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  • Writer's pictureEricka Marie

Addressing Reading Slumps and Houseplant Neglect

Have you ever experienced a stressful time period? Not day. But dayz (with a z for emphasis on the number of days) For me, one of those times was the year after graduating college. I was transitioning from one phase of life to the other, trying to figure it all out. It was rough. So rough that I could count on one hand the number of books I read that year. It’s not that I didn’t have the desire the read. It’s that for many reasons, I simply couldn’t. Back then, I didn’t know what it was called but now I (and most people) refer to it as a: reading slump. It can happen to anyone, at any moment, and can last from a day to years. Since my post-grad year, I have been able to maintain a steady reading pace but there are still times I fall into that slump. Even now, as I type this, I’ve noticed that for about two weeks, I haven’t felt inclined to pick up a physical book. But you know what, I’ve been ok about it. I don’t feel guilty or pressured to read. I’m slowly pulling myself out of the slump and wanted to share some tips if you’re feeling the same way. Believe me, I have googled “how to get out of a reading slump” before. My tips aren’t foolproof but I hope you find them useful. Here’s what I recommend:

1. Embrace the reading slump. It happened for a reason and if you’re able to, address what caused you to get into it. Reading is a mental exercise, and we need to be in the mood for it. Are you tired from work? Going through something in your personal life? Strapped for time? Acknowledge whatever it is and accept that your reading habits won’t be the same until everything has been resolved.

2. Listen to an audiobook. This may be one of the easiest ways to meet your reading goals but instead of reading with your eyes, you’re reading with your ears. I have a whole blog post advocating for audiobooks, and it includes some recommendations.

3. Read a graphic novel. For the past few years, I have been reaching for graphic novels whenever I need a break from reading bulky books. You may sometimes find classics that have been reimagined with an illustrator. I would recommend the following:

4. Read shorter books (under 200 pages) or novellas. This is a great way to boost your confidence. Sometimes shorter books can be read in a day. You may feel more motivated as you continue knocking them out. The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire can be binged over a weekend and they are fantastic reads.

5. Re-read an old favorite. Compile a list of books that can be a comfort read for you. Think of the books that made you feel the happiest and brought you the most joy. It can even be a book that was super engaging and made you get lost in it. Read those books again and again until you’re reminded why you fell in love with reading in the first place.

6. Grant yourself some grace and ride the wave. Reading slumps happen and it does not make you any less of a bibliophile. Take as long as you need. The best things about books is that they will continue to be written and they can always be read.

A few days ago, I saw a tweet that reminded people that it was ok to take a break from caring for your plants and that your plants are forgiving. That resonated with me because I was slowly neglecting my plants as I tackled everyday life. I love my plant collection but some days demanded more of me than others. After seeing that tweet, I got inspired to show my plants a little love and wiped down the leaves. I sprayed the leaves and wiped them down with a microfiber cloth. My plants looked brand new! I used a mixture of:

  • Dawn dish soap

  • white vinegar

  • water

All this to say that if you’re going through a stressful time right now and you need to take a break from your hobbies, take that break friends! Your hobbies will be there when you’re ready for them, I promise!

What do you do to get out of a reading slump? Be honest, have you neglected your houseplants before?

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