Wednesday, 24 February 2021 11:19

Dealing with Boredom and Loneliness

Written by Trishna Patnaik
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"The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care".- Hugh Macleod

Understanding your emotions well enough can help you take measurable plus actionable steps in order to connect with others and in turn protect your own mental health. Over the last few months, several people have been confined to their homes in order to curb and disorient the spread of the virus in the COVID’19 crisis! Please understand that while some people are living with family, friends or even roommates, others might even be living alone. There are many of us who even might be missing our friends, family members and relatives and at times, we might even find ourselves feeling lonely, isolated, or more so bored.

Regardless of whether you are living alone or with other people, it is quite possible that you may be feeling lonely right now! Loneliness is the experience that takes place when you don’t feel satisfied with the quality of your social interactions and would like to be more connected to others. You may feel lonely even when you do have several people around you but do not feel emotionally connected or invested to them.

If you have been living by yourself, or have been away from other people, you may still land up feeling isolated. Maybe you are made to be self-quarantined or more so living in a containment zone. Whatever be the case, being alone and physically distant from other people can make you feel socially and even emotionally disconnected. This lack of social connectedness can indeed be a risk to your physical and mental health. When you do not feel socially connected to others, you might find it far more difficult to deal with stressful situations. Loneliness can cause sleeplessness along with heightened levels of stress, depression, and more so anxiety! In fact, loneliness has been primarily linked to poor immunity too; a solid concern that is quite alarming given the current state of the world we are all in.

Another more common emotion that many of us are experiencing is definitely boredom. Amidst the lockdown, for many of us, life has certainly become definitely dull, repetitive and more so monotonous. You might have lost interest in the things or even in the people around you. The human mind is curious and likes being challenged and finding new things. Without enough mental stimulation, it is likely that you may get bored more often now than usual!

When you get bored, you may frequently get distracted and may find yourself even daydreaming. You may even spend more time scrolling and browsing through social media or binge-watching shows in an executional attempt to find something that is very interesting and far more engaging. It is likely that you may mistake your boredom for hunger or sometimes tiredness. However, having a snack or taking a nap may not be enough.

Sometimes we do hate being bored because it does give us a lot of time to think about the ones we truly miss! We need to identify all of these feelings of boredom or loneliness and then take proactive action in order to feel completely better.

So what you can do in the process:

Structure your day When you live alone you may be tempted to do as you please. However, having a structure or schedule can help you feel more present and way too focussed. Create a new routine to be followed, and incorporate time not just for work in it, but for chores, leisure, social interactions and for some me-time as well! Start a new ritual for your own good Find a suitable activity that will help you cope with the current scenario and make it a solid daily ritual to help yourself stay calm. This can include journaling or even something as simple as having a cup of tea in the morning or a hot shower before going to bed!

Change your perception There will be times when even talking to others may not be what you need. It can therefore be highly helpful to change the way you think about your isolation or your boredom too. Think of this given alone-time as an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and pick up enhanced new skills; if you want! Reframing your perspective on the situation can help you tackle these distressing and challenging emotions more easily!

Reconnect with your old friends Reach out and talk to old friends via phone, messages, social media or video calls. This can help you feel well-connected even though you might not be in their company always.

Bond with your family Suppose you are with your family, try to spend time with them. You could try doing some chores with them, watch shows together, or even go ahead to start new family rituals like having a superb game night once a week or eating breakfast together each morning. If you have regular conversations with them about your life, their life, and the world, you can even collectively manage your anxieties and in turn negative emotions.

Focus on your hobbies

Maybe you have a hobby that you might have dropped or forgotten. Do reconnect with these old hobbies to alleviate your loneliness. Maybe you do enjoy painting, or you do own several books you have always wanted to read. Use this time to indulge in such hobbies. This can help you stay engaged as well!

Focus on your health

When you continue to stay isolated, you may have a lower immunity and higher susceptibility to falling ill! Prioritise your health by eating balanced meals, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water and by getting adequate sleep. This means taking any medication you are on/ can take regularly and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, nicotine or other substances.

Maintain hygiene

Being isolated or staying away from other people may make you feel that there is no need for maintaining hygiene. This tendency does become quite worse if you are feeling depressed as well. However, it’s crucial to maintain hygiene during such times. Brushing your teeth, bathing every day, and changing into clean clothes are all essential for your well-being. If finding the motivation to do this is hard, make a to-do list with these hygiene items and ensure you check them off each day. You could even ask someone to hold you accountable for the same by checking in with you regularly.

Avoid procrastination

When you are bored, you might find it hard to do something to change your mind’s state. This can lead you to procrastinate an important or necessary task. Sometimes, the best way to beat boredom is to push yourself hard into just doing an activity or a chore that is long pending. Focus on how good you would feel if you completed the task and use that very feeling to motivate yourself to overcome that procrastination!

Spend time in your own company

When you feel absolutely bored, take the time to introspect and better do understand yourself well. Try to identify what it is you would actually like to do. Reflect on your life and do try to understand the things that are really important to you. How can you make complete time for them in your life, during or even post the inevitable lockdown? Alternatively, you can begin brainstorming and planning for things you have wanted to do but have not had the time for at all! Identify your life goals and break them down into small actions points you can take to achieve them say starting today!

Take a break

When boredom does hit you while you are engaging and immersing in a task, do take some time off. Take a break from whatever is making you feel bored and do an activity you can enjoy. If you are say bored of washing vessels, do take a break and dance to your utmost favourite song; if you are bored of work, do talk to a co-worker; if you are completely bored of studying, do take a break and do some yoga. This will help you feel thoroughly refreshed, rejuvenated and reenergised when you come back to the unfinished task at hand.

It is very important to understand that feeling bored or lonely is a part of life. While it may not be enjoyable, it is something that we all have to deal with from time to time. Learning how to work through boredom, loneliness and isolation can equip you with important skills in order to lead a happier and healthier life.

Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.

Trishna is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai.

Trishna fancies the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too, to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers and thinkers.
Read 509 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 February 2021 11:37

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