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Acedia: How to overcome feelings of boredom and restlessness

acedia, self care, self improvement
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Acedia refers to a combination of listlessness, generalized anxiety, and an inability to concentrate. It first described feelings brought on by the solitary lives of ancient monks.

Unsurprisingly, this feeling of acedia in the monks came about as a result of long stints in isolation. Sound familiar?

Some of us today are experiencing acedia for the first time. A consequence of imposed isolation and confinement to our own four walls.

A brain fog sets in, a feeling of restlessness that you can’t shake. You’re still functioning but feel like there must be more.

How do we deal with this restlessness that is neither depression or anxiety? Click To Tweet

How do we deal with this restlessness that is neither depression or anxiety, and is therefore neither treatable nor truly dysfunctional?

The feeling of acedia is uncomfortable rather than unbearable. And it grows worse in times when a lack of routine compels us to distract ourselves or procrastinate.

Here are four ways to overcome acedia when it strikes in our lives:

1. Endurance

In Hebrews Paul says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Do your work with 100% effort even when it’s tedious and seemingly meaningless.

Avoid procrastination and unhelpful distractions like scrolling through social media. Practice gratitude rather than wishing you were somewhere else or with someone else.

2. Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray without ceasing”. When you’re going through the ordinary tasks of your day, whisper prayers to God to keep in constant contact with Him.

3. Crying

Sometimes all we need is a good cry. If you live alone you may have gone weeks or even months without touch this year.

I’d say that’s worth a few tears! And you’re not alone. Celebrities have taken to YouTube with their own crying jags during isolation.

4. Physical activity

This can mean simply moving your body rather than an exercise regime. Go for a walk, clean the house, do laundry.

Completing physical tasks big and small can help you process your jumbled thoughts. At the very least it can help you get out of your head for a while and into your body instead.

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