When recovering from illness or breakdown, it can be easy to feel bored by routine. Since one is developing new healthy habits to heal, one may feel trapped at a certain point. This is especially so when healing gets routine and a voice within protests against changing.
Professionally and personally, I’ve a special intolerance to sameness, endless repetitions, or daily confinement by a cubicle. I’d literally die of boredom or get crazy. It feels like a prison I’m in. And when I feel that, I’m prone to dislike myself and company, less effective in what I do. I’ll cry for help.
Soren Kierkegaard once wrote that boredom is the “root of all evil.” For him, boredom in routine can create a mental and emotional void that is frequently filled with reckless consumerism and addictions. When an addicted dysfunctional person is bored, he or she becomes most vulnerable to slip and fall, lapse and relapse. From saying “I can’t” regarding rehabilitation, he or she starts saying “I won’t.” As time goes by, so is his or her patience.
Routine becomes lethal when you can’t see a larger purpose or meaning for it. As one writer puts it, boredom can be caused by a “collapse of meaning.” That’s when boredom gets deadly. When you don’t have a clear vision or meaning behind your routine, you perish. Without this vision or meaning, you’re unable to reach beyond any limiting circumstance to keep going until you cross the finish line of your race.
There is “healing in routine.” Healing in routine is mostly effected by a person’s conception of what he’s doing. When you have a purpose-driven conception of the work you do (e.g. recovery/therapy work, rehabilitation from addiction), you wait and excel because you find greater benefit and meaning even amid its seemingly endless routines.
Like a world-class runner, you simulate a perfect state of boredom for optimal performance. Your foot routinely pounds the pavement mile after mile. You move in the same way hour after hour. You pay attention to your body in the act of running. But you also remind your self to relax, hang loose, not tie up. You refuse to retreat to boredom or fantasy but instead stay with the discomfort. You have a goal to win.
And so can you when you choose to heal and get well.