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Stronger Together: How being stuck in a boredom rut could influence your energy levels

Last updated: 19/04/2022
Stronger Together: It's not selfish to put your mental wellbeing first

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on how boredom can play a part in your energy levels.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

If you find yourself constantly waking up in a rut rather than a routine in your daily life but you don’t know why – maybe you’re bored.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Our energy, as discussed last week, can be drained, or recharged by certain situations. It can also have a ripple effect on those around us through the concept of an emotional contagion.

We, as individuals, also have the power to manage our own energy outputs and input, through the choices we make and the life we lead.

It’s helpful to know that as individuals we have and use energy in different ways.

At IMPACT, we use the DiSC profiling tool as a way for team members to develop an appreciation for the difference in others. After answering a series of questions, an individual is provided with insight into their Natural Style and their Adjusted Style.

A person’s Natural Style takes the least amount of effort and energy. It is unconscious, learned behaviour that represents their most authentic self.

The Adjusted Style – is how a person adapts their behaviour to meet the demands of an environment. In your job you may need to put more energy into certain tasks to display the behaviours or style that is expected for the role.

To do the required adjustments, requires conscious effort and thought. This creates a natural drain on your energy reserves.

While our Adjusted Style can be challenging initially, the good news is that our brain starts to learn new patterns quickly with practice. These new ways of working start to incorporate with existing routines and eventually require less energy and effort.

While this works for some activities/jobs in select environments, there are other times when the transition to new patterns simply doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t seem to click.

In some situations, it could be because you find yourself so painstakingly bored that nothing seems quite right, and you don’t know what’s going on.

Understanding your energy, your values and your situation may help explain whether boredom is impacting you.

Across various readings it’s clear that there are different ways boredom can influence your emotions and behaviour. They fall under the following categories: indifferent, calibrating, apathetic, searching and reactant.

Indifferent is understood as a feeling of going through the motions; while calibrating is feeling uninterested yet unsure how to break out of the routine.

Apathetic is feeling a lack of enjoyment, helplessness, disinterest, languishing.

Whereas searching is when people grapple with feelings of boredom by channelling their restlessness into motivation.

Reactant is when one is quick to snap at others, and they become increasingly frustrated. In this instance people can feel motivated to escape the situation, the people and seek fulfillment through an alternative task.

In the moments of bored realisation, it’s important not to become overtly self-critical of yourself in the situation, rather consider it as an opportunity to explore what’s draining your energy and what you can change.

When you reflect on what your needs are, understanding what you can change can become clear.

Trying to visualise and articulate your needs or your boredom can help you find clarity in your current situation.

Firstly, let’s get those thoughts out of your head.

Ask yourself ‘What is consuming my energy at the moment?’ and then ask yourself ‘Is this working for me, or do I need to make a change?’

Depending on what works best for you, get these thoughts down. Write them down, draw it or reach out to someone you trust and talk about it. Explore what is going on for you.

This process is all about being curious and becoming clearer about whether change is necessary.

Please remember that this is a personal process free from judgement. You don’t need to convince anyone else that what you’re doing is right for you.

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