Updated March 9th, 2021
What to do when you’re bored
Is there a cure for boredom? Because let’s face it, feeling bored can happen to the best of us.
Interruption might work well sometimes in relationships: read a The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does – but it doesn’t work so well when you’re bored with a task that needs doing.
There’s no two ways about it, don’t take a break: it doesn’t work.
I’ve tried it – more than once – on the assumption that taking a break would do me the world of good.
Especially when I’m bored with all the online stuff I’m involved in, or when I’m fed up with cleaning in the house, but believe me it makes the experience worse when you get back to it.
The trick! Stick with it until it gets done. Even if you’re bored!
But just in case you’re getting ‘ancy’ and asking yourself what to do when you’re truly bored, especially when you’ve finished your ‘stuff’ and are hanging around because you can’t go and visit friends like before, there are ways you can handle rude guests like boredom.
It doesn’t have to be hard; it can be as fun and productive as you make it, as life was before you took in that oh so unwelcome guest.
Who knows, being bored might give you a chance to learn new skills or create a new mindset or embrace your inner creative self that has been a bit neglected of late.
Maybe you’ve been waiting for a ‘sign’ to make some changes in life, to redirect your future, or decide what’s important to you, or who you’d really like to be. Well this is the time my darlings.
This is your front desk with your wake-up call!
Pull up a chair, get comfy, we’re going to break down 45 things that will guide you through those boring times.
1.Organize something. Doesn’t have to be a huge project like your closet. Start with something small – maybe your sock drawer (yes I have one of those) or your underwear drawer.
Maybe a bookshelf, or your pantry. Just don’t choose something so intimidating you’ll never begin to clear the clutter.
I recently started on my closet. Slowly. Because it’s filled with stuff I haven’t worn in a few years, but haven’t had the heart to push out of the door.
In the end, discovering other people wanted to have some of my ‘stuff’ and would actually make use of it, left me feeling grateful I had ‘stuff’ to give away.
2.Practice a little gratitude. Gratitude is all about perspective. After I was in a car accident that caused a bunch of damage to my then brand new car I was not only upset, I was angry. With myself and the other driver.
And that’s our choice.
Being really, really ticked off about a car, or being grateful for the fact that no-one was hurt. We were still alive and I was thrilled about that. In the end it’s our perspective that matters. And that’s in your hands and head.
I love to focus on things that make me feel good a few times every day. Keeping my blessings factor at the forefront of my mind tends to make for a good and blessed day.
Say to yourself “I am so happy and grateful now that…..” and then feel the smile on your face. It works wonders.
3.Tone your body. You could begin with a small set of hand weights, these from Amazon work well for me.
And no, you don’t have to be a gym junkie like my darling one. I’m half impressed and half jealous of his workout routines, he’s got a dedication that I just can’t muster.
So I stick with things I can do that feel good. I walk in nature most days of the week and use those small hand weights to help with all the cookies and cakes I bake. another good antidote for when you’re feeling bored.
From The Body:
Going for regular walks reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by 31 percent. An analysis of 655,000 people in 2012 found that being active for just eleven minutes a day after the age of forty yielded 1.8 years of added life expectancy. Being active for an hour or more a day improved life expectancy by 4.2 years.
4.Start a blog. WordPress has some super and beautiful templates. And it’s fun (most of the time). Let your creative mind wander and decide what you’d most like to write about or share with the world. Follow your passion.
I started mine because I wanted to share with the world all the things I’d discovered and practiced that made my world bigger and better, with the hope that it would expand their world as well.
Whatever peaks your interest, be it travel, cooking, finding the best or most price worthy things for those of us who don’t have the time to do the research. Begin it.
There are those of us out there who would absolutely appreciate reading your articles.
5.FaceTime a friend. Maybe you text all the time, but there’s nothing like face to face contact. Find out about her tips for alleviating boredom or anxiety and you can share some of yours. Or just share what you’re up to these days.
6.Meditate. You can download a free app and follow along.
I love the Headspace app. The free version of the app includes meditations and exercises led by Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe that will help with the essentials of meditation and mindfulness.
For Android or IOS become more in tune with your body, heart, and mind. And no you really don’t have to sit in a yoga pose or on the floor!
6.Try your hand at needlepoint/cross stitch. I first tried one of these kits years ago when my husband was terminally ill. I found it soothing as I sat by his bedside.
You can try a needlepoint for beginners kit. Which comes with the whole kit and caboodle – hoop and threads and all. Like this one. Very relaxing.
I’m not very artsy or crafty, but a simple kit that told me what to do and where and how to do it was an enormous boon during a heart wrenching period in my life.
