You wake up in the morning, maybe 20 minutes before class if you’ve mustered the willpower to get out of bed before your second alarm rings. You brush your teeth, log onto Zoom, and turn your camera on if you feel like your appearance is presentable enough (or if your teacher makes you). The next few hours feel longer than they should—time can’t pass by fast enough. You stare at the clock as you wait for class to end. The numbers blur as your eyes unfocus, and your teacher’s voices drones on long enough to give you a headache.
Finally, class is dismissed. You breathe a sigh of relief, turning on your phone and scrolling through Instagram or Tiktok until your next class begins. You log into your next class… and do it all over again.
After school ends for the day, the looming deadlines of your homework assignments are too close for you to ignore, so you get to work. You take a break to watch an episode of your favorite TV show, eat dinner, and get to work again. It is 2 am when you decide to go to bed, still feeling like you haven’t done enough work, but too tired to continue. You wake up the next morning at 7:50 am, 10 minutes before class starts. You log into your Zoom meeting and the cycle repeats.
Needless to say, every day has felt the same for a while. Hours spent on Zoom turn into days and into months. The sheer monotony of life in a pandemic is often overlooked given all the other problems that seem more prevalent.
We spend most of our days in isolation, even if we live with other people. It’s like we’re spending our lives in a perpetual state of stress and boredom. That may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but this so-called “chronic boredom” can be a trigger for other issues.
According to an article written by former high school health teacher Karin Gonzalez, “Boredom is frequently an indicator of depression, but it can also be a precipitator or trigger. A common cause of boredom in adults is a dull job or work environment...Tom does the same mind-numbing tasks each day, which get tedious and monotonous...People like Tom who are in these kinds of jobs can start to feel depressive symptoms, like a feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness, fatigue, guilt over not doing something more with their lives, difficulty concentrating, and diminishment of pleasure in activities.”
Boredom in itself is a bad thing. It is frustrating and aggravating and can manifest itself as other emotions like anger and irritation, causing us to lash out at the people around us. Since we also spend most of our day in the same place, it also becomes difficult to determine where to draw the line between working and relaxation. Our environment never changes, so it feels like we always have to be productive and feelings of not being good enough can stem from that.
With these factors contributing to the deterioration of our mental health, monotony can also take a leading role in causing illnesses like depression, as it can also intensify feelings of inadequacy, self hatred, and shame.
However, things can be done to combat this monotony and the ensuing boredom. In an article by Sian Ferguson about combating boredom, Ferguson advises people to “try to prevent every morning from feeling the same. As someone who’s worked from home for about 4 years, I strongly believe that the simple act of changing your environment can totally change your mood. It’s easy to sit at your desk for every meal, but simply sitting in another room can break the monotony of routine.”
In addition, you can also engage in activities like creating art or music as they utilise creativity and provide a way for you to express yourself.
It is important to mention, though, that having somewhat of a routine is important. Eating and sleeping regularly are crucial to your mental health. Getting homework done periodically is key in keeping up with schoolwork. That being said, breaking this recurrent cycle is essential in making every day feel less like a chore, and it will benefit your mental health overall.
“Bored? That Might Be Depression — Here’s What You Can Do.” Greatist.com, 12 May 2020, https://greatist.com/grow/bored-all-day-what-to-do.
"The Link Between Boredom & Depression." Study.com, 7 October 2015, study.com/academy/lesson/the-link-between-boredom-depression.html.