The Enjoyment of Boredom

I had spent the last two days lying in bed with a migraine headache making any visual stimulation intolerable. It was the first week of my partner working away (an unwelcome new pattern) so I was alone in the house apart from my schnauzer and some help from a neighbour. I was at the point where symptoms are no longer so loud as to drown out other concerns and the sensation of boredom was reaching a crescendo. I tweeted:


I got a little flurry of replies with tips for relieving boredom. This reminded me that the longest twitter conversation I have read on #MEcfs wasn’t about fatigue (needless to say!), pain, doctors, prejudice or diagnostic label, it was on the topic of boredom. Our symptoms and disability vary greatly but the one common experience of a spoonie (carefully pacing activity) is to learn how to respond to boredom.

I have a theory that residing in boredom is key to overcoming ME. When we are interested in something it is very hard not to overdo it. When we are too ill to feel boredom, that is a bad sign. Therefore, for at least some of the time, we need to learn how to endure boredom before increasing activity.

Spoonie boredom can be more of an existential ennui and we also need to recognise when boredom is too oppressive and its time to do something interesting. 

Below is a paired post with activities for boredom. It is the first in a mini series of ‘note to self’ posts I’m planning, as I find when I get into a difficult state it is hard to remember all the tools I have to feel better (other posts may include tips for when over-tired, stressed, brainfog, pain, overactive monkey-mind). These will be personal posts for what I find helpful but you may find them useful too.

2 thoughts on “The Enjoyment of Boredom

  1. This is so true and so important – I do not have ME, but I think this is true of the chronic pain I deal with as well. As I come out of a flare, I start to get bored, and desperately want to DO THINGS. I really have to stop myself or else I push myself right back into the flare. I really hate being bored, but being in too much pain to be bored is worse!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 10 insights on life: Awareness through ME | Tips for ME

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