You don’t need to be in a tragic place to enjoy relieving boredom with this fun and easy past time.
8.Start a garden. Even if you don’t have any outdoor space, get some herbs and an indoor planter and get that green thumb working.
My mum used to grow the best tomatoes indoors. Really sweet and juicy. You can get everything you need online.
9.Write in your journal. If you don’t have one, start one.
These are my favourites because the covers inspire me to write. You don’t have to be fancy, just write down what’s going on in life and how you feel about it. Might be something to keep for posterity.
10.Make a wishlist. Things you want to do or get. List your goals, the things you dream of in life, places you’d like to visit, clothes you’d like to wear, meals you want to learn how to make, etc. Refer to these lists and add to them as you go.
11.Create a weekly meal plan. Keep your once -a -week grocery outing simple by having your meal plan organized for the week.
I’ve done this for years which made life a whole lot easier over the years and now with a once a week trip to the grocery store it’s paying off big time.
12.Experiment with your hair. Something we all probably need to do as we’re no longer getting out hair cut or coloured or whatever you did with yours.
Practice with a straight iron, or curl it up with a curling iron, or even try putting in some rollers. No, not your granny’s curlers, but these. See if you can find a new look.
I recently discovered I needed a new hairdryer. And yes, I confess I’d had my old one for over ten years. Yikes!
What a difference modern technology makes. It’s quicker, easier and I can try out new things that I hadn’t thought of before.
13.Learn something new. Or something that you used to know, but forgot.
Use your Google skills to learn about something unusual, the life cycle of orca whales, world geography, or how to make better use of Photoshop. Whatever floats your boat.
14.Clean your makeup brushes. This isn’t my favourite thing to do, but it’s a good idea to clean your makeup brushes regularly.
Get a large bowl of soapy water and dunk them. Leave to soak for an hour or two, then rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Air dry on a clean paper towel. Or regular towel if you’re saving your paper!
15.Lose yourself on Pinterest. Look for a new style. Or a theme for the party you’re going to throw to celebrate getting together with friends and family once again.
Pinterest is full of ideas on all of these topics and so much more. Who knows you might find a brand new hobby to keep yourself occupied.
16.Learn flower arranging. There’s plenty of videos on this. Go to Trader Joe’s or a similar store next time you’re on your grocery trip and buy a bunch of affordable blooms in a color you love.Then enjoy the flowers in your home for the next week.
17.Offer your online company to a friend or neighbor. People get lonely and feel isolated…just having someone to chat with or listen to can make all the difference in a life.
You can also play an online board game against each other while chatting.
18.Revisit your personal finances. I’ve become a total lover of YNAB or You Need a Budget.
It’s the best thing I’ve ever used for keeping an eye on checking and savings accounts and where my money is going each week. Plus we get less surprises about things we forget to budget for! Always handy.
And in this time of financial need for us all, believe me when I say it can be a lifesaver. You can try it for free for thirty four days and then it’s a one time annual fee.
I didn’t discover the benefit of using YNAB until I had changed my mindset about being willing to live with plenty.
No surprise there. We only experience what we have in consciousness.
From my book Reboot Your Money Mindset:
Begin to cultivate the understanding that the power to deliver your ultimate life resides with you and nowhere else. Start with building an image of yourself that’s virtually the opposite of the one you have now. Where you have plenty. Plenty of money, of love, of good health, of happiness and of fulfillment. So much so that you no longer need to think about it.
19.Relaxing Coloring Pages. Try adult coloring books where each page puts you into a relaxing world. Channelling your inner child is good therapy for us all.
You can try this one 100 Amazing Patterns or if you feel inclined to curse right now, there’s even a Swear Word Coloring Book just for you.
20.Put together a care package. Design one for those who find it hard to get out. Think difficult to find items or little treats.
21.Watch a little TV. Give yourself permission to unwind in front of the television just don’t turn into a couch potato you’ll regret it later.
22.Go on a walk. Yep – this is allowed – just keep your distance from fellow walkers.
Challenge yourself to walk a little more each day. Enjoy nature and if possible take a little time to smell those roses or at least enjoy whatever nature you can find.
23.Build a Lego. I kid you not. Check out the lego David Beckham built for his kids. How cool is that?
And Lego is a perfect foil for a bored mind – kid or adult – plus you get the win at the end!
Lego has launched a #Let’s Build Together Challenge for families at a loose end during our stay-at-home-time. My grandson and his dad loved this one.
Or you can bend it like Beckham and try this one for size. Be warned this one is pretty pricy.
