It’s the holiday season! “Happy Holiday” from “The Andy Williams Christmas Album” is playing in the back of my mind while I write this article. Late this month, the Salvation Army’s bells will be ringing and Thanksgiving will be a distant memory when we turn our calendar pages to December 1st.   The hustle and bustle of planning family get-togethers, preparing holiday meals, decorating, shopping as we prepare to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and finally the New Year! And, all of this is happening in the midst of our already busy and stressful lives.
I would like to pause and ask you a question: How often are you interrupted while you are in the middle of a task? Over the last five minutes, since I sat down to write this article, I’ve been interrupted several times. Two emails popped up in a notification on my computer, and I felt compelled to open them, just in case it was something important. The first email included an invitation to a webinar next week and the other notified me that volunteers are needed to support an upcoming event. My husband texted to say hello and a Face Book notification popped up alerting me that my friend posted new baby pictures. And, I spent the next several minutes writing about the interruptions that occurred. Does this happen to you too?
The definition for distraction (noun) in Webster’s Dictionary: something that distracts: an object that directs one's attention away from something else.

Where was I?  The last part of the sentence I wrote was, “And, all of this is happening in the midst of our already busy and stressful lives.”
The definition for Stress (noun) in Webster’s Dictionary: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

Another question: Do you know that reading reduces stress? It does! Reading a good book and immersing yourself in the story will transport you from what is happening and letting tensions go away.

I have a hunch that many of you reading this article will respond that there isn’t time in your life to set aside to read. How do I know? Because, I feel the same way as you! 

But, you don’t have to set aside hours of time each day to dedicate to reading.
Reading for at least 30 minutes a day is one way to increase brain power and stimulate your mind. In addition; your vocabulary will increase, you will learn something and you may even gain a new perspective on a topic based on the point of view in the book you read.

Reading can also be shared with others. For example, I read to my children every night when they were younger and couldn’t read on their own. They had favorite books that they requested nightly and would speak the words from memory while I read to them. 

My final question: Are you ready to pick up a book today to drown out the loud distractions and lose yourself in your book? I am! Tonight, when I get home, it will already be dark outside and the temperature will have dropped from its peak this afternoon. I plan to cuddle up, in a blanket, with a glass of wine and let the day’s distractions slip away and I lose myself in the story. 

Submitted by: Erica Duffy, Development Director for the Adams County Library System