How the Pandemic Has Affected my Reading and How Reading Has Helped

It's interesting how the pandemic is affecting us all differently. Some people are enjoying the lockdown and others are struggling. Some people find themselves able to do a lot at the moment, whereas others are struggling with motivation. I've noticed it's the same with reading - some people are reading all the things, but the stress and anxiety of the pandemic is making it difficult for other people to concentrate on a book.

Personally, I've been reading more than I ever have before, which I'm surprised by. In the past, when I was stressed or anxious, I would struggle to focus on a book because I was too distracted by the worries racing through my head and the heart palpitations in my chest. BUT, for some reason, despite the stress and anxiety, I've been reading more than ever before.


Because this time around, reading is a coping mechanism. 

I am loving reading at the moment and it's helping me cope with all that's happening in the world. For the duration I'm reading, I'm not inhabiting my world. I'm not thinking about my problems. I'm in Narnia or Middle Earth; I'm not me, but a secret agent or a princess or whatever. Reading allows me to take a break from worrying about everything that's happening, even for a little while.

Reading leads to other things that I love.

You know what else reading leads to? Blogging. Bookstagram. Interacting with the bookish community. One of the things I've found so incredible about reading, and books in general, is how it can lead to so many other hobbies and social interactions that wouldn't have happened otherwise. I've always loved writing, and blogging allows me to write about things I love. I was never really into photography, but reading led me to bookstagram. Without blogging, without books, I never would've made the friends I have. So not only does actual reading itself make me feel better, but it leads to other things wherein I've found something I love.

Reading feels familiar.

Reading is something I've been doing since I was five years old. Throughout my life, books have been my constant companion. Books, for a large part of my life, have been something that defined me. Books are where I have found solitude, tranquility, and understanding, and when times are turbulent, it is to books that I return. I suppose, books are tied up in my identity, and by reading, I feel grounded and secure.

Reading helps me feel understood.

I think one of the reasons people love reading is how a book makes us feel understood.
Perhaps that is why people have been drawn to apocalyptic/pandemic books - it helps us make sense of the world we're in. Even non-apocalyptic books feature characters who are struggling with feelings we're experiencing, be it anxiety, stress, anger, denial, and it's in the voicing of these feelings that we feel a balm against the wounded state of minds.

Reading teaches me
I love how reading teaches me. Sure, it can teach useful things like how to cook or write a book. Some of my favourite books have taught me to hold on to hope and to stay courageous, to accept anger, sadness, and fear for what it is, and not run from it.

Books are wonderful teachers and constant companions. 
How has the pandemic affected your reading?