There is a fine line between the delight in having nothing to do and the absolute nightmare of having nothing to do. If you lean more towards the feeling of boredom, you know how excruciating it can feel to have “nothing to do.”
Dr. Raffaello Antonino, a licensed psychologist and senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University, has ADHD. While this can make boredom even more challenging, there’s no such thing as a “cure for boredom,” and there isn’t a need for one, either.
“Boredom is a signal from our brains telling us that what we’re currently engaged in isn’t satisfying our need for stimulation or interest,” Antonino told Good Good Good. “Instead of viewing it as an enemy, we can see boredom as an opportunity — a kind of internal nudge — to explore new things and flex our creativity.”
Antonino encourages folks to find activities that are novel, challenging, and activate different parts of the brain. Or, he says, you can also learn to sit with the boredom, too, and embrace it as ‘just another stimulus from our brain.”
If you’re trying to find something interesting to do, here are some ideas for the next time you need to beat the boredom.
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Fun ideas for when you need something to do —
Things to do at home
- Read. Yeah, we know it sounds dull, but a good book truly does transcend time, space, and boredom. Check out our best book recommendations.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle. We’ve got the corner pieces!
- Take a nap. Contrary to what you might think, sometimes we feel bored because we’re exhausted and don’t quite know what to do with ourselves. Allow us to tell you: Go to bed.
- Play with your pet. Teach that old dog new tricks, spend 30 minutes convincing your cat why cuddling with you is a good idea, or stare at that beautiful home aquarium until you feel like The Little Mermaid.
- Assemble a care package for someone in need. From care packages for folks experiencing homelessness to a little boost of moral support for a friend who’s going through it, this is a great activity that does a little good in the process!
- Take an online class. You can find all kinds of fun how-to videos on YouTube — or get fancy with it and try out a whole course on MasterClass!
- Listen to a podcast. There is very little in the world as exciting as when your emotional support podcast puts out a new episode. Turn it up and turn the rest of the world down.
- Listen to an audiobook. If you love books but want a new format, definitely give audiobooks a try!
- Practice learning a new language. There are plenty of apps and resources out there that make learning a new language easy. Practice your vocab words and transport yourself to a totally different culture right from your couch.
- Intentionally listen to that vinyl collection. Don’t let those Taylor Swift records collect dust! Turn up the speaker and spin that plastic.
- Find a new documentary to watch. You’re more than welcome to stream a docu-series about cults or true crime, but we’d also recommend some educational docs about climate change and water!
- Make some fun cocktails (or mocktails!). Now entering your mixology era.
- Try a food competition show-inspired meal, making something tasty from items you already have at home. You have no judges to impress, so just trust the process!
- Dance along to a YouTube tutorial. In the comfort of your own home, with no prying eyes, try out a TikTok dance, or learn a little choreography from a fun YouTube tutorial. It’s time to dance, because, literally no one is watching.
- Whip out a deck of conversation cards to explore with your partner or roommate. Sometimes being bored is also a symptom of not knowing what to talk about. Use some helpful conversation cards to guide meaningful discussions with some of the people you care about most.
- Take an online bystander intervention training. This is a great act of solidarity for your community and an awesome way to feel safe and empowered IRL!
- Add all the special awareness months and holidays to your calendar. You’ll impress everyone when you’re the first to wish a happy World Wildlife Day on March 3 — just saying.
- Cuddle a pet or loved one. If the nap wasn’t enough, just spend the rest of the day snug as a bug.
Creative ideas to beat boredom
- Reach for the coloring book. I can smell the fresh pack of crayons already.
- Try a new artistic medium. Watercoloring, sculpting with clay, collaging, wood-working — you name it!
- Play a musical instrument. If you’re proficient in a musical instrument, you’re set. But this is also a great opportunity to try to learn something new — perhaps start with the ukulele or recorder!
- Sing solo karaoke. You don’t need a fancy machine to work on those pipes. Pull up a karaoke recording of your favorite tunes on YouTube, and sing the night away.
- Write a short story. We’re not asking you to write the next great American novel — but maybe you have a story to share with the world, and now is your moment.
