Boredom happens to the best of us, and usually it’s just a passing feeling. However, it's not a condition to be trifled with—for example, a 2015 study showed that boredom can be so uncomfortable that humans will do everything from self-administer electric shocks to eat more M&Ms than usual, just to break up the monotony. Our advice: Step away from the shocks and sweets—if the ennui has become unbearable, consider more positive actions. We came up with a diverse list of ideas that includes everything from playing games and making art to vacation planning and house cleaning. Read on to find an activity that speaks to you, so you can get your joie de vivre back, stat.
Wondering What to Do When You’re Bored? Here Are 75 Fresh Ideas
From smart to delightfully self-indulgent
1. Read A Book
The time to put down your phone and pick up a book is now. Psst: Any of these will keep you engrossed.
2. Play chess online
Chess is known to have many benefits for the brain, including improved memory and heightened creativity, and it’s just plain fun. Enjoy all the perks from home by playing a match online.
3. Try a virtual escape room
Your bored brain is begging for a challenge, and a virtual escape room fits the bill. Check out these six and give one a go.
4. Play solitaire
Dust off that pack of bicycle cards or play online—either way this easy-to-learn and super addictive card game is sure to keep you entertained.
5. Follow along with a makeup tutorial
Youtube has every look you've been curious about.
6. Create a “love map” of your significant other
The Gottman Institute assigns this as homework for couples, and we found it to be an interesting exercise.
7. Revise your resume with a little help from AI
Kickresume uses machine learning—utilizing resumes of people who've been hired in a range of industries—to help hone your profesh one-sheeter.
8. Plan a dream home reno on Pinterest
That perfect grey paint isn't going to select itself.
9. Detail your car
Extra points if you shampoo the upholstery.
10. Treat your furry friend to a massage
Rock Fido's world with a spot of doggie acupressure, according to a certified canine massage therapist.
11. Refresh your LinkedIn profile
12. Visit a new botanical garden or park
Set off with or without colored pencils to sketch en plein air.
13. Organize your kitchen cupboards
These TikTok hacks yield maximum ROI for your effort.
14. Lowkey post your relationship on social media
Soft launching is the stage between "it's complicated" and "please save the date for our nuptials."
15. Work on a puzzle
A jigsaw puzzle might not seem like a particularly productive way of passing the time, but science disagrees. Research—like this 2018 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience—has shown that this soothing activity can protect against cognitive decline.
16. Plan a vacation
Researching and planning a vacation is almost as fun as the trip itself, so go on and indulge your wanderlust (even if there’s no travel on the horizon).
17. Watch a movie
Here, a tried-and-true boredom buster for when you just don’t feel like reckoning with your messy closet. Bonus points if you bring a friend on board for a remote viewing.
Bored at home and talking to yourself? (We see you.) Put those deep thoughts down on paper so posterity has something to poke fun at.
19. Do yoga
If your basic yoga routine has grown tiresome, take things up a notch by adding some advanced poses to the mix.
20. Apply some at-home eyelash extensions
Go from reptile eye to fluttery lashes in 10 minutes.
21. Try your hand at online chess
(Gen Alpha is all about playing it, even during class.)
22. Start a festive text chain
Share this story suggesting your friends join you in planning a party you’ll all enjoy for you next birthday. If you elicit good ideas or annoyance, it’s all fun in its way.
23. Start a grown-ups arts and crafts project
Why should little kids have all the fun? Here are 50 craft projects to start this afternoon.
24. Sort through your bookshelves
Donate unwanted titles to your local senior center and it's a win-win.
25. Make a weekly meal plan
26. Take a walk
The combination of fresh air and light exercise is our favorite feel-good way to banish boredom in the blink of an eye.
If you’ve always wanted to try meditation, now is the time. Here are a few tips for getting started.
28. Play video games
Treat yourself to a couch potato kind of day with some gaming. Best of all, you can easily make it a social affair by inviting your S.O. or friends to join in the fun.
29. Do a crossword puzzle
Test your general knowledge and focus your scattered mind with a crossword puzzle, or several. And by all means, use your phone to ask a friend (not Google) when you’re stumped.
30. Inventory your kitchen cupboards
Then go shopping for these 27 pantry staples that PureWow’s Senior Food Writer says you should always have on hand.
31. Test drive a car
If you’re curious about a new model or an electric model, no time like the present.
32. Pull tarot cards
Use your own deck or have a free online reading.
33. Test your vocabulary
AKA test your patience—with the New York Times Spelling Bee.
34. Clean your makeup brushes
The sudsing only takes a few moments and it’s deeply gratifying.
35. Do some coloring
In case you missed it, coloring isn’t just for kids. In fact, drawing and coloring, like other forms of art, can be quite therapeutic. Plus, now that you’ve mastered the fine motor control required to stay within the lines, you might be impressed by what you can create.
36. Listen to a podcast
37. Paint your nails
When you’re all done and waiting for your nails to dry, you’ll probably be bored…but you’ll be bored and fancy, which is most certainly an improvement.
