By Lisa Manfield
I recently returned from a summer vacation visiting family in Calgary, and I came back exhausted. We only had one week there, so we packed in as many activities as we could — visits with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, a day trip to Banff, Stampede breakfasts at the local mall, midway and shows on the Stampede grounds, the zoo, the lake, shopping and more shopping. It was great, but it was a lot for one week. There wasn’t much time at all to just chill out and relax and I came back feeling tired; like I need another vacation to recover from my vacation. Good thing there’s still a month of summer left for rest and relaxation. Right?
Well, it turns out packing in as many activities as I can tends to be my modus operandi throughout the summer months (okay, it’s my m.o. all year long, I admit). So I’ve been busy making my summer bucket list and checking it twice, scouring event calendars and Googling things to do to fill the month of August with as much summer as I can before it’s over. After all, summer is short here in Vancouver, and we need to make the most of it before the rainy season returns. Right? So I thought. But it turns out, I may be going about this all wrong.
a little boredom is best
I’ve been reading a lot about the value of boredom. As an adult, it’s hard to remember what boredom feels like, honestly, but as the parent of a young child, I hear the b-word a lot. “What are we going to do now, mummy, I’m bored” is an all-too-familiar refrain at my house. Especially when the days are extra long.
I remember back when summers felt interminable and I would utter the same refrain to my mom, which was always met with the same response: “go play outside.” Or, better yet: “You’re bored? Well I can give you something to do.” That, of course, meant chores, which were definitely not preferable to boredom.
While the concept of boredom often has negative connotations, in fact, bring bored has many positive benefits. Not only does a little boredom give the body and mind a break from the daily rat race, doing nothing also gives us the space and time to foster new ideas and bring forth a little creativity, whether it’s coming up with interesting solutions to fill the time, engaging in artistic endeavours or even just burying our heads in a good book while lounging in the sun.
In this digital age, we rarely get to the point of being so bored that we get creative because technology is always available to save us from boredom. But resisting the urge to fill every moment with activities is, in fact, the only way to ensure a little relaxation and rejuvenation occurs this summer.
So rather than frantically filling the calendar with end-of-summer bucket lists, I’m pledging to try to slow down and foster a little more boredom this month. And that way, I won’t need a vacation to recover from the rest of my summer. Because we all know how busy things will get come September. n