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Where Bloggers Live: Creative Hobbies to Conquer Boredom

Welcome back to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live! I am lucky to have joined a terrific group of bloggers who give a peek into the places and spaces where they spend their time.

Where Bloggers Live

Today's topic is What I Do When I Get Bored...and it's an interesting subject for me because I don't really get bored for any length of time these days, though I have in the past.


I consider boredom to be that blah, dissatisfied feeling that accompanies not having your mind engaged, whether you're basically not doing anything at all or you're doing something insufficiently interesting. While you often hear it typified by "having nothing to do," I think that definitely understates the situation because I am most likely to notice boredom in myself while I'm doing something. It's just that the "something" isn't grabbing my attention and occupying my mind.


Times in my life when I've struggled with boredom are ones in which I didn't have any hobbies or I didn't have the time/energy to actually do them. When you're working a job, running a business, caring for family, volunteering, etc., hobbies can easily be pushed to the side as the thing you do in the (hypothetical) time you have left over from all your responsibilities. Over time, those hobbies you're not actually doing become more theoretical than real and eventually die out.


I think a lot of retirees, empty nesters, caretakers released from their duties, people cutting back on the hours they work, etc., grapple with this issue because suddenly there is all this extra time but they don't have any go-to interesting activities to engage in. Remember during the pandemic when so many people realized that they didn't have any hobbies? When they couldn't fill their time with going to the mall, running errands, stopping for coffee, etc., they became very bored with so much time on their hands and nothing to do with it.


Something I think we don't consider much is that even if you do have hobbies and a bit of time to do them, it requires energy and focus to engage in our hobbies. Although the amount of physical and/or mental energy required varies across different hobbies, it can readily be the case that you just don't feel that you have it in you to do them. This can be because it's 8:00 pm and work day is over / dinner's been cooked, eaten, and cleaned up after / the kids are in bed and you have a couple hours before bedtime but you're just worn out. Or if you older, have a chronic illness/disability, or are just a low energy person, you may struggle with your energy levels often. And while there are things that can work on average to improve one's energy levels, the reality is that this is a struggle for a lot of people!


So people often find themselves overusing low effort, low reward activities like scrolling through the news or social media, binge watching TV, eating recreationally, shopping recreationally, reading a book or magazine you're not that into, etc. It's not that these are terrible activities we should never do! But because they're so easy to start (and are experiences designed to make it hard to stop), they can become default activities that we do more than we actually enjoy them. So we can be doing them and experiencing boredom at the same time. That sense of boredom is a signal to do something else, but if we don't know what else to do or don't have the energy to do it...and oh yes, let's not forget decision fatigue, where we don't have the energy to even decide what to do...then we might just keep scrolling, bingeing, and shopping.


What has worked well for me in the last few years is having a hobby (or hobbies) where I've identified a range of activities related to my hobby to cover different moods, energy levels, weather, time availability, etc., so there's always something I can do. I also like to have a few different over-arching projects going at one time so there's an easy default (because it sucks to waste half the time you have in the evening deciding what to do). I have found that when a hobby functions as a creative outlet, it both boosts my mental energy level and relaxes me. I won't go so far as to say creative hobbies are literally magical (I mean, unless your hobby involves, you know, magic) but they are amazing!


If you've been on my blog before, you can probably guess what some of my creative hobbies are:

  • Paper bead making and other paper crafts

  • Jewelry making

  • Nature and rabbit photography

  • Writing this blog

  • Creating wardrobes/outfits

  • Style challenges

  • Data analysis and visualization (which I do for my job but also do recreationally--and yes, it is creative!)

A rabbit trapped in a never-ending work meeting

My current major over-arching craft/DIY projects include:

  • Paper bead bracelet sets: I am in the last phase of my current paper bead cycle, where the paper has been selected and cut; beads rolled, glued, sealed, and dried. Now I just need to string the beads into bracelets. I have the beads ready for 27 bracelet sets with 68 total bracelets!

DIY paper bead bracelet
  • Paper crafting: decoupaging magazine/catalog paper to the cardboard boxes that I'm using for craft supply and jewelry storage so that they are pretty rather than Amazon advertisements; 2 down, a lot to go.

  • Jewelry making: my bead soup earrings project described here.

DIY bead soup earrings
  • Jewelry making: making bead soup necklaces in each major color family; I have the beads strung but need to decide how I want to handle the clasps.

  • Jewelry making: making multi-color seed bead wrap necklaces to match each of my summer skirts; 14 necklaces strung, 2 to go; then add the clasps.


So yeah, I like to have a lot of different projects going at the same time. And since I do not have a dedicated craft room, that means the living room, the dining room table, and part of the kitchen counter has projects in progress. My husband has identified the areas that he requires to be clear for things like loading the dishwasher but is otherwise very tolerant of the creative chaos we live in.


