During this time of social distancing and home isolation, boredom can set in. Our routines are limited now, a lot of our usual self-care activities are missing, and we aren't able to hug our friends and family. I know that it has taken me some time to adjust to these changes as my normal life has shifted. I don't have my usual hot yoga classes to keep me on track, there are no more social outings with friends, I can't visit with loved ones, and even simple things like going to Homesense for a little trinket is not an option anymore.
When we don't have exciting things to look forward to, we may start to lose hope or become anxious about our future. This can turn into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety, resulting in reduced levels of motivation, energy, and mood. Boredom is also a common trigger for engaging in unhealthy habits, like drinking more, binge watching TV, or over-eating. The good news is that we can shift our daily activities up so that we can feel good about ourselves and enhance our well-being.
Something that has helped me get through times of boredom is getting creative. We all have creativity within us, and the more we use our creative brain, the more creative we get. Creativity works like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
What does the research say?
A study out of New Zealand looked at the effects of creativity on positive emotions and well-being. The researchers concluded that people experienced more positive emotions and positive personal growth when they exercised their creativity. They felt more energized and enthusiastic, and they flourished more.
Other research shows that creativity can reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall mental health. Art can help people work through traumatic experiences as it is a way to express emotions that are too difficult to put into words.
Music also has the ability to enhance the immune system. It stimulates our limbic system and affects our response to stressful situations. Listening to music can lower stress levels and promote the relaxation response in the body.
Ideas to Boost Creativity
- listen to music that you enjoy
- write - journal about your day, create poems or stories, start a gratitude journal
- dance - while you're cleaning your home, dance party with your kids, learn a new dance style
- exercise & movement - try a new yoga pose or fitness move, take a different route on your walk or run, try zumba or buti yoga (YouTube)
- decorate - a room in your home, create a zen space to unwind, re-design your patio set-up
- plant a garden or flowers
- create or try a new recipe
- bake cookies & decorate them
- at home date night - recreate your favourite date night at home, have a themed dinner (I love fiesta or luau themes)
- paint night - try this virtually with friends
- colour or draw - try a mindfulness colouring book
- play more with your kids - puppet shows, story time, role plays, crafts, play-doh creations
- DIY home projects - check out Pinterest for ideas
- start a new hobby
Written by Vanessa Goodchild, Registered Psychologist