Reading with anxiety and how to avoid getting distracted

Hello my bookish people!

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but sometimes it makes me anxious, so I had to learn how to cope with it. I became aware of suffering from anxiety four years ago, but unconsciously I have been dealing with it most of my life. At first, it used to ruin so many things for me and I would get so frustrated that I couldn’t live my life the way I wanted to, but with time I learned that it’s not an enemy I need to defeat but something I need to learn to live with. I see people on Twitter who can read for hours and can finish a book in one sitting, but that does not work with me. 

I think my biggest problem is that I struggle on focusing on one thing for too long, so I need to set up a reading time schedule, with breaks. For example, let’s say I start reading at 3 pm. I usually read for 30 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes and then continue again for another half an hour, and so on. I need to give myself a mental schedule, so I can avoid feeling overwhelmed. It may seem weird or like too much effort for something that should be fun, but it’s been working for me so far!

Another thing that helps me focus and managing anxiety is listening to lo-fi music. I recently discovered this amazing artist called Pueblo Vista and they have a podcast with lo-fi music (no lyrics because that’s too distracting for me) and the episodes usually lasts around an hour, so it’s perfect for my reading schedule. You can find it here!

Thirdly, I mute notifications. This is so hard sometimes, because living in the digital age we want to stay connected 24/7, but it’s also important to take time for ourselves and just let go of pressures from the outside world.

Lastly, if all those above don’t work, I try not to force it too much. If I keep getting distracted, I just finish the chapter and do something else. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just leave it and come back to it once we feel more motivated.

Have you ever felt anxious while reading? What are your tips on staying focused on your book?

Thank you so much for reading!

Bookish hugs,

Giuls

27 thoughts on “Reading with anxiety and how to avoid getting distracted

  1. I definitely agree about the music, I think I’ve exhausted every no lyric playlist on Spotify… A break is always a good idea, maybe get a cup of tea, then settle back in x

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  2. Ohh thanks for the music rec! I ADORE lo-fi music (I listen to it when I write book reviews, and when I study!), so I’m eager to check out Pueblo Vista.

    Muting notifications is soo important for me – I have the shortest attention span, haha.

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  3. You have a lot of great ideas in this post! I completely agree that sometimes it’s better to just put the book down for a while if it’s not grabbing your interest right then. It’s crazy to me that people just read books straight through so often without losing interest or focus.

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  4. It’s not that I feel overwhelmed or anxious.. but same as you, since I got diagnosed and hit my lowest point of anxiety & depression, my concentration took the worst hit! Aswell as my imagination.. so I know right off the bat that fantasies are sadly a no-go for me; unless it uses our « regular world » rather than creating a brand new one from scratch.. that can work.

    I like the idea of deviding your time reading, but for some reason that’s not something that I’ve tried 😂 what mainly work the best for me is read when distractions are at their lowest; so either during nighttime OR when i’m alone in the house and the dogs aren’t into a barking fit.

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    1. Your comment just blew my mind!! I was wondering why I couldn’t get into fantasy, especially high fantasy, and that’s because I have to work too hard on my imagination!! also yes, reading during nighttime is the best!

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  5. These are all great strategies! I’ll have to check out Pueblo Vista. I pretty much always need to have music on to help me focus on anything, not just reading. I don’t experience anxiety, but I sometimes feel anxious about finishing a book and rush through it just to ‘get it over with’. I have to remind myself to slow down and that the story will still be there if I take it one page at a time!

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  6. This is a really interesting topic. I find that I get anxiety over reading because I have too many books to read and that is overwhelming. There are times when I’m reading 4 books at once and the thought of finishing them, and then writing a review, gives me a panic attack. I think the idea of setting a schedule would be really helpful because it will give me some kind of control over my reading habits and help me prioritize what to do once I’m done reading, too.
    Great post!

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      1. There are so many books that I am so excited for and I get carried away just thinking about it and before I even know it, I’ve requested a ton of books and bought some more and just dug myself into a deeper hole.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! I actually have ALL push notifications turned off on my phone all the time because it stresses me out to be constantly connected, so I agree with that tip! Reading on a schedule makes me more anxious though, so I have a time of the day set aside for reading but only pick up a book if I feel like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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