If you are interested in trying out a creative hobby (and I think that's a great idea!), don't let fear-based feelings like "but I'm not creative" or "I don't have any talent" stand in your way! Everyone is creative, even if they don't recognize it, and engaging in creative activities actually boosts your creativity.


Don't know what you want to try? Here is a list of 69 different creative hobbies that you could explore. And while some of them are the obvious ones we've all thought of (drawing, writing poetry), others may not have occurred to you as creative (gardening, mixology) or may be unfamiliar to you (virtual problem-solving games, bead art). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list! There are so many different creative hobbies. (I would definitely include birding and wildlife viewing on the list). If you ever struggle with boredom, or with over-relying on low effort/low reward default activities that don't hold your interest, I hope you will give one (or more) creative hobbies a try!

Thanks for joining me in my thoughts on boredom and what I do when I'm bored...and really, how I prevent boredom by having creative projects in my life.


Next month's topic is A Day in the Life: Vacation Edition. Luckily I have some vacation time scheduled later this month (a staycation), so I'll be able to report in on my doings...which will probably resemble the "current creative projects" list above. I can state with confidence that I will not be drinking piña coladas at the beach.


In the meantime, visit these lovely bloggers as they share what they do when they're bored:


Bettye at Fashion Schlub


Do you often experience boredom in your life these days? How about in the past? Do you know what causes it for you? Do you have any creative hobbies? What projects are you working on? What projects do you have in mind for the future? Is there a creative hobby you find intriguing but haven't tried?


Blogs I link up with are listed here.

24 comments

24件のコメント


Doris Arthur
Doris Arthur
5月17日

You're spot on about battling boredom! Hobbies are key for staying engaged. Creative activities boost energy and relaxation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Doris/ <a href="https://purelifegem.com">Pure Life Gem</a>

いいね!
sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5 days ago
返信先

Thanks, Doris! Hope you're having a good week and enjoying your creative endeavors.

いいね!

alanbbates
5月15日

This is a great post. When I was a kid I was bored a lot. Since I have grown up, I am hardly ever bored. I like how you write that you have a bunch of different creative projects going on and that you have several hobbies that require different levels of effort. I guess without thinking about it I do something similar.

I spend a lot of time on my blog, which reports on my hobbies, hiking, geocaching, photography, riding my bicycle. I also love to read and I have a kindle app on my phone so I am never far away from a book. In the evenings my wife and I like to binge various shows on the…

いいね!
sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5月16日
返信先

Welcome, Alan, and thanks for taking the time to comment. I think I found your blog - YogisDen - and I am looking forward to keeping up with the sights and activities you share; I grew up in the Tulsa area so it's a nice slice of home for me (now living in Minnesota)! Geocaching is an activity I haven't tried but sounds so fun. My dad was a middle school teacher in Tulsa so hearing you are a reading tutor is so nice to hear. Best of luck that your health, energy, etc., continue to support you a fulfilling retirement!

いいね!

Bettye L. Rainwater
Bettye L. Rainwater
5月14日

Sally, this was an EXCELLENT post! I really liked how you explained the barriers to beating boredom, like low energy, pain, and decision fatigue. Those things are real, yet often overlooked. But they really need to be considered when, uh, considering taking on a new hobby or past-time.


I'm sure I've asked you this before, but I am seriously retention-deficient (ha), so...with all your rabbit love, have you ever HAD rabbits?

いいね!
sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5月15日
返信先

Thanks, Bettye - I think it's a complicated situation for sure. And yes, I had two amazing mini rex rabbits about 10 years ago, but it turns out that my grass allergy applies to hay as well, so once those rabbits passed, I have not had more. But I fully intend to have rabbits again one day!

いいね!

Joanne
Joanne
5月14日

I have a variety of hobbies I use to keep busy too and find that my interest vary from time to time but I almost always circle back around to a previous hobby eventually!

いいね!
sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5月14日
返信先

It's great that you have a variety of hobbies that you can choose between, and I hear you on circling back to a previous one later on!

いいね!

michellechurchman
5月13日

I can relate to so many aspects of this post, Sally. I get bored in the same situations that you described, and when I’m very tired. My brain likes to be busy, and when it just can’t focus, it gets bored.


Like you, I have many hobbies in various stages of creativity. Right now I’m in full garden mode, but I have jewelry ideas, quilting, sewing, drawing seamless repeat patterns. The latter is the one that gets attention most often because it requires the least energy.


Your house sounds much like mine. I’m not the only one with hobbies, so we tolerate each others creative messes. (I think it’s a bit tough for my mom though.)


I really enjoyed this…


いいね!
sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5月13日
返信先

The way you described your brain liking to be busy and getting bored when it can't focus is 100% true for me; I like that way of putting it! Having partners who are tolerant of each other's creative chaos is so important; a neat freak would NOT be happy living with me. You have a wonderful array of creative hobbies in your life. I think the patterns you've been making is such an interesting mix of art and design with the practicalities of making the repeats work out correctly.

いいね!
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