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14 Things to Do When You're Bored

Don't just stand there... take a nap!

Don't just stand there... take a nap!

We've all been there...

The sunlight is streaming through the windows, you're sprawled on the couch, and you realize you have a few hours to yourself. The temptation to just sit there and do nothing is strong, my friend.

Now, I'm not against taking a break and getting rest when you need to. I'm talking about the times you know you should and could be doing something... but your lazy side is calling. Here is a list of fun (at least, it can be!) activities for you to try. It'll help you get moving and could brighten someone else's day.

What I like to do is to just try one thing on the list. When I finish doing one task, I often feel motivated to try tackling another item. If you're like me, this list will help you get started. Enjoy!


1. Surprise Friends With Snail Mail

Snail mail is, in my opinion and to my dismay, a dying form of communication. I get a thrill of excitement when I open my mailbox and see something there for me that isn’t, well, a bill! Send that kind of excitement to a friend with a note of encouragement, a simple hello, or a coupon for them to redeem. What kind of coupon? Something that’s tailored to them! If they enjoy a cup of coffee, offer to buy them a cup with a handwritten note instead of shooting a text that you know won’t lead to anything concrete.

2. Upcycle Existing Furniture

I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of furniture “hacks” that make you think to yourself, “Hey, I could totally do that!” I'm guessing you then save it in your project playlist and promptly forget about it. Stop that habit and choose something easy to try! You probably have a piece of basic furniture you can alter to make it more your style. If you don’t have that basic table, then here’s to another thing to do when you’re bored: go to Ikea, get a plate of Swedish meatballs, and choose something to tackle!

3. Listen to Something and Walk

It’s too easy to sit like a potato and do absolutely nothing. Change that by learning how to do something, how to make something, or listen to tapes that teach you about a subject you’ve wanted to learn about but never had a chance to. Download a podcast or book, and then here’s the next step: take a walk! I’m a homebody, so I think that my saying this carries a little extra weight.

Walking gets your blood flowing and makes your head clearer. It’s a good way to sort out your thoughts, such as why you’ve been feeling bored lately. Make sure to take your phone or FitBit to get your steps in for the day! Taking a brisk walk also helps your metabolism, which will also help you feel good.

4. Have a Dance Party

I love having them, even if it’s by myself. This is the time to bust out moves you’ve made up and think are cool. Test them out before you try them anywhere else, and you’ll be set. Better yet, have friends come over so you can give each other honest evaluations. Then, have fun copying everyone else and get in your aerobic exercise for the day! Chase those blues away, and quick!

5. Experiment With Your Hair/Nails/Clothes

I think a lot of my childhood beauty experiments started because of boredom.

  • I snipped my hair to get trendy bangs. Not a good look for me.
  • I tried a smokey eye with just black eyeshadow. It just looked like someone punched my face with soot.
  • I tried putting on every single item of clothing in my closet and ended up looking like a fashion-unfriendly abominable snowman, a la Joey Tribbiani from Friends.
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While very, very few experiments came out even decently for me, I enjoyed trying something new just to see how things turned out. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with something as iconic as Coco Chanel! Or, more likely, you may come up with something that Kramer from Seinfeld would exclaim, “Whoa, hold up!” And that, my friend, isn’t a good thing.

6. Send a Gift to Your Parents/Grandparents

It’s easy to get so busy with things (or not doing anything) that keeping in touch with family kind of falls to the wayside. Fight it by writing a quick letter telling your family or grandparents what you’ve been up to for the last few weeks. If it’s too much work to write and send something, try to give them a call and see how they’re doing. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you, and you can use that time to learn more about the people who have been in your life for years.

If you have a little extra time and motivation, put together a little gift package for them to see that you're thinking of them!

7. Make a Visual Bucket List

Create a vision board of what you'd like your life to look like and a few activities you’d like to try. You can do this while lazily scrolling on Pinterest to get inspired and collect images when they come across your feed. Then, just print the pages, cut out the images, and arrange them to your heart’s content. Oh yeah, and feel free to put on a show in the background while you scroll. That’s multitasking to the max!

8. Make Something (or Rather, Anything)

It can be a new recipe, a DIY project, or a home improvement project. Try using things you already own, so try looking in your pantry, craft closet, and garage for materials. Brush off things that you’ve been meaning to get to and imagine what you could do with them. Try seeing what other people have done using similar materials to see if it’s something you can do.


9. Read a Book

This is similar to the audiobook/podcast suggestion, but I think that for some people, actually picking up a book and turning the pages does something that reading electronically can’t do. This is true for me, and I think I retain a lot more this way. This is the perfect thing to do when you’re bored and it’s cold outside. It’s cliche, but oh-so-true! You could also visit the local library to see what’s out there. I recommend going back to your favorite childhood books and rereading a few of them. It’s always interesting to see what you picked up as a kid and what you catch as an adult.

10. Try Decluttering

Make a list of things you need to do and tackle one. If you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it’s time you did! I’m a class-A hoarder, and I used to never get rid of anything because I thought that I could use it someday. My closets were packed, and I couldn’t find much. Now, I think I enjoy parting with items I know I won't use more than purchasing new items I like.


11. Learn Something New

Go ahead and try learning something new! While you're at it, start a notebook specifically for this new interest of yours. It'll be a fun way to expand your knowledge horizons, and you'll probably remember it better than the subjects you had to learn in school. What could you possibly write about? Here are a few ideas.

1. Crafts

  • Different types of crafts you want to try
  • Competitions that you can enter
  • A diary of what you tried (like my Pinterest fails!)

2. Foods

  • Your favorite restaurants and why
  • Pretending to be a food critic
  • Techniques you want to remember

3. Art

  • Artist biographies
  • Quotes about art
  • Journaling your thoughts

4. Travel

  • Places you want to visit in the future
  • Logging places you've been
  • Writing down recommendations and travel tips from friends

12. Go on a Donut Run

A literal donut run. Find the closest donut shop to you (if you like donuts) and try to run the entire way there. Once you arrive, treat yourself to a donut (or three) and enjoy munching on them as you walk back home. You can do this with friends so you can chat together, or you can also do this alone to have some time to yourself. Either way, you kind of burned off the donut calories, so well done!

13. Go to a Coffee Shop and Think

If you're not a coffee person, lucky for you—cafes usually serve tea! And if you're not a tea person, well, you can choose a place that you enjoy going to that has a nice ambiance. It could even be in a park somewhere or a local library. Take a journal with you and just think. Turn off your phone (or put it on airplane mode) and sit there. It might seem a little daunting at first, but I assure you that it's worth it! Watch other people passing by, smile at animals scooting along with their owners, and listen to the conversations that happen all around you. It's a pretty relaxing time, and you'll feel more rejuvenated than you would if you sat alone at home. Probably.


14. Make a List of Things to Do When You're Bored

Come on, you know you want to! If you have other ideas for motivating yourself when you get bored, let me know in the comments below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Kate Rix from Oakland, California on March 21, 2018:

What a great list! I really love this. What would number 15 be? Hmmm.

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