I’ve heard from many people who “retire” that they don’t know how they had time to work their 40-hour day job now that they’re retired. I find there’s a LOT to do daily, but then there are times when boredom creeps in. For example, when my husband is out of town for softball tournaments, I have time to focus on things I want to do. Instead, I spent time rearranging my closet, going through dresser drawers, catching up on reading, and even watching an entire season of the Office!
Toward the end of the week, I found myself a little bored. I had to look for things to do. I even felt a little guilty for not being in constant motion. I met with a friend for coffee and shared my boredom with her. A few takeaways from our conversation made me think and reflect.
I consulted Dr. Google, researched boredom, and found poor rest and little mental stimulation lead to boredom. I knew I wasn’t sleeping well, and watching mindless TV or Netflix wasn’t mental stimulation. (although I couldn’t look away and saw the enormity of 1st world problems plaguing our society.)
Regardless of age, we need mental stimulation to keep the brain firing. My boredom made me feel unsettled and anxious, and I had a brain fog. Boredom can appear as a symptom of depression, and I’m clear that wasn’t my issue.
I thought I’d share six ways to manage boredom.
1. Identify the feeling of boredom and sit with it. Ponder it, explore any physical sensations associated with boredom, and decide to let the feeling go.
2. If you’re familiar with Mel Robbin’s book The Five Second Rule, simply count 5-4-3-2-1 and decide to do something…anything to get yourself out of the boredom mindset. It could be something simple like going for a walk. You’ll get a rush from your feel-good hormone, dopamine. And who doesn’t want to feel good?
3. Clear the clutter! Having too much stuff around you can suck the energy out of you and cause a feeling of overwhelm without you even knowing it! You’d be amazed how clearing off your desk and tidying up can boost your overall well-being.
4. If you have a dog, take them for an extra-long walk. Guess what? Your dog gets bored too. So if you don’t have a dog, take yourself for an extra-long walk and take time to notice the minor details in nature along the way. We all need to move!
5. Be kind to yourself. I had to step back and lose the feeling of guilt I was having for not being in constant motion. Next time you need to do something, do it without judgment.
6. Find a daily routine that fits your lifestyle. I believe most humans and animals function best with structure. It gives us purpose and fills our days with tasks so we can feel accomplished.
The decision is yours to succumb to the boredom or make a plan to combat it!