DO­ING A READ­ING CHAL­LENGE

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed - JU­LIA BRAY­BROOK, SUB-ED­I­TOR

I’ve long been a book­worm, but in the past few years you’d have been more likely to catch me scrolling through so­cial me­dia or binge-watch­ing Net­flix than curled up with a book. But spend­ing hours on In­sta­gram made me feel bad about my­self and how I was spend­ing my time – and then last sum­mer I com­piled all my un­read books and re­alised I had a ver­i­ta­ble moun­tain of read­ing ma­te­rial. So I de­cided that in the new year I was go­ing to take up the 52 Books Chal­lenge, where you read a book a week for a year.

Even though I’m a fast reader, read­ing a book a week was go­ing to be tough. I found the eas­i­est way to meet my goal was just to read at every op­por­tu­nity: on the bus, in my lunch­break, af­ter work, on the week­ends… But this did cause a slight is­sue, where I felt guilty if I didn’t have a book in hand. Ob­vi­ously this wasn’t ideal – I didn’t want to swap out one thing that made me feel bad for an­other – so I slowed down and was kinder to my­self. I tried to keep my lunch­break and com­mute for read­ing (and still do!), but if I took a few weeks to fin­ish a book or didn’t feel like read­ing in the morn­ing, or even if I wanted to spend some time on so­cial me­dia over lunch, I let my­self.

Even af­ter slow­ing down, iron­i­cally, I still man­aged to fin­ish the chal­lenge in early Oc­to­ber. Though safe to say my goal of get­ting my ‘to be read’ list to zero has been an ab­so­lute fail­ure – my pile of books has ac­tu­ally grown since I started! But there have been plenty of wins.

I’ve re­dis­cov­ered my love of read­ing – and the joys of the pub­lic li­brary! I’ve also started lis­ten­ing to au­dio­books at the gym, which makes my work­out go a lot faster – and I joined a book club, where I get to talk about books for hours with the loveli­est group of ladies.

But the big­gest change has been in how I use my time. I’m not spend­ing every spare mo­ment in a book, but

I also don’t waste hours zom­bi­escrolling through so­cial me­dia. Of course, there are still a few week­ends where In­sta­gram has been a ma­jor fix­ture, but th­ese days I’m much more con­scious of when I choose to use so­cial me­dia – and hon­estly, I’d rather be read­ing.

I read at every op­por­tu­nity: on the bus, af­ter work, week­ends…

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