Boredom is a sign that we are not engaged in any activity that we find meaningful to us. But it can also occur when we are engaged in activities that have the potential to be meaningful, such as a job we enjoy. So what do you do when you’re bored?
Boredom is a common feeling. Feeling dissatisfied with or uninterested in activity can lead to boredom, but boredom can also occur when you feel energetic but don’t know how or have nowhere to direct your energy. Dullness can also occur when you have difficulty concentrating on a task. The condition is marked by a feeling of emptiness, of emptiness in the soul, but also by a sense of frustration with this emptiness.
How do you prevent boredom and what to do when you get bored?
To prevent boredom and keep it at bay as much as possible, you need to find solutions that give you a lasting sense of purpose and challenge.
Remember why you do things
In general, people would rather do something than do nothing. Like all emotions, boredom is about whatever you’re thinking about at any given moment. This means that if, for example, you have to work from home for public health reasons (such as an epidemic or pandemic), although you enjoy working from your desk, you should remember that it is temporary and that you are doing it for the long-term good of yourself and everyone else. In other words, reframing your thinking about an activity that you have to do in a certain way changes the way you feel about it.
Find a rhythm
Routine is what structures your days and provides a sense of coherence that reinforces meaning in your life. People’s lives feel more meaningful when they are engaged in daily routines, and if for some reason they miss these routines, feelings of boredom can be fostered. By creating new routines, people can restore a sense of meaning that keeps them away from boredom.
At times, it can be difficult to find activities that are challenging enough to keep you busy without being too demanding and then you feel both frustrated and bored. So don’t force yourself to do things that aren’t a priority if you really don’t feel like it, but rather see what strikes your fancy at the moment.
Try to make a schedule for work, time for family and friends, and time for yourself, and see if this helps you to eliminate moments of boredom.
Don’t shy away from trying new things
What else can you do when you’re bored? Try cooking a new recipe, fixing something around the house, or learning a new dance by following instructions on the internet. Doing new things not only saves you from boredom in the short term but also helps you acquire new skills and knowledge that can put boredom at bay in the long term. Maybe you feel excited when you read an interesting novel, teach your child to do certain activities, or get together with friends to volunteer.
Seeking out experiences that make us feel good about ourselves and possibly learn things from as well can help us lead not only a life that we feel is more meaningful but also one that is more mentally rich.
Leave room for guilty pleasures
Maybe you really like watching TV shows, although you know that if you do that you’ll be sitting on the couch a lot and probably drinking a lot of sugary drinks too. Or maybe you like to overeat burgers or do too much online shopping. It’s good to have a talk with yourself and convince yourself to lead a healthy and balanced life most of the time, but to have certain times when you can indulge your pleasures without feeling guilty. For example, set Friday nights to watch three episodes of your favorite show, and on a weekend day eat whatever you want, even if it’s not too healthy.
Connect with others
For most people, whether extroverts or introverts, connecting with others is a great way to escape boredom. Chatting with a loved one face-to-face or even on the phone or virtually via a video call can work wonders when you’re wondering what to do when you’re bored.
- Looking at photos and videos you’ve taken on past holidays with a family member or friends is a simple but meaningful action: it banishes boredom and boosts your mood.
- Try arranging with a neighbor who shares your schedule to have tea together in the morning. Or with a friend who lives in your neighborhood, take a 30-minute walk every day when you’re freer.
- See what the area you live in has to offer. Find out what arts or sporting events are taking place and where you can go with family or friends.
- Set up a weekly get-together with loved ones you don’t see all the time, either at some of your friends’ homes or in town. If you can go on a hike in the mountains or a short trip out of town together, all the better.
- Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, make clay pots, or learn a foreign language. Find out which of your acquaintances is interested in this and look for a course together. And if you can’t find anyone, don’t be discouraged: if you go to the course on your own, you’ll meet like-minded people there anyway and, who knows, you might make new friends.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that boredom itself is neither bad nor good, it’s your choices about how to combat it that matter most.