1 simple step to beat burn out and brain fog.

I started my week by complaining.

Me: “Brian, I’m bored with my workout.”

Brian, (my personal trainer): “Aaaand?” said with a bit of a smile.

Me: Aaaand…. (did he hear me?) … I don’t want to get stale and be bored with my workouts! (Can you hear a touch of indignation in my voice? Like, there will be no boredom for me, thank you very much.)

Brian: “Yes I heard you. So …?? ” I think he was playing with my attitude a bit.”

(Brian is a former Army Ranger, now a 100/200 mile Ultra Runner, so when he says “Laura jump!”, I say “how high?”)

Me: What do you recommend? (And I’m thinking “I’m paying him to train me, so how about some advice, already?)

Brian: I highly recommend you be bored Laura! 1. You tell me that your back doesn’t hurt anymore (after 4 years of misery). 2. You have a tight core and strong glutes. 3. You workout 5 days a week. So… what’s the problem?

Me: I was getting a bit nervous but I gave it one last shot: “I’M BORED”.

Brian: You have 23 hours every day to  be buzzing around, in a hurry doing stuff.  So be bored for the 1 hour you are here. Do your workouts and let your mind just hang out. Now git along and lift that “boring” dumbbell.

I loved Brian’s wake-up call. I realized that there is nothing wrong with being bored. In fact maybe it’s a good thing. 

After my training session I went home and Googled “boredom”. I found 2 trillion results for HOW TO BEAT BOREDOM, as if it’s some kind of death sentence that one needs to avoid at all costs.

My takeway: Hustle culture is in. Boredom is out. Sadly our culture is allergic to being bored. It’s considered weak, unproductive, even unmasculine to sit still with our thoughts, to be alone, to be restless, to not be glued to a device.

Let us all challenge that!  As a 70 year old woman who has gained some perspective on life, I now think being bored is a great solution to sooth our fried brains, rest our eyes, reduce stress, get better sleep and calm our short tempers.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” – French philosopher Blaise Pascal, in the 1600’s.

My recommendation for you, for me, for all the world? Let yourself out of “ I gotta, gotta, gotta do this” jail and just be bored for a few minutes each day.

How would it feel to arrive at a Chinese restaurant for dinner and when waiting for your group to show up, you just sit and watch the tropical fish swim in the huge fish tank, instead of checking your “Likes” on social media?

How would it feel to hang out at the airport and human-watch for an hour, just letting your mind wander with no agenda?

How would it feel to sit at traffic lights and wait them out without grabbing for your phone, or scrolling through podcast options?

When you have lunch today, how about just staring out the window?

How could your life change if you let yourself be bored, if you gave your your brain and eyeballs, (and oh yeah, your ears too!) a daily dose of boredom? 

Thanks to Brian’s wake up call, these days I stare at the barbell, and let my attention wander. It feels really good. I can literally feel my brain thanking me.

(NOTE: Let’s not confuse boredom with Mindfulness. Being mindful is intentionally focusing on something that will calm us down; listening to the rain fall, watching ocean waves ebb and flow, feeling the heat from a crackling fire. There is focus and effort involved. Being bored requires no effort, focus, or intention. It’s just you hanging with random thoughts.)

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