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37 Things to Do When Bored So You Don't Lose Your Mind

Stay busy with this creative and comprehensive list of things to do when bored.

One would think being present for the pandemic era would mean that we have boredom on lock(down). Truth is, though, while some folks used the time to carve out new and productive habits, most of us spent our days watching shows we've already seen and our nights sacrificing sleep for social media. And as rewarding as it is to see what other people are doing, it doesn't do all that much for our own evolution.

But don't worry, opportunities to practice self-improvement are out there, and they often appear when we've got nothing better to do. Listed below are a few things to do when bored that can help you achieve some much-deserved personal growth. Because as fun as it can be to keep tabs on someone else's life, it always pays to stay focused on our own.

READ THIS NEXT: 50 Fun Things to Do At Home Right Now.

37 Best Things to Do When Bored at Home

Productive Things to Do When Bored

Boredom comes often and easily. But productivity? Well, that can be more of a mixed bag. The good news is that it's not as hard to merge the two as it sounds. All it takes is a little planning and a little discipline. While we can't exactly drillmaster you into doing anything, we can definitely lend a hand with the first bit. So dream big, because good things are coming your way.

  1. Learn a Musical Instrument
    woman learning to play piano when bored
    Shutterstock / Chatchai.wa

    Use it or lose it" is an old adage that doctors like to pepper into warnings regarding muscle atrophy, and that applies to the brain as well. Studies show that learning a musical instrument at age 60 or older can actually halt cognitive decline and memory loss. Other functions, including planning abilities and information processing, also seem to improve with music lessons. Besides, playing music is fun. There are also tons of resources available online for individuals who don't want to leave their house for lessons.

  2. Clean Out Your Junk Drawer

    Some tasks just feel impossible to accomplish. Or maybe they just seem super dull. Still, sometimes, a boring task is just what you need to interrupt a boring day. Cleaning out your junk drawer is one of those things that no one wants to do, but everyone feels good once it's done. Besides, you never know what missing items you'll find hidden among the clutter.

  3. Plan for a Date Night

    Did you know planning for an event can be just as fun as the actual activity? That's not just an assumption, it's science. Seriously. According to experts, planning for an event can help alleviate anxiety and allows ample room for fantasy—a process that can actually provide more enjoyment than your plans. Besides, date nights are important to maintain connections, communication, and gratitude.

  4. Clean Your Makeup Brushes

    Here's a horrifying fact: The residue left on your make-up brushes won't just tint your face the next time you use them, it can actually contaminate your pores. It's true, uncleaned brushes are known to collect dust, dirt, and bacteria—all of which can wreak havoc on your skin.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of cleaners around to help you get the job done. You can also just wash them, squeeze out the water, and lay them flat to dry. If boredom isn't enough to motivate you here, the idea of preventing future break-outs just might.

  5. Meal Prep for the Week

    According to experts, meal prepping can save you lots of time and money. Even if you make too much, you can always freeze the leftovers until you need them next. It also gives you a good excuse to experiment with different recipes and try new culinary techniques.

  6. Organize Some DIY Projects

    man with tape measure for DIY project
    Shutterstock / Prostock-studio

    DIY projects became big during the initial lockdown. Makes sense too, given we weren't allowed in many places outside of our own home. While things have loosened up in the time since, the trend has managed to stick around. And when you have a whole house to go through, there are lots of different options to pursue. Whether you want to decorate your home decor or fancy up your wall space, the decision is up to you.

  7. Put Together a Care Package for a Friend or Family Member

    Putting together a care package for family or friends is a great way to practice a little empathy. It's also a thoughtful way to connect with someone who you haven't seen for a while. While you should curate the basket towards your target's interests, there are plenty of creative ways to put your own personal spin on things.

Creative Things to Do in the Kitchen When Bored

Did you know that cooking can significantly boost your mental health? Unconventional thinking helps stimulate both sides of the brain, sharpening the mind and enhancing cognitive function. It also gives you a sense of control and accomplishment, enhancing your overall mood. If that sounds like a win to you, then read on. We've listed a few good ideas to tack onto the next to-do list.

