Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Save a book (and your sanity)

Happy May Day, and congrats to everyone who completed the A to Z Challenge!

Have you seen this lovely image? I love it. Simply brilliant.

*Okay, I can't provide the source for that, because someone emailed it to me. I think it's going around Facebook, and if you happen to know who created it, please let me know, so I can give them credit for it.
On a separate (yet very much related) note, did you know this week is Screen-Free Week? Yesterday marked the first day of an entire week in which kids (in particular, but everyone, really) unplug. No TV, no video games, no DVDs/NetFlix/[insert entertainment media of choice here]. It's intended primarily for children, many of whom watch over 30 hours of TV a week (an average of 32 hours per week for preschool children, and it goes up from there--that's more than four hours a day for 3 and 4-year-olds!) source.

That's a whole lot of screen time, which has been shown to increase obesity and other health problems, not to mention stifle creativity (source). So this week is all about unplugging.

What to do instead?

Get outside! It's spring, go enjoy it. Not only will it allow your brain to process something ... you know ... real, it will also reduce stress, improve your attention span (really!), and help you find a solution to that problem you've been wrestling. Check out more on the benefits of nature in this post.

Go read a book! Recent studies have shown that fiction can have extensive benefits, in particular by stimulating empathy and thereby reducing social friction. If you haven't seen this article in the Boston Globe, go check it out--it's fascinating.

Do both at the same time! You can't lose, it's like earning bonus points for your life: improved social functioning, less stress, and improved cognitive functioning all wrapped into one delicious, engaging novel read in the out-of-doors.

So, in honor of all those fallen books, let's go screenless (not completely--I know we all have work to do). Maybe our collective outpouring of empathy can ease the social friction cause by *ahem* certain television shows.

What will you read this week?


  1. I LOVE this idea! My toddler gets plenty of outside time, since we're blessed with lots of sunny weather, but I think a TV break is a wonderful idea. We've done that before and she never seems to notice as long as we're doing something fun...hmm, I think a little gardening is in order today~ and maybe some picture book reading along with it :)

    1. Gardening and picture books. Sounds perfect! Enjoy it. :)

  2. Yes! Getting outside is so important, especially after a long winter.

    This week: read, spring clean, and hang with the kiddos outside!

  3. I don't watch much tv. I have those few programmes I absolutely have to watch, but otherwise, tv scheduling is pretty poor. However, I could not live without my DVDs. I am such a huge film fan with a huge and varied collection.

    But I think screen free week must also extend to the internet (even besides all the online movies/games/tv shows). Looking at a screen all day is pretty bad for your eyes, but still, here we all are!

    But the thought of turning the tv/computer off for a while to curl up with a good book is a fabulous one (and if I didn't have an article to edit today I would.) Anyway, I fear I'm rambling and not making much of a point at all.

    Make time to read, converse and experience life beyond the tv. That's all good stuff.

    1. I think you're making a good point, and if I weren't making a mad dash to finish drafting my novel before school lets out for the summer, I'd turn off the computer, too. :)

  4. That's funny and totally true. I think Jersey Shore is one of those shows that's really bad for America. Save a book today!

  5. Hehe, YES! I love that book image. So powerful, and says a lot (about books and TV in general, not just Jersey Shore). Good for you, unplugging!! Especially when it's sunny outside--best for kids. :) I personally don't watch that much TV, just 2-3 movies a week on Netflix.

    1. Carol, we don't watch much either, about what you do. Our kids, too, though they ask for more. Fortunately, as soon as we get them outside, they find other ways to entertain themselves, so the pestering doesn't last too long!