- Dye an article of clothing. Whether you’re tie-dying a T-shirt or giving a new life to an old garment, we’re always supportive of a good dye job.
- Start a sewing or clothing repair project. That being said, you can also grab a needle and thread and do some fun clothing repair (or upcycling!) projects that way, too.
- Scrapbook some old photos or artifacts. Do you have a collection of Polaroids and old movie tickets you’re not sure what to do with? Start scrapbooking!
- Make a playlist for each of your friends. Text your friends, ask them for a feeling and a favorite artist, and go to town making a themed playlist with some tracks they’re sure to love.
- Create a family cookbook. Do you have beloved recipes that have been passed down through generations? Now is the time to digitize them! Check out the Family Cookbook Project and start your own priceless keepsake.
- Upcycle an old piece of furniture. Whether you thrift an old piece of furniture or get crafty with an item you already have, this is a great project that will have your space feeling fresher and fancier in no time.
- Make a zine. Zines are a free and creative way to express yourself! Learn more about zines and how to make one.
- Pick up a screen-free hobby. Think of something you can do with your phone completely hidden away. Rollerblading? Fiber arts? Interior design? The possibilities are endless! (Check out our list of hobbies for women!)
- Read the Goodnewspaper, a publication filled with good news and action items in your mailbox each month. It’ll make you feel hopeful and empowered to do more good.
- Knit or crochet. Raise those knitting needles and crochet hooks and get ready to craft to your heart’s content.
- Create mood boards or dream boards on Pinterest. Pinterest has got to be the most wholesome and soothing scroll online these days. Spend some time scouring through some good vibes, and I don’t know, planning your 90th birthday party.
Self-care activities for stress relief
- Do a low-impact workout. No one’s asking you to run a marathon. Consider a brisk walk, a few minutes on an elliptical, or even lifting some small free weights to get the blood pumping. No matter what, choose a movement that makes you feel good, not something that adds shame or guilt to your day.
- Plan your meals for the week. If you’re sick of dining solely on Lunchables and frozen meals from Trader Joe’s (this is a self call-out), spend some of your downtime jotting down some meal ideas for the week. (Plus, this helps reduce food waste!)
- Paint your nails. Give yourself the full at-home mani-pedi treatment — we dare you.
- Try a new hairstyle. Do not take this as advice to cut your own bangs. I just mean, like, do a fun updo or braid pattern.
- Follow a makeup tutorial. There are countless makeup tutorials on YouTube that will help you feel creative and confident next time you step up to the mirror. Give one a go!
- Journal. Whether you need a place to brain dump, or you’re looking for a guided journaling experience, give your mind a space to wander. (Here are some top picks for our favorite self-care journals!)
- Meditate. Ah, yes, the radical acceptance of doing nothing — perhaps the most challenging task on this list. Try a meditation app or guided meditation recording online, and see where the wave takes you.
- Update your resume. Your future self will thank you.
- Balance your finances. Again, your future self will thank you.
- Clean out your email inbox. Your future self will actually thank you so much for this one.
- Practice yoga. This is a job for Adriene and Benji! Turn on a video of your favorite at-home yoga instructors and lean into a big stretch.
- Give yourself a massage. Whether you just gently massage your muscles with a free hand, or you commit fully to an electric massaging device, something tells me the tension in your shoulders needs somewhere else to go.
- Do some living room exercise while you watch TV. Simple sit-ups, leg lifts, or even “happy baby” poses are a great way to stimulate your body and mind when you’re watching yet another “Love Island” binge.
- Wash your makeup brushes. We don’t need to talk about how long it’s been. But it’s time.
- Take an “everything shower.” Shave, shampoo, condition, exfoliate, repeat!
- Make yourself a “self-care kit.” Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or at a loss for your self-care routine, one of these kits will come in handy — trust us! Learn more about assembling a self-care kit (and what to include in yours).
Fun ways to organize your home
- Clean out your closet. Gather those items that are no longer sparking joy and have a little garage sale or clothing swap. If that sounds like too much work, you can also donate your old clothes or send them to be recycled in a Take Back Bag.
