We’re already at mid-summer…amazing. Are we bored yet?
It may be you are at a constantly party-filled summer camp or, like I often was, moving and thus too busy unpacking boxes to be bored. But it might also be that you have had a lot of free time and are ready to crawl up the wall if you have five more minutes of nothing-to-do, especially for those of you in households that limit electronics and screen time. Boredom can be your friend. I know it’s uncomfortable. It feels itchy inside and you would rather do almost anything than tolerate boredom or come up with something new to do. It takes effort. A lot of effort.
And with the internet at the ready, it’s even harder to find the motivation to go do something. And I love the internet and all the wonderful resources it offers, I do! But trying something different is well worth the extra energy it might cost to get started.
Here are five Boredom-Busters that will not only pass the time, but will teach you something useful while you’re at it. And you will feel better at the end of the day than if you’d just watched cat videos all day. Win-win-win.
Some of you are already doing this (yay!), but for the rest of you, if you aren’t reading for pleasure, you are missing out. I’m not talking about a summer assigned reading list or tracking pages read. Science says that people who choose to read a lot are smarter, kinder, and less stressed. Libraries are free—take advantage. Give new books three chapters before you abandon them, but then move on. There are too many excellent books to waste time on a book you hate. Yeah, quitting a book is totally an option when you’re choosing to read on your own.
If you can’t think of a book you like, you just haven’t met the right book. Email me through the contact form and tell me what kinds of things interest you and I’ll suggest a few books for you to try out. I’ll also have a post up soon about my five top summer reads for upper MG books. Also, look over my lists on Goodreads for ideas. I read many MG and YA books. I don’t leave reviews on books I hate, so if it’s on there with four or five stars, it’s because I really liked it.
2. Master a Meal.
3. Get organized. No, for real.
Use this slower more mellow time to set up a system in your room so every item has a place to be stored. It’s far easier to keep your room tidy and clean when every item has a home and clutter isn’t all over your floor. Maybe you don’t care about the mess, but I can almost promise you that your parents/guardians do and, in the future, your spouse or roommate will. Learn good organizing habits now to save yourself hours and hours of time spent searching for lost books, missing shoes, and crumpled assignments.
Keep everything simple. Find three big bins and go through your whole room one drawer, cabinet or shelf at a time. Everything goes in either KEEP, DONATE, or TRASH. Then sort and find a home for every item in your KEEP box. Make sure everything you keep is something you really USE, love, or need to survive. Sentimental items can be boxed up and stored out of the way. Once you set up your room properly, it takes less than 10 minutes a day to maintain it. You don’t have to be naturally organized to succeed at it. I’m living proof.
4. Write Something.
Write a letter. A book. A physical or online magazine focused on a topic that interests you. Just write!
I’m biased, as an author, I admit. But long before I knew I wanted to be a writer for my job, I wrote at home. I wrote stories and poetry. I journaled. I created a little magazine about pets just for fun. I created—and it made me feel good inside. My writing skills developed far faster when I was working on something I actually cared about, too. Today there are so many great online writing options. Storybird and WattPad are just two of them. You could even build a free website full of fun stuff like poetry and photography to share (Weebly and Wix are popular.) Find a way to share a story and opinion via the written word. If you do create something online, send me a link to your finished product if you’d like to show it off to me!
5. Get Moving.
Create a boredom box that focuses on DOING stuff. Write ideas down on slips of paper and draw one out when you are stuck and can’t think of anything to do. Make sure you do what it says. Get active. Run. Jump Rope. Do push ups. Put on loud music and do an at-home dance party. Yoga, a long walk, cleaning the tub (haha), or building a craft. All of those are workable and build up your body, mind, and soul. Go to Pinterest for ideas and you’ll be swamped with possible ways to exercise while having fun.
You might not want to do any of these. A lethargic weight lays over some of us when we’re bored. Getting started with a new activity that requires brain activity or body movement feels like pushing a stalled car. But once things get rolling, it gets easier and easier, and soon you’ll be flying down the road, wind in your hair, enjoying yourself.
Be a creator. As humans, we flourish when we interact with the world in new and beneficial ways. Pick one of these five and give it a shot, then let me know how it went!
I taught middle school, I write characters who are 13-14, and my oldest daughter is in middle school. To those of you in 5th-8th grade and even older, I hope I can offer even a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of middle school and on into high school and adulthood. Here I'll post tips on achieving balance and success in school, life and relationships, as well as inspirational posts and book recommendations that will keep your brains and hearts engaged. I also post about similar themes in my Instagram, so find me there, too!