Boredom is a common and universal experience that affects people on a daily basis. This according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Lately, more people are experiencing chronic boredom because of COVID-19 pandemic quarantine and social distancing. Regardless, being bored with life can become problematic if you don’t handle it in a positive way. These are moments people may turn to drinking, smoking, or other activities that can undermine their physical or mental health. However, there are countless rewarding activities you can do when life is boring.
What is Boredom?
Boredom is a state of mind. It’s sort of an odd feeling you get when you run out of interesting or satisfying things to do-or so on your everyday life you think. Here are a few factors that can cause boredom:
- Lack of flow when doing tasks
- Need for novelty, excitement, etc.
- The monotony of the mind or of the daily routine
- Absence of inner amusement skills
- Relying on external stimulation only
- Lack of self-awareness
- Lack of autonomy
- Cultural luxuries
Boredom is linked to social, psychological, and health problems. It can make you less productive in the workplace or even cause physical harm in some jobs. There may be a close connection between boredom, anxiety, and depression. There may not be a straightforward answer to support that boredom causes depression. Some people use being bored as a motivational factor to work harder. However, when boredom is not dealt with proactively, it can have adverse effects on one’s mental wellness. It can also be a part of depression.
For people suffering from anxiety, boredom means more time to overanalyze and worry about things that happen. This can be more of a problem for people living with schizophrenia. Anxiety can also be a type of boredom. Since we use stimuli to keep ourselves engaged, we may believe that something fun has to be triggered by an external factor. When we can’t achieve this, we are filled with anxiety.
10 Positive Things to Do When Life is Boring
Not feeling stimulated enough can make you feel anxious, irritable, or frustrated. If only you can figure out what exactly you want to do. People usually turn to their electronic devices, apps, and social media to help manage boredom and tend to forget about real life experiences. However, social media can be overwhelming and may increase anxiety or negatively affect your mood. Instead, here are 10 different things that are practical and productive ways to cope when life seems to lose its shine:
People who feel the need to always be entertained can find it challenging to be by themselves or not have anything meaningful to do. If you are one of these people, how about turn this quiet time in “me time?” Perhaps, you can take this time to do some self-introspection and decide on ways to improve yourself. Start by making a list of traits you want to change. Think about why do you think your life is boring and what things used to get you excited, with passion and alive when you were younger or even as a kid. Maybe you desire to improve your communication skills, so you can enjoy more positive interactions with others. As you reflect, you may decide it’s time to send out that college or job application that can change your life for the better.
2. Relax, Sleep, and Recharge
Whenever life is boring, lift your spirits by turning it into an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. How about some sleep, for starters? According to the Sleep Foundation, adults should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. However, may adults are sleep deprived. So why not catch up on your zzz? Sleep helps to reduce fatigue and irritability. It can help you concentrate better, so you won’t feel bored when there is lots to do. Yoga, meditation, taking a bubble bath, watching a movie, and listening to your favorite playlist are other ways to relax and recharge.
3. Spend Time with Family and Loved Ones
Spending time with family, friends and the people you love is always worth it. It gives you a sense of belonging and elevates your mood. Friendships and relationships can reduce stress. This said, instead of using your time on things that don’t matter, call your friends and family and spend more time with them. It would help if you also considered cutting off people that don’t add value to your life. This will restore your happiness and peace of mind.
4. Try something new every week.
Creativity can help with ideas so you can get out of the boredom of the monotony and your daily routine normally does, meaning trying new things every day, week, or when you get free time is significant in killing boredom. Take it as a time to unleash your creativity while shifting your focus away from feeling bored.
There are different things you have been trying to learn, such as trying out a new recipe, learning a new instrument, learning a new language, etc. Doing some of these things helps you deal with boredom and can add some excitement and value to your life, and acquiring new knowledge and new skills is always a good thing. So let your creativity flow and find ways to challenge yourself out of your comfort zone with new things to do.
5. Volunteer in the Community
Serving others in need of help is an enjoyable way to get over feeling bored with life. Volunteering your time can be as simple as helping to shop groceries for an elderly neighbor or person in your community. If not, there are plenty of community churches that run soup kitchens where you can lend a helping hand serving foods to the homeless or needy. Alternatively, unleash the leader in you by organizing a group of neighbors who can go with you to clean up a local park or playground. You might get such satisfaction from helping others, you may decide to continue on a long-term basis.
6. Get Your Workout In
Physical exercises and workouts are beneficial not only to your physical health but also to your mental health. Health professionals are now calling the sedentary lifestyle the new normal. The Modern world tends to offer most people jobs that may tie down people to a desk or room for a large part of the day and this is not a good thing. This contributes significantly to people getting depressed and bored with life. Good exercises boost your mood and keeps you busy.
Remember, exercise does not have to be strenuous. It can take the form of gentle stretches to relax the muscles. Some people prefer to go for a walk or ride. Going outdoors might just be what you need. You’ll get to enjoy some fresh air and sunlight. If you prefer to stay indoors, you can try freestyle aerobics or dance exercise. It’s a fun and quick way to stimulate energy and improve mood. Exercise can also take the form of sports activities such as playing basketball, golf, or tennis.
7. Know why you are doing this
It is normal for everyone to prefer doing something to nothing. Many people who are used to the fast-paced 21st-century lifestyles may become uncomfortable when they have a lot of free time in their hands, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. This may make them feel that life is boring. This said, being idle and staying at home may be satisfactory if you know the greater good it does. In other words, reframing our activity changes how we feel about it.
8. Stay focused
Instead of chasing emotional satisfaction and sensory stimulation, it is vital to understand what is important to you and put all your efforts and focus there. Concentrating on something will eliminate boredom since you get to put your time into good use. You can direct your energy towards tasks that you have been planning to do over the last few days, weeks, or months.
9. Read a Book
Take a mental vacation by reading a good book from your personal collection, the local library, or bookstore. Getting out of the house will be perfect if you do need to pick up an exciting novel or self-help book. Books contain a lot of information. At best, you’ll learn something new or enrich what you already know. Ensure you select one from a genre you like or think you’ll enjoy. You can read on location or bring the book back home where you can pore over the chapters while you sip on a cup of coffee.
10. Declutter and Reorganize Your Home
Instead of sitting and letting boredom get to you, why not enhance the appearance of your room or home. Changing the visual appearance of your environment may make you feel alive again! Maybe it’s time to clean out and reorganize the closets, change out the curtains, or throw out things that are no longer useful. Don’t forget to organize the pantry. Think of how good it feels to not have to search for the item you need. Now, you can just grab and go. Remember, once you’re through packing away things you no longer need, you can give them away or donate them to charity.
The Bottom Line
When you find yourself staring at the walls with nothing useful to do, you don’t have to mope and feel sorry for yourself. Boredom is a fleeting state of mind. Choose to liven up your mood by doing one or more activities that can help restore a sense of satisfaction to your life.
Is Chronic Boredom a mental illness?
Some brief studies indicate that continuous boredom could contribute to some negative mental issues, and to some negative behaviors.
It could be a factor that can lead to anxiety, however, this is because if the boredom lasts too long and you start overthinking and getting worried, it could result in having a higher level of anxiety.