Putting Down My Phone and Picking Up a Book: The Second Best Thing I’ve Done for Myself This Year


Okay, folks. It’s already February as I write this, and I’ve radically changed my outlook for 2019 by going to bed at a responsible hour every night. And slowly, over the course of the last month, I’ve started another habit that has vastly improved my quality of life: putting down my phone and picking up a book. It’s life-changing, and I’ll explain why in a moment.


First, to recap: I wrote last month about why sleep is so crucial for self-care and overall well-being, and how my only resolution for this year is to go to bed earlier so I can feel like an actual functioning human. So far, so good! While my toddler still insists on protesting sleep every single night like his life depends on it, and rarely makes it until morning without at least one attempted escape and/or unexplained screaming episode (lovely, right?), going to bed around 10 p.m. has revolutionized my mental and physical health. Even just gaining one extra hour of sleep a night has transformed me from a monster mommy 70% of the time to a relatively patient and happy person. I’m shocked and elated, and certainly intend to keep it up!

With all this newfound energy, sanity, and peace of mind has come another great habit: when I have a few minutes of downtime, I’ve started putting down my phone and picking up a book instead. I think we can all agree that less screen time is probably better for us, not just when we are with our kids, but also in general. Taking a step back and observing my behavior has revealed that I often mindlessly scroll through my phone when I want to mentally shut down for a while and take a break. Since I don’t drink and don’t always get a chance to work out, I realized I was using my phone for little hits of escape from the stresses of daily life. This was fine for me, but not ideal; I suppose I view time spent on my phone as time wasted.

The past few weeks, I’ve made it a point to keep a book in my bag and by my bed at all times, so whenever I have a few minutes to kill or just want to unwind, I’ll dive into the next great read. You all know by now that I’m a lover of podcasts and an all-around learning junkie, so taking time to read daily is just an extension of that. I’ve finished a few books already this year, and I feel like I’ve gained so much perspective and enjoyment from them. My top recommendations, by the way, are Educated, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and Pachinko. All great reads.

While reading probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly is mine, and I’m happy to put forth a bit more effort this year into focusing on getting through some great writing instead of wasting my time scrolling through social media. I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I finish another book, and reading helps me unwind and fall asleep more easily at night. I feel more inspired to write and excited to get through the long list of books I’ve wanted to read for years. 

So, if you have even the slightest desire to get back into reading, now is the perfect time! Try putting down your phone and picking up a book. . . You won’t regret it!


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