In August 2021 I wrote a blog post about how I fell in love with reading again. The global COVID-19 pandemic truly wrecked havoc on my reading life and it took me well over a year to get my reading groove back.
Since then, I’ve found new ways to incorporate reading back into my everyday life and eliminate some not so great habits I picked up in the last two years. Unlike last year, I am well on my way to completing my Goodreads Challenge and it feels great to rediscover why I love reading!
Here are some of the habits I started:
1 – Creating a Morning Routine
When I was in university, I used to get up early every day before class to read for 20-30 minutes. That was easy for me to do because I had a pretty routine school schedule and would get up and go to bed at the same time every day. That regularity changed when I finished school and started to work rotating shifts for my career in health-care. Sleep became the priority and I’d be lucky to get 3 pages in before my pillow called to me.
In the last few months, I’ve recently started a new position at my work and no longer have to do work shift–I only work day shift now! (YAY!). That has been game-changing for me. I’m someone who likes routine so I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to create a morning routine. I now get up at the same time every day and have a solid morning routine. Two elements of my morning routine include reading.
The first is reading a book when I eat my breakfast. I used to watch TV when I’d eat, but I struggled to find something to watch (and finish) for my 10 minute meal. It made me feel unproductive. But reading for 10 minutes reading at breakfast helps me feel like I accomplished something. Usually that enough time to squeeze in a chapter or two I wouldn’t read otherwise. It’s nice to have that time to myself and get lost in another world.
It’s the same idea as me listening to my audiobook when I walk my dog in the morning as well (my second element). It might only be for a few minutes but again, it’s very calming and a great way for me to start my morning. Plus, it serves as a nice way to wet my appetite as I listen to my audiobook on the days I have to commute to a different location for work.
2 – Extended Moring Reading Sessions
In order to keep my sleep pattern as consistent as possible, I do wake up with an alarm on my days off. While I may not get up as early as I would need to do go to work, I find my body really only sleeps-in about an hour later than my work alarm (or whenever the sun is up). That means I’m up early on my days off and I’m lucky that my doggie likes to sleep in a bit longer too so I don’t have anywhere to go right away.
So I often spend my mornings on my days-off by staying in bed for up-to an hour reading my book. It’s a nice way to ease into the day before I do my morning yoga and then start whatever I need to do around the house. I find I feel more productive this way.
3 – Ditching Social Media at Break Time
Do you ever catch yourself scrolling through social media sites for no reason other than passing the time? If you do, you aren’t alone! In fact:
As of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year.Statista.com
I’m one of those people who don’t regularly post on social media platforms (my blog posts automatically tweet when I publish them so very little effort); I’m one of those people who check out what other people say and I like to be in the know about whatever is happening in popular culture.
I knew it was a bad habit but I never really thought about it until a few things happened nationally and globally, and I really started to think about what social media was doing to me and my mental health. Twitter was especially toxic–there’s something about the internet and the anonymity that makes people think it’s okay to say whatever they feel/think, even if it’s rude or cruel.
Instead of deleting the app (Twitter is a main referring source for my blog; plus I enjoy reading tweets about my reality shows from time to time), I simply removed it from my phone’s home page and replaced it with my Hoopla app.
Hoopla is an online service that many public libraries subscribe to for digital content like audiobooks, eBooks, TV shows and more. I LOVE it! In the past, I really only used it for its audiobook library and not for its eBooks. But they have a great collection and I realized they have a lot of titles for series I’ve started but never finished. What a missed opportunity!
So, instead of opening Twitter during my morning and lunch breaks at work (or if I’m waiting for something while running errands), I open up Hoopla instead and get a few chapters in. For now, I’ve been sticking to contemporary romance series because they typically have shorter page counts and I find I don’t need to read them everyday to still know what is going on. This habit contributes to approximately 1.5 books of my monthly reads! I’ve been loving it so far and I hope to continue this going forward.
4 – No TV Tuesdays
Like many people, I think I watched more TV than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic. I didn’t like how much time I was spending on the couch once things started to get back to the new normal. And so I decided it was time to change that.
I picked Tuesdays truly because it had a nice ring to it when I said “No TV Tuesdays”. It’s not always a Tuesday, it depends on the week. But I aim to not watch more than 1 hour of TV in the evening, once a week. Instead, I pick up a book and read OR, I work on my blog. It’s a nice way to relax and I feel more productive than if I just sat on the couch and watched endless amounts of TV.
5 – Reading Before Bed
Before I started the above habits, I used to only read before bed. But I’d be so exhausted from my shift work that I’d fall asleep after a few pages. So it would take me a longggg time to finish a physical book. (Audiobooks I’d still finish since I walk my dog twice a day, every day)
With the change to my work schedule, I’ve also created a night routine and that includes getting a little more reading time in than before. Approximately 30 minutes before I aim to go to sleep, I complete my nighttime routine and settle into bed with a book. I find that reading relaxes me and helps me fall asleep when I’m ready to turn in for the night.
I hope some of my routines can inspire you to try something new and get more reading into your day. I truly have to say that reducing my social media input in a day has been very positive for me and my mental health.
How do you incorporate reading into your everyday routines?