“Adult Boredom”. I’m not sure if this is actually a thing, but this is what I call it. It’s the adult routine. You’ve graduated college, you’ve traded in your restaurant or retail job for a 9-5 Monday through Friday. You’ve hung up your party-girl pants in favor for your favorite sweats and Netflix (maybe some wine on a lucky day). Your after work life is scheduled around every show that comes on during the week. Suddenly you look at yourself in the mirror and who do you see staring back at you? Your Mother! AHHH!
This is what happened to me. I watched myself sink into the same routine I watched my Mom sink into when I was a kid. This woman would come home from work, cook dinner and every night she had a different show to watch, sometimes two. This woman has seen everything single contest show out there at least once. I watched my Mom dwindle in front of the tv and did not want that to become my life… until it did.
A lot of the time, I want to do NOTHING after work. I immediately want to crawl into bed and watch tv and go to sleep. I spent the whole day chained to my desk in a ball of stress– why would I want to do anything after all?
It wasn’t until I realized I lost all of my hobbies (not to mention my motivation) and replaced them with watching tv and the occasional dinner date out that I decided to bust “Adult Boredom”. I wanted to make use of my time outside of work instead of let it fade away in front of the tv.
Here are 5 ways I broke my “Adult Boredom” cycle– and hopefully some of these work for you too!
- I REARRANGED MY APARTMENT
No, I did not do feng shui on my whole apartment, but I moved my hobby supplies into plain sight. For example, I have a fancy sewing machine I’ve used twice since I got it two years ago– It was on a shelf in my closet in the box. I put it on a little table that’s now next to my bed. I had my craft supplies buried in my closet– I moved them into shelves by the sewing machine. I moved my books closer to where I spend the most time. By moving what I used to enjoy doing (crafts, reading, etc) into my main view, I made it more tempting for me to do these things in my free time. Immediately after I did this I picked up some yarn and taught myself how to crochet with the materials that have been in my closet for years.
- I SIGNED UP FOR YOGA
You can pick any activity, but I chose yoga. I always wanted to take Yoga classes but I’m always exhausted after work. I signed up for a free trial and signed up to go ONCE per week. That whole ONCE part is very important– you don’t want to burn yourself out. Whether you’ve decided to join a gym, or any kind of class or meeting or club, I would suggest starting out with once per week. I once signed up for a gym and immediately I was taking 3-4 classes per week. I felt GREAT but wasn’t able to keep it up. I lost interest and soon never went back. I wasted so much money waiting for my contract to be up. If I committed myself to once per week, I probably would have lasted a lot longer. Joining something after work makes you feel like you didn’t waste your day just working and doing nothing and it will keep you motivated during the week.
- I PLAN “RESPONSIBLE TASKS” TO COMPLETE DURING THE WEEK
I know, I know. This sounds boring. What I mean by this is I chose a weeknight to meal prep an easy meal so I don’t have to cook all week (I usually do a crockpot on Sundays and cook on Tuesday nights). I chose simple recipes so it doesn’t take more than an hour. Afterwards I feel accomplished and glad that I have my meals pre-made so I don’t have to worry about cooking every day OR falling into the eating out or ordering in trap. I may also plan one day to do my load of laundry. It requires no effort (I have a washer and dryer in my complex I walk to) and it gives me that sense of accomplishment. Maybe one day I’ll sweep my floor or dust. The point is that I am accomplishing things after work, I feel like my time is occupied, I’m not doing these things over my beloved weekend and I’m not wasting my time doing nothing and watching tv eating Taco Bell (guilty).
- I TAKE A SHOWER AT NIGHT
This is not everyone’s thing, but for me it’s key. I would PREFER to take showers in the morning after I wake up early enough to make a healthy breakfast and mediate while the sun rises through my window– but that’s NOT happening! Most likely, I’ve slept way past my 10 alarms, jumped out of bed to get ready, no time to even think about breakfast and oh look, it’s cloudy and raining! Taking a shower at night relaxes me and allows me to be prepared the next day. When I rush to take a shower in the morning, I am 95% showing up to work with still half-wet hair. When I take one at night, I sleep better and have more time to put myself together for work in the AM and I end up being more productive that day.
- DO WHAT SPEAKS TO YOU
The most important thing I’ve found that works for busting adult boredom is doing the things that speak to you. What works for me may not work for you. The point is that I’ve made little adjustments during my work week to embrace my long-lost hobbies, make myself more productive and elevate my mood. If for you it’s reserving an hour to dance along to Beyonce music videos in your room, do it! If it’s taking time to write that novel you’ve been dreaming of, go ahead! The point is to do the things you love and the things that help you live more productively during the week.
The key to busting Adult Boredom is finding things that allow you to enjoy yourself and be productive during the week, instead of living for the weekend to do the things you enjoy. Just because we’re working full-time does not mean we have to wait for the weekend to do the things you enjoy or keep up with responsibilities (who wants to meal prep away their entire Sunday?!). It’s the little changes that have made the difference in my work/life balance and I hope the same guidelines will work for you too!