Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Nice Cup Of Tea....

What do you do when you’re stressed?

In England, the cure for woes of all kinds has traditionally been a cup of tea—heavy on the sugar if you’ve had a shock.

I think for most women who aren’t on a diet, and many who are, chocolate has probably taken over this cure-all-ills role. (It certainly has for me.) And maybe coffee, with its stimulating dose of caffeine, has usurped the humble cup of tea.

I’ve been thinking about this because for a variety of reason both writing related and otherwise, life’s been stressful recently. Unfortunately, I’m a comfort eater. The first thing I turn to is food. But after I’ve dosed up on calories my favorite stress-reliever is losing myself in a good book.

The type of book I choose depends on the circumstances. If I need to retreat from the rat race for a while and chill out, I usually go for fantasy or paranormal romance to take me out of this world. If I feel bruised by something and I’m looking for emotional reassurance, my choice is always romance. I usually pick up historical romance by an author I enjoy such as Amanda Quick, or a short sweet contemporary by an author I trust to deliver an emotionally satisfying read such as Liz Fielding.

When my stress is more due to the monotony of office work or end-of-year tax returns, I tend to opt for something exciting or funny such as J.D. Robb’s In Death series or one of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovitch.

But I don’t need to be searching for a temporary escape from life to dive into a book. I love the luxury of a week-long vacation where I can spend all day reading without feeling guilty there’s something else I should be doing. For days sitting beside a pool, or under an umbrella looking out over the sea, I choose a mystery with a hint of romance such as Michele Scott’s Wine Lovers’ Mysteries.

What makes you want to pick up a book?


Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

My mom used to make me tea with lots of milk and sugar when I was sick. It still soothes me to this day. She would also put my favorite books in bed with me so I could read all day. So, when I feel stressed, I'll take the day off and just cuddle up, read, and drink tea. Works every time. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Helen, I've never gotten that specific -- but a wonderful romance regardless of the genre is my first choice. That or non-fiction subjects I luv exploring.
Anitra, I can relate. Not with the tea. Usually it was juice. My dad would mix orange juice and grape juice, and I'd have my books to read. My horse books like the Black Stallion.

Mel Hiers said...

Great post, Helen!

I haven't noticed a relationship between genre and emotional state when it comes to my reading. But I'm far more likely to re-read something when I'm stressed or distracted. The books on my keeper shelf are comfortable and reliable. When things are calm, I'm more likely to pick up something new.

Terry Odell said...

What makes me want to pick up a book? Anything. Everything. The hard part is getting what I'm supposed to be doing done so I can read. I go to the Y 4 mornings a week so I can justify 'guilt-free' reading time on the recumbent bike.

If I get enough done, I can take a break around 3 with a book, a cup of tea (and maybe some chocolate).

I shut down everything around 10 PM so I can get into bed and read.

I alternate between romance and mystery. And I agree with Mel -- if I'm really wigging out, being able to go to something familiar, where I know what's going to happen, helps re-center me.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Chiming in "me too" when I really need comforting I will re-read one of my keepers. Like "Twice in a Lifetime" by Rebecca Flanders. It was the first romance I ever read and when I re-read it, I find comfort--like a nice pair of cozy bunny slippers!

Lexie O'Neill said...

Helen and All,
I'm just weird, I guess. I rarely reread anything. I even told my students, my character traits include, "easily bored." And I crunch. Chips, popcorn, crackers...I've tried tea because it's healthier, but a no go:)
No connection with genre and stress, just something that's not academic.
Have a great day,

Savanna Kougar said...

Lexie, I rarely re-read also. And I used to crunch everything, chips, popcorn, nuts, ice -- unfortunately my teeth aren't up to 'crunching' anymore.
Come on, where are those super-tech visitors from other worlds? New teeth needed.