When you pick up a book, seek out a podcast, choose a program, attend an event, typically you’re interested in learning, growth, inspiration, and maybe some fun too.
Before Covid, you could find me at a women’s event, a retreat, a conference, or a workshop, soaking in knowledge and enjoying connection. And of course, I loved (and still love) taking online courses and programs that challenge me. Once covid entered, I had to pivot and change how I learn, grow, and connect. I quickly immersed myself into even more content because I wanted to fill in all that I was missing. And I kept wondering why things weren’t aligning more quickly. Why I wasn’t adapting and changing into my better, truer self.
So with the challenge (and loving push) from a few friends, I decided to dig deep to examine my content consumption obsession (gulp!). And find consistent ways to turn that new knowledge into positive change. I want to take action to move forward towards the best form of me, my most true self. For me, that includes pursuing fun, joy, growth, and contentment.
I’ve loved reading since I was in elementary school. The Babysitter’s Club series and The Boxcar Children series were some of my favorites. After college, there was a period of time that I read only business or mindset books. I wanted to grow my business so I dove into learning and reading as much as I could. The hustle mentality was displayed prominently and that’s what I bought into. Keep going, keep pushing, and it will fall into place. I wasn’t taking the time to care for myself and ultimately, I burned out. I became resentful and frustrated. In the time after, picking up the pieces, I met new friends and mentors that had different mindsets about success. I clearly remember a discussion about reading with a mentor, and she insisted I give myself permission to read fiction. It was such a simple, yet freeing moment.
My personality thrives on structure and a checklist. So, even though I had given myself permission to read all kinds of books, I knew I needed a plan. My goal was to read the same number of business and fiction books. After reading a few more fiction books than nonfiction books, I challenged myself to stop the judgment for enjoying the fiction. I gave myself grace and enjoyed some self care.
Self-care has been defined as the process of taking care of oneself with behaviors that promote health and active management of illness when it occurs.Wikipedia
However, don’t use self care as an excuse to constantly step out of life. I encourage you (and me) to take the time to reflect on your choices of self care. I asked myself these questions:
*am I reading/listening instead of being present with my family? *is this self care activity something special? *does this self care activity take the place of something else that shouldn’t be put off? *am I using this time as an excuse to procrastinate or is this genuine time to rest and reflect? *does this self care activity bring me joy?
Check out Betzy’s blog on ways to give yourself more grace!
I decided to reframe the way I was looking at the content I consume.
Whenever I’m reading a book, fiction or nonfiction, I often reflect on how the book could be used in my life. I consider both the how (application) and why it would help. I recently read a fiction book called The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I found this book helpful for me to articulate some of my struggles. I was able to take phrases and concepts from this book and discuss them more easily with family and friends. How great it is to find the words to make you feel less alone.
The same is true with nonfiction. We must take what we’re learning and turn it into action. You know the famous saying “Knowledge is power;” knowledge turns into power if you intentionally use and apply it. Jim Kwik, an author and brain coach, said “you can’t let books become shelf help instead of self help.” I recently read a blog post on a specific parenting challenge. I knew immediately how to apply it and why it would help. The key with nonfiction is the action. Consume and then act. And even better, consume, act, and then teach it to someone else.
This line from Jim Kwik’s book Limitless hit me in the gut. “The great aim of education and self help is not knowledge for knowledge sake, but action.” Do you want to win Trivia Game Nights or do you want to change the world? Maybe, let’s do both! 🙂