Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: How to Feel Better During Reading Slumps

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As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics. If you have missed previous posts: we talked about To-Be-Read lists and how to manage them. In the previous episode we talked about Reading Challenges and how to feel comfortable at failing them.

For today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I have chosen a topic that is unfortunately well known within the bookish community; let’s talk reading slumps, shall we?

There have been many great articles written on reading slumps. Some of my favourite ones are:

  • Norrie @ Reading under the Blankie offers great tips on how to deal with such periods of time. I found some of her strategies useful.
  • The Orangutan Librarian talks about the joys of re-reading books and how that can help getting out of reading slumps. I can totally see her point and it is something I am planning on trying out shortly as well.
  • Krysta @ Pages Unbound talks about why reading slumps can actually be valuable to us, readers.  Her thoughts inspired me to write today’s post. Thanks Krysta for that!

What I want to talk about today is how to feel better during reading slumps.

I think these times could be troublesome to us, readers, as we may start feeling like we are failing at being readers. And that doesn’t feel good. Hopefully in today’s series, I can offer some tips on how to possibly change that.


As a life coach in training, I get told regularly how powerful words are. I suppose I don’t need to highlight it any further as my assumption is that readers of my blog love books therefore are in love with language and words. I could be wrong but I’m going with this theory. 🙂

Have you read a book that made you think a certain way and because of that you started feeling particular way? You may not even realise you were thinking something; you may just remember those awesome feelings you had afterwards.

The gift of books is to bring us thoughts than can make us feel certain way. Some books do it “cheaply” and go for obvious joyful or tear-jerking moments, some do it in a more subtle way but ultimately, all books make us think and therefore feel.

So how does that relate to those dreaded reading slumps?

In my opinion, how we name such periods of time is critical as that is what is forming our thoughts. If I say I’m in a reading slump, I honestly start feeling dreadful. Because I’m thinking I’m in a slump and therefore that I’m failing. All of that thinking is causing me to feel miserable.

As a self-confessed “recovering perfectionist”, I often make such statements about myself; shame again – it’s not my actions that are failing but me as a person who is failing. Because I’m thinking I am a reading failure, I also start producing thoughts causing apathy such as: “what’s the point anyway”… and as a consequence, I start feeling even less like doing something about it. And it all started with an innocent word slump that I made into a story, which then made me feel certain way.

We are all different and for you, that word may not spin into a story I told myself above. If that is the case, please carry on using it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But if you can somehow relate to what I have just written, here are some strategies you could try to stop feeling that way:


1)      You could not use that word slump. You could use something that makes you think differently about this phase and that will serve you.

I use ‘I read less than previous month’ or ‘I don’t read this month’ sentences. They are factual. However if I add judgement to them such as: ‘I read less than before and I’m failing’ it stops serving me.

So I’ve done what many coaches do, and have used a technique that softens an impact of a sentence and prevents me to add my own judgement to it. In this case, the sentence is: ‘I read less than previous month, and that’s OK’.

Can you feel the difference as soon as you read it? I certainly can.

2)      You can make the negative ‘I read less than before therefore I’m failing’ thought more neutral via: ‘I read less than previous month but there are certain days of a month when I am reading’.

Once that one is digested, you can take it even further ‘I read less than previous month but I read on a few evenings every week’.

You are basically trying to make yourself slowly feel like a reader again… that technique is moving your thought of the ‘I’m a failed reader’ to the ‘I am still a reader’ thought. All done in a believable way, which is based on facts rather than judgement.

3)      Or you could put a positive spin to it and add judgement that will make you feel better.

Side note: this is sometimes difficult to execute as you kind of have to believe it to get on board.

In this case, an example would be ‘I read less than previous month, and I finally have an opportunity to do other things I have been putting on hold’.

For some people, this strategy may be initially too radical and the first step to take maybe to try points 1) and 2) instead.


Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast. It’s for everyone who is curious to see what a self-coaching may look like. Brooke offers many extremely valuable and free insights and I adore her no no-nonsense, let’s have a frank conversation approach. These tips above were inspired by some of her podcasts. If you find them useful, I suggest checking her podcast out as well as she talks about other topics that some may find interesting.

