It’s Okay to Take a Break

It’s okay to take a break when you’re struggling mentally, physically, or both.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. We all have so many commitments to keep up with that being able to make time for yourself can be rare. It’s okay to take a break, though, and if you are struggling, I urge you to consider stepping back.

I had to step back from this blog during the first several months of 2021 due to an overwhelming sense of burnout and poor mental health.

I’m finally feeling much better and am back to blogging, and after taking such a long break, I’m now enjoying it just as much as I was when I first started this blog!

That’s not to say that I ever disliked writing here, it’s just that I got so wrapped up in the idea of making money through the blog that it started to feel like a second job. My full-time job is demanding and I really struggle with my mental health due to it, but building up this blog until it felt like a job took a lot of the fun out of it.

So I stepped back and took some much-needed time off. I started to read for pleasure again without taking notes the whole time for an upcoming review. I stopped waking up every morning to scour and post Kindle deals (which took over an hour each day!). I stopped using Twitter. After a couple of weeks like this, I had rediscovered my passion for reading and writing and wanted to jump back into it. However, I forced myself to wait just a little longer, to make sure I was ready. And it’s paid off.

When should you take a break?

There are too many reasons to list here for why you might need to take a break from some aspect of your life.

Some examples, however, include:

  • When you feel like you never have “me time”
  • You find yourself stressed over mundane or trivial things
  • Your sleep is interrupted by worries over what you need to get done the next day
  • If you no longer find pleasure in the things you once did
  • Spending time with people you love start to feel like a chore
  • Your body and/or mind is simply exhausted

Not everyone can step back from work or their commitments, however. That is a privilege that not everyone has. However, if you are in the position to take a break and you need one, do it. It’s not the end of the world to take off a sick day from work or to use your vacation time or to cancel plans to work in some alone time. It’s 100% okay.

While taking a single “mental health” day isn’t going to fix everything, it will give you a moment to simply catch your breath, and sometimes, that can be life-saving.

What if you aren’t able to take a break?

If you are not in the position to take time off work or to set aside your commitments, then you still have some options!

Try to find time during your busy day to work in at least half an hour of time for self-care. For example, after putting the kids to bed you could have a glass of wine while relaxing in a bubble bath. Or, you could wake up a hour earlier before work and use that time for reading or journaling.

If you can’t manage to make time for something like that, perhaps listen to some relaxing music or a self-help audiobook on your commute.

Your mental and physical health is important. Sometimes it’s hard to make time to take care of yourself, but it’s literally one of the most important things that you can do! So please try to make time, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.

Why I Decided to Leave Twitter

Leaving Twitter was the best decision for me after years of struggling with the toxicity of the platform.

Leaving Twitter; Why I Decided to Leave Twitter

I’ve always struggled with Twitter, so leaving Twitter recently was an unbelievable relief.

I was very late to the game (years and years late), only signing up a few years ago. I’ve never tweeted consistently, and I’ve had to force myself to learn to use it after starting this blog.

Within the last few weeks, I decided that I no longer wanted Twitter in my life.

It wasn’t the easiest decision, as a decent portion of my website traffic comes from Twitter.

However, the negative aspects of using Twitter, especially the drain on my mental wellbeing, far outweighed the traffic being generated here to this blog.

I wanted to write a quick post explaining my decision to deactivate my Twitter account, because I know I’m not the only person that finds the social media site to be toxic and detrimental.

If you’ve had similar experiences, or if you disagree entirely, let me know all about it in the comments below.

Lack of Facts and Critical Thinking

The primary reason that I decided to no longer use Twitter is due to the fact that it’s one of many social media sites spreading inaccurate, misleading, or false information.

I follow more than twenty news sources in order to consume a wide range of information. Does that sound exhausting? Because it is. It might be overkill, but it’s a habit that started way back in 2009 when I was studying political science and international relations. I appreciate seeing different viewpoints of current events. It also allows me to think more critically about what I’m reading.

Not to be cynical or anything, but I have a really hard time trusting anything the media, particularly mainstream media, says.

I spend more time than I’d like navigating news sources like NPR, Reuters, Der Spiegel, The Daily Wire, The New York Times, The Intercept, and The Guardian (among others). The last thing I need is to have to do the same while I’m scrolling a social media site.

Before leaving Twitter, there wasn’t a single day that went by when I didn’t see someone misrepresent a news story in order to push an agenda. In some cases, it may not have even been a conscious decision on their part. Maybe they just agreed with the sentiment. But it was always there. There’d also be people spreading blatantly false information in their own little echo chambers, and if anyone attempts to correct such false information, there’s a good chance they’d be called out for it. This brings me to the next reason I’m no longer using Twitter.

Toxicity, Public Shaming, and Cancel Culture

Twitter is the only website that has ever given me an actual, literal panic attack.

The toxicity of Twitter users is astounding. When did people become so angry, hateful, and divided over every little thing?

It doesn’t matter if people are discussing something as mundane as pizza toppings or as important as police brutality – people are going to fight. I’m always startled by the lack of honest discourse when it comes to disagreements on Twitter.

When enough people disagree with someone, or when someone questions popular sentiment, they get cancelled. Cancel culture is one of the biggest travesties of our modern society.

There are plenty of public figures and tons of authors who I personally choose not to support. I’ve done my research on them and have decided that due to their actions, I will not spend money on their books, I will not support or publicize them in any way, and I choose to ignore them as much as possible. However, it is not my place to dictate what other people do, which is why I don’t talk about these people I’ve “cancelled.” Cancel culture creates an atmosphere where people are afraid to speak up, and to me, that’s a form of censorship, which I am 100% against. I’ve heard of many other people leaving Twitter (along with other social media platforms) for this same reason.

Doomscrolling and Wasting Time

This should be an obvious reason against using Twitter, and I don’t have too much to say.

Just like any social media site, it’s too easy to get sucked in and spend a lot of time scrolling through updates. The thing is, however, 90% of those updates are negative or useless. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

If you love Twitter and but find that you also spend way too much time scrolling, think about “decluttering” your feed.

What Community?

One of the original reasons I joined Twitter, specifically “Book Twitter,” was to join a community. I don’t have a lot of real-life bookish friends, so the prospect of finding new friends online to talk about books with was very appealing.

I didn’t find it an easy community to get into, however. Maybe I had difficulty because I’m not great at using Twitter or due to my ridiculously overwhelming social anxiety. Even after putting in some considerable effort to start conversations and engage more, I never felt like part of the community.

This isn’t anything against Twitter or the people who use the site. It’s purely my own experience. Obviously, other people have had different experiences and love the Twitter book community. This lack of ease in entering the community, however, was one of the reasons that I didn’t feel much of a need to stick around.

Final Thoughts on Leaving Twitter

This is not a post about why you guys should cancel your Twitter account, or why Twitter is evil. I wanted to share my experiences and the reasons why leaving Twitter was the right decision for me.

What are your experiences with using Twitter? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Reading as an Escape


One of the most common reasons I hear for why people love to read is that it allows them to escape the stress of our real world and escape into a fantasy. Escapism is a powerful tool for releasing the stress that builds up over time, and it also serves to let us view worlds, ideas, and people that we may never experience otherwise.

Escapism is the primary reason that I’m drawn to books. It’s no secret that I have a great deal of stress and anxiety in my life; I’ve shared it with you guys often. I also work a high-stress job dealing with scared, angry, and frightened people over the phone, and there are times when it’s hard for me not to dwell on those situations once I’ve clocked out from work. Mental illness, financial hardships, health crises, a global pandemic… these are only a few reasons that we might pick up a book in order to escape for a few hours.

I started reading at an early age, but I think it was in middle school and high school where I really picked up reading as a serious hobby. I was not a happy teenager. I was severely depressed and untreated; I missed too many days of school, I failed assignments because I was too anxious or embarrassed to present a project in front of the class, and I didn’t feel as though I really fit in with my friend group.

Reading was what I turned to in order to release the stress. I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction, and I would get lost in the stories. While I was reading, I wasn’t focused on my speech impediment, being overweight, or overwhelming loneliness; I was going on an adventure with a group of exciting characters! The library quickly became my favorite place to be, and I skipped lunch in high school more than a few times in order to pursue the shelves in search of my next story.

As I’ve gotten older and am nearing my mid-thirties, I still find myself turning to fiction when the real world becomes too much to handle. Sometimes it can be detrimental, and I’m aware of that; for example, there are times when I really should be working, doing chores, or running errands, but I cannot bring myself to close the book. I have to know what happens next. Overall, though, reading has allowed me the space I need to breathe and come back to myself.

Several years ago, I moved away from Asheville, NC, where most of my friends live, to a city where I didn’t know anyone aside from family. I still don’t have a large group of friends here, and when I’m feeling lonely, reaching for a book or talking to other members of our book community makes me feel happier and less alone.

