Boredom isn’t limited to teenagers or tired children asking ‘are we there yet?’ in the car. Grown-ups get bored too. You might be recently retired and looking for something to fill your new free time. You might have just moved to a new area and are looking for fun activities to build your social life. Or, you might have simply found yourself wanting to shake up your normal routine. Whatever the reason, here are some ideas for things to do when you are bored.
1. Start a hobby: Boredom presents the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby. Revisit one from your younger years, like piano lessons or riding bicycles, or try something totally new, like Japanese lessons or yoga. You can challenge your brain with the strategic game of chess or develop your artistic potential with painting.
2. Join a local sports team: Team sports are a great blend of physical and social activity. Netball, cricket, football, rugby – the list is endless. Playing on a sports team engages your competitive nature while also strengthening your teambuilding skills. And, most importantly, you’ll exercise and keep fit.
3. Volunteer with the Army Cadet Force: We’re one of the largest youth organisations in the UK, but we’re not just for young people. We have over 9,500 adult volunteers either instructing and training young cadets or managing organisational processes. The ACF has a lot to offer adult volunteers: stopping boredom, staying active outdoors, mentoring young people, learning new skills, building your confidence and meeting likeminded people.
4. Start a book or movie club: Clubs are an excellent way to get together with your friends and spend time doing something you enjoy. If you’re a book-lover, start a regular monthly book club, hosted at your home or a nice café. If you’re more of a cinephile, a movie club is perfect. You’ll save money on cinema tickets and can make your own popcorn.
5. Reconnect with an old friend: Amidst work and family obligations, it’s easy to lose touch with friends. If you need something to do when you’re bored, why not reconnect with a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Invite them over for tea or out for a run and spend some quality time catching up. If they live far away, suggest a Skype call. Whatever you do, they’ll be glad to hear from you.
6. Declutter your house: Clearing up your home is one of the most productive ways to fight boredom and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Start small: pick a single category of stuff – shoes, books, photos – and lay them all out. Decide which to keep, which to throw away and which to donate. Then you can store them in a neat and organised way.
7. Plan your next holiday: Studies have shown that a lot of the pleasure you get from holidays comes from the planning and anticipating before you go. Researching flights or train tickets, choosing accommodation, reading up on all the restaurants, museums and attractions – these all increase the overall satisfaction your holiday gives you. And you’ll be extra prepared for when you go!
8. Send a letter: Email and smartphones have made it easy to stay in touch, but there’s still no better feeling than getting a handwritten letter. It’s a lovely old-school gesture that shows you care. Even if they live nearby, write letters to family and friends or people in need of companionship, like senior citizens in elderly care.
9. Sign up for an online course: There is a wealth of educational material available online, much of it free of charge and some offering certifications that can help your professional career. Websites like Coursera, edX and Open Culture offer a mix of free and paid online courses in a wide range of subjects. Some websites specialise in one subject area, like Codecademy for computer coding. Many universities also have online videos or podcasts of lectures that you can access for free.
10. Cook a new recipe: When you’re bored, escape your routine of cooking the same or very similar meals every night and try a brand new recipe. Instead of ordering takeaway to satisfy your curry cravings, make your own. Whip out that wok that’s been gathering dust in your cupboard and make an authentic stir fry. Or if you’re usually a meat-lover, try a healthy and hearty vegetarian recipe.