boredom busters

64 Things to Do When You’re Bored

Photo: Lydia Whitmore/Getty Images

Boredom can feel impossible to escape. While that was particularly true during the early months of COVID-19, when everyone was quarantining and social distancing, the feeling persists even as the world slowly reverts back to normal — or at least a new normal. While some people are fully back in the swing of their routines, many others are still remote or spending nine to five inside their bedrooms, feeling increasingly isolated and as if nothing can pull them out of their funk.

Well, don’t worry: Boredom is a state of mind, and we want to break you out of it. Below, we’ve gathered up 60 great spirit-lifting, boredom-busting ideas to try next time you’re feeling spiritless and bored. Good luck and have fun.

Entertaining things

1. Start watching a new reality series. Maybe you want to finally get into Love Island, or maybe you’ve never watched a single episode of Real Housewives? Reality shows are designed to keep you watching, which can be a boon for a bored brain.
2. Watch a classic movie you’ve never seen. It’s time to finally check out what Casablanca is all about.
3. Read a great essay. You don’t have to look too far.
4. Search “happy birthday + [your name]” on YouTube. It doesn’t technically have to be your birthday to enjoy watching a bunch of strangers sing to you.
5. Make a playlist of your favorite songs from high school. I bet you haven’t heard Eve 6’s “Inside Out” in a long time, have you? What about Jimmie’s Chicken Shack “Do Right”?
6. Watch as many episodes as you want of your favorite show. Listen, who cares? Just keep watching it until it stops being fun.
7. Start a book you’ve been meaning to read. It’s time to finally check out what (at least the beginning of) Swann’s Way is all about.
8. Play a video game. If you’re without a video game system, there are tons of free options online.
9. Read some humor writing. Delight your mind with the writings of Jack Handey or Samantha Irby.
10. Put together a puzzle. If you enjoy that sort of thing.
11. Make a music-video playlist to play on your TV. This is almost like being at a bar, sort of.

Relaxing Things

12. Light some candles. Whether you’re working from the office or in your room, does it get more autumnal than a homesick candle?
13. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. An at-home salon-worthy manicure is possible, trust us.
14. Apply a soothing face mask. Your skin deserves it.
15. Do a guided meditation. Maybe this one by Puff Daddy?
16. Have a yoga break. If you don’t want to head to a studio, there are a bunch of great free yoga classes you can take online. It’ll feel good whether it’s a 15-minute or hour-long session.
17. Take a bath. Do you have a nice bathtub? Please appreciate your great fortune, get in it, and take a bath.
18. Go for a walk. It’s still allowed, and it can do wonders for your mind-set.
19. Practice deep breathing. I know it might sound as though it won’t do much, but slowing down and paying attention to your breath can really change how you feel both mentally and physically.
20. Lie down, close your eyes, and listen to a podcast. Even if you don’t like podcasts, I bet this sounds pretty relaxing. Find an episode that sounds interesting, lie down, and listen.
21. Cuddle with your pet. It’s good for both you and your pet!
22. Go to an online art exhibit. If you want to skip the IRL crowds, the National Museum of Women in the Arts has a lot of great options!

Delicious Things

23. Make a fancy cocktail or mocktail. Practice your mixology skills and make yourself a beautiful drink.
24. Try a meal-kit subscription service. Skip the grocery shopping and soothe your decision fatigue with a box of preportioned ingredients and hard-to-mess-up instructions.
25. Bake bread. Just give in to it: Sourdough starter is here to stay.
26. Meal prep for the week. It can be very satisfying! (Although you should consider whether getting all of your meal prep done now will take away future boredom-busting cooking opportunities.)
27. Bake cookies. Mmm. Wouldn’t cookies be good right now?
28. Try to re-create your favorite restaurant meal. You don’t need to be a chef — all you need to be is a person with the appropriate ingredients and a lot of derring-do.
29. Make a dip. Oh, gosh. What is your favorite dip? Onion dip? Guacamole? Artichoke? The nice thing about making a dip for yourself is you end up with a lot of dip. All for you!
30. Plan your breakfast for tomorrow. Maybe some overnight oats?
31. Try a TikTok cooking hack. Salmon rice, feta pasta, healthy Coke, whatever you like. Just not NyQuil chicken, please.
32. Soak some dry beans. Then, later, you can have some beans.
33. Make applesauce. It’s seriously so easy.

