19 Things To Do When You’re Bored

Fill your empty spaces with fun, education, and relaxation

A man jumps over giddily a white fence, the sky behind him a bright, vibrant blue, fluffy white clouds painting the lower half of the sky.
Photo by Ady April

Every now and then, our busy schedules form a gap, a stretch of empty time where we’re left staring blankly at walls, nervously stressing out about what we have to do next, hanging in an awkward balance between work and nothing.

So what do you do? Continue to stare at the walls of your bedroom, wondering when you’re next meeting is and if you’re presentation background color will make you seem boring? Or do you do something fun, something that brings a smile to your face?

To help you get out of your boredom funk — whether it’s a rare piece of time or an all day, everyday sort of thing, here are 19 ways for you to spend your time doing things from fun to fulfilling.

Read a Book

If you’re looking for relaxation and a nice, calm thing to do that still has a bit of excitement to it, look no further than you’re bookshelf(or e-bookshelf).

Books are a great way to destress, take a deep breath, and get swept away to another world, where you can leave behind all the worries of reality.

Pick up reading as a habit, or just read a few short stories every once in a while — however you choose to enjoy the world of literature, just let it sweep you away to a different universe.

Play Games

Games are a popular and proven way of relaxing and having some fun — from first-person-shooter PC games to a simple round of Go Fish. You can play digital games on your mobile devices and computers, simple physical games like card games and board games, or even go outside and play some basketball. You could even get into the craft of making games!

Games are an exciting way of having fun, and whether you’re a hard core Fortnite player, or a wannabe solitaire pro — games are a great way to get excited after a long, hard day.

Write a Song

Music and songs are a big part of our everyday lives, whether you’re a professional musician or just put on a Spotify mix on your daily commutes. It can motivate, inspire, and entertain us — but you don’t always have to just be on the listener side of things.

Writing music and songs, both lyrically and melodically, are great ways to destress and communicate emotions. It can help express your feelings, so if you feel like there’s something stuck inside of you you can’t express through just plain words — writing a song on it might help.

Connect with Friends/Family

While some of us prefer more independent activities for relaxation, you might find that calling a family member or having a rapid online Discord conversation with your best friends can really help you unwind.

Communication and connection can put a smile on your face, giving you a pick-me-up while even boosting your self esteem. A lot of the time, stress just comes from one simple thing — loneliness — and that can be quickly helped by a 5-minute call with your friend.

Do Some Art

Art is another creative way to express your feelings and have some fun, and there are a lot of ways to do it.

You could go the more traditional route and get some pencils, markers, and paper, or try out some new digital art or animation software.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try getting out of your comfort zone and try a new medium — resin jewelry making, fashion design, flower pressing, acrylic pouring — and learn a new artistic skill.

Solve a Puzzle

If you want a sense of fulfillment and a little bit of a challenge, you could try solving a puzzle. Puzzles are great ways to unwind, but also exercise your mind, and are great ways to spice up a rather dull, uneventful day.

There are a wide variety of puzzles, from simple jigsaw to sudoku, from Wordle to a Rubik's Cube. Focus on one, or try them all — use puzzles as a break from the real world.

Organize Your House

A lot of the times, our houses get messy. It can be a big source of stress, having a house filled with junk, and doing a cleaning sweep might help you alleviate some of your stress.

Even if you don’t feel in the mood for a clean out, you could still do some housework by redesigning a part of your house. Is your home office looking stale? Why not get a can of sea green paint, some cute modern succulents, and do a makeover?

Working with your hands and having a nice, tangible result after your hard work can give you fulfillment, the repetitive motions can help you unwind, and the planning of it all can work out your mind.

Get Obsessed With Something

Sometimes, it’s fun to get obsessed with something — maybe it starts from a single recommended YouTube video, or a rant from your friend. You lose yourself in all the fascinating details and interesting facts, and it gives a great sense of joy and excitement.

Some rabbit holes you might want to go down include MBTI personality types, psychology, magic tricks, or even bad translation videos. Depending on the type of person you are, you might immerse yourself in a topic by taking organized, color-coded notes and watching every single YouTube video out there on it, or dedicating a week to actually create something.

Obsessions aren’t always the best thing to have, but sometimes when they’re relatively small and controlled, they can be something that you look forward to every day.

Learn a Skill

Learning a skill is an educational and fulfilling experience, and you don’t have to cram it all in one session. It’s great if you want to have a long-term project to repeatedly go back to, slowly building up until you can call yourself a master in that subject.

You might want to learn something physical like skateboarding, or something digital and applicable to the online job industry, like UI design. If you want to learn non-digital skills, check out this article.