I don’t know what my future looks like, but I do know that no matter what happens, I will always turn to books when I want to feel better, or get lost, or explore a new world. Books have given me so much throughout my life, and I hope I can continue to share my love of the written word with all of you for years to come.

What does reading mean to you? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Weekend Update – 4 Jan 2020


The first few days of 2020 have been… interesting. Not quite what I was expecting.

I received a book from a publisher that made me realize that the reason I often feel burned out is due to overstretching what I’m actually capable of, both mentally and physically.

Fuel Your Fire

I received a copy of Fuel Your Fire: 200 Ways to Instantly Beat Burnout and Reignite Your Passion from Adams Media at the very end of 2019. It was the very second book that I read this year.

I’m so glad to have read this book when I did. 

I’ve talked before about burnout. Burnout, in all areas of my life, is something that I deal with pretty much constantly. While reading Fuel Your Fire, I suddenly realized why.

I set my expectations of myself much too high and overstretch myself between large projects that I have no time or energy to complete. 

At the end of December, I announced that I was going to be posting my first BookTube video on the first of January and that didn’t happen. The reason that it didn’t happen was that I made that commitment before knowing how to edit videos. Which, as it turns out, is pretty damn hard for a complete beginner.

I have a tendency to get ahead of myself and commit to way too much at once. I’ll take a look at what I want to accomplish without taking into account the fact that I still have to work a full-time job, spend time with my loved ones, take care of myself, do chores and errands, and, you know, live. 

I love this blog, and yes, I’m still planning on uploading that BookTube video as soon as I figure out how the hell to edit it properly. At the same time, however, I need to be realistic. I can’t commit to posting fifteen articles and reviews a week, three videos a week, maintain social media constantly, and still have time to do everything else that needs to be done in my life.

Now, don’t take this to mean that this is the end of my blog. What I can commit too is posting a couple of reviews per week as I finish books and a few unique articles every week. Once I teach myself how in the hell to edit a video, I’m pretty sure I can commit to one BookTube video a week. Those goals are realistic.

I’ll have a review of Fuel Your Fire coming soon, but I wanted to take this time to just write about the revelation that this book woke up in me. Our world today is a constant whirlwind of information, to-do lists, and activities, and it’s so easy to forget that you can’t do everything. I’d rather be able to relax and enjoy life rather than constantly stressing about the next thing I need to get done. I doubt I’m the only person going through this.

Do you ever find yourself over-committing or feeling burned out? Let me know what you do to combat those feelings down in the comments. Let’s work through this together.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

November 2019 Wrap-Up

November 2019.png

It’s hard to believe that November has already come and gone. I know that everyone says this, but it really does feel as though 2019 is flying by.

This past month, my reading was pretty disorganized. I struggled with depression and anxiety more than I have been recently, and as a result, I missed a lot of work and found it difficult to do anything more than feel sad most days. Fortunately, I’m feeling better now, partly because I changed to a different schedule at work. I’m also trying to get back into a regular meditation and yoga habit, which will undoubtedly improve things even further.

Reading Wrap-Up

I’ve given up on trying to reach my ridiculous Goodreads reading challenge, which I over-ambitiously set to 225. I’ll be more realistic in 2020. I’m currently at 149 books finished, which is still really awesome! It’s the most I’ve ever read in a single year, and we’ve still got one last month!

In November, I read six novels, one novella, one anthology, and five graphic novels:

Reincarnation Blues and We Have Always Lived in the Castle were definitely my favorite books for the past month. I’ll be posting my December TBR in an upcoming post.

On the Blog

Out of all my blog posts in November, the one I’m proudest of is An Example of What Bipolar Disorder is Like. It’s something that I’ve wanted to write for a while, and I’m glad I was able to share a peek of what my life is like with you guys.

If you’re a blogger or vlogger or content creator, share your favorite posts from November in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

An Example of What Bipolar Disorder is Like


At least as far back as high school, I’ve dealt with severe depression, anxiety, and mood changes, but it wasn’t until this past year that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The diagnosis didn’t lead to a cure for the disorder since there isn’t one, but it’s allowed me to notice the symptoms and triggers for the manic or depressive episodes that define the disease. Seeking professional help for it has also led to being on medication that I, in all honesty, should have been on decades ago.

Unfortunately, we’re still getting the medications worked out. The types of drugs and the amount vary for everyone, and we haven’t quite found the right mix for me yet, despite going as far as doing genetic testing to try to figure out the best combinations. The medication has certainly helped to a certain degree, but I’m still having manic and depressive episodes that are severe enough to interrupt my normal day-to-day activities.