38. Start a DIY project
From bandeau bathing suits to living room gallery walls—here are some of our favorite DIY project ideas.
39. Phone a friend
Texting is great and all, but when you just want to shoot the breeze, nothing beats a good old-fashioned phone call.
40. Start scrapbooking
This perennial hobby's got a new twist.
41. Try a cool budgeting method
Easy and esthetically pleasing, meet the eye-opening Japanese budgeting system Kakeibo.
42. Treat yourself to a tan
Sorry, not the Caribbean—we're talking a self-tanner application.
43. Get a head start on birthday and holiday gifts
It feels great to get shopping out of the way.
44. Treat yourself to a deep-cleansing DIY face mask.
No purchase necessary, just raid your kitchen.
45. Do an online workout
46. Make a wish list
Satisfy your urge to shop online without going broke by writing a list of all the good you’re currently coveting.
47. Take a personality test
You can find a whole host of fun personality quizzes here—just remember to take the results with a grain of salt.
48. Read your horoscope
You already know the basics of your zodiac sign, but maybe your current horoscope has some nuggets of inspiration to help you leave the doldrums behind.
49. Send a care package
Whether you curate the care package yourself or send a ready-made gift basket instead, the thoughtful gesture is sure to make someone’s day.
50. Pleasure yourself
There’s nothing boring about the big O (and if you want help getting there, we know some highly effective toys for that).
Word on the street is that people who knit never get bored. If you don’t know how to knit, take a virtual class and you might just discover your new favorite hobby.
Occupy yourself with a sentimental craft that gets your creative juices flowing and produces a keepsake item you can flip through next time you’re bored.
53. Binge a TV series
Press play on one of these binge-worthy options and let the marathon begin—just be sure to have snacks within arm’s reach. (Cocktail, optional.)
54. Look at old photos
It’s never a bad time to wax nostalgic over those old family photo albums and high school yearbooks.
55. Write a letter
If you don’t feel like picking up the phone, pick up a pen instead. (Hint: It will mean so much to your grandma.)
55. Clean Out Your Closet
With a Kon-do attitude you can tackle the blackhole that is your wardrobe in one afternoon.
56. Get crafty
Try your hand at one of these seriously cool adult crafts for a fun activity that yields a Pinterest-worthy finished product you’ll be proud to put on display.
57. Redecorate your home
There’s no need to break the bank—you can transform your interior by simply moving furniture (yes, even your big leather sofa) around.
58. Make a playlist
Anyone who’s ever labored over a mixtape can attest to the fact that playlist building is a form of art.
59. Take a drive
Take a drive (with no particular place to go) for a change of scenery that pairs well with that playlist you just made.
60. Take a nap
Your alone time feels like a snoozefest…and maybe you’re onto something. After all, being bored is just a harbinger of a delicious midday nap. (Right?)
61. Give yourself an at-home facial
Why shell out for a fancy spa treatment when you can give yourself an at-home facial for a fraction of the cost?
Channel your inner Bob Ross (or just watch him) and give that blank canvas your very best.
63. Start a blog
You can choose to be ambitious about it or simply treat it like an online journal—either way, there’s no writer’s cramp involved.
64. Deep clean your home
Your home is in desperate need of a deep clean. Consult this guide for some handy tips and then roll up your sleeves and get started.
65. Take a bath
When was the last time you treated yourself to a long, relaxing soak in the tub? Break out the bath salts, pour yourself a glass of wine and feel the stress of the week melt away.
66. Take a virtual museum tour
…Or soak up some culture with a virtual (read: airfare-free) visit to some of the finest museums around the globe. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are just a couple of the places you can explore from the comfort of your couch.
You’ve already binge-watched every episode of the Great British Baking Show. Now it’s time to don an apron and see if you’ve got what it takes to achieve star baker status.
68. Clean out your fridge
Because you’ve let some leftovers hang around a little too long and that half-used can of tomato paste is growing new life forms. (No judgment.)
69. Write a grocery list
Now that the rubbish has been removed from your fridge, you’ve got a perfect opportunity to take inventory and draw up a shopping list.
70. Learn a new language
If you pick one of the easiest languages to learn, you could be proficient (i.e., impressing your friends) in as little as 24 weeks.
71. Do your taxes
It’s no one’s idea of fun, but the deadline is looming. Plus, when you’re done you can reward yourself with a glass of wine for being such a good (boring) grown-up.
72. Have a dance party for one
Alone and bored? It’s the perfect time to cut a rug—you know, without self-consciousness standing in your way.
73. Order takeout
When your own company isn’t cutting it, it’s time to make friends with a Chinese restaurant menu.
74. Shop online
There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy—just be sure to spend your hard-earned dollar wisely by checking out the latest sales.
75. Check out your zodiac "Hard No" signs
We've all had toxic relationships, and astrology wants to drop a dime on people you should avoid.
Why You Should Trust Us
PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.