Guilty pleasures: we all need them

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In today’s high-stress world, we all need to find a way to let off a little steam. Whether it be via an adventurous vacation, a night out with the girls or hot yoga on the weekends, finding a little time to decompress helps to keep a person sane and ready to face another day. How you choose to unwind is a very personal decision since not everything works for everyone.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with a variety of ways to unwind, everything from exercise to crossword puzzles to kniting, but there’s nothing that turns my active, stressed-out brain to the “off” position like my true guilty pleasure: trashy novels. At the end of a long day, it’s like a rich dessert for my soul: no nutritional value but sinfully delicious.

It all started with the Twilight series and last year’s New York Times best-selling guilty pleasure, Fifty Shades of Grey. Until then, I thought all books had to be meaningful and Oprah-worthy. Suddenly, I was discovering the joy of reading novels that didn’t require any deep thinking or intellectual investment and enjoying the temporary mental vacation they gave me.

I soon went down the rabbit hole of guilty pleasure reading, filling my Kindle with titles that sound too ridiculous and embarrassing to say out loud — and enjoying them thoroughly. Do I feel guilty reading such escapist trash? Maybe just the teensiest bit. Sure, I could use that hour or two an evening to catch up on world events, learn a new skill, get some exercise or organize my closet, but the relaxation and “time out” it provides me is far more beneficial to my well-being than any of those things. Don’t judge!

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