2 Ways Starting a Book Club Can Improve Your Life

Michelle Chahine Sinno Book Clubs

I’ve wanted to start a book club for ages. There are 2 components to this when it comes to a balanced life:

  1. A key contributor to work-life balance is to NOT take your phone to bed AND to read a book before sleeping: This leads to having better night’s sleep, getting away from the thoughts or stress of the day, unwinding, and best of all, being transported into a different world and often getting perspective and insight on your own daily hustle.

2. I’ve found that a key to balance is having an “end time” when you stop working. To be sure, this can’t happen every day, especially when you’re starting a new endeavor. And it can be different depending on the day or the week. But without a doubt, resting your mind and doing other things in the late afternoon, evening and night hours makes you more energized, strategic and productive as a whole.

It goes without saying that having friends over on a random week night helps force the “end time” and is an easy way get away from lap tops or other busywork, relax, and enjoy yourself. That’s why having a set date once a month, at the very least, for a book club can help reduce stress, in my opinion 🙂

Book Club Spread Michelle Chahine Sinno

I’ve wanted to begin a new book club since the spring, and it took many months to actually do it (yesterday night!), because there’s always a reason not to, always things that need to get done, schedules, plans… So my main tip would be:

Set a date.

Just pick one date, give everyone else a couple of weeks’ notice, and gather. You can figure out the details during your first meeting, including the first book you’ll read together and when to meet next. The key thing, as with so many other areas in life, is to just start.

Last week, I went to one of the Architects of Change Live events with Maria Shriver here in LA. She was having a conversation with Glennon Doyle Melton, founder of MomasteryTogether Rising, and author of the new book Love Warrior. Something she said during the discussion really resonated with me (well many things she said resonated with me, but here’s one of them):

“All the good done in the world was done by people who stood up and showed up before they were ready.”

So be it with a book club, something you’ve been meaning to do, or a dream you want to follow… Just start! Being ready is overrated.




5 Reasons to Cook With Loved Ones

Michelle Chahine Sinno Cooking Work Life Balance

I spent much of this past Sunday afternoon cooking with my mom. I asked her to teach me how to make “Kebbeh” a delicious Lebanese recipe that involves ground meat with onions and bulgur baked in the oven. (Trust me on the delicious). As I’ve written, I’m trying to learn how to make lots of favorites from when I was child both for A. posterity and  B. healthy eating (and to share on this blog).

Now this particular recipe was quite complex. I’m going to work on simplifying so it can me made more easily here in the U.S. and so it works for regular dinners made by relatively busy people. But cooking with mom all afternoon showed me something other than how to recreate a good meal from where I grew up: It showed me the power of doing activities, physical activities, with the people we love.

When trying to have quality time or bond, people often think they have to have deep, meaningful conversations. I certainly do. But I was reminded on Sunday that one of the best ways to keep a bond strong is to make something together. In my case, it was making a meal from scratch (and then preferably enjoying that meal together). It could be as varied as carpentry, seasonal decorations like pumpkin carving, baking, making a photo album… Or it can be about experiencing something together, like going on a day trip, taking a class (could be online), reading the same book at the same time, even listening to the same weekly podcast…

After six weeks of happily getting to spend a lot of time with family, I’ve learned that doing activities can bring you together in 4 key ways:

  1. Working on something together can bring out the best in both of you
  2. Having fun together is bonding in a very significant way– You then associate memories of the person with good times.
  3. In the spirit of work-life balance, you can combine 2 key factors together: Seeing loved ones with while doing things on your bucket list, small and large.
  4. Sharing things you really like can be much more powerful than telling loved ones about things you like. As any writer and editor will tell you: Show don’t tell!
  5. Doing things with loved ones can be one of the best escapes from daily stress and is a good way to stop thinking about work tasks and goals. By being active, you are forced to be more present. It’s hard to be on your phone checking email when your hands are busy.

Would love more ideas of activities to do with loved ones. Please share!