Boredom During the Pandemic and Ways to Help

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This pandemic has a lot of people bored. With businesses being closed and everyone quarantined, boredom has struck the nation. However, psychologists believe this can be a good thing. They believe that boredom has been given a bad reputation. If one takes the quarantine time to become more comfortable with their inner selves, then the boredom is worth it.

Boredom and Why It Is Okay

Most people have extremely busy lives, with work, school, practices, and life in general. An author and senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the School of Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, Sandi Mann said, “I have a great vision for humankind at the moment. The next bestseller could be being written right now. The next big idea in business.”

Mann wrote the book “The Science of Boredom: The Upside ( and Downside) of Downtime.” She says that people should not “turn to the internet or try to scroll your boredom away.” What one should do is embrace the boredom. Let the mind wander and begin daydreaming.

She asks people to think of a life without boredom. No one would ever become accustomed to anything. Nothing would be able to get done, people would become enthralled by everything. Things like leaves or rain falling, puddle, butterflies, etc. would entice people like toddlers.

York University in Toronto, Canada has a Boredom Lab, which is run by John Eastwood. Eastwood is an associate professor of psychology at the University. Eastwood thinks that people “misunderstand boredom. They think it’s simply borne out of the absence of things to do.” He wants to point out this is not the case.

What to Think About Boredom

He wants people to think of boredom as a pain signal. Boredom alerts people that they are not engaging their minds. Sometimes this is the push one needs to open up their creativity. However, this all depends on how one uses their boredom. Some people just need a comfortable chair and a window to stare out of to use their boredom.

An assistant professor of psychology at the University of Florida and researcher on boredom, Erin Westgate, says there are two things one must consider when bored. She says that whatever a person does, needs to feel meaningful and one must feel successful at whatever it is they do. Experts stress that it is essential to not judge others or self about being bored during this pandemic or anytime.

Westgate said people have this notion that being bored displays a negative outlook on who one is. This is the wrong way to think. Eastwood says that if people view themselves as an “empty vessel to fill with entertainment, the more we make ourselves ripe for future boredom.”

Ways to Stave Off Boredom

Some believe there was not enough boredom before the pandemic, therefore, people were at a slight disadvantage for the current string of boredom. Now that people have a bunch of spare time on their hands it is difficult to restructure their lives.
Now is the time to take care of those projects around the house that have been put off due to busy lives. It is time to let the minds wander and let creative juices flow. For people with young children in the house, it may be difficult to let them figure out something creative to do during the pandemic.

One can use gentle directions to give the child(ren) ideas to keep them active. Give them some sheets or blankets to build a fort. Bust out coloring books, crayons, markers, and other arts/craft projects. Take them outside to play. One can create a scavenger hunt, include objects that can be found indoors and outdoors.

Create those special memories you will cherish forever. Find things that need to be fixed around the house that they may be able to assist with. Finally, dust off the old knick-knacks and fan blades. Get creative and spruce up the house, buy some paint and freshen up the rooms inside. Maybe have the kids help re-arrange their rooms, make it their own area.

Some Other Ideas for Boredom

Break out the pens and paper and construct letters to your loved ones. It is hard to visit those we love during this hard time. Writing a letter can be a creative way to reach out to keep in touch. Remember back in the days when one would get excited to receive a letter that was not bill related.

Perhaps the closet is overflowing with clothes, one could take the quarantine time to try on al their clothes. The clothes that do not fit or simply does not bring joy, can be donated at the local thrift shop(s).

Or spend the day treating oneself to a spa day. Break out the skincare treatments, scented candles, lotions or oils, and just relax. If one feels up to it grab out the nail gear and do a self Mani/Pedi.

Have a meaningful conversation with those who live in the house. Sometimes having roommates can be slightly stressful all on its own, let alone being locked down with them. Now is the time to have those conversations that have been meaning to be done. This way everyone can be more thoughtful of each other.

Some Final Thoughts for Boredom

Maybe a movie has been in the bucket list, pop up some popcorn, grab a throw blanket, and get comfortable. Even a good book that one has been meaning to read is a great way to pass the time. A person could take this time to work-out at home. There are apps that can be downloaded, videos online that can assist people with at-home workouts.

There are ways to be able to see loved ones via video chat with places like FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts. One could record older relative’s conversations to create an audio storybook with those files. To be extremely creative, one could add pictures of their loved ones to the audio.

For those who live with their family, for a really creative idea, create a family story. Have each member pick a character, then they each write a chapter about the adventurous journeys they take. Then each person reads their chapter out loud.

There are so many other things that people can do to keep from being completely bored. Remember experts say it is good to experience boredom from time to time. It allows one to find time to take care of themselves.

By Sheena Robertson


USA TODAY: 100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic
CNN: Bored of lockdown yet? This downtime may have some benefits … if you do it right
Forbes: 15 Ways To Fight Boredom And Anxiety Amidst The Coronavirus Pandemic

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Marco Verch’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

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