UF professor discusses how to fight boredom while stuck at home

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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As people adjust to staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak, boredom has become a problem for some.

According to UF Assistant Professor of Psychology Erin Westgate, boredom is caused by two things: being unable to pay attention to something, or not finding meaning in whatever you're doing.

She says that finding ways to engage with whatever you're doing can help to prevent boredom.

"You can become less bored, not just by doing something that's meaningful, but by changing the way you think about what you're doing to make it feel more meaningful in the moment," Westgate said. "I think that's something that we sometimes forget or lose track of, especially if you're not religious or spiritual or in the practice of that type of reflection."

"It can help people feel less bored simply to have some kind of reminder or reflection on why we're doing this (staying home) and keeping this in the forefront of our mind and remember that this action of staying home is actually probably the most meaningful thing that any of us could be doing right now."

Westgate says that while being stuck at home may be a challenge, it's important to respond to that boredom in a positive way, like starting a new hobby, and not to fall into bad habits that may temporarily relieve the boredom.