“I’m bored.” How many times did you whine those words as a kid?
When I did, my mom would run through a list of possibilities. Ride your bike, take a walk, play tennis, read a book…. If I didn’t latch on to one of those ideas, she finally said, “Well, you can help me do XX (a dreaded chore).”
And that would be enough for me to scurry from the room and find something to do somewhere else.
But now we’re adults, and sometimes we get bored with life itself — not for just an afternoon.
We may call it something more sophisticated — like “ennui” — but that’s just French for boredom.
As an adult with grown-up responsibilities, you know there are always a million productive things you could be doing. (That checkbook isn’t going to balance itself!)
However, if you want to change up your life and Do Something Fun! Do Something Different! Do Something Exciting! — and washing the kitchen floor isn’t cutting it… read on.
Psychologists define boredom as the unfulfilled desire for satisfying activity.
It’s a signal that you need change in your life.
You need some activities and events to immerse yourself in now and other things to look forward to.
Satisfying activities fall in three major categories:
Check out the following ideas to find stimulating activities in each category to dump the funk — and to fill your calendar with future events.
How to find interesting activities
. Ask friends and acquaintances what fun things they’ve done lately. You might get some interesting responses!
. Google websites for “fun activities in XX (your city)” and look for a great go-to online activity finder like Holy City Sinner in Charleston, S.C., that’s updated regularly.
. Check out local adult education classes. Learning something new is stimulating, and they normally offer activities like sign language, dancing lessons, art classes and foreign language courses.
. Look up the activity schedule at your local library. The librarians near my house are very creative and have come up with unique activities like celebrating Tiny Tim’s birthday (which was great fun) and book clubs where everyone talks about the books they’ve read lately (instead of all reading the same book). If you’re not an avid reader, many activities don’t involve reading at all.
. Check for activities through the local parks and/or recreation department. Festivals, farmers markets, parades and sports events can be interesting to participate in. I took part in a sand castle building contest with several friends several years ago; we won first prize in our category and got some great prizes. It was also really fun.
. Pick up free local magazines at the grocery store and other locations. Most free publications — like Skirt Magazine and Natural Awakenings — have listings of local events.
. Visit the local Chamber of Commerce and pick up brochures and booklets of local activities.
. Take a tour of a local business or attraction. Many craft breweries provide tours that are becoming very popular.
. Investigate the local senior center, if you’re over 50. You’ll find a lot of things going on there, such as line dancing and senior fitness classes.
. Search the Internet for local special-interest groups. Most areas have garden clubs, newcomers’ clubs, ski clubs and more.
. Find local adult sports teams and join one. You can find every kind of team — from adult kickball to recreational ping pong league.
. Scour the local newspaper (online or on paper) for events. They usually publish a weekly list of activities involving the arts (music, plays, live performances, etc.), faith-based events, fitness and health, dining out, the bar scene and more.
. Check out local Meet-up groups. There’s a group for almost every hobby and activity imaginable, and it’s a great way to meet people who like to do what you like to do.
. Investigate local church activities. Many have secular activities such as mother’s groups and exercise classes.
. Research activities at local colleges or technical schools. They often hold events such as music recitals, concerts, plays and more that are open to the public — and prices are usually very reasonable.
. Keep up with new businesses opening in your area.
For example, Escape Rooms (also known as Escape Games) are springing up everywhere. It’s a unique and challenging place to spend time with family and friends — trying to “escape from jail” or “escape from Zombies.” See details.
Ways to change yourself and/or your environment
. Plan a trip — either a long vacation or a weekend road trip. A change of scenery is a morale booster. And if you don’t have a travel companion, travel solo. I do it all the time and love it.
. Change your hair color – like Marcia Kester Doyle did.
. Start a blog about something you’re passionate about. Write and submit an article or a short story to a publication about a hobby or interest.
. Challenge yourself to do something positive. For example, you might see how many genuine compliments you can pay to people around you in a single day. That’ll make you and everyone around you feel good. Or challenge yourself to get healthier and lose weight — and join a Weight Watchers group.
. Expand your horizons and be a visitor in your hometown. Take walks through neighborhoods you’ve driven by and never visited, or go to restaurants you’ve never tried.
. Try new fitness activities. I’m always on the lookout for unique fitness challenges and find there are a lot of them — like a combo of pole fitness and yoga (polga), aerial yoga, dragon boating, stand-up paddleboarding, Body Pump, exotic chair dancing, Zumba, high intensity trampoline classes and many more.
. Learn a craft. Big box craft stores often offer classes, as do locally owned bead shops, art stores, sewing shops and other businesses. You can learn scrapbooking, Zentangle, sewing, woodworking, knitting, flower arranging, cake decorating, crocheting and lots more.
How to meet new people
. Join a group that focuses on activities you’d enjoy, such as a local Meetup group. I belong to a walking club Meetup group that’s enabled me to meet nice people and hike in some unique places.
. Start a group for people to get together and do something you’re passionate about. I’ve started several Meetup groups of my own — and you can, too.
. If you’re a new mother or mother of young children, start or participate in a mother’s group. It’s a great way to meet other moms, and provides an opportunity to share parenting joys and challenges. I started a chapter of a national mother’s group when I was a stay-at-home mom and it was the best decisions of my life; that’s where I met most of my best friends.
. Volunteer to help others. Google your city and “volunteer opportunities” for ideas.
. Look up old friends and reconnect. Facebook is a good place to start.
. Join an online dating service or Girlfriend Social to meet new women for friendships.
Other boredom buster ideas
. Take on a small home improvement project. Paint your kitchen door, for example, with a mood-lifting pop of color.
. Start a Project 365 photo a day project. It’ll make you notice what’s happening around you and look at everything in a different light.
. Tired of your clothes? Make some minor alterations to change long-sleeved jackets to short-sleeved, capris to shorts, etc. Just cut off fabric and hem it up for a whole new look.
. If you haven’t tried Uber yet, let an Uber driver take you out to lunch.
. See if your town sponsors an annual Listen to Your Mother show and audition to be in it. Or try out for a play or other performance. Join a choral group or choir.
. Whatever you’re doing at home or in the car, play upbeat music while you do it. It’s hard to be bored while enjoying your favorite tunes!
If you act on one or two of these ideas, I can just about guarantee your life will brighten up!
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