Picture taken from here
I absolutely love reading books about spirituality and self-growth. Up until about 3 years ago, I barely even thought about non-fiction- I was always so immersed in fiction and getting caught up in fantasy worlds, tales of the impossible and pure escapism. It was, as it is for many people, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ that cemented my fascination with all things other-worldly. This was swiftly followed by the phenomenal ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay, which got me intrigued in mind-body medicine. After this, the stage was set, and my spiritual booklist grows every day (I will share my recommended list with you in a post shortly). I want to know all the answers, all the opinions, all the the theories. If you’ve had CFS, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
However, recently I’ve realised that something was missing from my reading. I suddenly realised that I need to balance escapism and spiritual realism in order to get the most from my reading. Every time I’ve thought about delving back into fiction recently, I’ve read a chapter and then ran back into non-fiction- I didn’t even give the fiction a chance. I think my love for spiritual reading has overwhelmed my need for escapism and imagination. We all need a bit of relaxation and silliness in our lives, especially if you’re coping with an illness or disease. I have therefore decided that I am going to alternate between reading for joy (fiction) and reading for spiritual understanding (non-fiction). *(I do not mean to say that I find no joy in reading non-fiction, it’s quite the opposite! But for comparison, I have chosen to phrase it in this way)
Joy is also part of our spiritual development and life experience, something which, when you are constantly battling with symptoms and ‘why me?’s, it is all to easy to forget. I know I did. Here are some ways to get out of your head and into your heart when you need to give yourself a break- find your joy!
1) Reading- read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, that sci-fi thing you’ve always wanted to buy, that girly novel that you wouldn’t be seen dead with on the bus. Go for it…get lost in a book. Audiobooks are also fantastic if you struggle to read
2) Get outside- this relates to an earlier post of mine, but even if you just open the door or window to your room and let the air in, you will feel instantly better. Look at the trees, listen to the birds, watch the clouds- nature is amazing and it is all around you. Best of all, it’s free. Make this a priority every day and you will quickly feel the benefits.
3) Get a good stock of funny films together- they don’t have to be funny films, anything escapist or films you’ve watched 50 times already are always good. My fiance and I share a passion for films of all different genres and we love being transported to a different world for a few hours. My favourite ‘silly’ films for immediate escapism include: Mamma Mia, Eat Pray Love, Bring It On and a recent release, The Silver Linings Playbook. I would never openly admit to many people that I’m a fan of these films, but as it’s you, I’ll be honest! If you’d like something a bit more European and have the energy for subtitles, French film The Dinner Game is amazing.
4) Gossip or Fashion Magazines- I know what you’re going to say, they’re full of air-brushed celebritites having a great time and meaingless gossip, right? True, they are, but I personally love nothing more than to treat myself to gossip mag or monthly fashion mag and pour through it. Wow, look at those shoes…that necklace is beautiful! It gets me immediately out of my head. Some of it’s absolute rubbish, but it’s fun and relaxing.
5) Putting on your favourite song and dancing like a maniac- I know for some of you this will be a struggle, but even listening to music at a low volume will relax you and take you out of yourself. For me, the best feeling in the world is listening to music that I grew up with as a teenager- that’s the stuff that will have me bouncing around the room or jiving on the sofa.
6) Raw or dark chocolate- I know I mentioned here that junk food was bad for CFS, and it really is, but you’ve got to have a bit of joy in your life while you’re recovering. Good quality dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa in it is full of antioxidants and you only need one square to feel like you’re dancing on air. Where possible, I go for raw chocolate, in moderation of course(!), as it has all the antioxidants and benefits without the dairy or chemicals. Loving Earth is my favourite brand and can be found in organic and health food shops.
So there we have it! What can you do to bring joy to your life today?
Remember, you deserve to have joy in your life. Treat yourself!
Love and joy,