Boredom in quarantine is okay. Here’s why.

by Matthew Burgos

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

I’m working from home and studying for my university exams in Italy. Between the finger-tapping on my keyboard and the rustling sound of the books I read when I flip them, there’s nothing much to do, but gaze at the chip on my yellow-painted wall. The lack of activities has me looking forward to what to eat for dinner, but this monotonicity can’t go on. I open a new tab on my laptop and start to brush up on my Italian.

Being sheltered at home sounds like a picture-perfect time to reconnect with ourselves, but the appeal starts to wear off once it has become a routine. What catches us off guard is the persistent hair-tangling sensation of boredom. It almost sounds impossible, not when a deluge means of entertainment is right at our fingertips. There are long lists of activities to tick off, but even the classic go-to activities such as yoga, making pizza and bread, or reading books lose their vibrant colors once we’re not in the mood to do them.

Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

COVID-19 has made us realize how overstimulated we are. Without the pandemic, we’d be off in a rush to devour our breakfast without sitting, put on our uniforms, twist our wrist to check the time in case we’re running late, then close the front door and wouldn’t see what our home looks like until late at night. The fast-paced environment we're in has become normalized that our personal culture depends on it. We breathe the air it produces.

Passive activities have no special place in the heart of a cosmopolitan-driven enthusiast. The rhythmic finger-tapping on our desk, chin on the palm of our hand, and inside-cheek biting prove just that. An exception there is one of our favorite monotonous activities that has turned into an artificial friend, feeding our boredom: screentime. Our online consumption keeps us on our feet and tells us we’re doing just fine; we’re still productive.

Hitting “likes” on TikTok videos and Instagram travel pictures pose an excuse why we’re far from boredom. What’s there to fear in doing nothing? Contrary to what others believe, we can come across with benefits from being bored. If we look past our smartphones and social media apps, there’s productivity in sitting still and staring at the wall: it forces us to be creative.