“Boredom is when you wake up at 8 am and you have nothing to do, If I don’t have anything to study I stare at myself in the mirror thinking about what I should do, then I pick up my phone and make a musical.ly video,” says Qais of the teens at CRP.

Boredom is a huge issue for teens. Besides the mental health issues that boredom can cause, it may also lead to reckless acts to escape the feeling of emptiness while disregarding personal or others’ safety.

While their opinions vary on what boredom is, what causes it, and where it might lead, refugee teens in our neighborhood agree on one thing: “boredom sucks.”

They explain it in their own voices, saying things like, “Boredom is when I finish all my studying and I have nothing to study;” “Boredom is when I have nothing new to do and everything becomes a routine;” “There’s nowhere to go, I spend all of my time in Hashemi;” “boredom is when I have no new video games to play.” Though bring up the question of video games and extensive discussion about Fortnite ensues.

Teens hanging out at CRP.

Having a lot of free idle time can enable overthinking and allow anxiety to take over. For refugees whose fate is unknown, this can be very overwhelming and crippling.

“I like to listen to music or read when I’m feeling bored, and sometimes I like to draw some art,” says Nada one of the teens in CRP’s teens’ group, which meets on Saturdays. “I like to isolate myself and just read for hours when I’m bored,” says Naser. While they all have different coping mechanisms they make use of what little resources they have to fill their boredom.

Sometimes Naser likes to stick to himself and have some alone time when he is bored, which can be isolating.

Many refugee teens are out of school and unable to work legally. This combination means they have many, many hours to fill on their own. They don’t have spending money and their neighborhood of Hashemi Shamali doesn’t offer many free or public spaces.

CRP is working new programs for these teens to fill this boredom and feeling of emptiness by developing different activities that would appeal to them. And the teens’ group is a good way for them to connect and learn many things from each other, maybe different coping mechanisms that help them with their boredom.

Help us find more activities for teens. Donate here.