Growing up, I was always a bookworm.
I loved reading and I was a fast reader, so I would devour book after book.
I'd build dens with my sister and sit in there to read book after book after book.
English literature was always my 'thing' academically, and that's what I continued on to study at university.
After leaving university almost four years ago, my reading levels definitely decreased.
Part of the reason was I just needed a break. I had been reading such huge quantities and reading things TO discuss, write about and be examined on.
At the same time, my lifestyle wasn't in a very good place overall.
My anxiety had kicked in for the first time and my overall way of living and mindset were extremely unhealthy.
Add in working full time and the excuses of never having enough time to read, and the number of books I was getting through decreased dramatically.
I started reading properly again a couple of years ago, when I moved to London, as my tube commute was the perfect little block of time to get stuck into a book.
The problem with that was that I only read a very particular kind of book on the tube. Because I hated the tube so much, I needed easy, 'trashy' novels that could quickly get swept away in and enabled me to block out the world around me. My reading increased, but I wasn't broadening my horizons, mixing it up or challenging myself in any way.
Fast forward to the end of 2016.
I left London and my whole lifestyle was being reassessed. I had got so unwell in terms of my mental health that drastic change needed to be made.
As a part of that change, I began to gradually introduce new daily habits, which included things like a gratitude journal.
About 4 months ago, I added in a new habit of reading daily. I started with 20 minutes then quickly upped it to 30 minutes.
It's a long enough amount of time to completely get lost in a book, without eating up a huge chunk of the day.
I tend to switch off any screens or distractions, set a 30 minute timer, and off I go. Sometimes, the 30 minutes race by and I carry on past the timer. Other times, I don't want to read, but after that half hour has passed I feel so much better.
I've been diving into both fiction and non-fiction and trying new authors, themes and styles and I am absolutely loving it.
I've not managed every single day without fail, but I'd say about 90% of the days I've done it, and it's definitely a routine I'll be keeping up.
Let me know if you have any great daily habits I need to be including, or have any book recommendations!