What is Boredom?
Boredom is what it is; boredom is boredom; boredom is boring. Now you've picked up how stupid the word sounds after saying it too much (also called 'semantic satiation'). In the time it took me to write those two sentences, I opened five new tabs, stared out the window at the storm, listened to Lady Gaga's new single 'Venus' about four times and Googled what "saying a word too many times it sounds weird" is called.
Boredom is an emotional state where an individual is left uninterested in their surroundings, and cannot find anything particular to do. They can be found wandering around the house, lying down, watching multiple television shows at the same time, or opening and closing the fridge and cupboard every ten or so minutes. According to authors in a September 2012 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, there are multiple factors that create tedium. These factors were an individual's level of arousal (psychological energy, not the other kind), environment, mind wandering and control. You can read more in this article, as it would be quite ironic to explain it all here.
Tedium does not always occur at home; it can happen at school or college in a lecture, in an airport with a delayed flight or even in bed when you can't sleep. This article has tips and ideas that may lead you to curing your boredom. Try one or try them all and find what works for you.
Reading a book, magazine, the newspaper is a great way to keep yourself occupied. If it's a book that you always come back to, or one that you have just started to enjoy, it is easy to lose track of time when you're consumed in a written adventure. Magazines may give you some new, exciting celebrity gossip, but expect the tedium to return once you've closed the magazine. You've probably seen it all on Facebook or Twitter.
If there's puzzles to do, go ahead and try them! If you are someone that doesn't enjoy puzzles, have a go anyway. Fill in one word in a crossword or one number in a sudoku. Newspapers are much the same but it may give you something to talk about at the dinner table or rant about later on the internet.
Though I am against using magazines to cure your boredom, there are definitely activities inside a lot of them that you can try or save for later. Feel free to rip out pages with interesting activities, recipes or crafts and give them a go when you come across them, or try them the next you are feeling bored.
Tip! Do not read articles online or on a tablet or phone. You will get distracted with the thought of checking Facebook or Twitter. You will check it, forget to go back to the book and become bored again. Pick up an actual book! (They smell better too).
Even if you aren't a writer, go ahead and write something. It doesn't have to turn out to be a J.K. Rowling novel, nor an Edgar Allen Poe piece of poetry. Spend five minutes and write everything that comes to your head. You may be thinking of some really weird things in this time. Some teachers used to use this technique at my schools in order to get the creative juices flowing before English class. Here's an example of what can happen (I set a timer for one minute):
"There once was a blue rabbit who had the head of a goat and he liked playing the Sims. I haven't played the Sims in ages, I need to start playing it again. Building the houses into mansions and it's absolutely wonderful. I want a big house in the future with 3 stories and a secret basement leading to my friends house. Some fountains, maybe, and a butler. A butler dog. That would hilarious. Scare everyone around."
If you do have experience in writing, or just a natural talent at stringing words together in an extraordinary fashion, write a poem about how bored you are! Do not just sit there and think about writing something. Grab a pen and paper, get away from the computer, and get those letters onto paper. You never know what you will write. Maybe you create a whole new word in your moment of tedium.
It doesn't matter if you're an artist or not, start drawing lines on a page and make patterns with them. An interesting technique is to scrunch up a piece of paper, unfold it and trace over all the crease marks. It's quite interesting what abstract images you can find in the crease marks. You could even colour in each of the individual shapes the creases make.
Find some tutorials and start learning different techniques to drawing, colouring, shading, etc. Print some pictures if you can and trace some images if you prefer. Just picking up a pencil or pen and starting to draw can take some time off your hands, and you don't have to think too hard if you're not trying to create something perfect.
Find a recipe you haven't tried before, go out and get the ingredients if needs be, and start cooking. If you don't want to leave the house, there are some websites that find recipes based on the ingredients you already have at home.
If you're home alone for the day and expecting family back from work after a certain time, greet them with home made muffins, or dinner on the table. The recipe doesn't have to be difficult, it could be the simplest one you can find.
Also, if the recipe calls for any needed oven time, you can move onto the final boredom buster.
Okay, yes it sounds boring, but when you start, you'll want to finish the job you started. I'm not talking about a cleaning job that will make the house shine after a good floor to ceiling detail clean. These are a small, ten to twenty minute job that you can do while the chicken is cooking in the oven. As it is said, "clean as you go." Doing small jobs over a longer period of time (that could be one or two jobs per day), the house will start to look tidier relatively quick.
The pile of plates and cutlery left over from breakfast? That would take only a few minutes to get through. Manual dish washing throughout the day cuts down the amount you would usually wash at the end of the night. If you have a bigger family and have a dish washing machine, stack the plates, cutlery, etc as you go. No need to spend a long 5 minutes bending over to pack it at night. Not to mention you'll end up with a sore back if you're the only one packing the washer each night.
Do a quick sweep around the house. Vacuum one room a day. Wipe down flat surfaces in each room a day. Laundry washing is up to you, there always seems to be clothes to fold around my house. Some people fold the washing as they put it into the basket, other throw the clothes into each room they belong and that person can fend for themselves.
Tip! If you have teenagers, they can clean their own rooms. I learnt that the hard way. They all eventually get sick of their own mess and may spend a few hours every couple of weeks tidying their own room. If they prefer to live in a messy environment, force them to clean their room. Otherwise, take away all technology from them until the entire house is clean. Tough love.
Step Away From The Computer
That's all you have to do to start getting rid of your moment in tedium. Shut down the laptop or computer and go do something that is actually productive. There is no need to constantly scroll through Facebook or Twitter in the hope you'll find something that you missed the three previous times you visited the sites in the last 15 minutes. You're not going to miss anything greatly important. Turn on the TV or radio and listen to the news while doing one of the above ideas.
The above suggestions are personal ways I have found to get rid or boredom, and they help whether it is for a few minutes or a few hours. If you have any personal boredom busters, please share them in the comments below.
More by this Author
Instagram is the newest trend (at least after Facebook bought) for iPhone and android users, which allows users to apply a filter to photos and upload and share them across the internet. Here I have created a list of my...
Today, society is bombarded with images of so-called "perfection" through media and technology. It is also used to turn us in to unintentional consumerists. Thanks to social networking and the evolution of...
My emotions are poured into this piece. I thought I had gotten over someone that I liked, however, months later I still could not get them out of my head and heart. This poem is what came from this, having been...