Boredom has a way of creeping up on us out of nowhere. We can be on our phones, scrolling through countless videos and venturing down endless rabbit holes before we ever notice the hours that have escaped us. With all the access we have to information, places to go, and new things to see, it makes you wonder how we ever find ourselves in a pit of boredom, roaming between our phone and fridge in the first place. So when the “blah” of life strikes, we all need a few antidotes to add color back into our most mundane moments.
July is Anti-Boredom Month which targets the subjective, yet commonly shared emotion of feeling a lack of stimulation or interest in their current activities or surroundings. While the cause and motive behind boredom differ from person to person, the common thread that ties most stints of boredom together is repetition and monotony.
From having a routine with no spontaneity to going from work to back home with no third place in between. Or the lack of hobbies or new interests, and only leaning on your phone for excitement and entertainment. All these factors and more can lead a person to feel unchallenged and even disconnected from a sense of purpose or meaning.
But life isn’t supposed to be dull and predictable. It should be spent doing the things that make us feel most alive and connected to adventure and novelty. And to help you combat boredom head-on, we’ve put together a list of fun and easy anti-boredom activities to spice up your life — no phone necessary.
1.Go For A Bike Ride.
One of the benefits of living in a city is that you don’t have to go far to grab a bike and ride through the city with your hair blowing in the air. Taking a bike ride not only allows you to connect with your inner child, but it allows you to see your city from a totally new perspective, all while moving your body. Let it rip!
2.Take A Class That Speaks To Your Interest.
With sites like ClassPass and Eventbrite, you’re only a click away from exploring your next hobbies. Search for classes that let you tap into old or budding interests like pottery, wine tasting, sewing, Pilates, or even trampoline jumping. The world is your oyster.
3.Binge-Watch A Cult Classic TV Series.
Have you ever had to sit on the internet sidelines while your mutuals debate about the storyline of a TV show you just never got into? Well, now’s your chance to see what all the hype was about. Shows like Succession, Game of Thrones, Snowfall, The Wire, Girlfriends, Scandal, and Grey’s Anatomy are must-see TV when boredom strikes — grab some popcorn and wine and tune in.
4.Do A Closet Cleanout/Refresh.
You’ve probably been eyeing the pill of unworn clothes in the back of your closet for some time now, and we’re not judging. All we’re suggesting is, why not take a casual Saturday morning to declutter, toss out, and reorganize your space to let in new things? You’ll feel lighter, and you may even get to give away those things to a good cause or get a couple of bucks from selling them. It’s a win-win.
5.Learn How To Do A New Braided Hairstyle.
Sure, not every Black woman was born with the superpower to braid her own hair, but that’s what YouTube University is for. If you’re not in the mood to drop $500 on a new knotless braid style and just want to try it out on yourself at home, pull up a YouTube tutorial and get to braiding away. You’ll get a new hairdo out of it, and you’ve killed some time.
6.Teach Yourself How To Crochet.
One skill that tends to get overlooked is crocheting. Not only is it a hobby that’s easy to follow and pick up, but you end up being able to create one-of-its-kind pieces that you can keep to yourself or gift to your loved one. The flow of the technique will put your mind at ease, and you’ll be only a few hours away from your next knitted creation.
7.Pamper Yourself With An At-Home Mani/Pedi.
We’re in a recession, so with the cost of most things going up, why not take one thing off yourmaintenance budget and try it at home? Run some warm water, select your colors, grab your tools, and get to the glam.
8.Start A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read.
It’s safe to say that we all have a mini library growing in our apartment of books we bought with full intentions to read but never quite got around to it. Then we bought another for the cover art and another because BookTok recommended it. We get it. Now’s your chance to take your pick from your at-home bookstore and get lost in the pages of a new story.
9.Draw In An Adult Coloring Book.
The beautiful thing about coloring books is that there is no age limit to who can use one. Grab one with intricate details or one with your favorite childhood characters in it. You can never go wrong with a coloring session.
10.Cook Or Bake A New Recipe.
Is the “recipes” folder saved in your TikTok getting a little full? Well, there’s no time like the present to hit up the grocery store to buy your favorite ingredients and wipe up a new baked good or full-course meal. Treat yourself.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood