Reassessing my priorities, how reading has helped me through lockdown and good things to come out of this year

Over the last few months, I’ve felt a sense of calm settle over me. The initial stress of lockdown had my mind in constant high alert mode, but as time has worn on and restrictions are set to stay for a while, I’ve felt strangely okay about it.

I’ve settled into a routine of working from home and have really noticed my energy levels increasing without that long commute twice a day. I love being able to take my dog for a walk at lunch or meet a friend after work for a few hours. If I’m not really feeling that, knowing I can settle down with a book for an hour feels like a luxury.

I’ve been exploring other projects in my spare time too, passions that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the time for when working in the office. When lockdown was announced, I felt all creativity drain away but it’s gradually coming back and I always return to writing in some form. My blog hasn’t been the outlet I’ve turned to most of the time. I do feel like blogging is dying out. It makes me sad that my favourite bloggers don’t post as frequently anymore but then neither do I.

Maybe this year has made writers reassess which platforms they pour their energy into and although we all love a good catch up post, other digital media such as Instagram has been much more popular to share short form thoughts on.

I set up a bookstagram page on Instagram back in March. It was one of the best things I could have done for my mental health and for practising my writing. It combines two of my passions: books and writing. I could honestly chat about books all day and now I’ve found a community that feels the same way. I have doubled the amount of books I read in 2019 already which is a great personal achievement for me. Obviously, months of lockdown has meant I’ve had more time to read but the inclination has to be there too and I’ve felt more motivated than ever to pick up a book since joining bookstagram. If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, take a look at my page @kerriesbookshelf

Another change I’ve felt this year is the evolving relationships I have with the people around me. I’ve grown closer to some people and felt others drifting away. The uncertainty we see in the world has seen people opening up more and being completely honest about how they’re doing. I’ve always been an advocate for talking to others to help order your thoughts and this is one thing I hope will long continue after this year.

As this year comes towards an end, there are so many good things to take forwards so I thought I’d make a list of the many things that I’ve enjoyed this year so far.

  • Doubling the amount of books I’ve read. I’m on track to read over 50 books this year whilst last year I managed 22
  • Setting up a bookstagram page and gaining over 1,250 followers in 6 months
  • Getting out into the fresh air for long walks
  • Buying a house with my boyfriend
  • Meeting up with my cousins for dinner and making plans to see each other more often
  • Being sent books to read by strangers through the Amazon gift exchange
  • Having an indoor picnic and Queer Eye marathon for Rich’s birthday
  • Having a BBQ in the park with friends wrapped up in jumpers and coats
  • Swimming in the sea on warmer evenings
  • Visiting Bath and staying in a lovely Airbnb above a bookshop
  • Learning TikTok dances with my sister in the garden
  • Cooking homemade curries, shepherds pies and quesadillas
  • The TV adaptations of Normal People and Us
  • 9 of my friends joining me for a night of karaoke for my birthday in Feb
  • Scrapbooking
  • Researching into how to start my own business

What good things have happened this year for you?

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