At the same time, a slew of sites have emerged to combat feelings of boredom for those furloughed, unemployed or between jobs, exemplified by well-meaning yet unwittingly anxiety-inducing bored.solutions and Excellent Quarantine Ideas.
This is being compounded by the wellness industry, as invitations to disconnect and unwind manifest in an increasing number of services for practising mindfulness and self-care. But while live-streamed yoga and wholesome baking tutorials seek to quell feelings of unease, this content also risks placing unnecessary pressure on people who wouldn’t ordinarily engage in these activities – or have the means to do so.
As Refinery29 journalist Connie Wang explains through the lens of the Chinese philosophy of ‘wuliao’ – loosely translated as ‘the absence of conversation,’ or being ‘too bored’ – boredom should always be attributed to a sense of privilege, instead of a sense of lack. Only those who can afford to be bored right now can, in turn, be productive in the ways brands' marketers want them to be.
The companies capitalising on peoples' uncertainty around time and home-management could be breeding a culture of comparison relating to productivity, achievement, learning and thriving. After all, in Generation Homebody, we identify a culture of staying in that thrives off the privacy and contentment of being away daily global pressures – centred on the desire to leave the external world firmly on the outside.
Of course, the importance of building resilience has become paramount globally, but the need to support audiences already dealing with widespread burnout is pushing us further away from the self-actualising ideas identified in The Optimised Self. Instead, brands must work towards new metrics of success; inviting inactivity and purposeless enjoyment as an act of radical fulfilment.
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