This is the first in a four-part series about our integrative reality, and some suggestions for how to deal with it, during the never-ending pandemic - boredom.
What can I say, at some deep fundamental level I’m bored. We all are. Bored of the never-changing sameness of our daily routines now. Certainly bored of Zoom and lack of in-person human contact. Days seem to blend into one another and things that used to spark joy now seem part of the same old same old. The worst feeling is not wanting to start something new and relentlessly escaping into entertainment. YouTube & TikTok are great… in moderation.
So what can you do to alleviate this feeling? If you’re like me there are a million things you’ve wanted to try over the years that seemed like a waste of your precious time because you couldn’t monetize it, or you literally had no time to invest in learning something new. Maybe a combination of both. That may still be the case, but the feeling isn’t going away. The time has come to overcome distraction and pick an out there hobby to focus your attention on.
Mindful teaching can help – waking meditation is the art of focusing all your attention on just one thing. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes weaving a basket or practicing musical theatre can help to rewire your brain to geek out to something calming, energizing, and most importantly, new. It’s not important to establish a set time of day to take your 30 minutes, do it when you have time and no distractions (you may need to plan that one) – first thing in the morning, on a lunch break, late at night, whatever works for you and your schedule. The act of doing and engaging is meaningful.
For me, I’m learning chemistry while learning cooking techniques via HarvardX course audit. Chemistry & applied mathematics is so far removed from my daily life that it provides a needed “what, wait, let me focus on that fully” experience. It also relieves boredom and sameness by adding in the food dimension and master chefs. When this one is finished I’m going to take the physics and food course. Maybe one about the history of beer while I’m at it.
How do you focus fully and over come distraction? It’s all about noticing when your attention starts to wander and gently guide it back to the task at hand. A repetitive or challenging task is a must for this exercise. Doing something you love as self-care is a different mindful technique and equally as important. For that I’m researching a historical book and immersing myself in audio books and note taking. The audio forces me to concentrate whereas my mind wanders with written words as it’s what I do for a living. The reverse may be true for you. Learning a language is perfect for this – especially one you have no realistic chance of needing to use immediately, just for interest.
Another good practice is to diffuse an uplifting scent while you're concentrating - bergamot, mandarin or another citrus oil works wonders in keeping your mood positive. Just a few drops for 30 mins (the diffusion starts to lose it's efficacy after 30 minutes) in a standard diffuser and you're good to go.
Just remember these feelings are natural and we’re all experiencing them. There are only so many virtual meetings you can attend – remember peace comes from within and gradually you can expand the amount of time you spend, add other out-of-the-box hobbies or change the project completely. It’s important to start somewhere.
Check out Integrative Reality workshops and sessions for individuals and teams and book a time to connect!
Photo credit: "Manual Focus" by CJ Isherwood is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0.