I have not read ANYTHING in two weeks. And that includes listening to audiobooks. It’s weird and I hate it, but my motivation for reading is just nonexistent right now. So, today, I want to talk about the reasons why this is happening, what I’m attempting to do about it, and why I made the decision to completely jump ship on my TBR lists for the rest of the year.
Why I’m Not Reading
Depression/Chronic Illness: 1, Reading: 0
There are a few reasons why I haven’t been reading. But the big one is that my mental health is just bad right now. I’ve been open about the fact that I have been majorly struggling this year (as I’m sure many of you have, too). It’s just a bad year for the entire planet.
But this past month has just been extra crappy. I got a promotion at work – yay! But then basically had to kill myself doing two jobs until they hired a replacement and am still basically doing two jobs as I train her. She’s awesome and it’s going very well, but it doesn’t really ease my work load. So I am exhausted. Which, because I have a chronic illness, translates into physical exhaustion and pain. Not fun. And the pain has gotten pretty bad, which is impacting my mental health. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m not writing this so you feel bad for me, I just want to be honest. Because, if you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you might just be putting yourself down when this happens to you. And I get it. It’s incredibly frustrating not to be able to do as much as you “should” be able to do. And, right now, I really just can’t. Not an easy thing to accept, but I had to do it.
My Eyes Hurt
The other reason is that I was putting off getting a new glasses prescription. Don’t worry, by the time you read this, I will have a new prescription and new glasses ordered. Why would I put something like that off? Because my form of MS messes with my eyes (specifically one of them). Fun, right? So every time I notice my prescription changing, I have to wait like a month because if it’s the MS, it’s going to change on a daily basis, and it’s not worth paying for new glasses. My glasses prescription is fairly mild – I can read without my glasses, it’s just blurry enough to give me a headache or make me nauseous. Except now that happens with my glasses.
And yes, I can always listen to audiobooks instead of using my eyes. But, honestly, it’s just not enjoyable right now. I don’t feel good. And even an audiobook isn’t enough to distract from everything else going on.
So I’m not sure how much reading I’ll be getting done until my new glasses get here (hopefully sooner rather than later. But I’m also taking the opportunity to give myself a bit of a break. Because there are definitely other factors at play, which is…
Why I Am Abandoning All of My Reading Lists
My TBR is Drowning Me
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I like to make lists of the books I’m planning on reading. The post that was supposed to go up today was actually my fall reading list (which might still be coming, so stay tuned). And I still plan on keeping that up. However, all of my unfinished reading lists for this year so far are just… overwhelming.
I tend to be over-ambitious, and this year it kind of got out of hand. I’ve been trying to deal with that for a few months, but it’s not working too well. So I’m taking this time to just step back and really look at what I’m doing. Which also means I am wiping the slate clean and just starting over. Every unfinished book on my reading lists (which there are way too many of)? Off my to-do list! Yes, I still want to read them. Eventually. But having them hanging over my head is not going well for me.
So, I’m starting fresh, and it feels really good.
I Wasn’t Reading Like I Used To
I am a major mood reader. And I did take some steps this year to be able to embrace that a little bit more, like deciding to no longer write book reviews and not really doing any reading challenges. Which then backfired when I decided I had a lot of time to participate in readathons and do my “reading experiment posts”. (Don’t worry, those posts aren’t going away completely.) Which involved reading a LOT of books. Not a bad thing, but I went to hard for a few months and got burnt out.
And, if I’m being completely honest, I really haven’t been giving the books I read as much focus as I would have liked. And this could totally be for the reasons I mentioned above. But in the past few weeks of me not reading, I feel like I just need to do some sort of reading reset. I want to be more mindful of what I’m reading, and try harder not to get impatient when I’m not finishing books constantly.
While I used to sit and read a book and fall into it completely, I feel like my anxiety (both in general and around finishing more and more books) has gotten in the way this year. The way I was approaching books wasn’t good. And it has been making me unhappy (even when I enjoy the books). Hopefully I get back into reading (very) soon. But I want to do it better. I want to really get back into reading what I want to read and not rushing myself. If that means I read fewer books, I need to be okay with that.
I have been in book slumps before, and this definitely feels different. When I’m in a slump, I get antsy and really want to read. Right now, I feel at peace without having picked up a book. Which means something else is wrong, and…
I Need to Work on My Relationship With Reading
I have already made some big changes to the blog this year, and I’m so happy with them (and I hope you are, too). But they just highlighted how much I need to make changes to my personal reading life. Because I need to make some big improvements in my relationship with books.
I know it sounds kind of hokey, but I’m kind of considering these two (or three) weeks to be a reading cleanse. I needed to step back and take a look at what I was doing wrong, and see what I can do better. And I think I have some ideas.
For a while, I think I was relying on reading too much. Yes, it is a huge part of my life, but it can’t be the only part. I was using it as a crutch to distract from all the other bullshit going on, and it got the point where I would not let myself stop. I was trying to cram so many books in so little time that I think I just overdosed and had enough. Going back, I think I need to slow down and just stop feeling pressure to read so much all the time.
It’ll take work, but I am not willing to give up my books. And I’m actually looking forward to getting back to a point that reading doesn’t feel like a chore anymore. I missed it.
That’s all I have for today! I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing a post about how I reset my relationship with reading, because that idea has been floating around my head for a few days.
Let me know: have you ever experienced anything like this? Have you ever had to change your approach to reading? I’d love to hear your take, or any suggestions you might have!