  1. Try out an Old Family Recipe

    man learning to cook online when bored
    Shutterstock / Stock-Asso

    The only thing that's better than cooking for sport is cooking for purpose. Across cultures, food is used to share history, heritage, and tradition. Reintroducing plates enjoyed long ago can also help trigger certain memories, allowing individuals to reacquaint themselves with people and places from their past.

  2. Or Re-Create Your Favorite Restaurant Meal

    Ok, so not everyone is into home cooking. That's ok, there are plenty of ways to enjoy restaurant-grade meals from the comfort of your own kitchen. Lots of establishments have actually made their recipes public.

    Whether they really want to make their dishes more available or they just think the move will make them look good, it doesn't really matter. What is important is being able to enjoy high-quality meals from home and for a fraction of the price.

  3. Plan Your Next Dinner Party

    Yup, we're back to planning. And yes—it's still just as beneficial as it is when it comes to date night. Only this time, there are extra details to obsess over. Placemats? Yes. Cutlery? Most certainly. Themes? A definite maybe. If you've ever fantasized about channeling your inner Julia Child, now's your time.

  4. Try out a New Cocktail Recipe

    woman making cocktails at home
    Shutterstock / Ground Picture

    Good food is something worth celebrating. But good food and drinks, well that's a pretty stellar combo. And if you just want to enjoy the latter, that's ok, too. Trying out a new cocktail recipe is a great way to liven up an otherwise boring day. Just make sure you've taken care of all your responsibilities beforehand and aren't planning on getting behind the wheel after.

  5. Make Homemade Ice Cream

    If you're going to experiment with sweets, you might want to gather up a few friends. That way, you don't do all the damage alone. Homemade ice cream is not only delicious (fresh and no risk of freezer burn), but it's also relatively easy to make. If you want, you can also do healthy variations. Fruit ice cream is a great homemade alternative to products loaded with dairy and saturated fats.

READ THIS NEXT: 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time Without a Smartphone.

The Best Things to Do When Bored: Online Edition

Things may have taken a hit over the past few years, but there is at least one thing to be thankful for: the Internet. It's helped us keep connected, entertained, and even romanced during our most isolated times. Of course, its offerings go much deeper than that. Below, we've listed a few other things to do online.

  1. Take an Online Class

    woman sitting in front of her laptop - things to do when bored
    Shutterstock / fizkes

    Taking an online course is an easy way to broaden your knowledge of any given subject. And when we say any subject, we mean it. Today, you can find online classes on super niche subjects like the philosophy of superheroes, the art of clowning, and the human skeleton.

  2. Go Through Your Favorite Music Videos

    Listening to music is always a good way to pass time. Throwing on a few of your favorite music videos provides a little extra entertainment. Not only will it help inspire a trip down memory lane, but it also provides a few opportunities to learn some new moves.

  3. Learn a New Language

    Did you know that learning a new language can actually increase the size of your brain? It's also a great way to get familiar with other cultures and customs. There are a bunch of apps online that can help you get started. That way, you don't have to spend a bunch of money on books and instructors.

  4. Play a Video Game

    Video games tend to get a bad rap, but there is evidence to suggest that the activity can help improve things like spatial navigation and motor function. In addition to these gray matter perks, gaming also provides opportunities to interact with others, allowing individuals to improve on key social skills like negotiation and collaboration. Besides, they're a fun way to pass time.

  5. Find a Penpal

    That's right, penpals are back. And yeah, we can thank the pandemic. Some started writing to strangers as a means of spreading some hope during dark times. Others did it to forge new social connections while isolated. And sure, there are also those who did it out of sheer boredom. If you're interested in pursuing the trend, you can look to popular networks like Global Penfriends or PenPal World.

  6. Do an Online Workout
    man doing an online workout in his living room
    Shutterstock / Prostock-studio

    Once again, we have to thank the pandemic for this one. After all, it's hard to stay fit when you don't have access to the gym. Over the past few years, online workouts have become more popular and accessible than ever. While there are tons of paid services available, there are plenty of free resources around. Just plug what you're looking for into Google and the algorithm should take care of the rest.

