How to break out of a reading slump

No matter how long it’s been, it’s never too late to get back to the books 

Were you the type of 12-year-old who could binge read a whole book series in the span of a few weeks? Did reading slowly become less of a habit as you inevitably became preoccupied with school, jobs and other real-world stressors?

Reading books has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for our mental health. A 2009 research study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered the heart rate and blood pressure of the participants. 

Getting back into reading is definitely feasible, but it can be daunting for those who feel they’re too busy and simply don’t have time for it. 

However, we could all use a method to destress and relax. What better way to do that than to escape into a completely different world with a new book?

Here are some ways former book-lovers can fall back in love with reading:

Start light or revisit old favourites

If you haven’t picked up a book in a while, it’s probably best to steer away from a 1000-page epic (unless that’s something that interests you, of course.)

The Book Girls’ Guide suggests starting off with a lighter read. Whether it be a collection of poems, short stories, a young adult novel or even something you’ve already read in the past, a lighter read can help ex-bookworms ease into longer stories. 

Replace phone time with book time

While they are among one of the most useful tools of the modern era, smartphones, laptops and other smart devices have monopolized  a lot of our free time. As soon as we have time off from school or work, our first instinct is to check our text messages or social media or even play mobile games.

But what if we spent the same amount of time that we dedicate to our phones towards reading a good book?

Publishizer’s Lee Constantine recommends replacing all technological gadgets with a book. Instead of binge-watching an entire season of a new Netflix series or scrolling through Instagram, consider taking some time to read a few chapters before bed.

Keep your space clean

It has been scientifically proven that being well organized can help to improve healthier work habits. According to a study by researchers at Princeton University, it’s important to maintain a clean workspace or home environment, especially when trying to concentrate.

While this is typically applied to those  working from home, it’s definitely applicable to those who are trying to get back into reading after a long hiatus. So if you think that the untidiness of your surroundings will detract from enjoying a new book, eliminate any potential distractions by cleaning up.

Audio books

Multi-chaptered books can be extremely intimidating, especially if you haven’t willingly picked one up since before secondary school. 

Fortunately, we live in a time where audiobooks are easily accessible through online downloading. They are particularly convenient for those who can’t find the time to read throughout the day. That Weird Girl Life recommends listening to audiobooks on your daily commute to work or school, traveling or even when you’re cleaning up around the house.

Make a list of books that interest you

Contrary to the popular phrase, you can judge a book by its cover. 

It’s common to finish a book and immediately lose interest in the next one that you planned to read. Tea and Ink Society describes it best: “Any time you hear of a book that sparks your interest, capture that title.”

If you spot a book that interests you at the library or bookstore—or if you simply prefer a specific genre, create a “to be read” list for yourself to go back to later. Websites such as GoodReads and Amazon Book Review offer the option for readers to browse according to their own interests.

No matter how much time has passed since you last picked up a book, it’s still possible to fall back in love with that old hobby. So prepare your “to be read” list, tidy up, put your phone away and happy reading!

About the author

Alyssa Bravo is a former reporter for Youth Mind. She is a coffee fiend and likes music, movies and food. She wishes to travel to Italy and Greece, and hopes she’ll live to see the day the Toronto Maple Leafs win their 14th championship. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her watching videos of dogs or baby pandas.

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