Every once in a while one of my girlfriends or my clients will say to me “I am bored.” In the midst of successful and very active lives these women are experiencing the emotion of boredom. I believe that boredom can be an indication that you just need to mix things up a little bit. It can also be our hearts calling to our heads that something serious needs to change in our lives. How do you know if this is just a phase or if this is a serious issue?
I always recommend starting with the assumption that just making a minor change will snap you out of it. Then I suggest raising the ante until you are more in touch with what is going on inside. Here are some suggestions of things you can do in order of least to most risky.
- Get a new hair do or manicure.
Sometimes all we really need is to shake things up a bit. Getting a new hair cut or hair color or changing the color of your manicure might do it for you. This is about reengaging the creative part of you. Waking the sleeping giant can then lead you to being reminded of the things that get you going. Then the snowball begins.
- Read a controversial book.
I have found that with many of my clients their boredom is simply a lack of intellectual stimulation. Once we leave the university setting and become successful in our careers we tend not to encounter many opportunities to expand our brains. Picking up a controversial book on a topic that interest you is a great way to begin tickling the part of you that yearns to be intellectually challenged.
- Take a class on something in which you are interested.
Have you always been interested in photography or curious about interior design? Maybe you have an obsession with issues around global peace making. This may be a great time to look into taking a class at your local university or community art center. A class will simultaneously engage the part of your brain that is hungry for new information and the part of your soul that is hungry for new social connections.
- Try a new ministry at church or volunteer opportunity.
Inevitably when we step outside of ourselves and focus our energies on other people we begin to come alive. It is a mixture of the gratitude we feel about our own abundance and the sense of purpose we feel in helping others. Serving in a cause that is bigger than ourselves is very effective in providing us with perspective and a less inward looking focus.
- Take a tour around your city as a tourist.
It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. This may be true. In this case I believe familiarity breeds complacency which leads to taking things for granted. I live in Washington, DC and every day I drive to and from work I can behold the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol. It may seem silly, but I have developed the habit of looking at both structures everyday and telling myself how lucky I am to live in our nation’s capitol. So many people live in locals that have interesting things to appreciate. But because we see those beautiful lakes or impressive sky scrapers every day we have become bored. Take a day and just tour your city with a fresh eye and see if you can rediscover the beauty around you. It may awaken something inside.
- Spice things up in your love life.
When was the last time you went out on an adventurous or romantic date? Has your love life become boring, drab, or nonexistent? If you are married or have a significant person in your life how about introducing some spice and adventure. If you don’t have anyone in your life right now try putting yourself out there. Open a dating profile on Match.com or eHarmony. Maybe you can sign up for a social event in your city and go alone without a wing-man or woman. The bottom line is what is going on in the heart can sometimes affect our mindset. Try something new. Put yourself out there.
- Go on vacation
A change of scenery is a sure way to shake things up. In this case however select a location that is going to really feed your soul. If you are craving adventure do something that will push you outside your comfort zone. One year I decided to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and then go on a five day whitewater rafting and camping trip down the Colorado River. What an amazing experience. Most years I spend at least a week on Martha’s Vineyard lazing on the beach with a mindless book and my journal. Be sure to give yourself what you need. It doesn’t have to be elaborate just a few days can do wonders.
- Get a new job.
Now we are getting into risky territory. Some of my clients who have tried all the suggestions above come to the realization that the real source of their so-called “boredom” is a lack of stimulation in their careers. If this is you then I would first start by seeking out new projects or opportunities in your current job. Maybe you can volunteer to lead a strategic committee that will genuinely effect the way things are done in your organization. The next option would be to seek a promotion. Or even more dramatic…a job outside your current place of employment. Don’t make any rash decisions but seriously explore this option.
- Move to a new city or even country.
I promised that my recommendations would get even more out-of-the-box. So here it is. Is your family mobile? Is your job transferable? Are you one of the crazy people who would consider leaving everything familiar for a new adventure? I am planting a seed in this recommendation to give you permission to think about what your dream life could look like. Too many times I see it in my clients where once they hit 30 or 35 they stop dreaming. Have you always wanted to live in Paris or Thailand? Millions of people move to different cities and countries every year. Why couldn’t you be one of the millions? Just think about it.
- Talk to someone.
Whether you are just a little bored or facing a midlife crisis having someone to help you talk it through is vital. Family, friends, or a life coach are great options to consider when you feel that things are not as they should be. Boredom is not just a silly emotion to be ignored it has the power to impact your health and the quality of your life. Abundance living is about being honest with yourself and seeking the support you need to make the difficult decisions that will lead you to the life you were born to live.