I’m flying to Northern Ireland this evening to give a couple of talks tomorrow to help Y9 and Y10 students manage their mental health and wellbeing in the run up to exams – and for the rest of their lives, because stress strategies are the same whatever your age! This is also to help spread the word about the excellent Reading Well: Books on Prescription scheme run by The Reading Agency. So many libraries are on board with this and it’s benefiting people of all ages across the UK. Free books to help you be well!
This is a project close to my heart. I have two books on the list of 35 books chosen for young people – the only author to have more than one book there: The Teenage Guide to Stress and Blame My Brain are at No 6 and No 7 in the “most borrowed” list. I am delighted to know that this means teenagers are choosing to read and access the help I so much want to give. It makes the effort feel feel very worthwhile!
It’s also close to my heart because of Readaxation, my own way of expressing the benefits that reading for pleasure brings in terms of mental and physical wellbeing. I am always emphasising the importance of relaxation and I believe that there are some healthier and less healthy relaxation choices, with reading for pleasure being right up there with the best and healthiest we can make. Hence, readaxation: the deliberate choice of reading in order to aid relaxation and reduce stress. (With extra benefits of improving self-esteem, increasing vocab and general knowledge, aiding sleep and even correlating with greater success in exams!)
Most (but by no means all) of the books on the list are non-fiction and I’d like to point out that non-fiction is just as much “reading for pleasure” as fiction. You will get all the benefit from any book as long as it’s one you enjoy, one you can immerse yourself in, one that brings whatever benefits you seek. I’ve written here about what these benefits could be and how to discuss them with young people.
I have some resources about reading for pleasure here, by the way.
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about reading for pleasure – though I may possibly mentioning – but about stress and how to manage it, including the stress that our use of screens can bring us. (Note the use of two words there: “our”, because it’s about all ages; and “can” because it’s perfectly possible to live well online.
You just might need me to show you how.
One thing’s for sure: I have SO much to say at the sessions on Thursday that I will have to speak faster than I’ve ever spoken and your brains will be full and incredibly alert at the end of it. You might not sleep afterwards!