One thing you don’t want during recovery is to feel bored too much. Many people find they suddenly have a lot of extra time that used to be eaten up by drinking and drugs and when they quit they feel like there’s something missing. Naturally, they start thinking about using again when they feel like they have nothing else to do. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to manage boredom in recovery. You can minimize your risk of relapse, put your time to better use and have more fun. Here are some suggestions for beating boredom.
Have a schedule.
As much as you can, try to have something to do. It could be work, it could be 12-step meetings, it could be lunch with friends, it could be going to a movie, or anything else. Try to avoid big chunks of free time. Of course, you don’t want to be so busy that you feel stressed and overwhelmed but a steady stream of regular activities will keep you from feeling too bored.
Bring a book.
If you always have a book with you, you will always have something to do in those odd moments when you’re kept waiting or plans fall through. You might consider books about addiction and recovery, but any book will do. You can learn something in your spare moments and reading a book always feels like you have a project in the works. Of course, you could also look at your phone, but that is addictive and might just cause more problems.
It’s impossible to escape boredom entirely. In those moments when you’re stuck in traffic or a pointless meeting at work, you can practice acceptance. Yes, boredom is, well, boring, but you can endure it. If you accept that you feel bored and try to pay attention to what’s going on around you, you might find that it’s not so painful.
Take a walk.
Or do any kind of exercise. A walk is good because you can move a bit and have a change of scenery. It improves your mood with very little effort and gives you a chance to think without ruminating. A walk in nature will help you relax. More intense exercise will distract you from boredom and cravings.
Keep a list.
At any given time, there’s probably something that needs to be done–sweeping, dishes, shopping, paying bills. Somehow we never think of these things when we’re bored or we just don’t feel like doing them. Keeping a list somewhere visible reminds you that since you have nothing else to do, you might as well wash some clothes. It’s typically not the most entertaining stuff, but once you get started it’s better than boredom.