An important aspect of health is the purging of stuff. Holding on to things we no longer need can be a habit that extends beyond your closet or, in this month’s initiative, your bookshelf. The state of our physical space is often a reflection of the state of our bodies and minds. Negative self-talk and that extra 20 lbs you are carrying around may be easier to get rid of when you start purging and emptying your surroundings. (Scientific studies by Peter Walsh, Nicole Keith)

For the month of February, we’re making it even easier for you to give back AND to start freeing up space in your life for those things you DO want hanging around like: new found muscle and books you will actually read! We’re calling on all book worms, literature lovers, and avid readers (plus anyone who’s ever owned a book, that’s YOU) to donate any books that you no longer need to our February book drive at EPIC. We’re looking for books of all kinds, from children’s stories, to biographies, mysteries, business books, fiction and non-fiction - whatever you’ve got!

Starting March 10th we will be holding a book sale - donate books you no longer want in February and in March, come by our book sale to purchase books you do want! Aaaall of the proceeds raised will do to the #EPICkids Foundation. This foundation introduces the EPIC life to people at a young age in a fun and educational way. Learning about these values in childhood and adolescence makes it so much easier to carry them on for the rest of their lives. Any books that don’t sell will then be donated to Twice Upon a Time, a local volunteer organization that provides free books to children 12 years old and under to support early literacy skills.

Part of living #theEPIClife is being open to growth and learning new things. Reading is the simplest way to do both of these things! Plus reading provides you with some fantastic mental health benefits as well. Mental stimulation, stress reduction, memory improvement, improved focus and concentration, stronger analytical thinking skills, and more knowledge. We all know that knowledge is power, and power sets you free!

It can be easy to take books for granted. There is no shortage of new or used book stores in Ottawa and many of us have probably read enough to have favourite authors or genres. But not everyone- even in our community- has the opportunity or access to education and books. We can’t stress enough the importance of literacy. It is such a strong contributor to a healthy mind. Reading develops the mind and imagination to open us up to new ideas and it’s incredible for self-improvement and building strong character.

So purge your closets, unclutter your shelves, and get rid of what you’re not reading anymore! 100% of everything you donate will be going to a good cause and giving back to our community. This is a true opportunity to give a gift that keeps on giving.