Curing Boredom During Isolation

Delaney Murphy, Arts and Entertainment Editor

While Americans were self-isolating at home over last summer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, most people found themselves at least a little bit bored. After all, one can only binge-watch so many Netflix shows before the endless, mind-numbing repetition starts to affect them. This led many people to try out new activities to break up the monotony of the quarantine.

One such person is Gretchen Miller, a Millersburg, Indiana woman who brought live concerts to her backyard gazebo.

“We had gotten a grain bin roof in the fall, and he [Miller’s husband] decided it was time to make a gazebo out of it, and so he went to work,” Miller said.

When a friend of Miller’s, a member of a band, saw the gazebo, he proposed the idea that would go on to make the dreary days of quarantine a bit more exciting for the Millers.

“He said, ‘Hey, that looks like a great place for a band,’ and it just sort of blossomed from there. And now we hire bands to play in our backyard,” Miller said.

Rather than turning her property into a concert venue while quarantining, Newport area, Rhode Island resident Pat Bradshaw attempted a form of art that was completely new to her, called pyrography.

“It is burning, using … a wood-burning tool that’s … kind of like a pen, and then burning into wood. Mostly, I’ve only used driftwood,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw’s process is to sketch out her design on a piece of paper, and then to translate that sketch onto a piece of wood.

“I’m kind of surprised that I’ve been able to be … successful with it, because I’m not someone who can really draw,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw has found wood a more forgiving surface than paper, and  she has been quite pleased with how her art has been looking. As well as making pieces for herself, Bradshaw created some for close family members.

“I ended up making one for my kid sister, and I made one for my second-oldest sister,” Bradshaw said.

While some people took up new artistic activities during lockdown, others, such as Mason teacher Rachel Huntley, tried out fitness-related activities instead.

“I needed something to help me continue … my daily routine so that I didn’t slip into sleeping in and not getting dressed, and, so, I started working out,” Huntley said.

Working out was almost entirely a new experience for Huntley, who, aside from running, had never done it before.

“I started lifting weights and doing workout programs every morning. I hit … 220 days in a row,” Huntley said.

Huntley’s decision to start working out was based more on maintaining her mental health rather than her physical health.

“I knew that the coming months would be long and difficult, and, so, to keep my mindset positive, I knew that doing something with my body would help,” Huntley said.

Although the quarantine was slow and boring for the vast majority of people around America, many found ways to turn hardships into opportunities to do things they would never have tried otherwise.