What Is Boredom?
It happens to all of us from time to time. You are simply going about your day when suddenly you find yourself feeling restless or distracted. Whatever you are doing right at that moment isn’t any fun—and worse, you can’t really think of anything else to do that would be fun. Maybe you heave a heavy sigh as you realize what you are experiencing: boredom.
In and of itself, a bit of boredom is no big deal (in fact, in some circumstances, it can even be helpful). It is a natural response to any number of things—a repetitive task at work; a meeting during which someone drones on without ever really saying anything; an ongoing household chore like laundry, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn. It is understandable that these things (and many others like them) can engender a feeling of boredom. As a rule, the feeling passes as we move onto a new task or activity.
But what if that feeling of boredom persists over time? That might point to a problem—and that problem might pose a danger to your ongoing sobriety. Let’s get interested in boredom so that we can understand it better.
Boredom Comes in a Few Flavors
Because most boredom can be alleviated with change in activity, it makes sense to have handy a go-to activity that you always enjoy. That activity could be just about anything from reading to listening to music to solving puzzles to…well, the list of activities you might find engaging could unfurl for a long time. The trick is to find something that brings a sense of relaxation and enjoyment so that you can refresh yourself when boredom creeps in.
But sometimes boredom seems to settle upon us regardless of the circumstances. Nothing seems interesting or appealing—even things we generally enjoy. In cases like this—in which boredom has a lot in common with the notion of languishing—it is a good idea to pay attention. If the feeling of boredom persists, it may indicate the onset or worsening of a mental health disorder like depression. Because sobriety and good mental health are so tightly intertwined, you want to be vigilant about signs of depression or anxiety.
Sometimes, boredom might indicate that it is time to make a change in your life. For example, if you feel bored all day, every day at work (perhaps due to burnout), it might be an indication that you need to seek out new challenges—either at your current workplace or elsewhere. If you feel uninspired by the food you are eating (and perhaps tempted to trade good nutrition for some quick and easy “junk” food), it might be time to take a cooking class or purchase a new cookbook. Take the time to pay attention to what a sense of boredom might be telling you—and then make positive changes.
Drugs or Alcohol Are Not Good Antidotes to Boredom
When you are feeling bored—no matter the reason—you might find yourself tempted to return to drug or alcohol use. After all, people who misuse drugs often do so to keep negative emotions from overwhelming them. So if boredom is weighing you down, it might seem as though drugs or drinking can lighten your load.
But of course, that is not the case at all. Instead, overcome boredom by enjoying your favorite activities, seeking therapy, and/or by making healthy and helpful changes in your life.
We Never Get Bored While Helping Folks Regain Their Sobriety
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we love our work because we value the opportunity to help people struggling with substance use disorders regain and maintain their sobriety. We offer personalized treatment plans grounded in experience, expertise, and recognized best practices. And we can address co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to (or be worsened by) your substance use disorder. Our commitment to a continuum of care means you will have the support you need in the early, challenging days of your recovery journey—and we can help you start over in the case of a relapse. When you are ready to leave drugs or alcohol behind, we are eager to help.