Although I count the months and days until summer throughout the school year, when it’s finally summer vacation, I find myself facing the same problem every year. I am bored. I’m bored in the sense that nothing seems fun or interesting. I lack motivation to work on studies or other meaningful activities. At the same time, relaxing and disassociating myself from work and to-do lists is a waste of time. To be completely honest, relaxation is difficult for me. Making time for fun becomes one of the toughest goals. This summer, the only thing on my to-do list is to understand the importance of truly relaxing. But, breaking this habit is not an easy task.
I’ve always been a planner, constantly thinking ahead and marking my calendar to remind myself of important upcoming dates. If I wasn’t always working on something or thinking about something, I was “wasting my time.” This mentality led me to associate being always busy with happiness and success. Even at the end of the school year, this mentality stayed with me. I forced myself to fill my days meant for relaxation with more tasks and work. Now, looking back, I understand the major issues that led to this seemingly innocuous trend that is often labeled as “hardworking” or “passionate.”
Planning, while important, is not always necessary. Summer is the time to break away from the monotonous routines that the school year imposes on students. Planning less will allow you to be in the present and take it one day at a time.
Choose something new to do every day
Boredom often results from the redundancy and repetitiveness of the days. If every day is the same, maybe it’s time for a change. This, however, can be done with the smallest change. If you don’t consider yourself the best baker or cook, set aside time in your day to try a new recipe. Or, if you find you don’t spend much time outdoors, take time to sit in the sun, swim, or take a walk with a friend.
Doing one new activity a day will interrupt your predictable and tedious routine. This is the key to turning your so-called boredom into fun and pleasure.
The importance of boredom
Although it’s hard to believe, boredom is very beneficial and important for your brain health. According to Jill Bolte Taylor, brain scientist and author of My Stroke Of Insight, “Every ability you have, you have brain cells that communicate. When you walk, you have brain cells that communicate with muscles to move you. Your brain cells are constantly working. They eat and create waste, so sleep is the optimal time for waste to be cleared between cells so they can actually function.”
She continued: “I liken it to when garbage collectors go on strike. We know how congested the streets are. It’s exactly the same thing that happens with brain cells. If you wake up with an alarm before your system is ready to wake up,” you cut out part of a sleep cycle that your brain wanted. Sleep is all about rejuvenating the brain. “
If you’re more bored than usual this summer, take advantage of it.
Contrary to popular belief, boredom isn’t always something bad or something you need to change. Boredom may be just what you need this summer to relax and enjoy your free time. Having nothing on your to-do list is sometimes beneficial. Take the time to sit outside and simply notice and appreciate your surroundings. Take the time to rest while listening to your favorite playlist. Even if you feel like you’re not being productive, remember that being productive isn’t a requirement for having a good day.
Replace “Boredom” with “Relaxing”
It is crucial to disregard the negative connotation of the word “boredom”. But, that’s easier said than done. By taking it one step at a time, you can gradually see boredom as important to your mental health and overall well-being. You can start by replacing the word “boredom” with “relaxing”. “Relaxing” gives the time you take to untie a positive association.
The next time you are bored, understand that boredom is not the enemy. Take time to relax and enjoy moments of calm this summer.