Many family carers are afraid to admit how bored they often feel, particularly if they’re stuck at home a lot with a loved one who has dementia. So what can help to make the days a bit more interesting for you? Here’s a few ways to alleviate the boredom
Could this be YOU?
You’re happy to do what you do for the person you care about. You know that these day to day tasks are important – essential even – and that you are probably the best person to do them. But no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that what you’re doing is worthwhile and satisfying, there are often times when it all feels deadly dull. You might even begin to wonder; how long can I keep doing this?
Why you might be bored
Let’s be honest, being a carer can be physically and mentally exhausting, but it can also be very boring. You may feel guilty for even daring to admit this, particularly if the person you’re caring for is someone you love dearly, but don’t be too hard on yourself because many other carers feel exactly the same, and when you consider what the job entails, it’s hardly surprising.
4 more reasons for boredom
Your world is shrinking: No matter what your age or previous circumstances, your life now is based largely in the home and is therefore likely to be less outward looking than it was before. Your social life was probably the first thing to go (it often is) and you still miss it. If you’ve given up a job, or reduced your hours, you might also find yourself missing the companionship of your colleagues or the stimulation the job brought, even if you didn’t like it very much.
You’re a slave to routine: You’ve learnt how important it is to have a care plan and a routine that the person you love is comfortable with, and that provides them with all they need. You know that without this routine life can get very difficult, very quickly. Nevertheless, the monotony of it all can sometimes be hard to endure.
You feel lonely: The person you care for used to be good company, and you have plenty memories and shared experiences to chat about. But that’s becoming more difficult now.
You feel uninspired…and tired: Caring is exhausting, and everything takes so long to do…Then, when you finally get a bit of time to yourself, all your good intentions to go for a run/ take up Salsa dancing/treat yourself to a manicure, just don’t appeal anymore. You’ve lost motivation.
Warning: Pay no attention to that old expression ‘only boring people get bored.’ The boredom you experience as a carer definitely isn’t your fault, so don’t start to blame yourself. Nor is it something you simply have to endure. In fact, boredom that persists, or is left unchecked for too long, can actually damage your mental health, leading to feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and even full-blown depression.
3 ways to beat boredom
Nobody likes to be bored and although it might not be as easy as it used to be for you to do something different or meaningful, it isn’t impossible. Here’s a few ways to get started
Write it down – keep a blog or a journal. You may think that what you do every day is very boring, but you may not feel that way in a few years’ time when having a record of what you did could feel really valuable. Besides, you don’t have to stick to writing about what you do each day, writing about how you feel might be more interesting and cathartic.
Did you know? Writing about stressful experiences might be uncomfortable in the short term, but if you stick with it, research has shown it can help to ease depression, anxiety and distress.
Tip: Treat yourself to our beautiful Caregivers Journal How Are You Feeling Today? which has been carefully designed to boost positivity and confidence even when life is really difficult. Find out more here.
Find a realistic project – you may not have the time or energy to train for a Marathon but regular walks in the park could be a more achievable way of building up fitness? Or what about a creative hobby you can do at home? We’ve heard stories of caregivers taking up everything from bird watching and gardening to cake decorating, photography and even upcycling furniture and jewellery. (And there are lots and lots of free online tutorials to help you).
Learn something new – try an online course in a subject that takes your fancy. Whether you want to learn a new language, study politics, history, law or brush up your IT skills, there’s a course to suit you – and some are free. Go here to find out about a wide selection of free courses.