Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do or becomes bored by doing the same thing over and over without a break.
So… what do you do?
Tip: Embrace your boredom and keep moving forward!
For the past three or four days I’d been doing the same things over and over without a break. I needed to be in a different space, away from my work for a little while. I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything all day. The moment I started thinking about food I had a very strong awareness of hunger. Where can I go, and what can I do that would be different – sorta “out of the box” but not all the way out.
I got in my car and just started driving. I needed a hunger break!
I was about to pass CostCo when I remembered that you can buy a 12 inch hot dog – with plenty of chopped onions, relish and mustard – and a 20 ounce drink for only $1.62 (tax included), so I pulled in and parked. That hot dog was sounding pretty good as I stood in line and watched the people as they went with their hot dogs to be seated.
While I was standing there, I thought that “people watching” might be a fun distraction. People watching with intention. Observing! Really being aware of watching people.
I found a seat on the edge of the aisle where the people who had been though the cashier line all passed by.
The first to catch my eye was a man, about 60, with a cart with 17 bottles of bourbon. I wondered if he noticed that he had forgotten the Advil for the next morning.
I was having new thoughts about what people buy, how they were dressed, walking fast, walking slow, blocking the aisle with their over loaded shopping carts, what they might be thinking, how they matched up as a couple, etc., and… not making any judgements about anyone or anything. I was beginning to have fun as I chowed down on my dawg.
Hysterical laughter suddenly lit up the place. I turned around to see where the noise was coming from and observed two women, totally unaware of anyone else, laughing uncontrollable. Other people who also noticed the commotion began to smile and some to laugh. There must have been at least fifteen or more people who, now, all had smiles on their faces. Neat! I began to look at passersby to to search for some more smiles. I was getting into some deep thoughts when suddenly…
A little kid, standing right behind me, gave a scream that could be heard throughout this incredibly large store. Now sure why. Didn’t care. I almost dropped my hot dog, however, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t bored anymore. My mind was enjoying this change of pace. Lots to observe.
I could have bought a bag of nuts, gone to a park, sat under a tree and looked for squirrels. One of my friends told when she was bored, she bakes her grandmother’s bread recipe. The blessing of baking or cooking is that the act itself helps you pass the time and, hopefully you get to eat something delicious. I’ve taken off an afternoon to go to a movie matinee; have some popcorn and a Pepsi®. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I really should be working, but then I remember that I also need to take care of me. “Me first” is not a bad idea as long as you don’t overdo it. Balance, my friends.
Physical activity is like a re-set button for your brain. When day-to-day pressures are weighing on you, walk briskly, even vacuum the carpet, or take a warm bath to clear your mind. Exercise does wonders for your mental health. It can boost your mood, improve your memory and expand your ability to learn. It’s more than just a stress reliever; exercise can actually reverse the aging effects stress or boredom has on our bodies. And it can lift depression and anxiety.
Buddy up. An understanding friend can encourage you when you’re feeling sad or unmotivated. Plan a weekly meet-up for a walk around the block or in your favorite park. Another great way to combine exercise with fellowship. In addition, lending your time and talent to others can boost your mood as much as those you are helping.
There are lots of things you can do that can be just the distraction you need to get you back on track. When I did get back to my office, I had a few new thoughts that I could write down… thus, this article.
I felt energized, ready to get back to the fun of what I do which is helping people, help themselves. My work isn’t work. It’s like going to fun everyday. You, too, can – if you think about it – put some fun in what you do. Create a new distraction! My CostCo distraction was just what I needed.
There is a sign in my office that say, “If it feels like work… you must be doing something wrong;” something I heard my friend, Larry Winget say many years ago.
By the way, my people watching adventure at CostCo is way more exciting than people watching at WalMart.
Larry’s NOTE: A special “Thank you” to CIGNA‘s 2015 calendar for a few tips I included above.
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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