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Battling Boredom – Tips and Tricks in Isolation

“I’m bored!” – how many times have you said that since social distancing and self-isolation started?

Well, this is one thing I take a strange pride in and has come in very useful during this time. I am very good at finding things to do and staying busy. Sometimes it comes in a bit of a nuisance when it’s not necessary for me to do anything, but I just can’t sit still. So I thought I might share my tips on how to pass the time and battle boredom in an environment that becomes progressively demotivating. I bet you’ve even started to get bored of your phone, Netflix and YouTube, right?

So this is what you will need:

  • Open windows – it’s going to get hot and stuffy.
  • Comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
  • A good playlist. Trust me.
  1. Make a to-do list! This is one of the best ways to keep track of the perpetual university work. Admittedly, my organisation does also involve colour-coding all of my subjects, which helps with the lists. I put each subject under it’s designated colour, and bullet-point each task for that week that I need to complete. This has made me super productive and kept me up-to-date with all uni work!
  2. Have a clear out. This is one of my favourite things to do (I know, weird). But sorting through clothes, stationery, toys and that draw where you throw random things in – you know the one – can be so satisfying and refreshing. Try to convince others you may be with to do it too! But please be mindful of the environment and dispose responsibly. I’ve listed my tricks on clearing out and organising below. And those comfortable clothes will come in handy!
  3. Be creative. Write, draw, paint, build, destroy – do something that lets you take your mind off of things for a while. I decided to try and pick up my piano skills again, and have been using apps to help refresh my memory, which also gives me a nice break from anything that requires reading or research!
  4. Read or play video games! It’s escapism. It doesn’t matter what it is, but take yourself away from the insanity that is our current situation and give yourself a break from everything else you usually do.
  5. Exercise and get fresh air. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but even I can say that some light exercise stops me from seizing up and turning into Quasimodo after sitting down all the time. Plus, you sleep better if you tire yourself out physically and not just mentally! Going for a walk in the fresh can also, as the British say, “clear the cobwebs” – basically, it’s clear your head.
  6. Help your family out. It’s the most quality time you’ll get to spend with them, so cherish it! And you might learn something new! Repair something, help with a renovation, move furniture, do the laundry clean up – anything!
  7. Learn a new skill! Cooking, sewing, drawing, playing an instrument. Anything will keep your mind stimulated, and gives you time away from uni.
  8. Clean your room. Have you ever deep-cleaned your room? This is where old clothes come in handy, as well as a good playlist. Stick on some music, pull on some gloves, grab a few cloths and get to work. Damp-dust all surfaces, even the tops of the doors and skirting boards! Polish your mirror, clean your window, vacuum or mop the floors. Change your bedding. Put your bathrobe in the wash. Extra tip: I like to fold and roll my clothes in my drawers, it saves space, and I can see everything! (This is where the open window will come in handy).
  9. Sort through your photos. We are all guilty of hoarding photos. Now is the time to relax with a cup of tea, and organise your camera roll – both on your phone and laptop. I highly recommend using Google Photos, as you can use it on anything, anywhere, if you have a Google account. You just sync up your camera roll, it backs up your images instantly to unlimited online storage, organises them by date, suggests photos to archive, and all you have to do is click ‘clear up space’ in the app every so often, and it cleans up the photos that have already been stored on to the app and off your phone, saving you space! Anything that hasn’t been backed up simply needs to be uploaded manually. It’s a lifesaver.
  10. Treat yourself. Finally, give some time up to look after yourself. Run a bath, stay in bed, do a face mask, do a hair treatment. Listen to music. Bake your favourite treat. Order in. Meditate. Binge-watch something new or a fave program. We don’t often get this much time to sit back and relax, so take advantage of it while you can.
  • Clothes, shoes, jewellery: if you haven’t worn it in the last year, have only worn it once, or it doesn’t fit – donate it. Someone out there needs it more than your closet. Some things you shouldn’t donate (ie. underwear, swimwear) and if it’s falling apart at the seams, try and find a fabric recycling bin, or upcycle it and use it the material for something else!
  • Stationery and Files: You’re going to need a comfy seat, a bin, paper, and storage. Sit and test all of your pens and pencils. If the pens have dried up, or the ink leaks everywhere, or the push mechanism is broken – throw it out. If pencils won’t sharpen, have no graphite or the wax has dried – throw it out. Broken sharpeners, dried rubbers, random lids – throw it out. If possible, recycle it. The things you keep, put into spare pencil cases or boxes where you can have easy access to them at any time. Any paper – documents, artwork, uni work – should be organised into keep and file, or recycle.
  • Toys: I’m sure somewhere we all have childhood toys lying around. Well, it’s time to sort through them. Some you may be able to sell at a car-boot/garage sale, but most can go to charity, or be passed down to other families with children, or your siblings. Keep the ones most sentimental, and find a safe place to store them.
  • Books, DVDs, CDs, Videos, Electricals: Don’t lie, you’ve got them hidden somewhere. Again, you can give a lot of these to charity, or sell them. In the UK, MusicMagpie is a business where you scan the barcodes of the items, put it in a box, someone collects it, and you get some money! You can also use eBay or Amazon, and get some money back on those things you no longer use! Old electrical items should be put in an electrical recycling bin, or sold for parts.
  • The Drawer: You know the one. The one where you throw all the stuff in that you don’t want to deal with. It’s time to go through it and put things in a rightful place. Documents should go in a file or box, stationery should go to where you’ve just organised it, and those random things that are just trash…I don’t need to say anymore.

Obviously, you don’t have to do all of these. They’re just some of the things I’ve been doing to make the time go faster, and tips from what I’ve done in the past when I’ve cleared out my room.

It’s a tough time in this pandemic, but try not to get too deep into boredom, it can be quite a hard rut to get out of! I hope these are helpful, and you find yourself doing things you may not have had the time for before. Think of the positives and focus on what you can do, and this will fly by!

But, if you’re feeling particularly low and down, there is nothing wrong with doing absolutely nothing. Don’t feel guilty about catching up on some much-needed rest, and mental health comes first.

Stay safe, and stay well!