How To Manage Boredom

Pat Garner

I’ve heard from many people who “retire” and they wonder how they had time to work their 40-hour day job now that they’re retired. I do find there’s a LOT to do on a daily basis, but then there are times when boredom creeps in. This last week my husband was out of town, so I had time to focus on things I wanted to do. I spent time rearranging my closet, going through dresser drawers, catching up on reading, and even watching a few bad movies on Netflix!

Toward the end of the week I found myself a little bored. I had to really 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 I shared my feeling of boredom with her. There were a few takeaways from our conversation I thought I would share with you.

I started doing some research on boredom and found poor rest and little mental stimulation leads to boredom. I knew I wasn’t sleeping well and watching mindless TV or Netflix wasn’t mental stimulation.

Regardless of age we need mental stimulation to keep the brain firing. My boredom was leading me to feel unsettled, a little anxious, and I had some brain fog.  Boredom can appear as a symptom of depression and I’m clear that wasn’t my issue.

I thought I’d share 5 ways to manage boredom.

>>Identify the feeling of boredom and just sit with it. Ponder it, explore any physical sensations associated with the feeling of being bored and just make the decision to just let the feeling go.> If you’re familiar with Mel Robbin’s book The Five Second Rule just 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 go for a walk. You’ll get a rush from your feel-good hormone, dopamine. And who doesn’t want to feel good?

>> Clear the clutter! Having too much stuff around you can suck the energy right out of you and can cause a feeling of overwhelm…without you even know it! You’d be amazed how clearing off your desk and tidying up can be a boost to your overall well-being.

>> If you have a dog take him or her out for an extra-long walk. Guess what, your dog gets bored too. If you don’t have a dog take yourself for an extra-long walk and take time to notice the smallest details in nature along the way. Can you notice a crispness in the air and other signs of fall?

>>  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’re feeling like you need to do something just do it without judgement.

I’d love to hear how you deal with boredom and I hope I’m not the only who experiences this!


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