How To Battle Boredom
July 1 is the official beginning of National Anti-Boredom Month here in the United States. In 1984, after watching what he felt was the same Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Alan Caruba, had had enough. Joking that the television company was really just replaying a videotape of a previous parade, he declared it boring and founded the Boring Institute.
Though it was originally a way for Caruba to fight his own boredom through the creation of the satirical medium, it soon became apparent that others were experiencing the same. In the late 1980s, it grew so big that July was declared National Anti-Boredom month. Why July? Caraba claims that after the 4th, there’s nothing more to look forward to for the rest of the month. And with the lull before school starts again in late August or early September, it was far too easy to fall into a slump.
Not to fret. If you find yourself feeling bored or in a rut, below are a few fun ways to fight it.
1. Play a Game
What better way to fight boredom than with fun? And what better way to have fun than to play something that is specifically made for fun? With the huge variety of games available to play today, there’s something for everyone. Board games have made a big comeback recently with new and exciting roll and play games, strategy games, and cooperative games to name a few. Video games can provide hours and hours of fun, sometimes even too many hours. No longer limited to the classic solitaire, there’s plenty of options for the solo player as well, like online games, video games, and even solo-version board games.
2. Take a Walk
One of the main reasons that human beings have survived and are now thriving is due to our ability to walk and keep on walking. Taking a walk is a wonderful, no-cost option that immediately starts working against boredom. The moment you leave your front door, there is so much to look at, to observe and reflect on. Try going a different way than you normally walk. You never know who or what you may run into just by getting outside and around the block.
3. Try Something New
Unfamiliar, different, strange and unusual are all common synonyms for the word new. Some other words come forward too, like exciting, intriguing, or even scary, but boring is definitely not one of them. There are so many ways to bring new things into our lives, from the little details to the bigger picture. If you want to do something big, try scheduling a trip to a country you haven’t been to yet. Or start small, like ordering something you’ve never had before at your favorite restaurant.
Anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant has heard the manager-favorite motto: If you can lean, you can clean. Though it’s not always something you would want to hear, there is a lot of truth in it. Being bored is the perfect excuse to start cleaning. And there’s always something that needs attention, whether it be that kitchen junk drawer, an overflowing closet full of clothes wishing to be donated, or the old cabinet in the garage. You won’t be bored while completing the task, and better yet, you’ll feel accomplished and satisfied when the job is done.
5. Reach Out to an Old Friend
One of the most common reasons people don’t see their friends and family is because they claim not to have the time. But, if you’re feeling bored, that means you certainly have time. Why not put that time to good use and contact someone you haven’t talked to in a while? Even if you don’t have anyone specific in mind, you can pull up your contacts on your phone, scroll through them, and pick someone at random. You may end up with plans to meet or you may end up with just a quick chat. No matter what, you’ve used your boredom as a tool to build up that relationship.
6. Do An Ideal Scene
Boredom often times gives our minds a lot of room to wander, which can be good or bad depending on our moods. It can lead to hopeful day-dreaming about what we would do with our imagined lottery winnings. But it can also lead down a path of negative future fantasy, like imagining a dreaded conversation ending in the worst way possible. Ideal scenes are a great way to harness the best of our imaginations. Determine an area in your life that you’d like to see improvement in. Take a sheet of paper and start writing about how you would like that area to look and how you would like to feel about it. It will help give you a sense of where to go and a nice little preview into how great it will feel to experience the change.
Time may be our most precious resource. So, when you find yourself with a little bit extra, why not give your time to another? Volunteering is a mood-boosting, feel-good, and virtuous way to stave off boredom. You can offer your help to friends, family, and neighbors. Or, if you want to volunteer with an organization, but aren’t sure where to begin, www.justserve.org, volunteermatch.org, createthegood.org, are just a few great websites that can help you find a volunteer opportunity in your own neighborhood.
Overall, there’s really no wrong way to fight boredom. If you have an idea, take the first step in completing it, and then the next. Before you know it, time will have passed and you won’t even remember when you were feeling bored.
However you celebrate, we here at David Couper Consulting wish you a Happy Anti-Boredom Month (In July and every other month of the year)!
Melissa Schoenecker is a freelance writer and co-creator of the universe based in Venice, California. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a Master's Degree from the University of Santa Monica. She contributes to a number of blogs and online postings, but her best work can be found in her gratitude journal.