Before lockdown, I had quite specific times that I read and it often wasn’t whilst I was at home. I had gotten into the habit of reading on my commute to and from work (or most times I used public transport), reading in cafes with friends and attempting to read before bed but this rarely ever happened. Lockdown has changed this quite a lot as the only place I can now read is at home! I always had a weird relationship with the word ‘productivity’ and what it means and I’ve had to again deal with it as I felt guilty reading at home – read on to see how I’ve adapted my reading routines!
To start, my issue with the word ‘productivity’ has pretty much been a lifelong thing and I have only started tackling it in the last couple of years and though I’m much better with it now, I still don’t have the best definition. Example – I used to think sleeping was unproductive and saw it as an obstacle to being productive. This was not a healthy way to think and though I don’t see it to this extreme anymore, I still see activities like reading at home as unproductive.
I’m trying hard to change this and to not feel guilty when I’m reading in my house. I think by reading on commutes etc. I felt like I was using time I had to spend travelling as a perfect time to read which is true and I love reading whilst travelling! However, rather than seeing reading in general as a productive thing which makes me happy, I saw it as productive when out but not when I was at home and could do lots of other things. I hope this makes sense!
I couldn’t go through the whole of lockdown feeling bad whenever I read or not reading at all. So I have had to learn! I now have new reading routines that are fine and good and I greatly enjoy them! I’ve been reading quite a lot in the past couple of weeks and it has brought me a lot of joy and it really helps me to be calm and stop for a while. I’ve loved co-reading books and this has really helped with my whole dilemma. Co-reading also gives me a set amount of pages or chapters to read each day so I keep up with others involved. This is perfect for me and gets me into a habit of reading everyday and finding time for it.
I’ve started reading whilst I eat breakfast some days. This really chills me out and sets my day up well. I feel like I have achieved something even if it’s just that I read a chapter of a book – that instantly makes me feel more motivated. It gives me a little mental boost at the start of the day which I greatly appreciate right now.
I also now read before bed every night. I go through phases of doing this and haven’t really been doing it for the past few years to be honest. In the last month however I’ve gotten really into it and I love doing it! I spend about 60 – 90 minutes each night before bed reading. My current reads are Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I’ve been reading one story from Tales of the Greek Heroes before reading Anna Karenina until I’m too tired (or until it gets too late because my sleeping habits are not good right now and I’m training myself to go to sleep earlier!). I did similar when co-reading – I would read the set pages/chapters for the day then move on to Anna Karenina which is a long book so I will be on that for a while!
I’m lucky enough to have a garden so I have sat out and read when the weather has been nice and I haven’t beat myself up about doing so. I sometimes just have to tell myself that it is okay to do things for myself and my mental health, one of which is reading, and I will just keep repeating it in my head for a while. Something I have loved doing is videoing friends to just have a quick catch up and then we all sit and read our own books or do our own thing. It feels like we are hanging out together but there’s no pressure to be too social and talk for hours if we don’t feel like it.
I’m really happy with how much I have been reading lately and that I have been changing my definition of ‘productive’ again to a healthier and kinder version. It’s still a work in progress but it’s getting easier and that’s always a positive sign.
What’s your favourite time of day to read?