People who read regularly have higher levels of self-esteem, have less stress and can cope better with difficult situations (and the benefits of taking themselves off social media to boot).
Spending as little as 30 minutes a week would make you 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction than those who do not read at all. Readers are 21% less likely to report feelings of depression and are 10% more likely to report good self-esteem than non-readers.
Getting back into reading has now created a habit. Once you are in it, it’s consuming. When you are out of it, you don’t even look at a book. For months, I had a book next to my bed I wasn’t enjoying. Instead of getting rid of it. I just stopped reading. I started scrolling, looking at social media in an effort to get my eyes tired, or do one last task. Hours later I’d finally get to sleep after being distracted.
Taking my own advice and to get me back into the habit of reading. I got myself a book by an author I know I struggle to put down. I am making 30 mins (or as long as I can keep my eyes open) before bed, the time to read. Not scroll.
There are barriers to reading though: time, concentration, and other distractions.
Create time to read
You can always find a time to read a book: A commute, lunch break, or before you go to bed are great cues to pick up a book.
Can’t seem to find the time? Actively realise when you are scrolling, or mindlessly watching TV. Change that habit with a reading one.
Making the time, or replacing a bad habit with a reading one will help you feel more life satisfaction – especially needed if giving up something you like – including chocolate, cigarettes or alcohol.
Remind yourself to read
Reading can be created like any other habit. Remind yourself by setting an alarm on your phone. Putting the book with your lunch or by your bed, within a few days you will be reading regularly.
This kind of habit is formed if you have done it roughly 21 days in a row. It then becomes automatic. Starting today, see if you can commit to daily reading, set a reminder in 21 days to see how that habit feels.
Read on the best platform for you
Which do you enjoy the most? Magazines, audio books, a Kindle or a good old fashioned paper book? Recognise that and then find a book you adore. It doesn’t have to be intellectual to be enjoyed.
With so many options, there is a way for everyone. The popularity of audio books has made ‘reading’ more accessible, with people enjoying a book while walking, or in the car.
Don’t be afraid to dump it
If you dread picking up that book, or you are not eager to get to your lunch break so you can read the next chapter. Change it to another. The book won’t get upset. You might know genres you enjoy, or authors you can’t put down. But sometimes a book isn’t right for us. Beach reading, while not on the beach. Complex history book next to the pool might not be the right match either.
In this case, keep it for another time, or pass it to a friend, or give away for another person to enjoy.
Spend time with book lovers
By spending time with people who enjoy reading, you can benefit from encouragement and the sense of community. You can find some online reading communities that you can join in.
Sarah Bryer is the owner and coach at Show/Girl Coaching, which focuses on increasing confidence in women and enhancing a positive mindset.