When lockdown kicked in we all hoped that it could be an opportunity to catch up on more self-care and hobbies that we don’t usually get around to.
And to read more books was top of the list for many people going into lockdown.
Not only does reading encourage calm and provide us the opportunity to escape the real world for a little bit, it can also be a social activity which can give us a chance to catch up with our friends over Zoom with some wine a little natter about our latest read.
However, there are some who may have been finding it more difficult to get into a book during lockdown, with even avid readers struggling to focus on the goings on of their latest novel.
And it turns out that there might be a reason for it.
“When we feel under threat we become more alert to danger, including becoming hyper-vigilant. We are fully focussed on ascertaining the source of the danger,” Sarah Lewis, Consultant Psychologist at Appreciating Change, explained to the Metro.
“Think of when you have been startled in the night by an unexpected noise. Immediately you think – is someone in the house?
“All your blood rushes to your muscles to prepare for action,” she continued, “chemicals are released that activate your nervous system for fight or flight, your attention focussed right down on to that sound, straining to make sense of it. Then you realise it’s your son knocking over the hall-stand trying to creep in; relief rushes over you and your aroused system calms down”.
Sarah then went on to explain why that reaction could be taking place at the moment, adding, “The problem with COVID-19 is that stage two, the resolution of the danger, the flood of relief, doesn’t come.
“Many of us remain in a stage of hyper-vigilance, unable to divert our attention elsewhere in case we put ourselves at risk. Logically it makes no sense but our nervous system doesn’t know this.
“But this is why it is so hard to ‘lose ourselves’ in something like a good read; at an unconscious level we are scared to let our guard down until we know the danger has passed”.
So don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not ticking off as many books as usual off your reading list.
Take time out for yourself and do whatever feels right for you and your body to get yourself through these difficult times.