I have always loved reading. Loved getting lost inside of a good book and being transported somewhere else...in my head. I remember being so into a book that I would rush home to read or try to steal away moments from responsibility to get in a few pages. I loved walking around bookstores and marveling.
Fun story. When 50 Shades of Grey came out, I was traveling to Cabo San Lucas. I started reading it on my flight there and took it to the pool with me where I was staying. Almost every woman at the pool was reading it. I made a lot of friends as we bonded over Christian Grey. I finished it quickly and bought the next installment on my iPad. By the time I had returned to Atlanta at the end of the week, I had finished all three books.
Books can be as fun or serious (or dirty) as you want them to be. I didn’t realize what a luxury reading was...until I had kids.
A hard and fast rule: kids won’t let you be great. They want all your attention and if it looks like you have any independent time, they want it. I would think those are just my kids if I didn’t know other people with kids. Y’all - kids are haters!
Even if you don’t have kids, life gets busy and some of our simple pleasures sometimes fall away. But reading is one of the things I was determined to keep, despite my busy, working mommy life.
Other than pleasure and learning, reading has some good benefits*:
- Improves brain connectivity.
- Strengthens your vocabulary and comprehension.
- Increases your ability to empathize with others.
- Can help you prepare for slumber.
- Can lower blood pressure and heart rate and reduce stress.
- Helps fight depression.
- Helps prevent cognitive decline as you age.
There are so many good books in this world and now is a great time to get it in. Here are a few ways to make it happen, even if you have a busy schedule.
Designate a time.
I like waking up earlier than the rest of my household to do a few things that are just all mine. Reading is one of them. It gives me quiet and uninterrupted time to immerse myself into some good stories. Bedtime is also when I have a little me time. Both of those times of day are the easiest for me to set aside 30 minutes. If neither morning or bedtime works for you, find another block of time in your schedule and calendar it, even if it’s only 10 minutes.
Take books with you.
A good chunk of my life is spent in carpool. My car is turned off and I am just sitting idle. I usually can get some reading in the in between time. I also take books to appointments and anywhere that will allow me a little time and space, including curbside pickups.
Swap TV time for book time.
How many times have you watched mindless tv just to pass the time? Consider using some of that time to put your nose in a book instead.
Make it a family affair.
Determine a Book Time for your squad when everyone grabs a book of their choice and sits together while reading independently. It will build stamina for all of you and also set the tone that reading is important.
Don’t make it hard.
Reading for pleasure should be pleasurable. It should be indulgent. So don’t beat yourself up if it used to take you no time to get through a book and now it takes you a lot longer. Just enjoy yourself and read what you can when you can.
If reading is your jam, don’t give it up. It might be just what you need to give you greater balance and reconnect to yourself.