You would love to go on a trip soon? Then you should definitely read this article. Caroline Hodges is sharing her thoughts on why books are more important than ever.

As countries slip in and out of lockdowns and new restrictions are being put in place every week that limit our social lives and put all major life changes on hold, there’s no wonder some of us have been left feeling flat, frustrated, and at the end of our tethers.

Seeing the constant suffering and number of deaths rising on a daily basis is truly heartbreaking, even for those of us who haven’t experienced Covid-19 first hand or close to home. Everywhere we look, we see and hear constant reminders of what this awful virus is doing to our world, our population, and our businesses.

2020 has been a year like no other; it has forced us into a new way of living and highlighted the things we perhaps once took for granted. It may seem bizarre to even think back to the way we lived life before Covid-19 hit us: being pressed up against strangers in concerts and busy underground rides and being able to fly, go out to eat, and move freely whenever we wanted, with no questions asked.

Living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms have turned into our offices and the new way of keeping up with friends and relatives is by seeing them in a small corner of a screen. However, if there is one thing that mankind is good at doing, it’s adapting. Just look at how the world has changed even in the last ten years; the sheer number of new inventions that have enhanced the way we live, stay connected, and carry out daily activities simply cannot be overlooked.

While it’s quite evident that we are not going to return to any sense of normality any time soon, it’s crucial that we learn to keep our minds busy during these challenging moments of solitude and uncertainty, and, most importantly, that we don’t allow ourselves to fall into the claws of anxiety and worry.

And quite frankly, there’s no better way to do so than with a good book.

One positive thing to have come out of the global pandemic may be the fact that we now find ourselves having much more time on our hands. We no longer have to commute in the morning and evening and we can put the washing machine on and catch up with housework in our lunch breaks.

All this extra time we now have to spend at home may, at times, feel exhilarating, but other days it’s exhausting looking at the same four walls and feeling caged, frantically racking our brains for something to do that can keep our minds occupied and stop us from thinking about the virus.

That’s why books are the perfect solution to allow us to switch off and escape from the arduous reality we are currently living in.

The benefits of reading are undeniable. Not only does the activity improve brain connectivity, increase vocabulary and prevent cognitive decline, it also helps fight against symptoms of depression, lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. In the midst of a global pandemic where rules and regulations seem to be shifting from one week to the next, we could all do with a stress reliever which encourages us to think of something else, even if it is just for half an hour. 

When sitting down to read a good book, not only are we giving ourselves a much-needed break from looking at screens and seeing constant updates and figures related to the virus,  but we are also allowing ourselves to escape to a new world. If you pick up a book, you can delve into a story of strong characters, exotic countries, romantic affairs, and thrilling tales, without even having to get up from your sofa.

Transporting our minds to different places and providing ourselves with a form of entertainment that kills time and relaxes us is crucial for our mental wellbeing in the times we are currently living in. Whether opting for a comedy, a thriller, or a history book, the chance to find out new facts, try to unravel a mystery, or identify with characters on a personal level is something which will leave you feeling refreshed and fulfilled.

Most of us haven’t travelled far this year and we may not have met new friends or caught up with old ones in person for months. If you have changed jobs or had new colleagues start in your team, chances are, you haven’t met them properly in person yet. However, sinking your teeth into a book and allowing yourself to “meet” new characters will keep you give you a break from routine and potentially provide you with a newfound outlook on life.

Reading, unlike watching TV series or films, leaves our minds completely free to run wild when it comes to imagination. We picture the protagonists, their homes, the landscapes described in the book. We draw up our own conclusions and opinions as to whether we like the characters or not and what we would do if we were in their shoes. It’s also a great conversation topic with friends and family who are interested in the same genres as you, meaning that you can swap books and discuss them in detail at a time when there may not be much else to talk about.

Whether you’re a natural bookworm or somebody who hasn’t picked up a book since high school, now might be a good time to give yourself a well-earned break from all the sad news we keep hearing about, as well as improving your sleeping habits and bringing down your anxiety levels. So why not try picking up a book and allowing your mind to be taken away? You’re guaranteed to feel a nice weight lifted off your shoulders!

Caroline has always been interested in both reading and writing and spends a large chunk of her free time diving into books and articles of any kind. She is always one of the first in line for a deep conversation, especially if it touches on history, travel or grammar. As an animal lover and long-time vegetarian, she also enjoys sharing the benefits of a life without use of animal products and how these small steps can make a big change to our world.

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