  7. Find a New Podcast

    If you're not in the mood to watch TV but want something a little more engaging than music, then podcasts are the way to go. You can tune in while doing the dishes, at the gym, or even just sitting on the couch. These programs cover anything from breaking news, popular culture, true crime, and tons of other exciting topics.

  8. Look Up New Recipes for Your Next Dinner Party

    We all love cruising around the web, but doing so with a real purpose in mind kind of changes the game. As mentioned above, there are tons of amazing recipes available online, including some from your favorite restaurants. Plus, it's important to keep tabs on your ingredients. Just be sure to ask your guests about any allergies or intolerances before finalizing the menu.

  9. Take a Virtual Tour of Places You Want to Go

    Travel is one of those things that almost everyone is into. Unfortunately, it's also one of those things that not everyone can do. Pricey plane tickets, demanding work schedules, and other obligations are often to blame for a failure to book.

    The good news is that you can always begin the planning process. And thanks to the internet, we can access information and images that would have been impossible to come by years ago.

READ THIS NEXT: 15 Effective Self Care Tips That Are Made for Quarantine.

Here's What to Do When Bored With Friends

Boredom can strike at any time, even when surrounded by friends. After all, company can't always remedy situations where there's simply nothing to do. But don't worry, we've come up with a few ways to keep the group entertained. Keep reading below to get started.

  1. Play a Board Game

    group of friends playing a board game
    Shutterstock / Viktoriia Shylling

    It's not only penpals that have made a resurgence in recent years. According to the numbers, board games are also back. Between 2013 and 2016, global sales of games and puzzles grew from $9.3 to $9.6 billion—and it looks like millennials are driving the trend. Top sellers include "Settlers of Catan," "Herd Mentality," and "Wingspan."

  2. Learn To Make Your Own Candles

    A change in ambiance is often welcome, especially when you're bored. Candle-making kits are reasonably priced and offer some much-needed stimulation when hungry for something to do. Plus, it's a great way to cozy up the space. And if you ever find yourself with too much product on your hands, you can always give them away as gifts.

  3. Learn How to Do French Braids
    woman doing french braids on friend
    Shutterstock / Evgeniia Zakharishcheva

    If your best friends happen to have long hair, then this next activity might be worth exploring. After all, learning to do different styles is fun. But it's also an interesting way to connect to the past. Though the name may suggest otherwise, the French braid can actually be traced to Algeria, where rock art from almost 6,000 years ago depicts women wearing this style. If you can't figure it out on your own, there are plenty of online tutorials to help get you started.

  4. Bake Cookies

    Again, we're back in the kitchen. Baking cookies is both easy and fun and provides plenty of opportunities to give yourself a little taste of the dough before coming out of the oven. With so many different varieties available, you can even consider baking different types to see what the group likes best.

Fun Things to Do for Bored Teenagers

Bored teenagers aren't really great company. They're moody and hormonal, and a little bit hard to read. If you've got kids this age hanging around, it's worth helping them stay busy. Listed below are a few things to suggest the next time the kids cry boredom.

    1. Put Together Some New Outfits

      teenage boy cleaning closet when bored
      Shutterstock / Dean Drobot

      Teens tend to worry about their appearance. Putting together new outfits is one way to keep their confidence up. It's also a good way to cycle through the closet to see what items they can reintroduce into the wardrobe, and which ones are ready to be tossed. At the very least, it might buy you a little time between trips to the mall.

    2. Create a Photo Album for When You Want to Go down Memory Lane

      There's something about those teenage years that seems perpetually sentimental. And with so many photos floating around our phones, it's nice to have a few physical items to hold onto. Creating an album of people and places from these formative years is a great way for teens to express themselves. It might even inspire more creative projects down the line.

    3. Put Together a Playlist of Your Favorite Songs

      teenager on her phone looking at pictures
      Shutterstock / antoniodiaz

      Having a playlist prepped and ready to go is always helpful. Whether you're at the gym, hosting a party, or simply out for a long drive, it's great to have all your favorite songs in one place and without ads. Plus, teens tend to shift moods pretty quickly, so it never hurts for them to have options in the queue.