Creative Things

34. Paint a portrait of your cat. Or your dog or your rabbit or your bookshelf! Then you get a bonus activity: choosing where to display it.
35. Write a song. Do you have a musical instrument around? It might be time to dust it off and write a song about whatever it is you’re feeling right now.
36. Try The Artist’s Way. It’s never too late to start journaling, and this method, which involves writing a few stream-of-consciousness “morning pages” every day, is designed to open up your creative flow. As a bonus, Bella Hadid does it.
37. Teach your dog a new trick. Teach your dog to spin or give her paw or “play dead.” It’s a fun and rewarding activity for both of you.
38. Learn to do a split. Working on your flexibility a few minutes a day can lead to fewer injuries and better posture. Plus it’s a neat party trick.
39. Write a poem. No one ever has to read it.
40. Learn how to juggle. Can you imagine how impressed your friends will be once you reveal you’ve taught yourself how to juggle?
41. Write letters. As a kid, there was absolutely nothing more exciting than getting a letter in the mail from a pen pal. Why do we let time change us? Why do we let age rob us of our youthful sense of wonder? Send a letter to a friend. Maybe they’ll write back!
42. Start a photo-and-memories album. If you’re like me, you keep a lot of little pieces of trash around for memories. Movie stubs, playbills, particularly notable receipts. Why not gather all this garbage into a photo album? You can even include photos.
43. Turn a T-shirt into a sleeveless shirt. Do you have a T-shirt you like but never wear, maybe because it doesn’t look good or isn’t the right size? Maybe it will be a little better if you cut off the sleeves.
44. Read a play, or write one. It’s like watching a movie except it’s reading (or writing).
45. Sew a mask for a friend. An act of love and of creativity.
46. Design your future tattoo. Are you thinking about getting a tattoo? Why not one you’ve designed? Draw some stuff, play around, imagine where it could be inked permanently into your flesh.
47. Learn how to read tarot cards. Here’s an easy beginner’s guide.
48. Learn about bog bodies. You’re going to be surprised.
49. Make a COVID time capsule. Maybe someday you’ll want to remember this?

Productive Things

50. Deep clean your bathroom. When you’re bored, it can be helpful to just discard the idea you’re going to find something “fun” to do and get down to some work that actually needs doing. I’m sure your bathroom needs a good scrubbing. Why not do it now?
51. Organize your closet. Having an organized space helps you know what you have, and it helps you find things, and it helps you feel relaxed. Go ahead and organize that closet.
52. Clean out your fridge. Something smells in there.
53. Start learning a new language. Does Duolingo even work? I don’t know, but you can try.
54. Wash the windows. They’re looking pretty grimy. Let the sunshine in!
55. Hand-wash your clothes. A nice thing to check off the to-do list.
56. Do an online workout. It’s so nice to have done a workout. Unfortunately, the only way to have done a workout is to do a workout. So go on and get that serotonin.
57. Clean your makeup brushes. Trust us, they’re disgusting.
58. Organize all those papers. You know you have a big stack of papers. Or maybe you have a few little stacks of papers. What are all of those papers? Bills? Or something else? Time to organize them.
59. Clean your window-unit air conditioner. Ugh, God, this is going to be so annoying, but you do have to do it, so. Maybe just do it now.
60. Pick up crochet. It’s a hobby for all seasons. Don’t you want to make your own crop tops for spring and summer and your own blankets for fall and winter?
61. Clean out your computer’s hard drive. There are no doubt tons of files clogging up your computer that you downloaded a long time ago and have absolutely no use for. Delete them and free up some space for more stuff you don’t need later.
62. Wash the floors. Oh, gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have clean floors?
63. Rotate your mattress. I personally have never done this. But maybe we both should?
64. Organize your pantry. Ah, can you imagine it? An organized pantry where you can see everything you have and grab whatever you need. Does it seem like an impossible dream? It’s not. Here’s some inspiration.

60 Things to Do When You’re Stuck Inside and Bored