24.Clean out and update. Your apps, your inbox and whilst you’re at it, make sure you’re using the latest operating system on your computer and that your phone is up to date.
I would add clean up your desktop. But maybe that’s just a suggestion for me, because mine is such a mess.
25.Visit Unroll.me and unsubscribe from all those emails you never read nor asked to get. (Be kind and leave mine, you never know there might be something really useful in there.)
26.Give your nails a treat. So we can’t get a professional to make our nails look lovely right now, but that doesn’t have to stop you from keeping them in great shape.
Here’s a video on nail care hacks we all can use. And here’s a professional grooming nail kit for under $15 so you can get all you need to keep your nails healthy and good looking whilst you wait for your salon to open up again.
27.Wash your windows. I know it sounds even more boring than doing nothing, but honestly, when was the last time you washed your windows?
Try one set at a time if you find it overwhelming. Grab some Windex and paper towels, and clean them up.
My grandma used vinegar in a bucket of hot water and newspapers…and maybe that’ll work now in a pinch! And think of the clear view’s that await you!
28.Download the bitmoji app. If you haven’t already got it.
Create your personalized emoji, and then send all your friends fun cartoon texts. Why not? Maybe because you’ll drive them crazy and they’ll return the favour. You choose if you’re willing to risk it!
29.Take a bubble bath. When was the last time you pampered yourself? Now you have some time. Chill out. Relax and sit in the bubbles.
One of my grandmas used to take a book and a cigarette and take herself off and soak in the bath. You might want to forgo the cigarette, now that we know better.
30.Boost your brain. Sign up for a Luminosity account and play a couple of brain games. I found some of them pretty tricky…and I’m a big fan of Word Cookie that I play on my iphone – I like to take a break from being online and go…well online…but not working.
What can I say, it feels different. Both have free versions.
31.Switch up your living space . Restyle your coffee table. Switch the lamps around or the furniture or rugs for a brand new look.
Put your Himalayan salt lamp in a new place. And move your essential oil diffusers around. Especially important now we need to keep our air as clean as possible.
32.Practice Yoga. Deep breathing and some postures are a simple way to distract your mind. You don’t need a yoga mat. Do some simple stretches and breathing…there’s plenty of videos on youtube to help.
33.Make a vision board/book. It’s a simple tool to support your visualization practices. Inspirational and motivational collages serve as a picture of your desired future.
They should represent your dreams, your desires, and your ideal life. Check out Jack Canfield’s site that also has a helpful video.
34.Do a mini workout. How about a mini sit-up video showing how to do sit-ups correctly. You can keep your lean body machine in good shape for health and well being whatever your age.
35.Send your parents a handwritten note. Both my parents are gone, so don’t get to do this. But if you do, write a letter or just pen a few lines, tell them what is going on in your life.
Tell them you love them and are looking forward to seeing them soon. Mail it.
36.Take a power nap. There’s plenty of evidence that napping as an adult has many health benefits, especially in times of stress. Try it and see if a few z’s don’t do you a power of good.
37.Bake. Get yourself into the kitchen, even if you’ve never been a baker. You can easily whip up a simple banana bread with those bananas that are getting overly ripe before you get a chance to eat them.
Who knows you might become a dab hand at making chocolate chip cookies that you can surprise your loved ones with.
38.Get to know your escape route. We live in a hurricane zone, maybe you’re more in the path of tornados, tsunamis or even earthquakes. Know what you’re supposed to do.
39.Switch up your computer or phone. Get a new theme or some new wallpaper. Make it fun. And see what other changes you can make to upgrade things.
Maybe buying a new mouse and keyboard might not seem like much, but upgrading the devices you use to interact with your system is a relatively inexpensive upgrade well worth considering.
If now isn’t the best time for even an inexpensive upgrade like this, write it down on your wishlist for later.
40.Clean out/clean up. When was the last time you cleaned your oven to pass the time? I know it’s a rotten job that I tend to procrastinate on.
But now the time is ideal. Same with the fridge, clean it up and sort out the shelves. It will feel great each time you open the doors.
41.Update. Your social media profiles. ‘Cos who has time to do this in the normal course of events? I’ve been revamping my pinterest boards and my bio for my website and working on the rest.
How about you? If you haven’t recently updated anything, your social media profiles are an easy place to start
42.Create fresh morning and evening routines. We have had morning and evening routines in place for many years, and every now and then they need a do-over.
Our brains stop getting involved in what we’re up to, because yes, your brain can get bored. If you don’t have any routines begin today. Each morning try a couple of 2 minute affirmations to set the tone for the day ahead.
