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Boredom during Isolation: What I Learnt from my 82 year old Aunt

Learning from my 82 Year old Aunt: Tips to help you combat Boredom during Isolation

By Anne Devlin, Psychotherapist

I recall a conversation I had last year with an elderly aunt and what I learned from her is proving very valuable now considering the current Covid-19 pandemic. The back story to this conversation is as follows;

I had been calling my 82 year old aunt on and off for the week with no joy. I knew she was OK as I had spoken to my siblings and they had managed to link in with her. When I eventually managed to catch her on the phone, I happened to mention my efforts, her response to me was that she was a ‘very busy’ lady. We laughed together in that moment at my assumptions and judgments.

During the rest of the day, I began to think how this woman who lives alone, who does not drive and has no TV (by choice) might be too busy to answer a phone call. I asked about this “busy-ness” and in so doing recognised how busy she was and how grateful that she had taken the time to chat to me. She listed the different things she does in her day/week to keep herself occupied. 

  • Had started a patchwork quilt 6 months ago and was continuing with this
  • Sewing herbs in the garden
  • Scuffling around the front driveway
  • Had taken out old patterns and was making toys for the grandchildren
  • Was knitting a couple of little animals to submit in the ‘Family Fun Day challenge’
  • Baking her brown bread and making tarts
  • Hanging pictures on her walls
  • Writing letters to her kids
  • Reading her ‘Fultan Sheen’ books
  • Calling a couple of relatives/friends
  • Meditating for an hour and a half a day
  • Tidying her house 
  • Clearing out her shed
  • Collecting and tidying toys/clothes/games that had been given to her for charity – to be sold in a market with all donations going to the Peter Mc Ferry Foundation 
  • Making Christmas/Easter cards to send to people

I was humbled by how this great lady had decided to fill her days with so many meaningful activities. Now that we are in ‘Lockdown’ I am using some of my aunt’s ideas to stave off the boredom. The bottom line here is that there always lots of ‘things to do’ but it is up to the individual to get on and do them. 

What are you doing to keep you busy during this time?


City Therapy services are based in Dublin City Center providing quality psychological services to those who need it.