What is boredom?

What does boredom mean?
What does boredom mean?

This question has been bugging me for over a week now. As you can see, I wrote this at the top of my page and put a bubble around it whilst avidly taking notes on a course for Teaching Yoga for Stress and Burnout. Charlotte (one of the tutors – Charlotte Watts and Leah Barnett, I urge you to check them out if you can, they are very knowledgeable teachers).

I remember as a kid saying “I’m bored” soooo many times! Let’s face it, I was (and still am) a bit of a geek, and I tend to find enjoyment in the most mundane of things, yet I still knew what boredom was. As a grown up though, I seem to have forgotten. I can’t even define it. In our society we are almost frowned upon if we genuinely have nothing to do. We almost become more respected if we are busy, if we have plans. If we are stressed! Now, although I don’t feel as though I fully fit into this mould, as I take pleasure in being un-busy, in being antisocial, in saying no to events and activities, in spending time in my own company, or just sitting with my animals. But I have been through hell and back to get myself there. This is something I only really considered earlier this week when a school colleague of mine said that she admired me because I just do my own thing and don’t let anyone affect me. This isn’t wholly true – I work extremely hard on that, but I have to take a lot of downtime for myself in order to present like this (read “hiding under a blanket with a book”).

But, seriously, what IS boredom? I just Googled it (see….riveting life I lead and I don’t even care!) and this was the first thing I saw:

I’m still none the wiser. How sad is that though – living a long life will cause boredom? HOW?!

I tried again and got a much more interesting read from Psychology Today, 

The most common way to define boredom in Western culture is having nothing to do. Boredom is generally viewed as an unpleasant emotional state in which the individual feels a pervasive lack of interest in and difficulty concentrating on the current activity”

So if you don’t want to be bored, you ought to have lots of things to do? No, thank you. In my opinion, there is nothing greater than having an empty to do list, but let’s face it that isn’t always possible (especially not in the world of education!!!).

“Boredom can be viewed as a crisis of desire.”

We need to encourage ourselves to ignore that to-do list, to create time for ourselves, to do something that we enjoy, to do something good for our minds and bodies. Find that thing that sets your desire alive. Be you, the real you.

So, I ask you to make time over the next week or so to ‘be bored’.

If you need some inspiration, here’s my boredom “to-do” list:

  • Read a novel
  • Read a yoga/spiritual book
  • Listen to music
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Go for a walk with the dogs
  • Cuddle the animals
  • Go to a yoga class
  • Go to the gym
  • Drink a cup of tea
  • Write a blog for my website