A Case for Embracing Boredom in Small Bits

Lifestyle

Photography via McCall Olsen

Ahhhh. Summer. The long days of chasing sunlight and fireflies and dreams and water are upon us. I for one, am ready. My daughter? Even more so. Our bodies and our brains are tired. Tired of the race that is the end of school. Tired of the structure of all the days. Ready to rest, and explore. To be creative. And yes. To get bored.

Early June, I’m looking forward to hearing the incessant “I’m booooored” whining on a daily basis. As a mom, I love this phrase for my child. When I hear this statement, thanks to this book, I know to get calm and sit back. For I know that just on the other side of boredom is magic. Cardboard boxes become castles, closets turn into hideouts, dolls come to life. Plays are written, dances performed. So much goodness from unstructured time and a free mind. It’s amazing to be a front-row observer to these moments in her life.

These are the memories I have about my own childhood. The spontaneous, unstructured adventures of summer. Exploring the woods behind our house, building forts, concocting elaborate scenes with friends and my brother to act out day after day. Yet, as an adult, I can’t remember the last time I felt bored. I fill every moment with a screen, a podcast, a book, writing, making, doing, always doing.

Early June, I’m looking forward to hearing the incessant “I’m booooored” whining on a daily basis. As a mom, I love this phrase for my child… For I know that just on the other side of boredom is magic.

This summer I’m looking to take a lesson from my daughter. Boredom could and should have a place in my daily life, at least in small doses. Studies have shown boredom and daydreaming done in just the right way spurs creativity, that lowers stress and improves mental health, and benefits your mood. I’d like a dose of all of that on the regular.

For most of us, we have the opportunity to be bored daily—during a neighborhood walk, while washing dishes, or even while standing in line, but all too often fill these gaps with our phones, mindlessly scrolling and checking out. All the simple and repetitive tasks of daily life offer a gift to be present, to find quiet, to be bored. In the months ahead, I’ll be leaving my phone tucked away, being present in these moments and looking for the wonder that’s waiting for me just on the other side.

BY Jill Elliott - June 3, 2019

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