How To Cure Boredom — 14 Creative Ways To Entertain Yourself When You're Bored

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woman sitting bored on the floor
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Everyone has felt bored at one point in their life — it’s just a normal part of being human. And when you’re suffering from monotony, it seems like you’ll do anything to get a cure for boredom.

One survey found that between 30 to 90 percent of Americans are bored during their daily routine, but, psychologically, boredom comes down to a lack of stimuli.

Whether you’re performing menial tasks — mowing the lawn, doing laundry, washing dishes — lack control over your situation — for example, rebellious teenagers stuck at home — or can’t stay focused for a long period of time, this is all a result of being unable to connect to the environment around you.

But guess what? Boredom is something we’ve all experienced, and it’s a reminder that people, in general, are all the same in this way. You’re not alone if you feel bored.

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Now, while being bored may feel like the worst thing in the world, is it life-threatening? Is it possible to die of boredom?

While you can’t actually die from boredom itself, there are other factors that can contribute to its deadliness: underlying conditions (like depression or traumatic brain injury), certain risk factors (one study found that people who are bored are more likely to die young), your level of stress, and even substance abuse. Boredom can also increase your risk of depression or lead to issues with your heart.

So, boredom may not be the direct cause, but if you find yourself in monotonous situations daily, it can take its toll on you. Can you go crazy from boredom? According to a study, the effects of boredom have a lot to do with your coping techniques.

For example, in this study, participants performed a tedious task for 10 minutes. Those who were familiar with dealing with boredom in their everyday lives responded more positive to the task, while those who didn’t use those tools found it difficult to stay engaged.

So, no, you can’t go crazy from boredom, but you should find ways to keep your mind occupied during a boring task, whether it’s humming, tapping your toes, or writing a mental list.

With all of this in mind, how can you cure boredom home alone? Rather than your run-of-the-mill arts and crafts, there are plenty of hobbies and positive activities you can do that will effectively give your brain the stimulation it needs.

This list includes some interesting, random and downright weird things to entertain yourself when you're bored. Give it a go — it’s better than staying apathetic.

1. Learn how to safely pierce your ears.

First, get your hands on a needle — a thin, hollow one. Apparently, piercing your ear with a gun when you’re not a trained professional can cause serious infections and allergic reactions, so doctors recommend using a sterile needle.

To sterilize the needle, you can use alcohol swabs, boiled water and antibacterial solution. You should also sterilize the earrings you will be inserting into your ears and your ears themselves before piercing the skin.

Cold water and ice can help reduce swelling and pain that may occur.

2. Practice your cooking skills.

Whether you're a cooking novice and only know how to boil water, or you've been cooking in the kitchen since you were a kid, there's always room for improvement. Replace your boredom with delicious recipes and treats — all it takes is a little practice.

For beginners, consider learning how to make a simple sauce, trying out techniques to cook eggs, or even getting more comfortable with using knives.

For those who are a bit more knowledgable in the kitchen, challenge yourself! Perhaps that means working on your time management, refining your palate, or learning the best ways to balance acidity in your dishes.

One thing is for sure: you may be a little sweaty after cooking, but you sure won't be bored anymore.

3. Find the perfect book, podcast, show or movie.

Sites like Goodreads, Netflix and YouTube have algorithms that track your search history and try to match you with media that you might enjoy. However, these might not always be of interest to you or include new genres you would like explore.

By reading reviews, talking to your friends and family, and skimming summaries, you can make informed decisions about your next binge series or can’t-put-down novel.

Sometimes, it’s best to try something completely different to determine what you really like.

4. Use social media to make real friends.

Focus on your close group of friends on social media.

While you can connect with various groups of friends, and stay up to date on events and things that may be affecting a number of your hundreds of Facebook friends, your main mode of communication on social media sites — Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter — can and should be with a small(ish) group of people, about 20 or so.

Use this technology to deepen existing relationships rather than pursue shallow ones that may expire soon after they begin.

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5. Live like a monk.

Monks are bound by strict, religious and spiritual rules that dictate their everyday activities. To be a monk, you must also abide by these rules and follow certain rituals commonly followed by Buddhist monks.

