You're likely knee deep in some strenuous Spring Cleaning right now (we are!), so this weekend, we're going to fill the bucket from which we pour. By carving out an uninterrupted hour to ourselves this weekend, we're going to recharge (and more) so that we have more to give to our loved ones, our work, and our homes throughout the week. Plus, it's fun!
Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you've always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.
This Weekend's Assignment:
Take an hour to read.
We're talking "old-fashioned" reading. A physical book. The only screen you can read from is a Kindle screen (and not a hyper-connected Fire). It can be something you've read before or anything in your TBR pile.
The hour has to be 60 minutes straight, as uninterrupted as possible. Set yourself up for success. Let your family know you'll be busy for an hour or go out to a coffee shop for some solitude. Try to stick to one book or magazine for the entire time.
This is the good stuff. Here are some of the wonderful effects of reading:
- Reading can increase empathy. This effect depends on what you choose to read. Nonfiction doesn't do it, and neither does so-called "popular fiction." Literary fiction, however, which "focuses more on the psychology of characters and their relationships," has been shown to improve readers' "ability to infer and understand other people's thoughts and emotions," according to Scientific American.
- Reading feeds your brain. Reading increases the size of our vocabularies, strengthens our understanding of language and, particularly when the reading involves learning something new, actually creates new white matter (the information-carrying part) in the brain. Read more about reading and brain connectivity here.
- Reading can reduce stress. Compared to other relaxation methods in one study discussed in The Telegraph, reading reduces stress levels by 68 percent, more than listening to music, taking a walk, or having a cup of coffee or tea. That's because reading allows us to disengage our minds from our everyday stressors and instead lets us lose ourselves in a story, "exploring the domain of the author's imagination."
Now before you go, we want to know: What are you going to read?
Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we've sent you, or tackle another project you've been meaning to get to. It's also completely okay to skip a weekend if you're busy or not feeling the assignment.