Boreout Syndrome. It’s real, it’s unhealthy and it can be overcome.

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

We’ve all heard of burnout, but boreout syndrome? Yes, it’s a real thing and we’re feeling it more and more during the COVID crisis. 

It seems ironic that during a time of crisis, we could feel bored. But the reality is, whether you’re working on the frontline or working from home, our days (weeks, months!) are lacking the stimulation and variety they once did. 

The news cycles through the same world changing events every day and even our conversations with friends and family are limited thanks to the limitations of our current experiences - we’ve quite literally got nothing new to talk about!.

How is boreout syndrome identified? It breaks down into 3 parts:

  1. Lack of purpose
  2. Lack of intellectual stimulation
  3. Lack of prospect for progression

In our current circumstance, we have all of the ingredients for an en masse boreout syndrome !

At the start of the year, a friend of mine in a high stress job took an 8 week sabbatical to beat burnout and returned full of fresh energy and motivation for their work. Only to be furloughed 2 weeks later. 

This energy was ready to be unleashed on work, without that stimulus and direction they admitted that they found it hard during the latter part of their furlough experience to motivate towards anything, even starting a new book or box set.

So, how do you identify if you might be suffering? 

Symptoms of boreout can be very similar to those of burnout and include:

  • A sense of low self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame and culpability
  • Avoidance strategies
  • A disconnect with work
  • Crisis of social identity
  • A feeling of uselessness 
  • Low mood

It’s not a subject to be taken lightly, one corporate case of boreout syndrome in France saw an employee awarded with a payout after suffering with serious health issues as a result. 

What can we do to beat the boredom?

Whilst we can’t plan for boredom beating activities as we had previously (our social and work lives curtailed to the lockdown recommendations as they are!), we can create changes to fuel our minds with moments of difference.

Firstly, and most importantly, we must remember that this moment we’re living through will pass.

Secondly, regularly connect with something that gives you meaning. Is that being in nature, praying, being with a friend, a moment absorbed in music, walking a neighbour’s dog?

To shake out of your boredom, you may need to change your setting. Get out of your regular environment and, if possible, add someone new into the mix.

This could be taking a walk with a friend, taking a coffee to a park or joining a webinar on something totally unrelated to your usual activities.

Finding new experiences can be difficult at the moment (not impossible, but they require a little seeking out). One lesson that lockdown has exposed is that experiences do not need to be fanciful, expensive or even well thought out. They simply need to allow us to connect with our core values and needs and give us that sense of meaning and purpose again.


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