Few things feel as stifling as boredom. Waking up and aimlessly going through your day is more like “existing” than “living.” Whether you’re dealing with your own understimulated brain, or trying to entertain a house full of children, these tips can help you stay active, engaged, and sane:
1. Create a routine that breaks up your day.
First things first, routines are important. A lack of structure allows us to drift from one activity to another, while a routine keeps us mentally engaged and creates a feeling of productivity. When you wake up, shower, change out of your pajamas, and create a list of the things you’d like to do. Bonus points if doing them requires you to move into different areas of your home or yard — staying planted in your bedroom or living room all day can exacerbate that bored, aimless feeling.
2. Start a journal.
Journals are excellent tools for introspection. If you find that part of the problem is a feeling of boredom coupled with the feeling that you don’t know what you want to do, journaling can give you a way to identify the things that make you feel excited and alive. This can help you find activities to stimulate your mind and stave off stir-craziness.
3. Look at all of the projects you’ve been putting off.
Maybe it’s fixing that step on the back porch. Maybe it’s the candle making kit you bought on sale last summer, and forgot about. Maybe it’s finally learning to make a sourdough starter. Everyone has projects or ideas that they’ve always wanted to get to, and never did. If you’re experiencing boredom right now, why not give them a shot? Update your resume, start a garden, paint a self-portrait, the sky’s the limit.
4. Learn a language.
With all of the learning apps out there, there’s almost no reason not to try to pick up second or third language. Sure, you may not develop perfect fluency, and that’s okay! Learning another language, even imperfectly, is never a waste of time. Picking up new skills preserves the brain’s neuroplasticity, making it easier to keep learning new things as we get older.
5. Learn a new style of dance.
Much like learning a language, learning new choreography keeps your brain young. Exercise also boosts endorphins, helps you sleep better, and, if you have little kids to keep busy, can help them burn off extra energy. Go online and find a video tutorial for any style of dance you like — modern, ballet, bellydancing, you name it — move the living room furniture out of the way, and start dancing.
6. Read (or watch) a classic.
You know all of those stories that seem to be part of the public consciousness, but that you haven’t actually seen? Maybe you know who Rosebud was in Citizen Kane, but never actually watched the movie, or only know that Moby Dick involved whales. Now’s the time to pull out one of these classics, and find out exactly why they’re such a big deal.
7. Try different styles of poetry.
There’s a style of poetry for everyone, even people who think they don’t like poems. Even if you can’t rhyme to save your life, you can still put your thoughts down in a poetic form. Spend some time learning the characteristics of different styles of poetry, and attempt a different style each day. You might surprise yourself with how much you like it.
8. Above all, don’t sweat it.
Part of your feelings might stem from the thought that you absolutely need to be productive with your day, but this isn’t true. It’s okay to do nothing sometimes. Avoid stressing yourself and focusing on all of the things that you feel like you’re missing out on. A little daydreaming is good every now and then.
Everyone feels boredom sometimes, and that’s okay. If you find that you’re feeling stifled and understimulated, you can fight those feelings by keeping a routine and pushing yourself to learn new things. You won’t be bored, and you might discover a talent or interest you weren’t aware of before.