discuss books with me? I would love to!