Pandemic Mindset: Boredom and Why it’s Important

I’m bored.

Yep; boredom – a result of a cocktail of free time and isolation- has a good majority of us trapped in tumultuous time-wasting. But today, let’s put a positive spin on things and talk about why it’s important to be bored and unproductive occasionally; (with a philosophical lense of course).

In isolation, particularly the horror hotel quarantine situations of the coronavirus pandemic, our imaginations can either run rampant or stagnant. This imagination is a vital part of the human condition that we can come to better understand. Our imagination drives us to explore our surroundings in more creative manners and has us thinking more inventively; aspiring for greater things in our lives (or mandated free time at least). This capacity for mental imagery and ‘play’ is a wonderful facility we can take advantage of and that often comes to life when we are bored. This is great news for all those who are stuck in isolation; you can come up with great ideas and have fun by using your brainpower. That’s one side of boredom; it can charge our brain’s imaginative powers, however, there is another seemingly less attractive side…

Boredom and procrastination now often come hand in hand thanks to the ease of access to unproductive content on the Internet. However, while this is commonly looked upon as a bad thing, it can actually be a good experience for us. In this fast-paced world, sometimes we need time to just relax, switch off and not think at all; something that boredom can make us do. This is why boredom can be important. With a lack of interest or boredom, we can moderate ourselves, check in and find where we are at psychologically and physically. Notably, this ‘down-time’ is also becoming increasingly important as mental health issues spike due to COVID-19.

Boredom can also grant birth to a more open-minded person within us. When we present that lack of caring from boredom, we are more drawn to randomised things which can lead us to different places and have us expanding and forming new interests. For example, I’d be more likely to click on a cat video when I’m bored than when I’m fully focused and motivated. This cat video could lead me to a greater enjoyment or a new-found interest in felines. While that’s a horridly unhelpful example of how boredom can be beneficial, the same situation could apply to someone who is bored and then takes up a new skill or hobby such as piano or knitting due to this.

So there we have it: three reasons why boredom is important. It can help our mental health, it can lead us to new hobbies and it can drive our imaginations to new discoveries. Whether you’re stuck in isolation, holed up in a hotel or crying in quarantine, if you’re bored, at least feel happy and fulfilled that you’re doing something good for yourself.