boredom busters

60 Things to Do When You’re Bored

Photo: Lydia Whitmore/Getty Images

Boredom can feel impossible to escape. This is particularly true now, when many of us are stuck indoors due to social-distancing efforts necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some people have children keeping them busy; others have even more work during this crisis. Others are just inside, looking at the same walls they’ve been looking at for days, potentially alone, and feeling like nothing can pull them out of this 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 Top Chef, 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.

Relaxing Things

11. Perform turn-down service for yourself. Before you go to bed, why not prepare your room as if you’re in a hotel?
12. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. An at-home salon-worthy manicure is possible, trust us.
13. Apply a soothing face mask. Your skin deserves it.
14. Do a guided meditation. Maybe this one by Puff Daddy?
15. Have a yoga break. 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.
16. Take a bath. Do you have a nice bathtub? Please, appreciate your great fortune, get in it, and take a bath.
17. Go for a walk. It’s still allowed, and it can do wonders for your mindset.
18. Practice deep breathing. I know it might sound like it won’t do much, but slowing down and paying attention to your breath can really change how you feel, both mentally and physically.
19. 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.
20. Cuddle with your pet. It’s good for both you and your pet!

Delicious Things

21. Make a fancy cocktail or mocktail. Practice your mixology skills and make yourself a beautiful drink.
22. Find your ingredients and Google them. Sometimes you’re looking around your kitchen thinking, “I have ingredients, but I’m not sure if they go together?” The easiest thing to do is input them all into Google and see what recipes the search engine suggests. Red pepper lemon pasta, maybe?
23. Bake bread. Just give into it.
24. Meal prep for the week. It can be very satisfying! (Though you should consider whether getting all of your meal prep done now will take away future boredom-busting cooking opportunities.)
25. Bake cookies. Mmm. Wouldn’t cookies be good right now?
26. 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.
27. 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!
28. Plan your breakfast for tomorrow. Maybe some overnight oats?
29. Make homemade peeps. Or, on second thought, maybe don’t.
30. Soak some dry beans. Then, later, you can have some beans.

Creative Things

31. 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.
32. 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.
33. Start a journal. Don’t you wish you had always journaled, so you could go back and read about how your life was five, ten, or fifteen years ago? Well, it’s not too late to start. In five, ten, or fifteen years, you’ll be glad you did.
34. 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.
35. Learn a dance. Maybe something from TikTok, or something from one of your favorite music videos.
36. Write a poem. No one ever has to read it.
37. Learn how to juggle. Can you imagine how impressed your friends will be once you reveal that you’ve taught yourself how to juggle?
38. Write letters. As a kid, there was absolutely nothing more exciting than the idea of 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!
39. 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 up all this garbage into a photo album? You can even also include photos.
40. 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.
41. Read a play, or write one. It’s like watching a movie, except it’s reading (or writing).
42. Sew a mask for a friend. An act of love and of creativity.
43. Design your future tattoo. Are you thinking about getting a tattoo? Why not one that you’ve designed? Draw some stuff, play around, imagine where it could be inked permanently into your flesh.
44. Learn how to read tarot cards. Here’s an easy beginner’s guide.
45. Learn about bog bodies. You’re going to be surprised.

Productive Things

46. Deep clean your bathroom. When you’re bored, it can be helpful to just discard the idea that you’re going to find something “fun” to do, and get down to some work that actually needs doing. First, I’m sure your bathroom needs a good scrubbing. Why not do it now?
47. 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.
48. Clean out your fridge. Something smells in there.
49. Start learning a new language. Does Duolingo even work? I don’t know, but you can try.
50. Wash the windows. They’re looking pretty grimy. Let the sunshine in!
51. Hand-wash your clothes. A nice thing to check off of the to-do list.
52. 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.
53. Clean your makeup brushes. Trust us, they’re disgusting.
54. 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.
55. 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.
56. Swap out your candles. If you keep a lot of scented candles in your home, chances are you store them seasonally, bringing out spring candles during the spring, winter candles during the winter, etc. Maybe it’s time to swap for the next season?
57. 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.
58. Wash the floors. Oh gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have clean floors?
59. Rotate your mattress. I personally have never done this. But maybe we both should?
60. Organize your pantry. Ahh, 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