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Skip the News and Anxiety: Read This Instead!

A man and woman snuggled on a sofa reading books.
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless stream of intense news stories, why not take a break? In fact, we’re not just suggesting this, we’re doing it ourselves. Here are some lighthearted, uplifting options you can read instead.

Really, reading anything besides COVID-19 updates will give your brain (and nervous system) some much-needed relief. It’s time to explore some new fiction titles, classic young adult books (yes, some adults love YA, too), hilarious blogs, or more uplifting websites.

Worried about missing an important news flash? Don’t worry—your friends will tell you if the actual apocalypse is headed your way. It’s totally okay to space out during a global pandemic, as long as you do it at home.

So, cuddle up with a mug of hot cocoa and start digging into one of these fantastic reads.

The Wonderful World of Fiction

Ah, fiction. The ability to escape into another world, and leave all your problems behind. And just about any world would be better right about now, wouldn’t it? Except maybe one that’s about an infectious virus wiping out most of humanity. However, some people find reading stories like that particularly cathartic right now. If you’re one of them, check out the Maddaddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood.

We’ve selected a few light, engaging reads, but they’re not total fluff! Still, even if they have regular, real-life problems woven in, the ultimate tone is easygoing. Plus, it’s so much easier to read about someone else’s problems rather than obsessing about your own.

If your public library is closed, consider reaching out to a local bookstore. While it also might be closed, you might still be able to order something and have it shipped to you. You can also download most titles to your Kindle or get the audiobook.

There are also tons of resources where you can get free books! When it comes to fiction, though, we highly recommend the following:

  • The Royal We: Written by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, this novel was inspired by Prince William and Kate Middleton’s ever-so-sweet love story. It has an American twist, though. Adventurous Bex travels to Oxford, where she meets the heir to the crown. Engaging, romantic, and intense, this story is the perfect distraction from today’s heavy-hearted news.
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal: The story of Jesus has been told a million times. But what about the stuff that wasn’t included in the Bible? Christopher Moore’s hilarious, and downright audacious, novel shares what Jesus’ life looked like from his best friend Biff’s perspective. You’ll definitely laugh out loud during this one, and we could all use more of that now, right?

Looking for more great fiction? Look no further! It’s also never too early to start building a summer reading listTED’s Winter Reading List is another great resource.

Uplifting Young Adult Books

Young adult books aren’t just for kids! Plenty of adults enjoy reading them, too. Why? Because even though some YA books deal with tough real-life themes, like sadness, grief, or betrayal, there’s usually an uplifting ending. Plus, sometimes, a simpler story is just what you need when you’re surrounded by chaos.

  • How to Be Brave: Awkward and shy Georgia creates a “Do Everything, Be Brave List” after her mom dies. Then, she boldly sets out to claim her goals, which include trying out for cheerleading and kissing the cute boy. This deep, heartfelt book by E. Katherine Kottaras will make you cry and laugh. Above all else, though, it’ll inspire you to embrace your dreams—even those that are the most intimidating!
  • Everything Everything: Maddy’s spent her entire life indoors due to a rare disease. But when a cute boy named Olly moves in next door, it changes everything. Their friendship develops online, with Maddy craving so much more than the white walls that trap her. Nicola Yoon’s engaging read is for anyone who wants to experience all the emotions, from laughing to crying, and everything in-between. There’s also a bit of the cabin-fever quarantine stuff we’re experiencing right now.

Searching for more uplifting titles? Check out 17 YA Books That Will Make Your Heart Happy and 20 YA Books Every Adult Should Read.

Hilarious Blogs

Sometimes, the seriousness of crazy world events is too much to stomach. Are we really in the middle of a global pandemic? It’s okay to occasionally block it out with an ignorance-is-bliss attitude, or zone out and scroll through some ridiculous COVID-19 memes. The goal is to lighten the mood and remind yourself there are still some funny things happening in the world.

Here are a few sites we highly recommend, but be prepared to laugh:

Looking for more laughs? Look no further than these 15 hilarious blogs.

Positive News Sites

It’s hard to keep anxiety at bay when your news stream is full of COVID-19 infection rates or predictions about the next global recession. Yikes!

Here are some positive news sites you can read instead. That’s right—there are still awesome things happening around the world! Unfortunately, these are just overshadowed by the more dramatic, doom-and-gloom stories.

The Good News Network covers important worldwide news but always with a positive angle. For example, take a look at this story about a young woman who’s making grocery runs for seniors to reduce their exposure to the coronavirus. Or, how about this one that covers 10 positive updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Although social media might seem like an enjoyable distraction, it’s really not. Facebook and Twitter are jam-packed with coronavirus updates, facts, arguments, and harsh judgements. We’re not saying you should give it up altogether, but taking a break to read something else would probably be a good idea.

Personal Self-Growth

If you’re feeling depressed after reading current events, or just totally bored from being stuck at home, why not focus on self-improvement? Now’s an ideal time to delve into your inner psyche, and find a way to reboot your system to a more positive efficient way of thinking. Because really, who doesn’t want to be their best self?

Dip into some of the following resources and see if you don’t start feeling much better:

Of course, we’ve also published our share of articles to help you calm your anxious mind or de-stress.


There’s no denying the news is completely overwhelming and downright addictive right now. However, it’s a good idea to hit pause and read something lighthearted for a change!

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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