The most profound impact that books have had on my life these last few years has been to give me a major attitude adjustment about things I don't like in a really practical way.
Let me explain.
In September 2013 I became a mother to my wonderful little boy while my own mother was dying of cancer. Yeah. Rough.
So here I was in the new mom fog and my world just so incredibly altered with losing my mother and losing my former identity as a carefree, newly-married twenty something, and I just was so exhausted and confused and lost about everything. And above all, just flat out overwhelmed.
I knew I needed to start exercising as much for my mental health as for my physical health. I spent my childhood and teen years in high level competitive swimming and so having to consciously choose to exercise was never something I had to learn to do, as I was spending 3 hours in the pool every day after school. Now I had a tiny baby whom I couldn't leave long enough for a proper gym or swim workout, I HATED running, and I was also utterly desperate to start habits that would lessen my own risk of cancer and health problems. I could not have cared less that the scale was higher than I'd ever seen it after my pregnancy, but I cared very much that my son should NEVER have to watch what I watched with my mother's disease and death.
I started out using audio books to motivate myself to get out the door and go for a walk. I was always so interested in the stories that it often motivated me to walk longer just so I could keep listening. I had spent my whole life an obsessed reader but in those early months with a newborn I wasn't getting enough sleep to focus on an actual book, so this was my outlet and provided a little corner of normalcy for my grief stricken and over taxed brain. I worked up from 15 minute walks to a full 45 minutes within a couple months.
As my son got older, we got more sleep and went I back to normal, I resumed reading real books, and discovered the magical world of bookish podcasts. Suddenly my TBR pile was growing, I was reading a lot more, I was looking forward to my walks every day and even started training myself to run. This was all rooted in the high level of engagement I had with these podcasts. Nowadays my 3 mile runs are just part of my routine and have become something I'm excited about (something I NEVER EVER thought I'd say), and I have audio books and podcasts to thank for pulling me out of the fog of that first stressful year and completely changing my attitude and relationship with exercise and running.
I've also found that they serve as excellent motivators in dull, repetitive daily tasks, too. Huge mountain of laundry that needs to be folded and put away? I don't mind even one little bit once I have a podcast playing. Sink full of dirty dishes? As long as I have a podcast I'll cheerfully bury myself in soap bubbles. House needs a scrub? Let me queue up an episode and I'm ready to tackle it. You get the point.
All of the tasks that I thought were irritating and unenjoyable were suddenly not a big deal to me, and that attitude adjustment has been priceless and spills into everything else. I found that when I'm not weighed down with feeling bothered by the grunt work of every day life, I find myself so much more productive and upbeat and pleasant. Go figure. The attitude adjustment was sorely needed and has had a profound impact on my happiness, and I am so grateful.
I'm compiling a list of my favorite podcasts for a future post, including the ones I turn to when my TBR pile gets overwhelming and I need a break from the literary genre!
What do you do to give yourself an attitude adjustment? What things make unpleasant tasks bearable for you? Let me know in the comments!