Strategies For Dealing With Boredom

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am 28 years old in struggle with mixed anxiety and depression (with a touch of OCS). I am on no medication but have been on paxil in the past. I am currently doing pretty well on the whole, but I often have bouts of boredom. Also I get anxious about the possibility of being bored. What is a healthy and effective way of dealing with boredom? I guess I’m looking for something more than “work a crossword puzzle” or “go for a walk.”

A. I’m glad that overall you’re doing well, despite anxiety and depression. I usually receive questions describing individuals with great suffering. It’s nice to hear some good news! Keep up the great work.

There are many things you can do to combat boredom. I could list 1000 things. What you want to do with your time depends on what you like to do or what you’re willing to try. Here are a few suggestions: learn how to play a musical instrument, learn a new language, learn how to sew, learn how to dance, take an art class, take a cooking class, gardening, yard work, your neighbor’s yard work, landscape for money, start your own business, volunteer at an animal shelter or at a nursing home, fly a kite, roller skate, join a running club, or join a reading or writing club.

Another idea is to consider a second job. A second job could be something that you’d enjoy but isn’t that lucrative. It may also give you an opportunity to meet new people and expand your social network. For instance I know of individuals who have a full-time, 9 to 5 office job and a few days a week at night they work as a server in a restaurant. They don’t work their night job for the money per se but enjoy interacting with new people or doing work that requires less concentration than their day job.

Another idea is to consider training for a marathon or triathlon. This type of activity is challenging and it takes weeks or months to train for the event. Some people like working toward a longer-term goal. This activity might be something that not only decreases your boredom but improves your self-esteem and self-confidence. You may also find that your depression symptoms improve with exercise.

These are just a few ideas that you may be interested in. I would suggest that you post a message in the Psych Central forums requesting other ideas to combat your boredom. You’ll likely get many more ideas. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 May 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Strategies For Dealing With Boredom. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/25/strategies-for-dealing-with-boredom/