Boredom Prevention 101

Ben Bliss

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a bust. Although separated from each other physically, we can all unite in spirit to blame it on Coronavirus. Besides devastating millions worldwide, it has kept us locked inside, isolated us from friends and family, and cancelled sports. Some of us have jobs and crazy amounts of responsibility at home that we wouldn’t have if we were at school. Others of us have very little to do. The result for me: boredom. Without anywhere to go or anyone to hang out with, I am forced to entertain myself. If you are in a similar situation and you lack the creative genius required to find something to do, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. No longer will you be caught staring at the wall or clawing out your overgrown hair after you read my comprehensive guide on boredom prevention.

Streaming: Let’s lay some ground rules. YouTube is like one of those sea monsters from The Odyssey, a Siren. You watch one video, but then the tempting recommendations bait you into two, five, fifteen more, killing your afternoon. Now I’m not against wasting time by any means, but most of the stuff on YouTube is garbage content. There are enough high quality movies and shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV, ESPN+, and all the other streaming services to last TEN Coronacations. If you want a good TV show, definitely watch The Office, and if you’ve seen it already, watch it again. With Hulu, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a great comedy with an aspect of action to it that I definitely recommend. Disney+ contains most of the MCU movies, and trust me, a Marvel movie marathon is totally worth it; I’ve done it twice. Also owned by Disney is hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons. I started watching it during this quarantine and the level of humor is matched by few others. There’s a reason why it has been on for 30 years. My final streaming recommendation is for sports fans: you can’t go wrong with a 30 for 30 or Docuseries from ESPN. I have loved every single one that I’ve seen in my life, and you always learn some cool sports history.

Fresh Air: After you finish watching everything mentioned above in a month or two, you might want to get outside. That’s a little harder to do during a pandemic, but feasible nonetheless. One thing that I found that gets me out of the house is biking. If it’s nice out, I will just take off and zoom around town to see what’s going on. The streets are a lot less crowded right now, so I can go faster and farther without waiting for cars to let me pass. Another option is playing basketball or soccer. You might not be able to play with friends, but you can shoot around by yourself, and it’s still a valid way to exercise and get moving. Similar to biking, going on runs and walks enable you to escape the confines of your household. If you have a pet, take them along with you. I know my dog is happy that we are all home all day, especially because he gets more walks now then ever before. We can’t be outside all the time though, and perhaps you want to do something more productive then streaming. In that case, you should take my final boredom prevention tip and enhance your skill set.

Master Something: The most important way to spend Corona Season is to take advantage of all this free time. Since this is a crisis, you might decide that the best way to spend that time is to just relax and take it slow. And that is totally fine. But if you decide that you want to expand your horizons, let me provide a few suggestions. 1: Solve a Rubik’s Cube. This puzzle is one of the greatest party tricks of all time, and it is a cool skill to have in your back pocket. I learned how to do it about two years ago, and it is actually not that difficult. It took about two hours to learn and four hours to master over the course of a week (6 hours total not each day). There’s plenty of videos out there dedicated to teaching you how, and chances are you already have one in your house. 2: Learn card tricks. Everyone has a deck of cards, and who doesn’t like deceiving their family? The great thing about card tricks is that they can be super simple yet make you look like David Blaine to a friend or sibling. There are thousands of different card tricks out there and even more people on the internet to teach you them. Just like the Rubik’s Cube, this is a skill you keep for the rest of your life. Decks of cards are found almost anywhere; just imagine the situations where you can impress everyone in the room with your magical abilities. 3. My final suggestion — even though there are so many more — is to learn how to play a song on a piano. Notice how I just said a song. Not Mozart or anything, just maybe your favorite pop tune. You don’t even need a physical piano: there are tons of free keyboard apps to learn on. Last week alone, I learned Take on Me by a-ha (a classic), and the Mission: Impossible theme song. All I did was watch those “easy piano tutorials” where they play the song with the keys highlighted. It’s easy to do and worth it when you show off.

By following this guide, you will not be bored for the remainder of the pandemic. There is so much to do, but you just need to open your mind to fully recognize the potential of quarantine. This truly is a unique time in the world, and you can’t let it get  you down with boredom. Instead, stream, get fresh air, and master something.