Why You Might Be Struggling to Read During Lockdown – An Expert Explains

Many of us love to bury our heads in a good book to relax and to escape from the troubles of our everyday lives, making reading the perfect lockdown activity as we face these stressful and unprecedented times. However, many Brits are finding themselves struggling to read whilst social distancing as they don’t feel that they are in the right mindset to get lost in the pages of even their favourite books.

Dr Matteo Ria, our Consultant Psychologist, has provided insight into why Brits may be finding it difficult to read during lockdown.

Why people are currently finding it hard to get into the right mindset to read?

“The pandemic the world is currently facing has left much of the nation feeling overwhelmed and anxious. We are worried about our health, our financial situations, and the wellbeing of loved ones. Though reading can be an enjoyable activity, it requires attention and can be emotionally and physically draining. As many of us feel like our emotions are highly charged as we adapt to the country’s ‘new normal’, reading may seem like more of a chore than a pleasure. With so many other relaxation activities available to us at home, such as watching a film or listening to music, it may be easier and more enjoyable to opt for these as methods of relaxation as they require less output from our own minds.

Why are even previously keen readers struggling in lockdown?

“The entire nation has had a shift in perspective since the lockdown began. Even people who previously felt that their lives were somewhat carefree now have new worries and stresses to deal with. That being said, these new, draining emotions are able to affect even the most avid of readers, causes them to lose their previously keen interest in picking up a book. The focus and emotion required to enjoy reading may just seem like too much at this moment in time.

Why this is the case even though people have more time on their hands than ever before?

“Despite Brits having more free time available, due to social distancing and having to work from home, we are all interacting and communicating much less. Reading is very much a solo task where we like to close off from our world and get lost in another. As Brits are already feeling disconnected from their normal lives, we may prefer to spend the time we once dedicated to reading to communicating with loved ones via apps such as House Party or Zoom.

“Similarly, though we all have more time on our hands, we also have very different routines. Perhaps you would like to read during your commute to work and now find yourself working from home, or maybe you liked to read on your lunch break but now find yourself on the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Whenever or wherever you previously liked to read, the chances are that this routine has now been interrupted.

“Reading is a great method of relaxation and has proven to have many health benefits such as allowing us to destress, helping us to fight depression and lowering our blood pressure. As we all adjust to our new way of living and begin to feel less anxious about the current situation, I’m sure that Brits will fall in love with reading again.

“If you are feeling anxious or stressed and believe it’s beginning to affect your regular routine, we would always recommend discussing your concerns with a GP who will be able to advise on the best next steps for you.”

If you are struggling to get an appointment with your NHS GP, at Pall Mall Medical we offer private appointments with GPs and Consultants, such as Dr Ria, via telephone and video call.

You can book an appointment by calling 03300 58 44 55.