Relaxing Things to Do at Night

Boredom can hit anytime, but it's always unfortunate when it comes at night. In fact, the state is often associated with something scientists call bedtime procrastination, and it's been known to significantly impact sleep. The idea is that the less you do during the day, the more likely you are to reclaim the time later on, delaying sleep and ultimately impacting your REM cycle. Fortunately, we've put together a few ways to reverse the habit.

  1. Prep for an At-home Spa Day

    image of a woman's legs in a bubble bath
    Shutterstock / Breslavtsev Oleg

    Guess what—the global spa market is projected to reach over 185 billion by 2030. Services are high in demand, though there are some downsides to consider—like getting there and the amount of money you'll need to spend after you land.

    At-home alternatives are a great way of achieving spa-like experiences from the comfort of home and without the costs. We suggest starting with a bubble bath, working your way up to a face mask, maybe throwing in a few coats of nail polish, and calling it a night.

  2. Do a Face Mask

    Self-care practices are a fun way to prepare for bed. The best part is that these activities aren't too costly and don't take long to do. Throwing on a face mask is not only beneficial for your skin, but it can also provide a sense of responsibility regarding your own health and wellness.

  3. Write a Short Story

    Journaling before bed is an easy and efficient way to help you achieve better sleep. According to the experts, the activity helps you refocus anxious energies on more positive experiences instead. It can also help you fall asleep faster and enjoy improved sleep quality once you're down.

  4. Practice Deep Breathing
    woman practicing deep breathing exercises and meditating in living room
    Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem

    Breathing exercises have been linked to less stress and better sleep. The latter is associated with increased melatonin production and a calmer nervous system. Popular practices include the 4-7-8 method and box breathing.

Outdoor Activities for When You're Bored

Staring at the same walls day in and day out can get old. The good news is that you don't have to go far to get a change of scenery. You can always head into the backyard next time you're feeling bored. Even if you don't have access to a private yard, there's plenty of room outside for individuals in need of something to do. Below are a few ways to make the most of all available outdoor space.

  1. Dress Up Your Outdoor Space

    woman with gloves building a shed - things to do when bored
    Shutterstock / grandbrothers

    Public spaces are a great place to appreciate the outdoors, but having to share the view with whoever else happens to be around isn't always ideal. If you're the kind of person who prefers a little more privacy, you can always try dressing up your own outdoor space. Patio furniture and potted plants can go a long way here.

  2. Have a Picnic in Your Own Backyard

    If you've already taken the time to create an aesthetic outdoor space, you may as well start enjoying it! A picnic in the backyard is a simple way to appreciate all the effort you've put in. Plus, it's an easy way to sneak in some more quality time with the family.

  3. Go for a Bike Ride

    From improving heart health and circulation to boosting the regularity of your bowel movements, it's hard to pinpoint the best thing about cycling. The sport is even great for your mental health, helping with mood, memory, and creative thinking. It's also good for the environment and—so long as you already own a bike—completely free!

  4. Hit the Beach
    person on bench at the beach
    Shutterstock / Lucigerma

    Not only are beaches beautiful to look at, but they're also brimming with activities to keep you entertained. Whether you want to swim, snorkel, or paddleboard your way around the area, there is likely a rental somewhere around. And hey, no need to overdo it. If you want to kick back with a book or even sneak in a short nap, that works, too.

  5. Take a Long Walk

    Sure, going for a long walk may not seem like the most exciting suggestion on this list, but it's definitely a good way to break up those long, boring stretches of time. Plus, there are tons of benefits to walking around, from weight loss to improved memory, reduced anxiety, and much more.

    It's also a great way to spend some much-needed time out of the house. If you're worried about getting bored while walking, be sure to bring some headphones. That way you can make a few phone calls, listen to music, or even tune into a new podcast.

Wrapping Up

That's it for our list of things to do when bored, but be sure to check back in with us soon! Best Life is committed to keeping you happy and entertained, all year long. Sign up for our newsletter to enjoy similar kinds of content, as well as hit pieces on health, entertainment, and travel.

Carrie Weisman
Carrie Weisman oversees all SEO efforts at Best Life. She specializes in content optimization and editorial marketing. Read more
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