An increasing number of individuals are staying indoors to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid being infected by the virus, but staying at home can trigger boredom, explained Erin C. Westgate of The Conversation, a news and analysis website. Boredom is a sign that we are not meaningfully engaged with our surroundings. It coaxes us to stop what we are doing and to do it better. Or we need to do something else entirely.
Self-Reported Compliance and Growing Mental Health Concerns Among Italians (2020)
Via Harvard University, an Ivy League research university, Soubhik Barari and colleagues found that 95.2% of Italians endorsed avoiding handshakes, 94.7% believed that people should cancel social gatherings, 93.1% said there should be general curfew, and 89% said people should close non-essential shops.
78% of respondents said social distancing is an effective health measure, 62% believed that the government’s reaction to the crisis is appropriate (rather than extreme or insufficient), 36% thought the rest of the public’s reaction is appropriate. 58% believed that the government has been truthful regarding information about the outbreak while 51% said they trust the Italian government to take care of them in a crisis.
With regard to reasons for leaving home, 39.4% of respondents (62% of those who said they need to leave home in the next five days) said they need to procure for themselves or family, 18.2% went to the pharmacy, 13.5% went to work. 6.3% walked a pet, and 6.2% took care of dependents.
Moreover, 3.7% engaged in physical activities like jogging or exercising, 3.1% went to the hospital or received medical treatments, 3% were getting tired of being inside the house, and 2.1% left home to exercise their freedom. Some reasons given by the respondents were other (1.5%), meeting friends or relatives (1.2%), getting bored (1.2%), and getting some adrenaline rush from breaking the law (0.5%).
When asked about the negative aspects of staying at home, 16.2% cited lack of freedom, 14.7% answered boredom, 13.4% said lack of fresh air, 12.8% said lack of exercise, 11.8% mentioned the lack of social activities, and 11.5% cited job loss or loss of income source. Other reasons the respondents gave were loneliness (7.7%), conflicts in the family (5.1%), homeschooling (2.8%), combining homeschooling and working on distance (2.1%), and others (1.8%).
When asked about the respondents’ overall coronavirus-related anxiety level, 76.9% answered poor, 76.1% said fair, 74.3% stated good, and 70.5% said excellent. Gender wise, women were shown to have a higher anxiety level (76.7%) than men (71.1%).
The study involved 3,452 respondents, collecting data from these individuals between March 18 and March 20, 2020. The authors concluded that the Italian public receives public health messaging, understanding it, with most of them (other than a small number of young people and skeptics) claiming to follow it closely. It would also be helpful to find ways to reduce the negative effects of the quarantine if Italians are expected to remain indoors in the next few weeks or months.
What’s With Boredom?
Even if you have a job or engage in activities that appear to be meaningful, you can still feel bored. Meaningful work can induce feelings of boredom if you find it too hard or too easy. When that happens, you might have difficulty staying focused. To reduce boredom requires you to solve the problems that triggered it. In this case, not having sufficient meaningful and challenging activities.
Some people engage in activities that provide instant gratification, but not long-term meaning or challenge such as self-administering electric shocks. Other behaviors correlated with boredom are increased alcohol intake, marijuana use, unhealthy snacking, and online pornography. These will make you happy in the short run, but to effectively cure boredom, we need to find activities at home that will keep us engaged and provide long-term significance and challenge.
6 Activities You Can Do When You’re Bored
1. Find Rhythm
Routines can provide you with a sense of coherence and structure, thereby bolstering your meaning in life. In fact, people’s lives feel more meaningful when they follow a daily routine. Routines are lost when people are laid off or stopped going to the office.
The routines of retirees and stay-at-home parents are also disrupted due to school, city, and restaurant closures. A loss in structure can trigger boredom. Hence, it is recommended to create new routines to help restore a sense of meaning, preventing boredom from completely engulfing you.
2. Try Something New
You can try a new recipe, practice your home repair skills, or learn a groovy dance step on TikTok. Doing new things aid in relieving boredom and help you gain new skills and knowledge that may help you cope with boredom in the long run.
3. Engage In Guilty Pleasures
Binge watching? It’s okay to do this if that’s all you can handle for the day. However, we have to remember that meaningful activities can also be mentally taxing or require immense effort. For instance, hosting a virtual wine-and-design night might be too exhausting for everyone to enjoy when most people are struggling to cope with the outbreak. Allow yourself to enjoy your guilty pleasures. Reframe those moments as a way to recharge, refresh, and nourish your mind.
4. Get Work Done
Work should be done without distractions, said Heather R. Morgan of business news Forbes. It takes time to focus on your tasks, but this is a wonderful opportunity for introverts and self-motivated people.
5. Get Moving
You can use cans of food as weights if you don’t own any workout equipment. No need to go to the gym to exercise! You can use yoga mats, towels, or blankets to do your stretches and exercises.
6. Connect With People
Connecting with others either virtually or in person (if you are not alone at home) is another way to relieve boredom. You can also look at old photos or reminisce with a friend, which are simple but meaningful actions you can take when you’re not feeling well.
There are also other cool activities you can do such as meditating or introspection and learning a new skill. We all have our own ways of coping with boredom, so it’s up to you on how you will structure your day. Don’t force yourself to do activities if you are not at your best or you need to take a quick break.