With the dawn of summer and the heat draining what little social energy we have, those of us who are introverts are faced with few choices in activities that don’t involve human interaction. Even in cooler seasons, boredom may plague us on our vacation days or sick days, leaving our brains foggy and craving stimulation. For those of us who don’t want to binge watch on Netflix or play all the games we bought from a Steam sale, here are six solo activities I’ve compiled in order to chase away the fog of boredom.
1. Go to libraries, museums, or art galleries
Libraries are wondrous places filled with more books than you can read in a lifetime, unless you’re a marathon reader, in which case you can finish within a few years if you hide in the basement, stock up on food, and use the sink as a shower. Museums hold mementos of history, tiny souvenirs for collectors and mini explorers, and books that are way more fun than textbooks. Art galleries hold a variety of paintings, sculptures, mixed media pieces, and abstract things that professors expect you to write a five page analysis about — or was that just me? If you’re feeling a particular sense of creative fun, you can pretend you are a snooty art critic or researcher and “interpret” the meaning of art pieces or “study” a historical object — or even an item from the gift shop. Write your thoughts in a notebook rather than saying them aloud, unless you want people to stare at you like you belong in the loony bin.
2. Fanfiction, reading, or writing
The world is filled with stories that have left us disappointed, whether from bad writing, terrible endings, or the main character not fulfilling your pairing dreams. The Solution: Fanfiction. Although it may get a bad rap for being filled with Mary Sues and smut, it still has its positives. Some fanfic writers are just starting out with their craft, or they want to play around with alternate realities based around their favorite fandoms — or combine the two for hijinks to ensue. Websites like FanFiction.net hold a number of crossover fanfics, AU (alternative universe) fanfics, and shipper/slash fanfics for reading consumption. Writing fanfic can improve your writing and help you expand your imagination a bit as you play around with fandom universes. Commenters will help you by reviewing and critiquing your piece — or be trolls, so be warned if you post it and don’t turn off comments.
3. Papier Mâché
Advertisements piling up in your mailbox? Have a growing collection of scrap paper you just don’t want to throw away? Want a vacation from adult life? Here’s a solution: papier mâché! This may seem childish, but a little trip to your childhood can do you some good, especially when it keeps you away from human interaction. You’ll only need paper, water, glue, and a good workspace to start. Your first project doesn’t have to be anything fancy; with enough practice and tutorials, you can end up with something amazing. Your finished work can serve as an inexpensive decorative item, a fun lamp in your favorite colors, or storage if you need a place to put your decorative balls to keep them away from your cat. You can paint your work once it’s dry, use colored papers, or even add stuff to it — whatever works for you.
4. Make cards
There’s nothing like a little homemade card from a loved one to make your day. Creating cards has its own source of enjoyment, as you can customize the card to match the person you’re sending it to, as well as the occasion. I’m sure many of us have spent far too long looking in the card aisles of stores trying to find the perfect card for a friend or family member, but the available cards are either too plain, too colorful, not funny enough, too rude to be funny, or simply don’t suit the receiver’s personality. Gifting your creative cards can make it seem like you’re actually at the family gathering you’ve been trying to avoid. Tutorials are everywhere, as card-making can become addicting in its own way. There are even card classes and monthly subscription boxes like Paper Pumpkin to get you started.
5. Coloring Books
Again, this may seem childish, but it’s a great source of creative inspiration and isolation from people. Before you start complaining about having to go to the children’s section filled with social butterflies in training, there are a number of coloring books dedicated completely to adults. These books cover a variety of subjects, such as mandalas, fantasy settings, fandoms, people, animals, patterns, and even introversion. Coloring is perfect for relaxation and creative stimulation as you pick and choose which colors go with which section. You can be completely random with your color scheme, follow a specific pattern, or challenge yourself by limiting the colors allowed for one page. You don’t even have to stick to one form of media: Colored pencils, markers, crayons, and even paints can be used for your black and white pages; you can even mix two or more together for a picture if you feel experimental. Craft stores and the wonderful world of bookstores are stocked with these incredible booklets. If you’re feeling particularly introverted, you can always search for coloring pages online.
Dressing up but without a place to go is annoying. Decking oneself all out is a chance to be someone else for a little while, or find people with similar interests that don’t drain you of your energy. Nowadays, costume play is more widely-known and celebrated in most fandoms as a way to show off your love for a fictional character or fictional universe. You don’t even have to leave the house: Home is your sanctuary, and you can practice playacting in private. You don’t have to dress up as someone specific, just find a few things that inspire an idea. For those rare social occasions, you can throw a cosplay party filled with your favorite finds, and your guests can bring theirs, too. Make sure to charge your phone or check the batteries in your camera, because there will be some memories you won’t want to forget.
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Learn more about introversion: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman