“No-body is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.”
Photo by Radu Andrei Razvan from Pexels
Welcome to post five (5) of my eight (8) part mini-series to help you cope with the weirdest holiday season ever. Last week I wrote about gratitude, forgiveness and loving kindness and offered some strategies for how to cultivate these coping skills. Today I want to talk about the challenges of loneliness and boredom during this Covid-19 holiday season and some ways to manage those feelings. Why? Because as Ohioans we are being asked to stay home as much as possible and avoid interactions with others, which can easily lead to loneliness and possibly sadness, anxiety, depression, boredom and substance use. Because of this, it's important to ask yourself if boredom is a problem for you.
Questions to consider include: Do you seek out unhealthy ways to fill your time, such as over eating, drinking, spending time with unhealthy people, doing risky things or using drugs and then later regret your choice? Do you find yourself getting sad, restless, edgy and irritable? Are you watching tons of Netflix? Are you spending lots of time alone or in bed? Are you worrying more than usual because there's nothing else to occupy your thoughts? These things may be indications that you are bored and lonely. So what can you do about it? Lots of things. One huge chunk of coping skills are called distraction skills and their primary purpose is to distract you from your thoughts/feelings.
Some great, safe distraction activities include:
*calling or zooming with a friend, relative, sponsor or other person you benefit from talking to.
*doing a craft, puzzle or project you enjoy
*playing an online game with friends
*listening to your favorite music or making a playlist for someone
*taking a drive or looking for holiday lights or displays from your vehicle
*hiking or visiting a local park
*watching a documentary or trying out some free language learning software (check out "Mango" from the Stark County Library online if this idea interests you)
What you need to decide for yourself is which activities you can engage in that do not trigger some other unhealthy behavior or thinking patterns. For example, if you have a shopping addiction, you probably shouldn't go shopping as a distraction activity. It's important to know yourself well enough and be honest with yourself about the distraction skills you use. If a distraction skill will cause you more harm than good (for example, "taking a drive" to a toxic ex's neighborhood), it's probably not one you should choose. So, as you are choosing your distraction skills, do so with thoughtfulness.
If you are interested in more ideas for distraction skills, I have several lists that I share with my clients. If you are interested in receiving one (or more) of the lists, send me an email and I will get it to you.
If you have any questions about my writing or if you would like to talk with me about scheduling an appointment to help manage feelings of anxiety, anger, depression or substance use concerns, please feel free to call me at 330-451-6306 for your free 15 minute phone consultation. You can also send me a confidential email by going to the following webpage: https://firstname.lastname@example.org and entering in your message. You can visit my website (if that's not where you are reading this) at http://recoveryworksllc.net for more information about me and the services I offer. If you are in crisis, please contact the Coleman Crisis Center in Canton, Ohio at 330-452-6000 for immediate help or the national crisis line at 1-800-275-TALK (8255). If you prefer texting, you can also text the Ohio Crisis Line by sending "4 hope" to 741-741. You can also go to the nearest emergency department for immediate assistance.
So enjoy the rest of your day, practice some healthy distraction skills and stay well!