When I’m unhappy or stressed, I don’t read very much. Reading just seems like too much work…something I should “save” for when I’m in a better mood. So I spend my time pointlessly surfing the internet in hopes that zoning out will make me feel better.
As you can probably guess, this tactic usually backfires, and I wind up feeling drained.
Caring for two small children is tiring, and sometimes it’s difficult for me to find the motivation to read. I slump down on the couch at the end of the day and think, All I have the energy to do is watch Seinfeld. Sometimes Jason and I do just that. But when I do pick up a book, often with the intention of soldiering through just so I can say I did, I quickly remember how much I enjoy reading, and how much the act of reading—even when I feel too tired—ultimately refreshes me.
Because that initial motivation is often rare, I’ve taken to writing down little daily reading goals for myself, like “Read 50 pages.” Picking the book up in the first place is the hard part, and once I’ve read those 50 pages or so, I usually keep on.
In many ways, reading is the mental equivalent of going to the gym or doing yardwork. Expending energy to gain energy seems counter-intuitive, but it works.
Do you read more or less when you’re stressed?