I don’t think I am alone when I say lockdown is starting to take a toll on my mental health. The fear, the uncertainty and worry of what the future holds. We all try to cope in our own ways, from gardening, to baking and drawing. They’re all ways that can calm the inner turmoil whirling around inside. Another great way is books.
Sales of books increase in lockdown
Do not underestimate the role the humble book can have in helping us all get through this testing time. The Guardian recently reported that people reading in lockdown has almost doubled to normal numbers. With crime and thrillers being the most popular genre. Personally, I can see why. A book is my quiet piece of escapism. A way to let go of the worries in the outside world and instead focus on something else. Since lockdown began, I have read 12 books, they have definitely been one of the important part of things that are getting me through.
Books and mental health
Books are actually proven to help people struggling with their mental health. They have been proven to lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, help you to sleep, as well as exercise your mind and are good for mindfulness too. Don’t just take my world for it, there is a great blog on MHFA too on the benefits of reading for mental health. As parents it is easy to not set aside any time for yourself, or feel guilty about picking up a book and making time for yourself, but now more than ever this time is important. Looking after yourself even for short periods and where you can will make you a better parent.
Don’t worry about what you read, just read
If you’re already a regular reader, then great. But if you’re not where do you start?
It’s easy to get lost in the dilemma of what book you should pick up first, or the worry the book you read should be intellectual or viewed as good by critics and those around you. My advice to you would be to pick up something that interests you and you alone. Books are a very personal preference and there is no right or wrong choice. Who cares in the critics have panned it, or others perceive it as trash, if you enjoy it and it makes you happy then read away. If you want to read a romance, then go for it, if you want to read a factual encyclopaedia if it makes you happy, it’s all good. It’s about the content that works for you and for you alone.
So the next day you are having a down day in lockdown, and I have found the days are very up and down at the moment. Pick up that book you have been meaning to try for ages. There’s a good chance you will find that it helps.
Also, if you are looking for some books to help your children through the pandemic, I have written a roundup of books on the Coronavirus on my blog.