Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve written about the challenges of coping with heavy emotions and massive changes in our lives. But during the past year we’ve also been contending with plain old boredom. The sameness of our daily routines after a year of staying at home is mind-numbing. We’ve already overhauled our wardrobes, KonMari’d our linen closets, optimized our home office arrangements, and rearranged every stick of furniture we own. We’re intimately familiar with all the quirks of our homes and our housemates. How can we bear to stay inside any longer?
The past year has stretched our creativity and pushed our limits as we’ve looked for new ways to connect with one another and new methods of entertaining ourselves. Luckily, change is around the corner. The weather is starting to turn, the vaccine rollout is underway, and things are on the mend. All we have to do is make it through this final stretch.
Have a celebration
Feeling cheerless? It may be time to manufacture a little fun. Even if we can’t have in-person gatherings quite yet (just a little longer now!), a celebration can shake up the monotony and give us something to plan for. If you have another person in your bubble, make it a party for two; if you’re flying solo, put up with Zoom one more time or bundle up and take it outside.
Your celebration can be about anything at all. If you observe a springtime holiday like Easter or Passover, these are good reasons to celebrate, but your celebration could also be entirely made up: a neighborhood car parade, a virtual cooking competition with friends, a blind chocolate tasting with family, or a private fashion shoot where you take selfies in your fanciest clothes.
The winter holidays fall at the darkest time of year, when we need a little light and cheer. This is another such time, so why not find a reason to celebrate? Even small pleasures like a pancake brunch on the weekend can give us something to look forward to and turn an ordinary day into a special occasion.
The great escape
For everything there is a season: a time for mindful reflection, and a time for eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be active and productive when we have time on our hands, but this extraordinary situation can be truly exhausting, and sometimes a little comfort and escapism goes a long way.
March is National Reading Month, a good reminder that diving into a different world can be a great relief from the pressures of our own lives. Of course, we’ve been looking for escape for a year now, so you may feel you’re running out of tv shows, movies, and books. One solution if you’re feeling this way is to revisit an old story you loved when you were younger; often our favorite books and movies from childhood remain deeply comforting. Another solution is to try a form of escapism that’s not your go-to. Do you usually watch tv? Try a book. Do you usually read? Try a puzzle. All puzzled out? Try going for a walk with a podcast on. See if a different kind of escape can help you shake off your boredom.
A new project
Of course, the Paper Mouse team loves a creative project, and we think this is a great way to pass the time if you’re bored. (We even created our springtime Curiosity Boxes for this!) Starting a new project can be hard, but once we find some momentum, getting into the flow of it engages our brains and finishing a project gives us a rush of satisfaction.
If you haven’t polished off every imaginable home improvement project in the past year, these can be very absorbing, as can cooking and baking, knitting or sewing, painting, drawing, or whatever it is that floats your boat. (Heck, maybe it’s boat building!) Whether you’re making a magnificent masterpiece or organizing your sock drawer, the satisfaction of completing something tangible can give us the energy to get on with the rest of our routine.
It’s been a long, strange year, but an end is finally in sight. Spring has officially begun, and there’s good news mixed with the bad these days. Get outside and enjoy the changing seasons, stay safe, and have hope that we’ll all be more resilient, more compassionate, and more joyful after the experience we’ve lived through.