The Slump is Real: SAD, Vacation, Reading, and Social Media

What is a slump?

Well…

I missed my March reading target, even though I was on vacation from work for two weeks.

No March Wrap-Up yet, on Bookstagram, or here.

I haven’t even chosen an April TBR, and it’s the 17th. Of April.

The only 2 books I’ve finished so far this month I started in March. I’ve read Furiously Happy, and The Wide Window.

I’ve also only posted 4 times on Bookstagram this month, and I normally post once daily.

What’s going on?

I’m slumping.

It’s here, the dreaded slump everyone on Bookstagram lives in fear of and talks about constantly.

A slump is different for everyone, but generally it means we’re reading and posting on Bookstagram far less often than usual. Generally, this makes the person experiencing the slump feel bad.

Unpopular Opinion: It’s fine.

Here’s an opinion that some people might not agree with: WE DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR SLUMPS. I see so many people posting in their stories about how they’re sorry they’re not posting as often as usual or how they’re sorry they haven’t posted in a while…

I literally don’t care. At all. In fact, you’re probably doing me a favor by not posting as often, because it’s less that I feel obligated to look at (that’s probably a story for an entirely other post).

But seriously. Don’t apologize for doing you. I certainly won’t be. This is definitely not an apology post. It’s an exploration of whim and of understanding what makes me tick and who I am as a person, reader, and Bookstagrammer. I wish I were reading more now because I love to read, not because I feel bad for not “providing a service to my followers.”

I still don’t feel that great about it.

But that’s because I have my own sets of expectations about how much I read and how much I engage with the Bookstagram world, and I’m not meeting them now.

My reading target for 2018 is 110 books. Thankfully, through participating in a few readathons in January and February, I was able to get ahead. I’m now at 47 books for the year, which means I’m almost halfway to my target while we’re only about a quarter and a bit through the year.

But if my slump were to continue for another couple of months, I’d start to worry. I need to work on my expectations of myself, I know, but at least I have some leeway at the moment.

Suspicions About What Started the Slump

As the title of this post suggests, I’ve got a lot of ideas about potential causes of this slump.

SAD

The first is SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I wrote a post about this over on my mental health blog. I get really down in the Winter and am less productive in general. Also, I sleep more, which cuts down on my reading time. We’ve had an even rainier and greyer Winter here in Vancouver than usual, and it’s not been good for my motivation and reading habits.

Vacation

The second reason is my vacation to Cuba. It was great for my reading, because we spent most of our days on the beach. However, when I got back I was a bit sick and super exhausted. I tend to get what I call “vacation hangovers” when I have to go back to my routines after being away, especially on trips that are really relaxing. My vacation hangover made me literally want to do nothing but sit on my armchair staring at my phone games.

Reading

I’m reading a book I’m not really enjoying, The Three-Body Problem.

A photo from our meeting.

It was the #thebreakfastbookclub pick for March, and I still haven’t finished it. I find that reading a book I’m not that into pretty much always puts me into a slump. However, I have serious reading FOMO and I’ve almost never DNFed a book in my life, so I have to keep going. Thankfully, I should finish it in the next couple of days, and then I’m going to pick my next book really carefully.

Social Media

This is also kind of to do with Cuba. It was also great for my Instagram addiction, because there was very little wi-fi and what we could get cost money and was incredibly slow. So it was nice to not have to worry about posting or interacting on Bookstagram, but when I got back I felt like I didn’t feel like doing it anymore.

How I’m Dealing With It

I find the best way to deal with a slump is to just ride it out. If I’m trying to force myself to read I’m not going to enjoy it. Likewise, if I’m uninspired about posting on Bookstagram, my posts aren’t going to be as successful as I want them to be.

When I notice that I’m not really enjoying a book, I do my best to choose my next read carefully, so that I know it’s something I’ll really love. I’ll choose a book by an author I already like, or one that’s super hyped and that I’m really excited to read.

I also find that making to-do lists and journaling helps me get my motivation back.

Finally, I think sometimes it’s just important to do what your body is asking for. On top of having a vacation hangover, I’m also during the heaviest training weeks for my half marathon. This is physically exhausting (and rewarding). It’s in less than three weeks! So if my body wants to sleep more and read less, that’s what I’m letting it do. For now, anyway!

Hope to see you (virtually at least) soon!

Let me know how you deal with slumps in the comments!

– Paperback Patronus

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