FIRST TRY CHANGING YOUR ROUTINE
“Boredom is the conviction that you can’t change … the shriek of unused capacities.” ~ Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
This is also a good strategy for keeping your brain healthy if you’re worried about things like dementia and Alzheimer’s. But don’t discard it if you’re thinking you’re too young for that. Here are some things to try:
- Don’t go home the same way every time. Today, pick another route, whether it’s from the grocery store or work or from picking up the kids at school. Actively choose a way which takes a little longer and has at least one stretch you’ve never driven before. If your kids or spouse are with you, be prepared for a sidelong glance at the minimum and probably a question about your sanity. But persist. A little change-up will be good for them too.
- Play a game of blind man’s bluff with yourself. No blindfold required. Simply start in a familiar spot – maybe the front door – close your eyes and try to get to another room with simply your hands to feel the way. This may sound ridiculous to you, but you’ll be surprised how fun it can be. I tried it once when I was trying to knock myself out of a period of writer’s block. It worked!
- Explore your closet! Try to find 5 new outfit combinations from the clothes you already have. Then see if you have accessories to match. If not, maybe you give yourself a trip to your local jewelry/accessories source – I have a weakness for TJ Maxx – and add a new piece to your collection. If money is an issue then make it a game to find something for under $10 – even better.
- Do something entertaining which you’ve never tried before and engage! Go bowling, or to the opera and maybe a live performance of any kind. Have you ever seen a foreign film in a theatre before? You’d be surprised how quickly you get used to subtitles. If you have cable TV with 1000 channels, click on something you would never normally watch – Project Runway, wrestling, a Spanish language soap opera, C-span. Whatever it is, give it 20 full minutes of your attention and see if you can’t find something interesting in what you are watching.
- On a similar vein, if you live in a household with lots of magazines; some for the kids and teens, women, men and maybe some generic – chances are you don’t read a few of them. Pick one you think of as uninteresting and give it a try. Maybe Field and Stream for women or Cosmopolitan for men. Maybe Highlights for either sex. Anyway, see if you can move through it, picking up some new knowledge.
- If you are really, truly, desperately bored right this minute, grab your car keys and head for the nearest freeway or busy road. When you are on a safe stretch of the freeway or at the end of a long line of cars at a stop light, let out the biggest, loudest scream you can. Really loud. Pretend you are getting paid by the volume and ferociousness of your scream. You’re auditioning for a part in a slasher film. Let it out! Now another big one. If you don’t feel instantly better – more relaxed and at the same time oddly energized – I’d be amazed. I use this – Primal Scream Therapy – fairly regularly and I have all kinds of reactions. It has moved me to tears in the past. But I never, ever feel bored afterwards. You may feel a bit embarrassed, even though the odds that someone will hear you are extremely small. It’s the fact that you’ve done something so out of the ordinary for an adult. Relish it. Do it whenever it feels like you need a good scream.
So these are just a few things you can do to relieve boredom. Google “brain exercises” or “boredom” for more ideas, but do something about it. Boredom is an incredible waste of time. You can always find an organization which needs some volunteer help if it’s a matter of too much time on your hands. But no matter what, do something about it today!