Let’s face it, we’ve all been here before! Whether it is putting off a few pages to do laundry, or setting aside several reads in favor of the great outdoors, or just not feeling in the mood to read about someone else’s life. It happens more times than I would like to admit, unfortunately! It’s like some of my colleagues in education say at the end of the school year when it is time to say goodbye or see you later to our students – we can’t miss you unless you’re gone.
There is a lot of truth to that statement for sure! The start of each year brings excitement to the new possibilities, new relationships, new knowledge, etc. However, as the year goes on, the excitement may wear off and we are looking forward to the next break, to refresh and reflect on what the year has brought us so far. The same for starting the year with bookish dreams! The reading goals we had set for ourselves seemed inspiring and realistic, and then we hit a plateau. For me, it looks like not being able to get into a book and it seems like it is dragging (may or may not be the fault of the book, there are some true DNF’s out there!). Other times, it is too comprehensive for what I need at that moment – sometimes I want to veg and finish an easy, beachy read.
A slump in my book is the mind telling us to take a break (well-earned if I say so myself!). Playing softball growing up, I always thought a hitting slump was the worse thing that could happen to me. I was put further down in the batting lineup or had a pinch hitter or something to prevent any outs I could cause on myself or teammates on base. Recently, playing volleyball, I’ve hit a serving slump where I have rarely missed a serve, now I am hitting the net (and sometimes players on my own team!). Taking a seat or a break, and realizing that I need to reset and rest has been a sense of relief for me. I am not stressing every time I step up to bat or to the serving line. With books, there’s a parallel. There’s nothing wrong with me, it’s a time to step back and refocus, see what strategies can be used to better my reading in the future and where I can find that excitement again. It is normal and encouraged to take a break. Sure, it is frustrating to see other reading challenges progressing faster than my own, but it is not a competition! There’s no prize to see who reads the most books – if that were the case I’d wonder what knowledge and storytelling were retained in the process, probably not a lot.
I know the slump won’t last forever and I’ll be devouring books in the near future. I am absorbing information and narratives in other ways and that is completely fine! I’ve thought a lot about mindfulness and mental health this year so far and allowing myself to be ok with this slump instead of being anxious about it has given me much solace and peace of mind.
What are your thoughts on reading slumps?