25 Key Ways to Avoid Boredom in Addiction Recovery
by Whitney Hollingshead
While all of us experience periods of boredom throughout life, boredom is especially dangerous when you are in recovery. As boredom is a common trigger for relapse, you need to be ready to conquer boredom in healthy and constructive ways. When you don't have enough to do or enough to keep your mind busy, cravings are likely to attack. Planning every second of every day and running from one thing to another is also not a healthy lifestyle in recovery. The key is to allow yourself some healthy downtime and have a plan ready when that downtime turns into boredom.
Here are 25 things you can begin immediately whenever boredom strikes:
Phone a friend. Text or call your sponsor, a trusted friend, a parent, a sibling, or anyone who is a force for good in your life.
Get outside. Sit on the front step and listen to the birds nearby. Watch the sunrise or the sunset. Stargaze. Eat outdoors.
Write in your journal. Record your thoughts. Write about past experiences. Detail out your hopes for the future.
Visit someone. Stop in to see an elderly relative or neighbor. Check up on a friend. Visit someone you know who is currently in the hospital.
Exercise. Go for a run. Hit the tennis court. Shoot some hoops. Ride a bike. Turn on a workout DVD. Pick your favorite way to exercise and get moving.
Make nutritious food. Watch a cooking show, browse blogs, or flip through cookbooks to find a recipe you want to try. Make your shopping list, purchase needed items from the store, and get cooking. While at the store, purchase nutritious ingredients for future meals and snacks.
Explore a new hobby. Learn to play a musical instrument, crochet, paint, decorate a cake, perform magic tricks, go fishing, take photos, or throw something on the grill.
Start a blog. Use the blog to help others battling addiction and striving to maintain a sober lifestyle.
Enjoy an old hobby. Pick up an old hobby you enjoyed before the addiction took over your life; however, avoid any hobby that takes you back to situations that remind you of previous drug or alcohol use.
Meditate. Take some time to relax and meditate. Give yoga a try.
Set new goals. Where do you want to be in a year? Write down specifics goals that you want to achieve in the next 365 days and how you plan to achieve each one.
Go for a drive. Drive out of town. Find a scenic drive in your area. Take a road trip to a nearby destination.
Read for fun. Pick up a book you've been meaning to read. Get book recommendations from friends. Reread a series you enjoyed as a teenager.
Challenge your mind. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. Work on crossword puzzles, word searches, or Sudoku puzzles. Grab a dictionary and learn new words.
Try something new. Get a haircut in a new style or try styling your hair a different way. Purchase a new article of clothing that is in style that you normally wouldn't consider. Go to a new restaurant in your area.
Improve something. Refurbish a piece of old furniture. Paint a wall. Build a fire pit in your yard. Clean out your car. Mow the lawn. Mend holes in clothing.
Volunteer. Research organizations in your area that need volunteers and offer your help. Stop in at a homeless shelter, humane society, church, or hospital and ask if they have anything you can help with on the spot.
- Window shop. Go to the pet store and meet new animals. Walk around the hardware store and think about projects you'd like to complete in the future. Check out antiques or collectibles.
- Learn something. Read up on a subject that interests you. Head to the library to learn more. Ask someone to teach you something.
- Discover new music. Ask friends for music recommendations. Pick a period in history and listen to the music from that era. Listen to new variety radio stations online.
- Perform a random act of kindness. Choose someone and do something nice for them. Watch for someone you can help and offer your assistance. Send an anonymous card or note to someone who'd never expect it.
- Take a nap. If you aren't getting enough rest at night, take a brief nap to recharge your batteries; however, refrain from using sleep to pass your time.
- Go for a walk. Walk around the block. Go for a stroll in the park or take an easy hike. Instead of driving, walk to complete errands.
- Organize an area. Clean out a closet and donate items you no longer use. Clear out your junk drawer. Make things more accessible in the kitchen. Organize the garage.
- Get informed. Read or listen to the news. Research job listings if you are searching for a new job. Find out about local events in your community. Get informed on political issues for any upcoming election.
You can learn more about managing your time and the importance of avoiding boredom here.