Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures. March 2 is National Read Across America Day—a time when children, teachers, parents, caregivers and community members around the nation come together to read books and celebrate the joy of immersing yourself in the written word.
The English writer Joseph Addison once said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” As the imagination weaves through the details of a story, the brain’s neural networks are strengthened, much in the way muscles are strengthened by an intense workout. Reading can also boost your analytical thinking, sharpen your focus, reduce stress and help you sleep better.
Here at Vinson Hall Retirement Community, we love the idea of reading as exercise for the mind. Stimulating the brain is such an important part of staying healthy as you age. We invite you to curl up with a blanket and your favorite beverage, and get ready to spend a few hours with a great book!
In celebration of the occasion, here are five ways to celebrate a culture of reading—and promote mental wellness:
1. Make a reading nook in your home.
While you can read a magazine or newspaper anywhere—from cafes to waiting rooms—immersing yourself in a book is best when you have a dedicated quiet space. Do you have a favorite easy chair or couch complete with comfy pillows and a blanket? Set up a small end table where you can put a lamp, a stack of books and perhaps a pen for taking notes, and you’re in business!
2. Make the library part of your routine.
Social engagement is an important way to keep the mind sharp, and visiting your local library regularly is a great way to keep up with reading goals. Today’s libraries are interactive, tech-forward spaces where you can find all the books your heart desires, and also take advantage of meetup spaces, community events and more. Plus, your librarian likely is a fountain of wisdom when it comes to recommending the latest mystery, romance, biography or bestseller. Vinson Hall Retirement Community has a delightful library right on campus so you can always find something good to read.
3. Join or start a book club.
Have you always wanted to read Anna Karenina? Curious about the hubbub over Where the Crawdads Sing? Or do you just love a vigorous discussion about characters, plots, descriptions and more? Retirement is the perfect time to join a book club. You finally have the freedom to spend your time pursuing your interests —and this might include tackling the classics, immersing yourself in Bible study, or other book club activities. A well-structured book club can be both educational and entertaining, allowing members to discuss their opinions on the book and let their thought-provoking remarks spark conversations. To learn more about book clubs at Vinson Hall Retirement Community, contact us to schedule a visit!
4. Give books as presents.
Grandchildren, friends, and family members can all benefit from receiving a book as a gift for National Read Across America Day! Not only does this gift make readers out of the young and old alike, but it also encourages the lucky recipient to explore their imaginative side. The neat thing about books is that they are such personal gifts. Choosing just the right one demonstrates you know your loved one and have been thinking about them. Plus, when your friends read a book you’ve chosen, it makes a perfect topic for discussion over coffee or a meal. There’s perhaps no greater feeling than giving a gift—and it doesn’t get any better than giving a book!
5. Read aloud to your grandchildren.
There’s never been a better time to be a young reader. Not only do children have access to all the books you might have loved as a child, from The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew to Little House on the Prairie, but there are so many wonderful new books being published every year. Reading to your grandchildren is one of life’s greatest privileges. Not only do you get to revisit the joy of children’s literature, but you get to do it with a tiny one curled up next to you on the couch.
Share Your Book Recommendations!
We’d love to hear from you! If you’re not already following us on Facebook, be sure to like our page and send us a book recommendation. We are here to support older adults in McLean looking for an adventuresome retirement—including quiet nooks in your residence and lively hangout spaces for great book discussions and more. To learn more about our community or schedule a tour, contact us today!