When 500 channels have nothing good on and you’ve read all the books on your Kindle, you’ve got two options. One, get on Facebook and stare at what everyone else is doing (and eating, apparently), or choose one of these fun, helpful, or unusual things to do when you’re bored.
Learn a new language.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to speak Spanish or French? You can even learn Chinese, Japanese, or Russian. There are a wide variety of great language apps you can use, most of which are free.
Some of the most popular are Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise.
Caution: the Duolingo owl will soon become an ever-present threat in your life.
Anyone can draw—even if you completely suck, you can always improve through focused, intentional practice.
Just get a pad of paper and pencil, and draw something out of your head or an interesting object nearby.
You could also take a walk and draw a favorite building. Try out a perspective tutorial to get the angles just right.
If you don’t like drawing, grab a paintbrush instead: the simple motion of brushstrokes encourages getting into a “flow state,” which can be more relaxing to some than the tiny, more technical stroke of a pencil.
Painting is more forgiving as an art form, as well. While charcoal or pencil might encourage too much realism, painting tends to veer towards surreal or whimsical interpretations.
It’s more about capturing the overall feeling of your subject—not the exact details.
Studies also show it improves cognition and memory, too.
Organize your cabinets.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see everything and not have to worry about cans falling on you when you grab something?
It may not be a fun and exciting thing to do, but the end result is supremely satisfying.
If you’re looking for an in-depth, simple method to organize, consider the Konmari method.
The founder, Marie Kondo, suggests arranging objects by purpose and size, left to right (the direction in which “joy rises.”) A little out there, but you can’t beat the aesthetic.
Clean the fridge.
While you are at it, why not clean out your refrigerator and freezer?
You will probably find all sorts of things you forgot you had. You can even embark on that pantry week trend to save some cash: making meals out of whatever you’ve got on-hand, to avoid food waste and creeping grocery bills.
Empty those closets.
Not to beat the cleaning horse, but your closets could probably be a lot more organized, too.
Try on and donate any clothes you haven’t worn in over a year, no longer fit into, or just plain don’t like.
It’s another tip from KonMari: if you don’t truly cherish an item, thank it for its service and chuck it in the donation bag.
Imagine how much easier your mornings will become when every single outfit you own is your favorite, fits perfectly, and makes you feel great.
Clean your computer’s hard drive.
Get rid of all of those old files you no longer need. Put all your photos on the Cloud so you can delete your drive copies. Rename messy file extensions, empty the Download folder and overflowing recycling bin, and get yourself a snazzy new desktop photo that will make work on Monday feel just a little more fun.
Even if you dance like an idiot, the movement and music will get those endorphins flowing and promote energy and positivity.
What’s more, the newly emerging field of neuroscience in dance indicates that dancing improves one’s sense of self and interpersonal relationships, and can help you recognize changing rhythms in music.
Start a journal.
This may sound like a silly thing that only teenage girls do, but journaling is a popular therapeutic tool.
Before you get caught up in some stereotypical “Dear Diary” format, keep in mind that you can write about anything you want: the room around you, your own relentless boredom, or your goals for the upcoming year.
You might also consider “Morning Pages”—three handwritten pages, every single morning the second you wake up, concerning whatever thoughts are in your head.
It’s a nonstop, stream-of-consciousness entry, and will promote creativity through your day.
Even if all you can think to write is, “I can’t think of anything to write,” over and over and over…keep going. New thoughts will pop up, very soon.
Try a new recipe.
Take a crack at these budget friendly dinners, ways to spice up instant ramen, or some healthy smoothies with that withering produce you purchased with the best of intentions, but still haven’t eaten.
Alternatively, use a site like Supercook to enter all the ingredients you’ve got in your house. It will generate recipes you can make from the things you already have.
Listen to some music.
If others are home and you don’t want to bother them, put in your earbuds and jam.
Go-to playlists leaving you more bored than ever? Revamp that stale library! See if old favorite bands have released anything new you’ve missed, or use a site like Gnoosic to find similar artists to your current go-tos.
Make some slime.
Even if you don’t have kids, slime is fun and addictive! You’ll need a 4 oz. bottle of white glue, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 ½ tablespoons of saline solution. Mix it together and go nuts.
Even better: add glitter! Seriously, who can be bored when there’s glitter involved?
Write your own book.
Any book—your memoirs, a collection of short stories, fan fiction, or that random idea for a novel you jotted down two years ago, but never got around to fleshing out.
Get free or super cheap books.
Call a friend, or your parents.
Video chats are great too. Reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while; ask them about their latest projects or hobbies.
Their excitement—and the smile on their face—will obliterate your own bored feelings.
Visit a different country….online.
Yes, you can see the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal without leaving your house via Google Earth! Some places aren’t mapped out in detail, but most are.
You can saunter along the world’s most famous riverbanks, or see famous landmarks with just a few mouse clicks.
Check out the online experiences now offered from Airbnb.
It’s impossible to be bored while learning—assuming, of course, that the topic interests you.
Airbnb now offers online experiences, from virtual classes to tours from real locals and experts, all over the world.
You can learn to make Mexican street tacos from a professional chef, experience Paris with a virtual tour from a real Parisian, or take a coffee masterclass, all without leaving your house.
Write a letter.
It can be to a relative, distant friend, or someone in need of cheering up.
Sort through your old craft and project supplies, or that junk drawer that keeps getting jammed up, and create something cool with your findings.
Beads and string can replace that broken pull cord on your bedroom fan; old takeout menus might make for some interesting found poetry.
Go on a bike ride—or a whole tour.
Dig that bike out of the garage and hit some local trails, or plan an entire bike tour to log some miles and see the sights.
The next time you’re in need of things to do when you’re bored, revisit this list for inspiration—sometimes the old standby of Netflix binging just won’t cut it.