- Organize your linens. Whether it’s a whole closet or an under-the-bed storage container, we’re sure your bedding and towels need organizing.
- Create labels for your pantry. This is your chance to channel all the clear-storage-bin influencers on TikTok. Use some storage bins you already have, grab some colorful washi tape or a fancy grown-up label maker, and go to town!
- Rearrange your furniture. As labor-intensive as it may be, switching up the vibes of your home can be a huge energy cleanser. Even just swapping the couch and coffee table can make a huge difference.
- Do a big deep clean in one room in the house. Make it a game! How quickly can you scrub the toilet, sink, and shower?
- Color-code your bookshelf. Or organize them alphabetically. It’s your life and your personal library — make it unique to you!
- Decorate your walls. Do you have a collection of art prints you’ve been neglecting to hang up? Or maybe you have some professional photos you can finally print (on eco-friendly paper, of course) and display. Create a space that feels true to you!
- Reorganize your fridge (and clean out the yucky stuff all the way in the back). We know, it’s the worst. But you deserve fresh produce (and no more smelly condiment stains).
- Clean out the infamous junk drawer or “doom room.” You do not have to rid yourself of the junk drawer by any means, but maybe you can make it a little less overwhelming, or add in some organizers to keep things tidy.
- Sweep, mop, and vacuum the floors. If you’re anything like me, you are not at all regimented with your floor cleaning — even with a shedding pet. Set aside some time to sweep, mop, vacuum — or heck, even dust the baseboards.
- Create a new chore chart or system. The aforementioned “not at all regimented” habit is one I’d like to kick. If you find yourself feeling the same way, consider making a new chore chart or daily calendar to help you keep up with those pesky care tasks.
- Do a clean-up task you’ve been putting off. Pesky care tasks. They just never end, huh? Pick one you’ve been putting off and get ’er done!
- Shred or organize old documents. First, consider changing your preferences to only get electronic bills or bank statements. Next, file those babies away or shred what you no longer need.
- Wipe down all your countertops and door handles. Remember when we used to use disinfectant wipes on all our groceries at the height of the pandemic? Channel that energy and clean some surfaces that might be neglected.
- Refill or top off your reusable containers. Whether you’re refilling your soap dispensers or topping off the olive oil dispenser, these little check-ins are a lovely gift to your future self (or anyone you share your home with!).
- Water your plants. If you’ve got a lot of plant babies around, spend some time tending to them. Give ’em a little drink, pluck out those dead leaves, and speak those sweet nothings.
- Do some laundry (like the sheets and towels). Laundry seems to be a never-ending pile of dirty-to-clean-to-dirty-again clothes. If you don’t have a system in place, consider washing your sheets and towels today!
Ideas for activities when you’re stuck inside
- Play a board game. Rally your people for a Scrabble tournament, channel your inner evil billionaire for a game of Monopoly, or topple those Jenga blocks with pride.
- Bake a delicious treat (or two). To be fair, no one ever needs an excuse to pop a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven. Get that apron and experiment with a new recipe.
- Complete a crossword puzzle. What’s an eight-letter phrase for something you should never stop celebrating? GOODNEWS.
- Download a new game on your phone. Not that anyone needs additional screen time, but Candy Crush or Temple Run are surefire ways to beat boredom.
- Settle in with some Sudoku. If you need us, we’ll be nose-deep in a huge book of Sudoku or the Good Sudoku app.
- Play a card game like Go-Fish or Solitaire. There’s honestly a card game for every occasion. Alone or with a group, let’s get shuffling.
- Build a fort. Couch cushions, blankets, and throw pillows beware! It’s time to channel your inner architect.
- Have a movie marathon. Watch your favorites or make it a themed marathon with rom-coms, horror films, or even some Wes Anderson classics.
- Tune into a comfort show. There is no such thing as rewatching “Parks & Recreation” too many times.
- Write letters to loved ones. Whip out your adorable stationery, grab some stamps, and send some snail mail to those dearest to you.
- Call your mom (or any other loved one or friend). She worries.
