When we find time hanging heavy on our hands, we can feel discontented and restless. Many of us head for the fridge to find something stimulating to eat. After all, boredom is simply a lack of stimulation, so a tasty snack provides a momentary lift. This reaction to stave off boredom, however, can lead to long-term health issues if it happens too often and contributes to an increase in weight.
So, what is boredom? It’s a state of mind that arises when there is idle time with nothing interesting to do to help pass the time. We can feel listless and unenergetic. The best solution when we’re in this situation is to channel that lethargy into something productive. We should find something interesting to engage in, to make ourselves busy.
For some people, a downtime when there’s nothing going on is very welcome. They grasp the opportunity to just relax. Relaxation is an activity in itself, that helps us de-stress and chill out. Their relaxation may include enjoyable passive activities like meditation, watching TV, reading or just resting. Relaxing and embracing some quiet time without demands besetting us from all sides can have positive results on your health and can foster a positive state of mind.
However, for others, downtime and periods of inactivity are just plain boring. Many people have a higher need to keep their minds stimulated and busy to maintain their sense of wellbeing. For these individuals, the best thing to do when boredom looms is to get active.
When you find yourself with time on your hands and nothing to do, ask yourself what you would like to be doing? What is something you‘ve always wanted to do and never got around to? Was it learning a new language? Was it building children’s wooden toys? Did you always have a flair for sketching or painting but never got a chance to explore this talent and learn more? Did you always want to establish a vegetable garden? Is now the time to develop your own keep-fit routine, join a gym or take up a sport?
You could consider the idea of taking up volunteering. The benefits here are for both the cause you are volunteering for and the good feeling you experience in being involved in something worthwhile in your spare time.
Search your mind for activities that have eluded you in your busy life and make a quiet determination to give it a try. Try not to plunge headlong into something new with great expectations and impossibly high goals right at the outset. You are more likely to develop a new interest if you ease into it slowly and sensibly. Dip your toe in the water to get started. Set small targets and you will be encouraged to continue when you reach more modest milestones as you continue to meet your new challenge.
Turn boredom from a problem into an opportunity. When people develop new skills or embrace new activities when spare time hangs heavy on their hands, they can open up new, unexpected opportunities for themselves. Many people develop whole new careers from hobbies or activities that they have developed a passion for.
If you take up volunteering when you have too much time on your hands, maybe because you are unemployed, people notice your involvement and when a paid role opens up you could be the first person they turn to for recruitment. If your artistry skills develop well in your downtime, you may end up in an exciting new career. If you wrote a book, you might become famous.
It’s always a benefit to both your physical and mental health if you can dispel negativity in your life. Boredom is a state of negativity. Your newfound activity may prove very therapeutic, contributing to a healthier state of mind and a more positive outlook on life. This will translate to better performance in your working environment and more positive interpersonal relationships.