There are five different ways to keep yourself from becoming bored. The feeling of boredom is a warning that we are not actively engaged in the world around us.
It tells us to pause what we’re doing and either do it better or try something new. Either way, we should change our behavior.
However, as someone who specializes in the study of boredom, I am aware that when individuals are bored, they do not always make the greatest decisions. How can you prevent yourself from being bored when you are told to remain at home and diligently practice social distancing?
In reference to becoming bored
Even though our occupations and hobbies seem to have some kind of purpose, we nonetheless could experience feelings of boredom. For instance, studies have shown that anesthesiologists and those who work in air traffic control report feeling bored while on the job.
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The findings of this study indicate that simply because something is significant in a general sense does not always imply that we experience it in this manner on a consistent basis. And even the most important labor may become tedious if the one doing it thinks it to be either too difficult or too easy. When this occurs, it may be difficult for people to maintain their concentration.
To lessen the effects of boredom, people need to find solutions to the issues that led to it in the first place, namely a lack of adequate activities that are meaningful and sufficiently difficult.
However, there are instances when individuals will engage in pursuits that may improve their mood in the here and now, but which will not give them any long-term purpose or challenge. For instance, research has shown that when individuals are bored, they are more ready to give themselves electric shocks on their own.
The use of more alcohol and the usage of marijuana are two other activities that have been connected to an increased risk of being bored. The consumption of unhealthy snacks and the viewing of pornographic content online are both linked to boredom.
Even if they could be enjoyable in the now, these things can only give a momentary escape from monotony. We need to come up with solutions at home which give enduring significance and challenge in order to keep boredom at bay and keep it from returning.
- Bring to mind the reasons you’ve chosen to take this action.
In general, people would rather be busy doing something than sitting about doing nothing. It is important to socially isolate yourself while you have the coronavirus since remaining at home is the best efficient strategy to prevent the virus from spreading further. On the other hand, you shouldn’t always expect that every time.
Just like any other feeling, boredom is caused by whatever you are thinking about at the time. That being the case, the only time that being at home for an extended period of time will seem important is when we are consciously considering the larger good that it produces. For instance, researchers discovered that students’ interest in studying improved when they were urged to think about why the homework they were doing mattered to them personally. This finding was replicated in a number of other studies.
To put it another way, changing how we think about what we’re doing might alter what we feel about that.
Meditation is practiced alone at home, away from other people. Photograph by Justin Paget; made available via Getty Images
The creation of straightforward reminders, like a note on the refrigerator or a daily meditation session, may assist us in keeping the broader picture in mind. Remaining at home is just a sacrifice that we are voluntarily making for the benefit of others.
- Establish a groove
Our daily lives are organized by routines, which also provide a feeling of consistency that contributes to the development of our sense of purpose in life. Moments in which people are actively involved in their everyday activities tend to provide a sense that their lives have more significance.
When we stop coming to the workplace every day or if we are let go from our jobs, we give up those routines. Even those who have retired or who are raising their children at home might find themselves inconvenienced by the closing of cities, restaurants, and schools. This disruption to one’s routine may result in feelings of tedium.
People may reestablish a feeling of significance in their lives, which can protect them from being bored, by developing new routines.
- Let things unfold as they will.
It might be challenging to figure out what to do if confronted with long days that are not regimented by a job or school. Recent research conducted in Italy on persons who were subjected to quarantine indicated that the second most prevalent complaint, after the loss of freedom, was boredom.
It may be difficult to find hobbies that are just tough enough to keep one engaged without being too demanding, which is one of the things that makes circumstances like this difficult. People may feel dissatisfied and bored as a result of this predicament.
It is helpful to bear in mind that the criteria for what constitutes a challenge that is too difficult or not difficult enough may change throughout the day. If you feel like you need a break, don’t make yourself keep going if you don’t want to.
- Experiment with something new.
Many of us are driven to pick up a book out of sheer boredom. Recognize the need, but do so with discernment. If you’ve got the stamina for it, try out a new recipe, play around with some DIY home improvement projects, or learn a brand-new dance routine on TikTok.
Not only can doing new things help alleviate boredom, but it also assists in the development of new abilities and information, both of which may help alleviate drudgery in the long term. For example, we experience a rush of curiosity when we read an engaging book or go through challenging activities, but this feeling is contingent on our ability to comprehend what we are doing or experiencing.
There is mounting evidence that being open to new experiences may help us lead not simply a happier or more meaningful life, but also one that is more psychologically fulfilling.
- Make a place in your life for some naughty pleasures.
It is OK to watch an excessive amount of television at this time if that is all you are able to bear.
Sometimes we pigeonhole ourselves such that the activities that have the greatest significance for us are also the ones that require the most mental or physical effort. For instance, delving into well-known Russian literature might be significant, but it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone.
In a similar vein, well-meaning recommendations for how to come to grips at home, such as going to host a virtual cabernet sauvignon night, may simply be too mentally draining to be satisfying at a time when a lot of us are by now struggling. This is because these suggestions come at a time when some of us are already having problems.
You should allow yourself to appreciate the things you feel bad about. In the event that it is necessary, reframe such times as much-needed mental rejuvenation, moments that will nurture and recharge you at a later date.