For many people who do not stay engaged, boredom becomes a part of life. Weariness can be seen everywhere – from lethargic children lamenting about an afternoon without technology to older adults missing colleague interaction after retirement, feelings of boredom are felt by many. The good news is these feelings do not have to last.
Often times, people settle into apathy for a long period of time. Negative effects on their physical and mental health can follow. According to the International Centre on Aging, multiple researchers have found that monotony and indifference can lead irritation, frustration, agitation, nervousness, problems sleeping, decreased functional abilities, and lower perceived sense of health. By not staying engaged, it is easy to slip into a state of loneliness, disinterest in the outside world, depression, increased alcohol use, and suicidal thoughts.
That’s why it’s important for people of all ages – but especially older adults – to keep their minds occupied with fun and engaging activities for bored seniors. July is National Anti-Boredom Month and an excellent opportunity pick up a new hobby, start a project, or simply remember that a “flatness of life” doesn’t have to be a lasting state.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
- Schedule visits and calls. Catching up with friends and family members is a great way to relieve boredom and lift your spirits. Pick up the phone, send a text, or make a video call! Jump back into your social life.
- Join a club. There is a club for every interest these days. If you’re up for an in-person meeting, check your local library, senior center, or newspaper for information about clubs meeting near you. You can also find a club online for just about any interest. Fire up Google and start searching for a group that shares your interests.
- Make something. Put your hands to use and get creative. There are many crafting options for you to explore, including sewing, woodworking, pottery, felting, and making ornaments or jewelry.
- Hit the kitchen. Try a new recipe or go to a tried-and-true crowd pleaser and cook or bake something tasty for yourself or to share with a loved one.
- Take up a new hobby. If you were always too busy to explore a new hobby in your younger years, now is a great time to get started. Find classes in person or online, or just wing it and try something like painting, gardening, knitting, calligraphy, photography, or genealogy.
- Physical activity is not only a good way to relieve boredom, but it’s also a great way to stay healthy. Try chair yoga, water aerobics, or walking. Talk to your doctor before you get started.
- Adopt a pet. Sharing your life with another being is a fulfilling experience. Consider adopting an animal such as a cat, fish, bird, or hamster and add a little more love to your life.
- Start writing. Get out a notepad or start a new Word document and get started on writing your life story. Have you always wanted to explore a fun fiction idea? Now’s your chance.
- Play a game. There is a wide variety of one-person games you can turn to and engage your mind. Try jigsaw puzzles, word search puzzles, crosswords, computer games, phone games, and console games. There’s something out there for every interest.
- Lose yourself in a book. Find a book or author you’ve always wanted to read and get started.
Sometimes, people’s boredom can stem from feelings of loneliness. July 11 is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. If you’re both lonely and bored, these things for bored seniors to do can help.
- Call up a friend or loved one and go for a walk. Visit a local park or shopping mall and catch up while you exercise.
- Play a game like Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship, or Yahtzee. It’s as much fun now as when you were a kid.
- Join a book club with a friend, either in person or virtually. Pick something new or revisit an old friend. Books are an excellent way to exercise your creative imagination.
- If you have children, grandchildren, or close friends nearby, invite them over and enjoy their company.
- Volunteer your time to a worthy cause like a local food bank, church, or thrift store. You also can volunteer to make some calls for local or statewide political candidates you support or assist them in other ways.
- Pick up the phone and start calling people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Reconnecting works wonders to eliminate boredom and loneliness.
- Visit a senior center and get to know the community there.
- Have long conversations with the people in your life. Go beyond the superficial and ask questions about their experiences from years ago.
- Embrace social media and connect with people you may not have spoken to in years.
- Take a class either in person or online to connect with other students and learn something new.
No matter your situation, you have the power to alleviate feelings of boredom and embrace some fun, interesting activities for bored seniors that you may have never considered.
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