The Best Medicine When I’m Feeling Down…

I’ll be honest, friends. I’ve been feeling rather down. Things have been good in some ways but also there’s just a lot of things that have been stressful and discouraging and I feel like I’m just treading water here. I feel such a lack of control over a lot of things and some days even existing is hard and exhausting. It’s just one of those kinds of tough patches and I just try to ride it out as much as I can — being intentional to change the things I can and know that things will get better.

Some of these days are harder than other and I have to get out of my own head. Somewhere along the line I was having a bad day and I found a way to lift me up a little bit and it’s become my sort of foolproof plan on the days where I feel like I’m going to break.

I’ve found the best medicine for these days is wandering the library or the bookstore.

I spend a good hour or two just wandering and browsing with no real intention or end goal. I just wander. I pick up books I’ve never heard of. I browse in sections of the bookstore I wouldn’t typically go to. I creep on what people are looking at (you all know I’m a book creeper). I move books I loved so that they can be seen (SORRY BOOKSTORE PEOPLE). I read from books that look interesting and jot down the titles for later (okay I type them into my phone but jot sounded better). I find new interests. Discover new things. I TOUCH ALL THE BOOKS. There’s so much freedom in just wandering and picking things up on a whim. Potentially holding your next new favorite book or that book that will change your life.

ALL THOSE WORDS. ALL THOSE STORIES. They calm me. They do. It’s incredibly freeing to not rush into a store with a goal of something to pick up…some sort of intention. I’m allowed to go where my whims take me and there are no expectations. As the time passes I find the stress and that negative energy have lessened.

But mostly it helps me to remember that the world is so much bigger than this day. All those stories neatly lined up on those shelves contain hope, struggle, magic, perseverance and so many more things that are part of the human experience — some better or worse than my own. It helps me to remember in these moments I’m not alone. People have been there before me and people will be in the future. This is one day. ONE DAY of my story. One little slice of this great big world and what it has to offer me and what I have to offer it. Maybe it should make me feel small and overwhelmed (okay I DO feel overwhelmed because SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME) but for some reason it doesn’t.

There’s all sorts of perspective to be found in wandering in the bookstore and even though it doesn’t fix everything…it sure does help my heart and calm me down a bit. And I just enjoy being surrounded by all those books.

I think this is one of the many reasons I love reading so much — sometimes it’s so calming and  helps me get out of my own head or sometimes it gives me perspective I need/offers up something that helps me think about what I’m going through. It always reminds me that I’m not alone. That this is fleeting. That there is reason to hope and persevere.

Books = the best medicine. I don’t care what anyone says or if it’s not scientifically proven.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. YES. THIS. Jamie, I feel you SO SO MUCH. I feel so happy wandering a library or a bookstore, even if I can’t buy anything or even if it’s a library I go to every week. I feel so AT HOME. And yes, the book stroking and book creeping. I’ve definitely spied two teenage boys checking out Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL (how awesome is that?!) You are so right though, too. BOOKS ARE THE BEST MEDICINE. It may not be scientifically proven, but it IS mentally and psychologically proven, in my eyes. Loved this post!

    • YES I don’t even have to buy anything…but it’s great with the library when I can feel like I walk out with all this books FOR FREEEEEE. Um and that is so awesome to seeing teen boys pick that one up!! I always want to be a creeper and shout OMG THAT IS SOO GOOD. Sometimes I have been known to say something but only if I can’t resist. I’m glad to know I’m not alone here with just feeling so at home and having it mentally lift me up!

  2. This is one of those times when I read a book bloggers post and want to just take you by the shoulders, look you in the eye and say ME TOO!
    Ok now if that didn’t totally creep you out ( 0.0 ) .. I just completely agree with you! When I’m down or depressed, or just restless, the only thing that helps is book browsing. I surround myself with that I love most, BOoKS! Lol. But I can’t explain it, it’s a rush of endorphins and I just feel lighter. I see all the books and a calm settles over me. Soon, all my feelings and sad emotions disappear because all I can think of is “ooh pretty cover!” Or “ooh what’s this book?” Lol. And like you said discover new books! I don’t even have to buy anything (although if I’m really down, I do) because then, I take that new excitement and happiness home where it continues to make me feel better :P

    • <333 THIS IS WHY I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY! Not creeped out AT ALL. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one. I feel like if I was a cartoon I would be floating on a cloud 9 walking around the library or bookstore when I've come there with a dark cloud over my head! But seriously...I really do get that rush of endorphins. THAT MAKES ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER YOU SAY THAT> That’s exactly how I feel!

  3. Buying books is also a good way to lift my spirits. When I’m feeling down, I go to the bookstore and give myself a little present by buying a new book. It’s a very good feeling to walk around, looking for a new book I want to add to my collection.

    • YES I totally, when I was at my last job, would go to the bookstore on my lunch break during a bad day and pick out ONE book to make myself feel better. Right now I’m just nannying and not bringing in much so I have to have a strict budget but the library has at least HELPED make me feel like at least I can bring new books home. Cannnot wait until I can buy books on bad days again :P

  4. Books always make things better for me Jamie, so I can totally relate. I hope you’re feeling better soon, but whilst your down make sure you make the most of books! They really are the best medicine!