I firmly believe that the language I use in my head to describe my actions has immense power. If I start judging myself in a way that triggers feelings of shamehurtapathyfear… then I am not doing myself any favours and the likelihood of me getting out of a reading slump is smaller. Why? Because as terrible as this sounds, thoughts of this calibre can be quite indulgent. Brooke Castillo did an entire podcast on Indulgent Emotions and I’m telling you, they honestly can be that way once we give them enough room to roam free, I know that from my own experience.

Writing another believable narrative in my mind has helped me personally. I feel better that way. I enjoy those periods when I don’t read as I have trained my mind using all three of those points above. It’s still difficult sometimes as unwanted thoughts pop in now and again. But being aware of them and either privately journaling or talking to my loved ones are some of my coping strategies.

And then there is this lovely bookish community as well that has brought me so much joy already. All you wonderful like-minded book lovers that can provide useful insights and that generally ‘get’ it. Sometimes knowing it’s not just me but other people are going through that as well brings me a lot of comfort. So thanks so much for being there, I am grateful for that.


I use this as an opportunity to pass it over to you guys. Let’s chat.

  • What do you THINK of reading slumps?
  • How do you FEEL during those?

Fancy sharing that with me? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Thanks.

Bookish

T5W Rewind – Current Favourites that Aren’t Books

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This month’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series are Rewind topics – which means we can choose any previously used topic throughout the series. As I am relatively new to T5W, I am excited about this opportunity! 🙂

I have chosen the topic of “Current favourites that aren’t books” as I find it currently very fitting given I read four books in March and three in April. 😉 My boyfriend, our dog and I just return from a week and half long trip in Dartmoor in West England with today being the last day of our holiday. Our washing machine is currently working over time, I’ve managed to unpack most of our things and I am finally finding time to sit down and make another list. I love list making! 🙂

Without further ado, let’s talk non books, shall we? 🙂

All of those activities below are for me to enjoy but being surrounded by the ones I love is what matters to me the most. People are my favourites that aren’t books and I feel truly grateful for all those special souls that are in my life. 

  • (Rock) Climbing

Climbing in Kalymnos

It you read my previous T5W post you know that I enjoy climbing. I call it my vertical meditation. I love how fully present I become when I climb. It’s me and the next move.

My curiosity is satisfied as well as having to piece together, at first a seemingly impossible sequence of moves, can be a fun puzzle to solve. If you don’t tear you hear out first in frustration of course.

I also appreciate that climbing takes me to some breath taking places in nature. I got to see some stunning places such as the isle of Lundy where no cars are allowed and where seals kept us the only company on those beautiful long granite sea cliffs.

And I also love the climbing community. Climbers are a fairly chilled bunch of people… must be all that vertical meditating I reckon… 😉

  • Hiking / Scrambling 

 

Nature is amongst my top values. I get fully recharged when I walk in nature. The last week and half was amazingly restorative. Walking on the moor, listening to bird-songs, meeting Dartmoor’s wild ponies and feeling an utter sense of peace and quiet. That’s happiness in my books.

I enjoy walking with my boyfriend; we have quite a few Pathfinder circular walks guides that we enjoy exploring together. I also love hiking with my sister around my native woods in the Czech Republic. I usually have great conversations during all of those walks with my loved ones. I equally enjoy walking on my own with my little dog though. I can sort my thoughts out that way really well and unplug from it all.

  • Yoga 

yoga in gower

When I’m on the mat, I feel like I’m home.

I enjoy moving gently with every breath I take. I also love how yoga teaches me to stay mindful and to get into an observer state. That ability to notice my thoughts and allow them to stay without having to react to them.

I also enjoy dedicating my practice at the beginning of it to someone. If you play sports – try it sometimes. I found, when my practice is not only about me, but also about someone else,  it gives me that tiny bit of a push I sometimes need when things get quite challenging and I want to give up.

  • Listening to podcasts

I love listening to various podcasts on a regular basis. Currently, my favourite podcasts are:

Do you listen to any of these?

And do you have a podcast you could recommend me?

I love exploring new podcasts on a regular basis. 🙂

  • Travelling

Because I enjoy exploring new places, seeing different cultures and meeting interesting people.

I don’t necessarily have to travel to exotic places though; I equally love travelling somewhere local where I have never been before or just taking a new route to places I normally go to quite regularly.

There is always so much to see when you change your direction. 🙂 Cheesy alert: I believe it is the journey, not the destination that this is all about. 🙂


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your current favourites that aren’t books? Fancy sharing some of them with me?