Reading for pleasure is a huge hobby of mine. I read for hours per week and consume dozens and dozens of books per year. I consider reading (both fiction and nonfiction) to be a necessary part of my self care routine. And I get so many personal benefits from setting aside the time to do it! But my adult reading life hasn’t always been so active. There was a time when my first two children were young that I never picked up a book. I didn’t think I “had the time” to read anything more in depth than a celebrity gossip or parenting magazine here and there. So what changed? How did I revitalize my reading life? And how can you revitalize yours?
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Why is reading for pleasure important?
As a busy mom, it is SO easy to put the things we love (and the things we NEED) on the back burner. We don’t always eat like we should. We don’t always get the exercise our bodies crave. And we don’t always stimulate our brains in the ways that make us lifelong learners. Homeschooling moms especially have so much on our plates and we are already reading lots of books to our young children. Justifying time for our own reading life can feel like a luxury we just can’t afford. So why should we make reading for pleasure a priority?
Reading makes a nice escape from our daily lives. But did you know that scientists believe reading has many other added benefits?
- Reading reduces stress and anxiety.
- It slows the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Reading can reduce the symptoms of depression.
- Reading makes us more empathic to those around us.
- It helps with sleep quality.
- Reading improves focus and concentration.
- It makes us more creative.
- Reading improves our language skills and knowledge of the world around us.
Wow! It’s hard to argue with these health benefits! We now know just how important reading is for our mind, body, and spirit. But HOW do we find the time and make reading a priority in our busy lives?
Tips & Tricks to read more often
The number one trick for reading more often is simple. Make it a priority to read more often. Just as we prioritize the meals we eat and the exercise we get, we need to prioritize our reading life.
This may mean we need to make a plan for when we will read. I have recently decided that I will read nonfiction in the mornings as a part of my morning routine and read fiction throughout the day as I have time. And when I say “as I have time”, I mean that I am fitting reading into all the hidden parts of the day when I would normally pick up my phone and mindlessly scroll. I always have my current book with me! I even bought my most recent purse because it’s big enough to fit a tiny library! Haha! Some people also swear by their Kindle Paperwhite because it is more portable than a heavy hardback and, if that’s something you want to try, I say go for it! There are lots of places to find deals on e-books so that you’ll always have lots of books to enjoy at your fingertips.
When you are in the process of revitalizing your reading life, it is super important to pick books that you know you’ll love! You may feel pressure to read the latest “hit” that your friends are all talking about. Or to pick up a heady book about a topic you feel sure you should know all about but have no interest in actually learning about. This is not the time for that! Just like when your kids are early readers, this is a time for quantity over quality. So pick up the latest celebrity memoir that you’ve been eying. Or the romance novel that you’re not sure you should spend the time on. If you’re going to fall back in love with reading the content has to be engaging and fun!
tools to revitalize your reading life
There are countless tools available to help revitalize your reading life. What a great time for a reader to be alive! My very favorite way to keep track of the books I am reading is by using the Goodreads app. I have been using this tool since mid-2018 and it is a gem for devoted readers!
Goodreads tracks my reading goals for the year. Which is SO FUN for a person who likes to challenge herself! And, when you hit your yearly goal, Goodreads throws you some confetti and congratulates you on all your hard work! It’s also a handy place to track my “to be read” list. Goodreads lets me read a synopsis and book reviews to decide if a book is for me. I can also see the average “star rating” Goodreads users have given a book. The app tracks when I finished a book and how long it took me to read it. Last, it allows me to follow my real life friends (& others) and see what they are reading, what they’ve enjoyed, and their reading goals for the year!
Anne Bogels’ “What Should I Read Next” podcast is a great value in helping you decide what books interest you the most. Anne interviews people weekly and walks them through books they’ve enjoyed, books that are not for them, and then she recommends books they may want to read next. I’ve added lots of books to my “To Be Read” Goodreads list from Anne’s recommendations. Anne is also the author of “My Reading Life: A Book Journal”, which is a great place to keep track of your reading life if you would rather use pen and paper than an app.
USE YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!! As you can see by the pictures in this post, most of the books I read are borrowed from the library. I have a personal rule…I only purchase books that I want to write/highlight in. This means I allow myself to purchase nonfiction, but I borrow my fiction reads from the library (and occasionally friends). My local library system includes most of the libraries in my state, so I am able to put holds on books from the comfort of my home and swing by the library and grab them when they are available. This is LIFE CHANGING for a busy mom. When I am close to finishing my current stack, I go through my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads and place a hold on 6-8 more. This way I always have a book to grab off my bedside table once my current book has been read!
I also know people who swear by audiobooks as a way to revitalize their reading lives. Repeat after me…AUDIOBOOKS COUNT AS READING!! And they are a great way to fit in books while you’re driving, washing dishes, doing laundry, exercising, etc. Audible is a great (paid) app for downloading audio books. And Libby is a free app that allows you to listen to audiobooks using your library card.
Are you convinced that NOW is the perfect time to revitalize your reading life? I hope so! If you are interested in my personal book recommendations, check out…
- 20 of the Best Books I Read in 2020
- Best Books For Homeschool Inspiration
- Encouraging Books For Christian Mothers
- Follow me on Goodreads (Tanna Roush)!
- And subscribe to my newsletter, Five Weekly Favorites! I suggest a new book every single week that has added value to my personal reading life and could add value to yours!
And, as always, you can learn more about our big family fun over at Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama.