Harper's Bazaar: The game-changing reason we should embrace boredom
Originally found at Harper's Bazaar, by Jessica Harris.
Social media may have been awash with banana bread, DIY and newly formed exercise routines during lockdown but, when the last of the crumbs had been cleared away and the emulsion had dried, we mostly found ourselves staring at that freshly painted wall in pure boredom. And boy, did we moan about it as a survey by the Office for National Statistics found that just under two thirds of 16-69 year olds were most affected by boredom and the inability to make plans.
Yet boredom's bad rep started long before coronavirus gripped the planet. It's negative connotations were historically considered a symptom of being idle and conjured up age-old sayings such as ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’. That was certainly the case for a former employee of French perfume company Interparfums who sued the brand because they tasked him with nothing interesting to do. He claimed that his intense boredom led to sick days and compromised mental health which saw him win €40,000 as the court concurred that he had suffered from “bore-out”.
With an abundance of technology and the odd Netflix binge at our disposal, has our tolerance for stillness become non-existent? “Lockdown has definitely changed how we feel about boredom,” says Kay Woodburn, a neuorlinguistics coach, specialising in neuro-science and founder of Gritty People. “Some people have grown to love it and others to hate it. Boredom has given us the opportunity to reflect, opening the creative channels of the mind and explore things we would never have explored before and for others the lack of stimulation that comes with boredom has brought ‘bubbling under’ mental health challenges to bubble over.”
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