  5. Me too! I love reading a book and being able to escape into someone else’s life for a while. Hope things turn around for you soon :)

  6. I completely agree with you, Jamie. Books have such a magical quality. Whenever I’m feeling down, I want to go home and grab a book, or go to the library/bookstore and browse the books just to discover the next magical story. I can’t thank authors enough for what they do. Because without them, how would we fix our bad days? I really hope things start looking up for you soon! Keep reading and discovering new things! <3

  7. Hi Jamie! I couldn’t agree with you more! Last year, I had a bout of depression which lasted for months and it had something to do with my career. My world fell apart and I felt so lost and confused. And you know what saved me from falling deeper into that bottomless(at least, to me it felt like it) pit of self-pity? YES, it was books. I wasn’t a huge reader back then, but I had to keep myself from thinking negative things, and books diverted my attention away from them. I read books like there was no tomorrow! It became a healthy addiction! I guess, I could say that one thing I got out of my depressed state, was my love for books now. :)

    • <333 Thank you for sharing that. Sometimes I feel like books were the only thing keeping me sane during the past year or so that I’ve been unemployed. I was extremely depressed and they really did save me from it being much worse.

  8. Sometimes you just need to live someone else’s life for awhile… and books are the best way to do that.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  9. Bookshops are my happy place. Sometimes escaping reality into a place with thousands of worlds inside is the best medicine! I hope you feel better soon <3

  10. So beautifully and perfectly said Jamie! I know how you’re feeling these days…I’m in the same position. It’s so important that we find things that make us happy or give us a smile, but also to be able to find ways to keep perspective and stay motivated to find our way. Hoping things turn around for you soon, but in the meantime, keep finding that happy place! xo

  11. I love this post so much, Jamie. I’m starring it and holding onto it for when I’m feeling down. You perfectly captured how I feel when I wander a bookstore, especially when it’s quiet and I have a few hours to spare. I don’t get those moments that often anymore, but I agree with you that this is the best medicine for the blues, so much so for me that I don’t even think about it as special…but you’re absolutely right, it is.

    I hope you know how special you are to be writing this post and illuminating those moments for us. =) Keep escaping, keep wandering, and keep sharing. I hope things will get better.

    • Aw thank for the kind words…gave me the warm and fuzzies! <33 Seriously. ALMOST IN TEARS BECAUSE YOU KNOW I ALWAYS HAVE TEARS COMING OUT OF MY EYES APPARENTLY. I’m loving that I’m not the only one who feels this way about wandering and sees it as special. I think especially as book people we are in bookstores and libraries so much it’s easy to forget how magical it is!

  12. I TOTALLY understand this post. I absolutely love just wandering around a bookstore when I don’t have any goal in mind because it’s so fun and comforting. Usually I run into books through Goodreads or blogs, but it’s weirdly different to see a book in the store, whether the cover is shiny in real life or if the book is much bigger or smaller than you expected.

    • YES I’m so used to always being on my goodreads or Twitter and blogs seeing books but there’s something about going and holding and seeing books and sometimes I find myself more interested in them when I can read the first page or so!

  13. So many bad days at work have been fixed by tucking myself away in a corner of a dimly lit book shop with a pile of untouched novels by my side. Sometimes I’ll buy one, usually I won’t. But just being surrounded by stories and worlds waiting to be explored calms me completely down. Such a lovely post!

    • 100% THIS. It’s the being surrounded by them…I don’t even feel compelled to by. It’s just their energies that must make me calm or something (ahah I sound like a new age hippie or something but you get what I mean!).

  14. YES this is how I relax. Bookstores have my favorite cozy, wondrous aura and I always go to the bookstore or library just because I love being surrounded by books, the atmosphere is amazing.

    • It really is. I especially love when bookstores have cafes (which a local indie I love does, same with B&N) and I can just have a tea or coffee and browse and feel all that stress and some of the sads melt away!

  15. I definitely agree! Grad school has a lovely side effect of making me feel completely helpless quite often since everything always needs to get done, but I can always know that I’m making progress on books because the pages go by and I fall in love with the characters and everything is just so nice. I love wandering at the library since I also don’t have to worry about spending too much money if I do decide to grab something, hehe.

    • YES to that point…with reading you feel like you are literally accomplishing something. It’s nice to see the pages dwindle (sometimes that is panic inducing in a good book ahah) and see that progress and feel all those feelings and really feel ATTACHED to it all.

      The library has become my serious happy place because I’m like YEAH I WILLL TAKE THIS ONE AND THIS ONE AND THIS ONE and don’t have to do the walk of shame home with books I can’t afford.