This past week has been a rough one, and also a perfect example of what my bipolar disorder is like. Therefore, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about what I experience every time I go through a manic and depressive episode.

Everything started out fine this past week, and I even managed to complete nearly a full week at work (which has been rare for me lately). Then the hypomania kicked in.

Hypomania is different from mania, although it can also lead to full-blown mania. Bipolar mania tends to get out of control, sometimes even requiring hospitalizations. Mania lasts for a week or more, can lead to terrible decisions (think out-of-control spending, increased drinking and drug use, and making poor sexual choices) and is something that, thankfully, I’ve only experienced twice in my life.


Lasting for just a few days however, hypomania actually feels great much of the time. During the hypomanic days that I experienced this past week, I was incredibly productive, highly motivated, excited about everything, talkative (which is strange for me, because I’m usually really quiet), and didn’t sleep as much. I experience hypomania frequently, and it always leads to a period of depression.

It’s a strange feeling to be hypomanic. One the one hand, it’s wonderful, because I no longer feel depressed, I have less anxiety, and I can get so much done. On the other hand, however, I know that it can lead to an actual manic episode. I have trouble knowing when I’m hypomanic, which is why I’m thankful for my boyfriend, who has taken the time to get familiar with the disorder so that he can help recognize the symptoms even when I can’t.

So, for two to three days, I felt great. And then yesterday happened.


Yesterday I woke up feeling shattered. I didn’t want to get out of bed, my anxiety was about as high as it could get, and I felt worthless. I had to call out of work which was necessary but made me feel guilty and even more upset.

My entire day yesterday consisted of beating myself up mentally, binge-eating, trying to escape into Fallout 4, and napping. So much napping.

My boyfriend did what he could to try to cheer me up and to make sure I was eating and drinking water, lighting stress-relieving candles around me and putting my cat on my lap when I was feeling particularly bad (quick tip – purring cats make you feel better). Despite all this, I just felt like absolute trash all day.

Depression isn’t something that you can smile your way out of or ignore the pain of. There’s nothing worse that you can say to someone suffering from depression than “snap out of it” or “It’s not that bad – deal with it.” It’s a mental illness that can lead to physical pain and make normal life impossible to carry on with.

Being bipolar is difficult. There are any number of things that can trigger either a manic or depressive episode. The worst thing I’ve been dealing with lately is that it appears that my job is a trigger for depression, which is terrible since it’s the best-paying job I’ve ever had, and I desperately need the medical and mental health benefits that I receive from it.

While these manic and depressive episodes are different in everyone, and can even vary for me, this was a great example of what living with bipolar disorder feels like. As I learn more about coping with this disorder, I’ll share what I learn with you guys. As of today, I’m still struggling with the depressive part, but I know it won’t be too long before I’m on another upswing.

Bipolar disorder is one hell of a mentally exhausting disease.

Are there any questions you would like to see answered about living with bipolar disorder? Leave them in the comments for me and I’ll answer as many as I can!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Children’s Books I Grew Up On – Reviews & Reflections

Me as a toddler

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I grew up in a house of readers, always surrounded by books. I’m so thankful for that upbringing because I’ve loved books as far back as I can remember.

Recently, I decided to re-read a few of my favorite children’s books and wanted to provide some brief reviews and talk about why these books are so important to me.

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

The first book that always comes to mind when I reminisce on the books that I loved growing up is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

The Hobbit is a sort of prelude to Tolkien’s adult fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Ringsand far more suitable to children who might not be interested in the intricacies of the deep folklore and language that Tolkien created for his other novels.

I was introduced to this book early on because my mother had a gorgeous green leather edition of it in a slipcase that I would frequently take down from our living room’s bookshelf and read through over and over again. I’d spend afternoons poring over the pages and maps contained within the story. Hell, at one point I even managed to learn to read the runes on the maps. I was obsessed with this story early on, and am so thankful that my mother loved this book too. She died back in 2010, and every time I re-read this book it makes me feel closer to her.

Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstein.jpg

An author that I frequently think about (and whose work I still love) is Shel Silverstein. Not too long ago I shared a review of Silverstein’s adult book, Different Dancesbut I grew up reading his collections of children-appropriate poems, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up

When I re-read both of these books a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover that I still enjoyed them, despite now being in my early thirties.