A young woman rides on a skateboard on a wide, empty street, shrubs and curbs decorating the border of the road, a vintage filter over everything.
Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr.

Work Out

Exercise isn’t always the most fun thing to do, but if you do it right and at the right time, it can be extremely enjoyable. Working out can challenge your body and give your mind a break — exercising can also leave you feeling fulfilled and proud of yourself.

If a trip to the gym isn’t realistic, or you just can’t seem to convince yourself to do it, there are other ways to exercise. You can go on a run or even play a sport like soccer or basketball at a nearby court or park. Be creative with your workouts — they’re not just for exercise, but for fun too!

Bake/Cook Something

Baking and cooking are two other great ways to unwind and relax, to lose yourself in the kitchen, to the measurement of the sugar and the satisfying smell of the finished pastry.

It’s also a great way to bring a group together, either by making it, or by eating it — and the end result of meal making is never an unwanted bonus!

Get Some Fresh Air

In this day and age, a lot of the things we do are digital and indoor, so we don’t always find ourselves out and about that much. However, going outside and getting some fresh air can be a nice change of environment for ourselves, and also give us a wake up call.

You could go to the mall, a bike ride through some hills and mountains, a trip to the park, the swimming pool, or just a brisk walk around the block.

Whether you spend the whole day out — or even whole weeks by camping — or just five minutes, going outside more frequently can help relieve stress and give you a moment to breathe.

Relax With A Spa Day

Sometimes, after a long, hard, busy day, you just want to chill and relax, calm down and unwind. A great way to do this is to go on a ‘spa day’. While you can go to an actual spa, you can also do it at home.

Make yourself a bubble bath, and then paint your fingernails. Have a foot massage machine around, or want to do some quick shopping? Use that! Take a few minutes to set up your spa day, and then…aaaaah.

Write Some Fiction

Writing, especially writing fiction, is a great way to express emotions and transfer real life into another separate story, one that you can warp and distort until it’s an epic fantasy novel, or a dark murder drama.

You can write a simple poem, a longer short story, or even start on a whole novel to work on repeatedly. Work on your craft, get inspired, and cultivate and improve it until your stories can blow people away.

Writing fiction might not float your boat, but maybe you still want to write. You can also write non-fiction, whether that looks like personal essays or blog posts — writing is a way to lose yourself in the words and sentences, so find something you love to write about and write.

Take a Nap

There’s a lot of things you can do with your free time, from going on a run to learning the guitar, but sometimes, the best thing for both your body and your mind is to rest with a quick nap.

You don’t have to spend half of your day passed out on your couch(unless you have time for that), but resting recharges your body, restoring the energy you’ve spent during the long, long day.

Invite Friends Over

Whether you’re a social butterfly with dozens of friends from all sorts of social circles, or just a have a few close buddies that you hang out with, it can be nice to invite some friends over and have a gathering.

You can watch a movie or play some games over at your own house or at your friend’s house, or even go somewhere else like an arcade or park to hang out together. Being in a group — either big or small — can help you find your footing back in the social world, especially after you’ve stayed locked in your room or office for a while, working on a big project.

Go on a Shopping Spree

To some, shopping is a chore, but to others, it’s the highlight of their month. If you want to reward yourself after a big promotion or finished project, going to the mall(maybe with some friends) and shopping can be a great source of happiness and giddiness.

If you’re not big on going to an actual mall, you can still have your shopping spree from the comfort of your bed and in your pajamas — online stores!

Have you been wanting to make a hanging bookshelf in your office for a while? — order the supplies! Need some new clothes for that upcoming gathering? — find the perfect suits and dresses.

Write a Thank-You Email

If you want to feel fulfilled and good about yourself, while at the same time knocking some things that have been hanging over your head for a while, write an email to someone you’ve been meaning to say thank you too.

You can make it quick and brisk if you’re short on time, but if you have a good amount of free time, try making that thank-you email meaningful — maybe even bring your recipient a smile, a laugh, or even some happy tears.

This is definitely something to do especially after a big event like a birthday party where you want to thank people for coming, contributing, and getting you gifts.

Chill and Listen to Songs

Songs are a great way to surround yourself in tranquility and calmness, having the chance to nod your head to the beat, to lose yourself in the melody, to let the lyrics wrap around you…

You can just put a Spotify playlist on your phone or speaker, wrap yourself in blankets or settle yourself with a snack, and just chill. It’s a great way to unwind, whether as a five-minute break or a three-hour snacking session.

Our time is valuable, but we don’t always have to spend it working. When you have some free time, take advantage of it, use it to enjoy yourself and bring a smile to your face.

Your time is you-time — use it wisely.

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Writing. Technology. Entertainment. And that feeling of jumping from hobby to hobby aimlessly.

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