- Play video games. Hey, you don’t have to be a teenage boy to “hit the Griddy” in Fortnite. (Or, you know, cuddle up with your Switch and play Animal Crossing.)
- Have an indoor picnic. Lay out a blanket, prepare a tasty meal, and enjoy a change of scenery while you snack.
- Make a charcuterie board. Whether you’re eating said charcuterie board during said indoor picnic, or it’s just a beautiful display of your favorite snacks, you deserve a little moment of luxury.
- Listen to albums from Rolling Stones’ list of “The Greatest 500 Albums of All Time.” How many can you stream in a day?
- Go on a Google Earth field trip. Pick any spot on the map and explore right from the comfort of your own home.
- Pick one topic and do a deep-dive on Wikipedia. Better yet, use a random word generator online and learn everything you can about that subject.
- Have a classic tea party. We’re talking pinkies up, people.
- Work on a wish list or do some virtual “window shopping.” You don’t need to be getting married or having a kiddo to make a gift registry! Start window shopping and save your favorites for any upcoming holidays.
- Take a virtual museum tour. Lots of classic museums now have virtual collections so you can experience the magic of, say, the Museum of Natural History, from anywhere in the world.
- Stream a handful of TED Talks. There are truly so many experts with so many brilliant ideas! Check out a seemingly endless library of TED Talks online — more specifically, 4,200 TED Talks.
- Ring the fish doorbell. Volunteer to protect freshwater fish in the Netherlands by watching a livestream and ringing the “fish doorbell” when they swim by.
Outdoor activities to fight boredom
- Ride your bike. Whether you like to ride your bike for leisure, or you use it to commute without a car, there’s no denying the joy of breezing through the wind on two wheels.
- Create chalk drawings. Bet’cha can’t write your name in bubble letters as fast as we can!
- Play schoolyard games like hopscotch, Red Rover, or Four Square. Recess is in session, y’all.
- Go for a hike. Lace up your boots and try a new trail in your area.
- Take your dog for a walk. Let them remind you to stop and smell the flowers (or the butts).
- Landscape your yard. Is your yard looking a little shabby? Take some time to rake leaves, weed your garden, or care for your lawn. (Or … just ditch your lawn entirely.)
- Go to the library and check out something new. And we’re not just talking about books, people. See what kind of nontraditional items your library offers for checkout!
- Go star-gazing. Go somewhere untouched by light pollution and enjoy the expanse of a starry night sky. Can you spot any constellations?
- Clean up litter in a local park or beach. Partner with a local clean-up organization or get your own litter clean-up kit and commit a couple of hours to keeping your community beautiful.
- Bring a book and a hammock outside. Just make sure you’re responsibly pitching your hammock outdoors.
- Pitch a tent in the backyard. Get your camping gear and plan an adventure right in your own backyard — bonus points for indoor plumbing a short walk away!
- Go camping. You could “rough it” for real.
- Go for a drive with the windows down. Turn up your tunes and take a drive on a scenic route.
- Hit the skate park. Grab your skateboard or rollerblades and practice those kick flips, baby!
- Visit a dog park. If you’re not feeling the vibe of a long walk with your dog, you can take them to a nearby dog park. (This is also a good time for extra dog pets, too.)
- Play catch. Put your baseball glove and balls to good use! Work on your pitching and catching skills — or even play a casual game with your crew.
- Go for a swim. Wanna play mermaids?
- Plant native seeds in public areas in your town. Grab some wildflower or native grass seeds and sprinkle those babies in your community for some all-natural pollination.
- Go on a geocaching adventure. Download the Geocaching app and explore parts of your community in ways you’ve never seen before.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. Are you a sucker for a good mystery? Put together some clues and plan a scavenger hunt for a friend.
- Forage. This is a great way to connect with nature and find some (free!) food in nature. Not sure how to get started? Check out this beginner’s guide to foraging.
- Take up bird or wildlife watching. Break out the binoculars, babe. Whether you’re all-in on bird migration season, or you’re a fiend for tracking wildlife in the iNaturalist app, this is a fun and engaging way to connect to the beauty of Mother Nature.