a calm December


December is a conundrum of a month, isn’t it? Depending on the day, it can feel either cozy and quiet; jolly and festive; or over-booked, stressful, and full of forced joy.


Over the next few weeks, let’s remember to take a few moments each day to find some peace and calm.


Did you know that being in a quiet space can reduce tension in your body and your brain by lowering blood pressure, cortisol levels, and adrenaline? 

Fun fact:  Did you also know that you can double up on these healthy benefits by petting a cat? You’re truly doing yourself a favor when you sit quietly with a cat on your lap.


So when you’re feeling stressed, frazzled, or not quite at peace … find someplace truly quiet and — for a few minutes — just breathe.


Knowing how, and — crucially — remembering to breathe deeply when you need a mental break is a bit like having a secret super power that grants instantaneous calm.


Try this: Breathe in — a nice, deep, belly breath — for a count of 5 or 6. Then slooooowly breathe out; if possible, taking longer on the exhale than you did on your deep inhale. Then do it a few more times.


And then: take a few seconds to notice how much calmer you feel now.




Isn’t that better?


Wishing you a beautiful, calm December

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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help former and aspiring readers maximize life’s simple pleasures — like the joy of savoring a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (both mental and physical) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”


“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”

Helene Hanff

“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”

Elizabeth von Arnim

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim