It’s hard to imagine that we are entering month six of the pandemic. I have observed (and experienced) a dynamic range of emotions associated with the worry of getting sick, fear of the unknown, social isolation, and anxiety around the economic impact. One negative emotion that we shrug off as being less important than the big three (depression, anxiety, anger) is BOREDOM. Ongoing boredom can lead to loneliness, lack of motivation, and even depression. In this pandemic, boredom has become one of the most common concerns I hear from clients.
In the book Intimate Connections by Dr. David Burns, he discusses how to manage loneliness, and I think its relevant for boredom as well. As Dr. Burns explains, if you have ever experienced loneliness, you’re probably quite aware of how negative life can seem. Strangely, your current situation doesn’t actually cause loneliness and boredom. The negative feelings come from how you think about your situation. You can prove this by simply finding one person in the same situation that doesn’t feel the same way that you do. If you’re willing to learn to think about your situation in a more positive way, you can overcome feelings of loneliness and boredom.
You must learn to appreciate time with the one person that will always be there, YOU! These are a few of the recommended activities to consider (per Dr. Burns):
- Think of activities you used to enjoy (games, playing an instrument) Give them a try
- Think of things you’d enjoy doing with someone else and try them by yourself (hiking, shopping)
- Do something you’ve been putting off (balance checkbook, write letters, organize your files)
- Seek spiritual growth (get involved in your church or synagogue)
- Do something for self-improvement (exercise, diet)
- Start a hobby (collecting, gardening, skydiving!)
- Get involved in a sport (local team, events, biking)
- Do something for others (a charity, big brother/sister, food drives, ministries)
Starting something new may feel daunting, even overwhelming. One way to get started is to only commit to a simple task. For example, instead of committing to balancing the checkbook, just commit to prepare it for balancing (find it, place a pen next to it, make sure you have what you need). Then, if you feel like doing more, go for it! Next time, commit to another new task (maybe just balance one page) and so on.
If this blog motivates you to start something new (or old) feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear about activities, hobbies, etc. that help you get through these days!!
Chris Guzniczak, LPC
Flower Mound Counseling