I can’t tell you how many people in the past week have said: “I’m so bored, I don’t know what to do with myself.” That isn’t boredom people! That is your brain being overloaded with new options.
The habit of being busy.
Being busy is habit that most of us have formed and we’ve had years of practice at. When I studied hypnotherapy, one of the first things I was taught was that the brain likes what is familiar. And what is familiar to many of us is living a life of on a schedule of things we have been taught to believe we must get done each day. So, this state of being is very familiar to us.
Furthermore, we haven’t typically stopped to reassess and start thinking about if we should be doing things differently because by living in this way for so long, we have convinced ourselves we don’t have time. And in most instances, this treadmill we have been on has kept us feeling so occupied and often tired and rundown we don’t have the energy to look for new, creative or different solutions.
Choice can be paralyzing
So, it’s of no surprise that when we are suddenly faced with shifts in our routine and have more available time away from the office and distractions of group activities, we think we are bored. Our brains are so confused! In many cases, we haven’t exercised them in this way for years, even decades. We aren’t actually bored; we are paralyzed by the vast amount of choice. You’ve heard of the paradox of choice? When we have too much choice, decision making becomes more difficult.
Should I read a book, call a friend, organize my house, learn something new, watch a movie… and the list goes on. Then add on top of that stress from not sleeping, worrying about our health and/or how we will pay the bills. It becomes even harder for our brain to process all this information and figure out what we should be doing to meet our basic needs (food, health, safety and shelter) and kaboom – our brain goes into overload and shuts down. For many of us we call this unfamiliar feeling boredom. I would suggest in many cases we just aren’t familiar with what we are feeling, and it is actually our brain overloaded by choice, fear, panic, absence of certainty or lack of sleep.
These are unprecedented times and honestly, no one has all of the answers, and as humans, we fear making the wrong decision and the consequences of making the wrong decision.
So, what do we do?
I don’t profess to have all the answers, but it is my job as a hypnotherapist and transformational mindset coach to work with individuals and companies to help them shift their mindsets. This takes time, patience and practice in the best of times, and becomes even more important in the times we are facing now. Here are some suggestions that I hope help you:
- Discover are you really bored? – Each time you start feeling bored, ask yourself, is that true? Am I really bored? Why do I think I’m bored? What’s really going on? Take the time to explore the answers to these questions to understand if it is really boredom, or something else.
- Make a list – If you are really feeling bored or paralyzed by the choice, make a list of all the things you could do. Balance out the things you need to do to take care of your basic needs with things you would like to do that will bring you joy. Then prioritize your list making sure to have things from both those categories on them.
- Are you dealing with fear and anxiety? – Even if there is some boredom, the lack of certainty at the moment likely means there is some fear going on as well. The best way to handle this is to talk to someone about it. Just voicing it relieves some of the stress, and others can help us see things more clearly and provide perspective. Remember – We are all in this together!
- Practice self-care – You’ve heard this before, but we can always use another reminder; Our brains can’t function properly if we aren’t getting enough sleep, exercise, healthy food, laughter and connection. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and your basic needs so that you can be the best version of yourself. That will make it so much easier focus and find solutions. Bonus points if you meditate daily – this really does help! And then…
- Have a planning session – You can do this with yourself or with others. Once you have yourself in the right mindset and you have set up your brain to successfully focus, make a plan. The plan doesn’t have to be forever, or have all the right decisions in it, you can go back and revise as things change and you get more information. Start with planning out a strategy for solving the issue that is causing you the most anxiety. It might be, how to keep yourself healthy, or how to reduce your spending, how to keep your business afloat, what you want to do to support others or take time to learn, or just simply what you want to do with your day. You may decide you need a plan for many of these things, prioritize what is causing the most stress and anxiety and get a plan in place for that first.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Remember, we are all experiencing these things, so be kind to yourself and to others – we are all in this together so let’s help ourselves and each other get to a healthier mindset so we can create a better way of living and a better world going forward.
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