As with The Hobbit, Silverstein’s children’s books are definitely some that I’ll be sharing with any future children I have. The poems are perfect for kids that like to have fun with words and memorize witty little poems that they can recite back to friends and parents at (in)appropriate times.

The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein.jpg

Silverstein’s drawings, on every page of his books, are fun and simple and drew me in when I was a child.

While Where the Sidewalk Ends is definitely one of his most well-known classics, my favorite has always been The Giving Tree.

If you’re not familiar with that story, it’s about the relationship and friendship between a little boy and his tree. The tree loves the boy dearly, and willingly gives up anything it has in order to protect him. Whether this is in the form of shade, limbs to play on, apples to eat, and so on, there’s no sacrifice too big for the tree. By the end of the story, you’re left with a message of sacrificing everything for love and learning how to appreciate others. 

The Lorax Dr Seuss.jpg

It would be absolutely impossible to have a list of children’s books without having several Dr. Seuss titles on it.

Almost everyone I know, including people much younger than me, had at least one Dr. Seuss story that stuck with them. His books are so perfect and timeless that they’re going to be around for many decades to come, helping children learn to read while, at times, teaching them important lessons.

When I was young, my favorite Dr. Seuss story was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I had the entire book memorized by first grade and could recite it back perfectly.

Some of my other favorites are well-known, such as Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socksand The Butter Battle Book

As an adult, the book that I’ve come to appreciate the most is The Lorax. It’s not a surprise that this book has stuck in my mind for so long. I grew up reading books like The Lorax and watching movies such as FerngullyIt’s obvious that becoming an environmentalist started very young for me.

The Lorax is the kind of book that teaches both children and adults important lessons about conservationism and consumerism.

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak.jpg The most aesthetically beautiful book I remember from my childhood is Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are

This book is truly iconic and will be for many years to come. The story is a very simple one, about a boy’s imagination, but it’s the artwork done by author Maurice Sendak that really makes this book special.

Each spread in the book is colorful and perfect enough to hang on your wall as an art print. The images, as an adult, evoke memories of playing as a young child and the fun that could be had with the power of your own imagination.

A little princess and a secret garden.PNGTwo of the first chapter books I remember reading were both by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess and The Secret Garden are both wonderful stories for children, and I loved them so much when I was a little girl.

I recently purchased these stunning Barnes & Noble editions so that I could re-read them as an adult, which I plan to do around the holidays.

Out of the two books, The Secret Garden was always my favorite, primarily because I’m attracted to flowers and gardens.

I remember also watching movie adaptations of these stories when I was little, but I don’t actually remember much about them at this point.

So there you have it – a few of my favorite children’s books. Sometime in the near future, I’ll do another post about my favorite books as a pre-teen and teenager because I have so many more books that I could talk about. All of these books I’ll be sharing with my future children and grandchildren to hopefully show them the same wonderful stories that I had growing up.

What were your favorite children’s books growing up? Have you read any of my favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for some more children’s stories?

Fantastic Mr. Fox | The Witches | Bunnicula | Furthermore | The Tea Dragon Society

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Sugar-Free January – Week One


Last week, I shared that I was participating in Sugar-Free January and that I would be posting weekly updates about my progress.

To sum the first week up, I’m craving all the sugar.

I had expected to have sugar cravings the first few days, but I wasn’t expecting to literally be dreaming about sugar. The third night of this challenge, I had a dream that I was sitting on my couch with a huge popcorn bowl, except it was filled with an assortment of candy. The entire dream was just me eating candy because my brain clearly hates me.

It’s also been challenging because, despite the holidays being over, I still find myself surrounded by decadent treats everywhere I am. While it’s been challenging to say no to everything, I’ve stuck with it.

The worst temptation I’ve had occurred during a trip to the grocery store. The particular store I was at had their sparkling waters directly across from their cookie selection, and while I was picking up some La Croix (which, by the way, is great for satisfying a sweet tooth without eating sugar!), I noticed that there was now a carrot cake Oreo flavor. Carrot cake is one of my favorite things in the world, and I bought it. While I’m not planning on trying them until next month, walking by them day after day has been challenging.

One of the positive things about this challenge is that I’m rediscovering my love of fruit. I’ve never been a fruit lover, but without being able to grab ice cream or a cookie when I’m craving something sweet, I’ve been gravitating towards fruit, especially bananas.

I haven’t noticed any changes in my skin, weight, or general feelings of wellness. Aside from the intense cravings I’ve had every day, I don’t feel different at all. However, even though I don’t feel different, I know that it’s having a positive effect on my overall health.