Being stuck at home on workers compensation after an injury is easier for some than it is for others. If you’re only working construction in order to pay the bills, and your real passion is daytime TV, then you’re one of the lucky ones. For others, it’s easy to go a little stir-crazy after the first week of reruns, game shows and soap operas.
It’s easy to fill your time with various activities. You can play Xbox all day, you can watch your favorite movies, you can build a model ship or take up Sudoku. It’s not so much a matter of finding something to do, it’s a matter of finding something important to do. For many of us, work isn’t just a way to keep a roof over our heads, it’s a way to contribute something to the world. We take pride in driving by an office building and saying “I installed the A/C ducts in there.” Somehow, putting together a jigsaw puzzle just doesn’t deliver the same sense of gratification.
So it’s not just about filling your time up, keeping your hands busy, it’s about finding a way to make a meaningful contribution, even while temporarily unable to ply your trade. In other words, even if you stay busy, you can still wind up feeling depressed if, at the end of the day, you look at how you’ve been spending your time and you think “Who cares?”
Finding a way to fill your time that is actually meaningful is more challenging than simply filling your time with whatever distractions you can find. A meaningful pastime is…Something that you’re interested in.
- Something that you’re interested in.
- Something that makes a difference on some level, and…
- Something that is accessible.
Something that interests you means that it has to be meaningful to you, first and foremost. Meaningful in a broader sense could be helping a cause that you believe in, or just taking some photographs and entering them in a local contest. As for accessibility, well, if you broke your ankle at work, then this is not the time to volunteer for an AIDS walk.
The frustrations that we encounter when cooped up at home are not just about staying busy. If all we want to do is stay busy, we can buy a pack of cards and play solitaire for eight hours a day. It’s about doing something that enriches your own life, and which returns a feeling that you are contributing something to the world.
Easier said than done, certainly. But just because you’re stuck without work for the time being doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of options.