Department of Family Services – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035

Toni Zollicoffer,

Volunteer Voices – Self-Care: Rediscover Reading

Volutneer Voices newsletter graphic image of conversation clouds, announcement horn, speaker microphone

Recent research shows myriad reasons you should pick up a book, including improved physical and mental well-being. Studies have found a correlation between reading and mental stimulation and brain function, lower heart rate, decreased blood pressure and stress reduction. In fact, just six minutes of a page-turner is more calming than other de-stressors, such as a cup of tea or listening to music.

But with a plethora of people and things competing for your attention—electronics, children, streaming television services, Zoom meetings—how can you relearn your love of a good book?

person sitting reading bookTry these five ways to rediscover reading:

  1. Make time. You probably already have a running to-do list. Prioritize reading by adding it to that list. 
  2. Cut distractions. Set aside screen-free time blocks every day. When you read, leave phones, remotes, tablets and other gadgets in another room.
  3. Be honest with yourself. If you’ve read a handful of chapters of a book and it just isn’t moving you, feel free to choose a different book.
  4. Take advantage of a book’s flexibility. You can read anywhere, including while standing in a long line to buy the newest iPhone, so make use of this fact. Make a boring commute or a long plane ride pass more quickly by cracking open a book you’ve been itching to read.
  5. Challenge yourself. It may be tempting to binge a book the same way you do “Bridgerton” or “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but think of reading the same way you do exercise, and ease back into a reading habit. Set realistic goals for how many books you’d like to read a month or a year. And remember that reading doesn’t have to be a solo journey; book clubs and reading challenges allow you to share literary adventures with your social network.

This article posting is part of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services' Volunteer Voices monthly newsletter for current and potential volunteers. If you're not already a volunteer, learn how to get involved. Find out about upcoming trainings, volunteer trainings, happenings around the DSVS office and information about articles, books, media recommendations and more.

Learn more about the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS).

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