Why Creating a Reading Habit was so Important to Me

In the past my relationship with reading has been a bit hit and miss. For the most post I have always enjoyed reading. Somehow I just managed to avoid actually doing it. I found distraction in so many other, seemingly less demanding activities, namely watching television and playing video games. In some cases it would take me three months to finish a novel. I just did not have the discipline to sit myself down and concentrate on reading a book.

I am glad to say that the above is no longer the case. Reading on a daily basis is now something I am fully committed to. It is quite easy for me to identify the point at which this change in mind-set occurred. My attitude towards reading changed around 18 months ago.

Reading became a priority for me when I was suffering from terrible insomnia. It was actually my mother who suggested that reading might help. It was nearing Christmas time and she had bought me the latest book in the Bones series by Kathy Reichs (we had read all of them in our house). She handed me the hardback and told me that it was an early Christmas present.

That night I took myself up to bed and read for well over an hour. At that point my eyes became heavy and I was no longer able to concentrate on the plot line. I decided to call it a night, turned the light off and curled up in my duvet, expecting a sleepless night. Just over six hours later I awoke having had the longest sleep I had managed in weeks. I could have cried. I felt like a totally different person.

Being off of work at that time, I had nothing really that I needed to do during the day. I curled up on the sofa with a (decaf) cup of tea and continued reading. My anxiety was melting away. I no longer had time to sit there and ponder all of the horrible things which may or may not ever happen to me. Now I was too busy as I just had to know who the killer was (the book was a thriller with a murder at the beginning). It only took me a couple of days to get through that first book.

I wouldn’t say that reading was the only thing that helped me at this troubled time (I will be writing many posts on the ways I overcame anxiety, depression and insomnia). Reading did however bring about a change in my attitude. Whereas I felt a lack of enjoyment with other activities, for some reason I did not feel that way towards reading. Today, reading is an important part of my life. In particular, it is a key element in my bedtime routine (which I have written about here: The Importance of Creating a Bedtime Routine).

I have found that reading has made me a more interesting person. I have more to add in conversation and therefore social situations seem less daunting. For example, my friend’s husband is a librarian and we can now have in-depth discussions about our latest reads. My sister enjoys this new-found habit of mine as well. She has a master’s degrees in English literature and is always wanting to recommend new books to me.

Now, I know a lot of people who are keen to get into the habit of reading on a regular basis, but find themselves unable to do so. We have so many distractions in our lives that we convince ourselves that we do not have the time. I am inclined to disagree with this thinking. Personally, I found that once I was into the flow of reading that it became a priority for me. I stopped making excuses and created the time to read.  Specifically I had replaced much of my television-watching with reading.

There are many different ways in which you can make more time for reading, even if it is just ten minutes here and there. Ten minutes a day is over an hour every week. Imagine what you could read and learn about during that time!

I have been having a good think about ways that we can fit a bit of extra reading into our busy days. I’ll be writing about it in my next post: Ways to Find More Time for Reading in Your Day.

For now, thank you for reading this post. Any comments or even book recommendations then please, I would love to hear from you.

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