I used to have a note on my fridge reminding me to practice my 2×2 – two affirmations of two minutes.
And somewhere in the late afternoon or early evening do a meditation. Guided or not. We like this one by Sadhguru.
43.Install a password manager. There’s plenty of encryption services that you can use on your computer – here’s a site listing some that have free options and tell you which ones are pretty safe and why. Link to best free password managers.
44.Look through old family photos or yearbooks. It’s a good thing to take some time and fondly remember experiences, with friends and family members, from the past.
I still have plenty of old school photos in boxes. What can I say part of me is higher tech and part old school. And I enjoy them both.
45.Read a book. How about that book you bought ages ago and still haven’t picked up. Now’s the time.
Or get inspired with some of the classic self-help inspirational books. Such as this one, or this.
Or escape to a different world with a novel. Cosy up with book in hand, a warm blanket if it’s chilly in your part of the world and maybe a nice cup of tea (that would be for me!)
We are currently in an ever increasing challenging time of disruption, of much grief and many financial difficulties. Not to mention huge changes in the life of every one of us, but by remaining united and determined, I believe we will overcome. Till then, may some of these 45 things to do when you’re bored ease your way a little.
Meanwhile may you and yours be safe and well.
nice information , it is very useful to all readers, thank you providing the information.
Hey Elle –
What a great list !
Truth be told, I have read other such lists recently but they sure don’t stack up quality wise with yours.
Thank you for another wonderful post.
Aww thank you Greggos…so glad you enjoyed it.
What a helpful wealth of ideas, Elle. I only wish I had the time to do them all. I like the unenroll me and the password manager ideas – to save more time. 🙂
Hi Debbie…both those things are great to have. I’ve had a passpack manager for years now, thanks to the geekiness of my son-in-law who turns me on to all kinds of useful ideas. Enjoy. 🙂
Very helpful info.
Glad you enjoyed it Becky.
This list is great, Elle and so needed during this time. I’ll keep this for future reference when I need to be encouraged. What I”ve started doing which is new for me is working on a puzzle. It can be fun, challenging, and something to focus on.
Hi Cathy, so glad you enjoyed it. It was definitely a work of love…in fact a whole day of putting it together work of love. 🙂
Love these ideas Elle! We live in the mountains of Colorado (in the “middle of nowhere”) so we’ve learned to use many of these ideas on a regular basis. You’ve got lots of new ones our family will be trying out! Making a wishlist can be a powerful way to nudge your life in a new direction, possibly one you didn’t think possible before.
Thanks Paige…Since I wrote this I’ve found some old fashioned games that you can now play online, so will be adding those to our family fun too. Since they live across the country from us.
I love all your suggestions here Elle. Unfortunately in our lockdown..even going for a walk is not allowed…so we are making the most with the rest of the activities we can do indoors 🙂 My 13 year old daighter is suddenly in love with mug baking…yeah thats a thing..and she makes pizzas and cakes in a mug! yeah go figure. But all good.
Ouch, not going for a walk doesn’t sound like fund. At least we can get some fresh air every day. Love the idea of mug baking, I’ve never heard of it before…might pass it on to a couple of 13 year olds I know!
Great ideas, Elle. I especially like the idea of unsubscribing to unwanted emails! I definitely need that! I rarely get bored. I take online courses and enjoying coloring in adult coloring books to relax.
Hi Sandra – unsubscribing to unwanted emails was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, but never seemed to get around to it. That is until life slowed down a little, and it was such a liberating thing to do. I highly recommend it!
It’s me again.
I have book marked this for future use.
I wished, I didn’t have to work outside the home. I’d love to get involved with some, if not all of these. I need to slow down my life a bit more. I seem to be on the go all the time, and. not slowing down to take better care of myself. I need to work on this thought more often before I end up in the hospital, or worse.
Hi Teresa, thank you for your comments on different articles. I appreciate you being here and reading different articles and hopefully have found some tools to support you in your life. As some soul wiser than me said, first imagine what you want and allow yourself to receive it.
Thank you for the great article. We all have some free time but I feel that if don’t spend that time well, then we are just wasting the most valuable resource that everyone has.
I enjoy spending my free time learning about Yoga and practicing. I personally feel that in this stressful time, meditation is the most important yoga practice that we should be doing. Unfortunately most people use some kind of substance to deal with there stress, but what most people don’t know is that when the substance wares off the stress is still there.
Hi Joel, you make a great point. Thanks for stopping by.
Good article. I’m experiencing many of these issues as well..