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Chris Simon, one of our Library Assistants, has written a blog post about books to read from our collection to improve your wellbeing.
It is feel good February and in the spirit of self-care the wellbeing team has come up with six ways in which you can support your mental health. The six steps to wellbeing have no particular order and you do not need one to unlock another. Your wellbeing is in your hands and you get to choose how to attain it. The six include being connected, being active, taking notice, continuing to learn, giving and being sustainable. The team have curated our wellbeing collection in line with our six-steps and I have compiled a book suggestion to reflect the purpose of each one. Whether it is on the bus, during your downtime or in between a library session; these books will help you feel good this month. Enjoy!
We live in a world that is more connected than ever but you should not feel guilty for thinking otherwise. In the UK, around 45% of people report feelings of loneliness and the likelihood of experiencing loneliness increases exponentially when you live in a city. Hari theorises that these feelings of isolation can be attributed to our loss of connections to other people, nature, meaningful work and community. How connected do you feel to your classmates or society buddies? How infused are you by the idea of practicing your degree in your chosen workplace? If you answer these questions honestly under the gentle guidance of Hari, you may begin to see your importance to the world and how your thread connects to a multitude of others.
This book made me want to run. I didn’t get far but I learnt a valuable lesson. It is the act of doing and not the act itself that is the most rewarding. Murakami writes lovingly about his hobby and how it signposts the directions that his life taken. He attributes his successful writing career to his most knackering runs saying that they are akin, a mental marathon. Ultimately, Murakami champions the balance between the mind and the body and how you can have one working for the benefit of the other. If you don’t fancy reading about physical activity and feel ready to do the real thing, take a look at the Feel-Good February calendar and join in the fun.
This isn’t quite as simple as taking all the batteries out of your clocks. Haig’s parable about time and perception asks the questions whether you would really want to live forever and what truly makes life worth living. The book provides some keen responses in a generous narrative with a grand imagination. For weeks after you may begin to take notice of what makes your own life beautiful which will help you be well to yourself as well as others.
This book should be difficult to read but its beauty is in its simplicity. Harari’s study into the 300,000 year history of humanity provides you with a sense of perspective and a few interesting conversation points for your next coffee date. The book is broken up in to three categories that reflect the greatest strides that humanity has taken to reach the top of the planet’s hierarchy. The three chapters include the cognitive revolution, agricultural revolution and technological evolution. While the grand premise of the book sounds threatening, it is very easy to digest and will keep your brainwaves stimulated. If you want to flex your smarts this month come join Mike in our book club on Wednesday 23rd February.
The process of giving can certainly make you feel better. Seeing the joy or relief in someone else has a cathartic effect while also building those important social bonds that mean so much to a healthy sense of wellbeing. However, giving is a double sided coin and to be a better person to others you need to also give to yourself. Whether that is free time, opportunity or the sweet treat that can make your day. I have certainly taken liberties with this step by suggesting Manson’s counterintuitive approach to giving is by not giving a care at all. There is certainly power in freeing yourself from your own fears and anxieties and if you feel exhausted by self-pressure; this book may well be perfect for you. If you want to give this month you can take part in our library book swap which is available at both the Sydney Jones and Harold Cohen every Wednesday from 2pm. Pass an old book in and get a brand new one in return. Lovely!
If you are like me, a self-confessed foodie then you know that sometimes you are one dinner plate away from happiness. However, certain foods can help us achieve a consistent happiness rather than a temporary happiness. For instance, having a high fibre diet involving nuts, beans, fruit and wholegrains can reduce anxiety and depression because fibre contains probiotics which balance our gut bacteria. If you have a feeling in your gut you would be wise to listen it because our gut's health has an effect on our mental state. Most sustainable foods contain high fibre so you will be doing well for yourself and your environment. Just some food for thought (had to). In fact, during February each Tuesday, both libraries on campus will have be having a fruit giveaway. Grab a treat and get some natural fuel for the rest of the day!
As well as books we have a whole host of events that you can experience this month. We have missed seeing you on campus and would love to see you join in! Check out the timetable for ‘Feel Good February’ over at our wellbeing hub and turn those pressures in to pleasures.