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Mladen Mitrinovic

Tips on how to make time for reading

During the Coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 in the UK, booksellers saw a staggering influx of sales. Puzzle books, true crime and children’s education all took a sharp rise, while paperback fiction novels rose by a third. UK book retailers, WHSmith and Waterstones also saw a huge 400% increase in their online book sales week by week.

These sales reports emphasise the UK’s desire for escapism, education, and entertainment during uncertain times. The hobby of reading has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, help active brain function, and increase cognitive intelligence, so it is no surprise that many people have turned to paper during lockdown.

Now that we are beginning to move into a new normal, with some of us returning to work and resuming our day to day routines, the time set aside for reading may have shrunk significantly. It can be easy to put personal hobbies to one side when larger priorities need your attention. But with all the remarkable health benefits, and great escapism that reading has to offer, it could be the ideal hobby to stick to while living in our current world of uncertainty.

Here we have devised three ways of being able to read each day while on a busy schedule.

1. Keep a Book with You

You don’t have to read a chapter a day or a novel in a week to feel the benefit of reading, in fact a study by the University of Sussex showed that you only need to read for six minutes a day to be able to reduce stress levels by up to 60%.

Keeping a book with you at all times can really make you notice just how many opportunities for reading you have in a single day. On a bus or train? Waiting at the doctors? In a long queue at a shop? All you need are those six minutes to really make the most out of a reading experience, and with a book always on hand, you will find the time to read on even the most busiest of days.

2. Read in Bed

If your usual night-time routine involves scrolling through social media on your mobile phone just before bed, you might want to swap that habit for reading a paperback book instead. Research has found that the blue light emitting for a mobile phone screen restricts the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. The restriction makes its very difficult to fall asleep and even wake up in the morning. Research has also shown that long exposure to this blue light can cause damage to your retinas.

Reading in bed is a great way of putting the time into a good book after a busy day. With the natural stress reducing effects of reading, it can also be a useful way of relaxing the body before sleep to ensure a good night of rest.

3. Join a Book Club

Even in our world of minimum contact, book clubs are still going strong, and now you don’t even need to leave your house to join one. Online book clubs have become increasingly popular in 2022. A quick google search will be able to help find a book club in your area, or you can join a larger, widespread group such as; The Willoughby Book Club, Book Baristas, Andrew Luck Book Club, and PureWow Book Club.

Joining a book club can provide you with the motivation to make time for reading throughout the month. It also gives you some great book recommendations and puts you into a community where you can discuss and share your thoughts with likeminded book lovers. The social aspect of a book club can offer an even greater incentive to keep on reading and help you feel socially connected through books.