2022 was the year I got back on my feet as a reader! After three consecutive years of not meeting my ‘reading goal’ on Goodreads and feeling like utter trash for it, I have managed to reinvigorate my reading and find new love for the practice! And because I’m all the better for it, I’m here today to help anyone else who might find themselves struggling to pick up a book again after a long hiatus. It can be daunting getting back on the proverbial horse, but so long as you try to follow these five tips, you’ll be a healthier reader in no time!
Go At Your Own Pace
When you read, don’t force yourself to speed-run the book. Read slowly and thoughtfully. Really take your time with the book and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, part of what can happen when we take on reading challenges and make goals for ourselves when it comes to our hobbies, it can take a lot of the fun out of it. Allow yourself to read joyfully this year! This means reading like a kid again!
If you binge a book, make sure to do it because the story is exciting and sucks you in, not so you can meet some kind of self-imposed, imaginary deadline!
Don’t Focus on Numbers
Last year was the first time in a long time I’d managed to meet my Goodreads reading goal. I originally started the year wanting to read 80 books––but by December, I had lowered the number to 40. Much, much more doable! My advice to you is to be realistic about your ‘goals’––don’t chase impressive figures just because you might see your friends managing to read 100+ books in a year. As awesome as that may be, that’s them! What works for some people doesn’t work for all!
Treat yourself with kindness and if you want to take on a reading goal, pick a number that is manageable for your daily life! You’ll save yourself a lot of guilt and anxiety that way, trust me!
Read What Makes You Happy
It can be easy these days to be influenced by what other people are reading. The more visibility we have to others, the more pressure you might feel under to do (and read) what other people do. It might seem obvious, but it’s in your best interest not to! Reading should be relaxing, immersive and exciting––not a chore. And how does reading end up feeling like a chore? It only happens when we push ourselves to read things we already know aren’t up our alley. While it’s all well and good to go outside your comfort zone, remember that you know yourself best. Only you know what tropes, plots, and genres you enjoy the most.
So, if you’re someone who loves digging into a mystery and hates rom-coms, don’t pick up Elena Armas’ The Spanish Love Deception. Similarly, if chick lit is your thing, don’t pick up Riley Sager’s The Last Time I Lied expecting lots of romance! Expand your horizons, but don’t force yourself to read something you know you’ll hate!
Join a Book Club
Getting a library card was what really got me into reading again, so I definitely recommend doing that if you don’t have one already. But what will really get you excited to pick up a book are all the amazing conversations you can have when you and a friend are reading the same one. Don’t have any bookish friends in real life? No problem! Online, you can find plenty of book clubs and bookish communities to engage with. For example, feel free to check out the Reddit book club subreddit for read-alongs you can partner up in! Alternatively, check out our Instagram and see if you can make any friends there too!
If you do private read-alongs with a buddy, you can hold each-other accountable too, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself racing to read so the two (or more) of you can discuss the most recent plot twists!
Remember Why You Love This
Think back to when you started to read and what made you fall in love with the hobby. Did you stay up late, snuggled up on a sofa reading spooky stories and scaring yourself silly? Or, did you escape hard times by drifting off into fantasy lands where nothing could hurt you? Maybe you read to feel represented by people who reminded you of yourself? Whatever was the catalyst, try to go back to that feeling and don’t give up on finding it again.
The only way to not read is if you… don’t. Even if you only read one book a month, or even a year, so long as the book you read makes you feel that way again, it’s time well-spent. Don’t forget that!
And so, we’ve made it to the end. I really hope these tips helped. At the end of the day, remember that reading isn’t a duty you’re sworn to. It should bring you unfiltered happiness and pleasure to read and following these five tips will help keep it that way!
For more bookish mental health tips, click here!