  16. YES, I do this too. On some of my worst days, my best friend would come pick me up and take me to Barnes & Noble to browse. I’m a book creeper too and I have to pick up and touch every book that looks interesting. I read the back covers and take pictures of the ones I want to add to my TBR with my phone. It’s so comforting to be around so many words and stories, and by the time I come home I barely remember why whatever was bothering me was so important to begin with.

    • Aw what a good friend!!

      I do the same thing with taking pictures of the books I want to remember. If you have the goodreads app you can scan the book and it will add it to your TBR! That’s been helpful too but sometimes the picture is just easier bc I don’t have to get into the GR app!

  17. Jamie, what a lovely post! I feel the same way. As a little girl, I fantasized about getting “accidentally” locked in the library overnight. Now I get to work in a bookstore and it warms my heart that our store can be a little part of making someone’s day better.

    • Thank you, Ann! And omg I HAD THE SAME SAME fantasy!! I had this really cool old library growing up and I would seriously always think about it …except it WAS kind of a creepy building so that hung me up lol. It’s funny how HUGE it seemed to me at that age bc I went back to it (I don’t live there anymore) and I was like hmmm not quite the size I remember…it’s so small haha

  18. Yes. Yes. I spend so much time at my store when I’m done that I’m scared they are going to kick me out someday. haha. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE BOOKS AND I NEED A BREAK, PEOPLE. :) Nice place to find solace, except I wish B&N had some comfy places to sit. :(

    • HAHAH I seriously thought that one day because the lady was just eyeing me up and I wanted to be like I promise I’m not being shady or anything…I just am having a mental health day here THAT IS ALL. The one B&N near here has some decent seating and one of my local indies does too so I do love settling into a comfy chair and reading!

  19. I loved this post for so many reasons! Books are the best medicine! When I am feeling stressed I go to the library and do the exact same thing. I will even bring home a pile of books that I may never get to but it still makes me feel better! Love this post!

    • Haha yes I do the same thing. I bring home more books than I should be carrying and I don’t get to half of them but DID MY STRESS LEVEL GO DOWN? OH YES OH YES. That heaviness is not because of stress anymore…it’s all those WORDS.

  20. Yes! I wholeheartedly agree and could not have said it better! Books are the ultimate comfort, they’re there for you when ever you need them and rarely let you down, even when all you need is to loss yourself in shelves full of the beauties.

  21. I feel the same – there’s nothing like a great read or walking into another library or bookstore to feel calm. We all have those days. I hope things get better for you -sending good thoughts your way!

  22. “Potentially holding your next new favorite book or that book that will change your life.” What you said right there had me nodding my head! So true!

    • I think that is why books will always excite me because OMG YOU NEVER KNOW IF IT WILL BE FAVE WHEN YOU ARE HOLDING IT. But it also stresses me out because what if I JUUUUST passed over that new fave/life changing book?!

  23. You rock Jamie! I hope your past few days have been better – you’re an absolute ball of sunshine in the blogosphere and I positively ADORE you. I definitely agree with this post and can’t wait to talk to you again. You’re the best!

  24. I love, love this post! Books are the best and I turn to them when I’m feeling down (or just bored). I tend to read the same books when I’m not feeling well because I know that there are elements of the book that never fail to make me feel better (So many great quotes!). Bookstores are one of my favorite places to be, even on vacation and I find them so utterly calming.

    • YES I do this too. I dog ear a lot so it’s easy for me to pull out books I loved so much and read those parts that my heart happy or sometimes read the full book again.

  25. Kristin Cashore is one of my favorite authors and a few weeks ago, she wrote a cool blog post about being overwhelmed and getting perspective. You should check it out! http://kristincashore.blogspot.com/2014/07/locating-moon.html

  26. I completely agree. As I mostly get my books from the library now, even just walking though either the bookstore or the library, whether or not I will be reading anything new from my excursion there, I feel relaxed, excited, joyful, and better when I come out. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Could not have said it better myself Jamie!

    Marie @ Marie’s Bookworm Blog
    http://mariesbookwormblog.blogspot.com

  27. What a beautiful, lovely post! I agree with everything you said, and even your post itself was so calming. It kind of reminds me of looking up at the stars in the night sky — it makes you feel very small, but at the same time reminds you that you are a part of the big, beautiful universe and calms you. And of course, if you’re me, you look up at the night sky and wonder what space travel would be like, but that’s irrelevant. ;)

  28. PREACH IT, GIRL! You’ve captured pretty much perfectly how I feel about books and bookstores and libraries. Like you, I often go out of my way to go to a place filled with books just to find my “Zen zone”. When everything is driving me crazy, I can always count on books and stories to get me through. Plus, I’m totally in agreement when it comes to how doing this helps you realize that whatever it is you’re going through, it’s simply ONE DAY/ONE MOMENT in the grand scheme of things when so many other things are happening to you and to other people. Love it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner shared the ultimate remedy for the blues… bookstores and libraries! […]

  2. […] Jamie says wandering a bookstore is the best medicine when she’s feeling down. […]

  3. […] “The Best Medicine When I’m Feeling Down…” @ The Perpetual Page-Turner […]

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