As a monk, you must not multitask, must only rely on the offerings of the community, and practice prayer and mindfulness. Your appearance and actions must be humble to become less dependent on worldly possessions.

(Note: There are various different sects of monks, and this information only loosely represents Buddhist monks.)

6. Write a letter to a stranger.

To do this, you can either find a pen pal online or simply leave a letter somewhere for a stranger to find.

You may want to refrain from signing the letter with your real or full name, depending on who you believe will be in possession after you write and send it, but that's your decision.

Whether you’re writing a love letter to a mysterious crush of yours, a reaffirming letter to a passerby, or an angry note reminding someone that his/her actions affect others, what you say in your letter matters. You can make a big difference in a stranger’s life.

7. Teach yourself how to pass a lie detector test.

They’re in movies, TV and cop shows, and polygraph tests are seemingly the best way to determine if someone is lying or not. However, it’s not as foolproof as you might think.

All you have to do is control your response to fear, intimidation and nervousness. The above video explains, in detail, how you can pass a lie detector test, regardless of your innocence.

8. Learn something new.

The general rule is that, to learn something new, you have to make it become part of your daily routine. Take about 15 minutes out of your day, every day, and dedicate it to learning a new skill or subject.

You can use podcasts, social media feeds, and other websites to help you stay on track and devote your time to learning something new. According to Lifehack (and common sense), a desire to continue learning for the sake of learning is valuable.

9. Learn to talk to your pet in a way they understand.

Although dogs and cats may not understand our language, they can pick up on tones, and positive and negative associations of words. Pet them and reward them in the same way you would if they had done something good (i.e., behaved appropriately).

For instance, you could give your pet a treat, pat his or her head and play together. If your pet is hurt or scared, respect their space, get low to the ground, and wait for him or her to approach you. Always remember that your pet can recognize your emotions and will react to them. 

Another way you can better understand your pet is by training them to talk — yes, really!

TikToker Alexis Devine trained her dog, Bunny the Sheepadoodle, to "speak" using a series of HexTiles, or buttons arranged in hexagonal shapes. These tiles divide the words you want to teach your pet into different categories, helping them learn rules, and associate which words or phrases go where.

There are also other things you can do with your pet, including going on a bike ride or hike together, testing their smarts with a fun game, or giving them a manicure with pet-friendly nail polish.

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10. Change your email signature.

Of course, this process will differ depending on the email address system you use. However, you will need to open your email, create a new message, and select the option that indicates “email signature,” or something like that. It varies depending on what email service you use.

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You may enter your full name, occupation and, occasionally, a photo. But, above all, get creative with your signature and keep it professional.

11. Refine your social skills.

To avoid being awkward, this video wonderfully explains how to overcome your inner anxiety (or, at least, recognize it), and stop it from affecting your ability to socialize and interact with others in public.

So, listen. Stop apologizing for everything, don’t label yourself, and bring a friend next time you find yourself in an awkward situation.

12. Become a minimalist.

You might be thinking that minimalism prohibits “stuff” altogether, but is it? You can be a minimalist and own things that are important to you.

You do need to de-clutter, but you also need to practice self-care and self-love. Be a minimalist with your time and your space.

13. Make good use of your leftover cardboard boxes.

There are plenty of uses for your old cardboard boxes. Here are some things you can make out of a simple cardboard box, scissors, tape and maybe some glue to make it useful to you yet again:

1. A lap desk

2. Instruments

3. A purse

4. A flower pot

5. A litter box

6. A toy igloo

7. Ping pong paddles

8. Costumes

9. A cardboard volcano

10. A playhouse

11. A cardboard lantern

12. Storage containers

14. Teach yourself magic tricks.

Still bored? Try out a few classic magic tricks or card tricks. It only takes a few minutes, some patience, and a few audience members.

These tricks don’t need too much as far as preparation is concerned, but you should have cards, paper, money (and coins) and general art supplies on hand.

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Meaghan Summers is a freelance editor for Sourcebooks, independent consultant for Fiverr, and associate editor for Defense Security Cooperation University. Her writing covers mental health, pop culture, and relationship topics.