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Emotional Wellness

How To Get Back Into Reading After a Long Break

Reading is fun and beneficial for everyone, but people now read far fewer books than before. This is largely due to the prevalence of social media and the fact that we all have small computers in our pockets. When the Internet is constantly available and always has something new to see, why read a book in the first place? Reading is still great for you on a personal level, and if you’re curious about how to get back into reading after a long break, we’re here to help. Many of the best stories can only be absorbed when you take the time to flip through some pages, “old school.”

Let’s get into it.

Why Should I Get Back Into Reading?

Simply put, because it’s good for you!

Whether you like to read fiction novels or nonfiction history books, reading is good for your brain and your soul. When you read, you exercise your imagination and a distinct part of your brain that helps you form thoughts and understand complex topics. There’s a reason many children devour books hungrily when they first learn to read. Books help feed their minds!

However, getting back into reading is good for your emotional health because reading relaxes you. In contrast to reading social media posts or scrolling through Internet content, reading is physiologically and psychologically calming. Thus, it’s great for recuperating at the end of the day or improving your mental state.

Plus, getting back into reading means you’ll improve your attention span. Many of us have noticed that our attention spans have been getting shorter. The bite-sized content you can always find online is the likely culprit. All in all, there are too many reasons why you should get back into reading to put it off any longer. With that said, let’s take a look at how you can do this without diminishing your love of reading.

Join the Local Library

The first way to get back into reading after a long break is to join your local library. Libraries are treasure troves of fiction and nonfiction books. Odds are you’ll find something you want to read at the library, no matter your personal preferences.

More importantly, joining the local library and picking up a library card can subtly influence your psychology. If you don’t read more after joining the library, you may see it as a wasted membership. That little hint of guilt could be enough to get you to break old habits and set down the mobile phone every once in a while. Instead, you’ll take a trip to the library and pick up a book or two to enjoy at home. Plus, joining the library provides you with ancillary benefits, like access to free software, educational resources, and other things you can rent.

Only Read What You Want

No matter what you do, only read what seems intriguing to you rather than picking up a classic like The Old Man and the Sea or Great Expectations. Here’s the thing: classics are classics for a reason. But many of the classic novels in American or international literature circles are classic only because book-lovers took the time to dive deep into their details and the value of their prose. If you are trying to get back into reading, you should read books you feel motivated to scan through in the first place. Whether that’s an adventure novel, a romance book, or something else entirely, you won’t build up a good reading habit if reading feels like a chore.

Bottom line: don’t read a book because you think you “should” or because it seems more cultured. Instead, only read what seems interesting to you at the time!

Start Small

Try not to read a massive tome when trying to get back into reading. It’s a much better idea to start small with more manageable books of 70,000 to 80,000 words or less.

These books are fairly quick to get through, are great for taking on airplanes, and can be digested in chunks. That’s because many smaller books are broken up into reasonably sized chapters, so you never feel like you have to commit to too long of a reading session at a time. Starting small also helps you feel accomplished as you build your reading habit. The more books you finish, the more inspired you’ll be to pick up another few books at the library. Over time, you’ll feel more confident reading longer books with more complex prose and literary themes.

Give Audiobooks a Try!

But what if reading doesn’t seem to stick, even though you enjoy the stories? In that case, you might try audiobooks. Audiobooks are more affordable than ever, and odds are you can find any popular fiction or nonfiction book on the market with an audible version. Audiobooks are awesome for enjoying while taking long road trips or multitasking; you can use them the same way you enjoy podcasts while tackling chores or doing work.

Join Social Media Book Groups

Lots of people enjoy their hobbies for the social element. If you want to discuss books with others, join some book-focused social media groups or book clubs. Just note that some book clubs require all the members to read the same book simultaneously so everyone can discuss the text together. Regardless, social media book groups and clubs can be great ways to connect with other book lovers and give yourself some extra enjoyment every time you finish a novel.

Set Aside “No Phone” Time

One of the best ways to build a habit is to partition time for you to focus on it. For many of us, that means setting aside a bit of “no phone” time each day, whether right after you wake up, before you go to bed, or sometime in between.

Our phones are undoubtedly the most distracting elements that prevent us from reading more frequently. To make sure you take the time needed to enjoy a new novel and hone your reading skills, set aside a little time when your phone is turned off, and out of sight, so you don’t default to reading social media posts or scanning aimlessly through the internet again.

Read at the Same Time Each Day

Another great way to get back into reading after a long break is to set aside some time each day to do that reading. For example, if you like to decompress and relax after work each night, give yourself a one-hour block of time in the evening to read whatever book you have started.

This might start feeling inconvenient, but our brains quickly pick up new positive habits. If you read at the same time each day, your brain will soon start to reward you with dopamine as you maintain the habit and as your brain gets more used to it. In no time at all, reading at the same time each day will no longer feel like a chore. Instead, it’ll feel like something you look forward to, particularly at the end of a long work day.

Set a Reading Goal for Each Session

Set a reading goal for each reading session you undertake. For most of us, that means promising to read a single chapter of a fiction novel or nonfiction book. If you’re a little more ambitious, you can opt to read two chapters per reading session.

However, you should not try to read a certain number of pages or words each time. That’s because words and pages can be variable in terms of how much content they contain. It’s best to stick with a chapter-based goal, especially at first when you are trying to build up the reading habit again after losing it.

You’re Ready To Get Back Into Reading

Overall, there are many great ways to get back into reading after a long break. Building this positive habit will do wonders for your mental health and help you regain the wonder you once knew when reading fiction books and immersing yourself in novels as a child.

It’s just one way to practice mental health and emotional wellness: two cornerstones of 1AND1 Life’s mission. You can find out more ways to improve your mental and emotional health by checking out our guides. Let us help you get 1% better every day!

Sources:

Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain – PMC | NCBI

The Role of Attention in Learning in the Digital Age | PMC

What Does It Really Take to Build a New Habit? | HBR.org

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