Take little steps to add novelty to lockdown days, because we all need to fight the crushing boredom
Yes this is another article giving you suggestions for how to make your days feel a little bit different. This has all gone on too long and we’re not just anxious and worried anymore, we’re bored. For many of us it feels almost impossible to hang in there when there is still some time to go before normality resumes.
And so we are, once again, giving some simple tips to shake up the monotony of your time at home. You may be at home twiddling your thumbs, you may be living in a childcare/homeschooling groundhog day, or you may be frantically working from your kitchen table. Busy or not, we all know what it is like to live days that are utterly the same, one after the other. We can’t promise you an amazing night out or the chance to experience something new, but what we can do is share some simple mindset tweaks and strategies to help you see your time in lockdown with fresh eyes.
1. Change how you watch
Are you the type to read all the reviews before carefully selecting what series to watch next? Or do you like to just throw on the TV and see what’s on?
If you’re the former, you might miss out on the chance to discover something you love, or you may be missing out on the easy, feelgood moodlift of watching fun game shows and nostalgic reruns with your household. There’s a reason shows like Fittest Families, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and the likes of Gilmore Girls and Friends are constantly on telly. People don’t just love watching them, they love talking about the games, or reliving those classic TV moments.
And likewise, if you’re nomally used to watching whatever is on, why not get stuck into a classic series you might have missed, or watch something completely new for you, like a subtitled Nordic drama or a gripping true crime series. There are endless options out there.
2. Add novelty to your walk
Not another walk, we hear you say? Unfortunately, walks shall remain our only outlet for a while, but there are ways to take the boredom out of your 5km.
You could try understanding nature a bit more, by learning about different clouds and what they mean or studying the birds and plants on your walk. Once you start taking an interest, you’ll find different things capturing your attention.
You could also try walking at night instead (when safe to do so). Walking somewhere lit by streetlamps can be beautiful in its own way, and the fresh cool night air can be really invigorating. Spring is a great time to embrace this, before the evenings get too long and while the weather has gotten that bit warmer. Plus, the footpaths will be quieter than they are during the daytime, which can be a joy in itself.
3. Fake it
Rather than give in to that bored feeling, just ignore it. Throwing yourself into whatever you are doing at home, or deliberately choosing to talk about something else instead, can make a big difference. We all know dwelling on negative feelings isn’t healthy, and so putting on a brave face can help trick the mind into forgetting how fed up you are.
4. Pay attention
Challenge yourself to take in as much detail as possible. Have you spotted new shoots in your neighbours’ gardens when out for a walk? Are there any baby calves and lambs in the fields? Have your local shops and business taken this time to spruce up their spaces? Did your friend make an effort for your Zoom call? What are your kids enjoying during home school sessions, or when they’re watching YouTube or TikTok? Yes we have been looking at the same four walls and 5km for the past while, but there is always something to discover when you choose to see the world with fresh eyes.
5. Play with your look
We’ve all thrown on some lipstick to add a bit of a lift at the weekend, but being more adventurous with your look while at home can be really fun. While a home fringe is never the right answer, playing with a colourful temporary hair dye is just pure fun. Try a makeup look you’d never wear, recreate some brave fashion looks you’ve always admired but never felt bold enough to wear, and go maximalist and throw on all your accessories for the grocery shop.
6. Dive into new content
If you haven’t already, it’s time to give in and download TikTok. It’s so much more than silly dances (which are undeniably fun to try), there are also so many great life hacks and ideas. Just ask anyone who has ever tasted that baked feta pasta. Likewise, maybe you’ve never given YouTube a whirl beyond music videos and movie trailers, but YouTube videos are great for learning new skills, or for following like-minded people who share their day. You could follow book vloggers, great chefs, discover endless free workout content, and so much more.
7. Shake up what you eat
Right, this one is definitely tricky, an entire year into lockdown. You’ve no doubt gone through phases of trying complicated new recipes to being too bored to make anything more elaborate than French toast. You could challenge yourself to make meals out of ingredients you’d never usually buy, or try making an elaborate three course meal. But that is a whole lot of effort. One of the easiest ways to make your meals feel very different is to try new dressings, chutneys, spreads and dips. They are so easy to make, can go with your usual favourites, and endlessy adaptable. Try making your own hoummus in different flavours, mastering the perfect salad dressing, or making some delicious creamy dips for movie night.
8. Set a goal
Sure, we’ve all tried and failed at this, whether it was fitness, learning to write or becoming a whizz in the kitchen. But this time, do everything in your power to reach your goal. Use the SMART steps – make your goal specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed. You’ve heard it before, but realy commit this time. You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple strategy makes.
9. Do things a little differently
How much of your rut is self-imposed? Are you wearing, eating, watching, drinking the same things all the time? Consciously make an effort to do something a little different each time. You’ll discover things you hate, things you like, you might find it easy or tricky, but it’s something small that can be a silly bit of fun.
10. Make the effort
Use the ware you normally keep for guests, do your makeup for your walk with a friend, and go the extra mile when sending something to someone to mark a special occasion. There are things in your home that bring you joy, so use them, and likewise, if you can bring joy to someone else’s day, do it.
11. Master something impressive
Would you love to be able to make the perfect cocktail for example? Or to master the perfect art in your coffee? Perhaps you want to wow people at the next singsong or karaoke night (whenever that may be)? Time is usually the one thing holding us back, but now that we have more of it on our hands, put it to use to achieve something new.
12. Embrace your inner child
This is the secret to making every day that bit more fun. Think of how much joy kids get out of a simple trip to the park, or splashing in a puddle, or watching their favourite movie? They’re also amazing at just being silly for no reason, at any moment, and that is such a joyous thing. Whether you start telling stupid jokes, having tickle fights, playing with kids toys or even just playing your favourite video games, take some time out to just have fun.
13. Challenge your thoughts
Now is a great time to do some work on the not so helpful thoughts whirling around your brain. Question the thoughts you have throughout the day and ask yourself, was that negative/judgemental/anxiety talking? Reminding yourself that your thoughts are just thoughts, not facts, can be really helpful. If you can, practise some positive mantras to help put you in a more positive headspace, and try to knock any down-in-the-dumps moments on the head. Even just trying to see the funny side in a bleak moment can be good for the soul.