Too Much Downtime? Try These 10 Ways to Beat Boredom

Are You Bored? Try These Fun Ideas to Beat Boredom

People of all ages are living crazy busy lives these days. It may not be that we do more things than before; it's just that life happens faster and faster. Can't explain the physics of that, but I sure feel it. And so, when given a break to stop everything for the summer or a holiday some people begin to go a little stir crazy. Are you finding yourself with too much downtime now?

When the Activity Stops

When we are at school, life can be non-stop between studying, constant interaction with friends, and extra-curricular activities.  Then suddenly you are on break and it all stops. Let's see if I've imagined a typical day during a break from school.  You are stuck at home, missing your friends, and killing time by tweeting, texting, checking in with FB, watching Netflix or YouTube videos, playing video games, etc. How closely does that describe your day?

Tempted to Make Bad Choices

This might be fun for a while, but eventually, you get bored and then what?  Have you heard the saying Idle hands are the devil's playground?  It's found in the Bible and there's a ton of truth in it.  If you don't know what to do with all your newfound time and boredom is creeping in, it can suddenly be very tempting to fill your time with trouble because trouble is often easy and accessible.  Whether it's drinking, drugs, pornography, vandalism, bullying, gossiping, etc., you are entering a slippery slope.

Facing the Consequences

Trust me, I know.  I've heard the story countless times.  When asked, Why did you do that? The answer is often, I was bored and wanted some excitement. And then when facing the consequences, Was it worth it? Inevitably the answer is, No. So if you find yourself with too much downtime I have 10 ways to help you beat boredom and have fun!

Go Offline for Awhile

If you want to avoid this pattern, you might need to put a little effort in, but I've got some ideas for you.  The first step might be go offline for a while. I know it's hard to live a normal life knowing that you might be missing something on social media. But think about doing this: Just post a message saying, going offline for a while, and then do something totally outside your normal life. Everyone will wonder what in the world you are up to. Not only will you have something interesting to talk about when you reappear, you may even be considered cool for doing this. If you shut down your cell phone, the boredom factor might escalate quickly. So, you've got to find something to do fast. 

Whether or not you go off-line, here are some ideas about non-typical things to do.

1. Random Acts of Anything. I know a guy who systematically forces randomness into his life. He and his wife go to the movie theater on the first Thursday for each month and buy tickets to the very next show, no matter what it is. Every time he goes on a business trip, he closes his eyes and picks one magazine off the newsstand for every hour of flight time. There are some oddities about this guy, but he is never bored or boring.

2. Random Acts of Kindness. Find ways to give back to others. Is there a place you can volunteer?  If you need a list of ideas, click here.   Or you could offer to help around your own house. Can you even imagine how your mom or dad might respond, if you said, is there something that I can do to help out?

3. Uncharacteristic Entertainment. You can't beat a good book. Don't like to read? Check out an audiobook. Check out an audiobook at the library or download from iTunes. And hey, this could not only be fun, but you might be able to use it for a book report later on. Nothing like reading/listening to a thriller to pass the time.

4. Journal Like Crazy. Even though you may not think the story of your life will be a NY Times bestseller, you'll be really glad one day that you wrote things down. Though you don't realize it now, you'll be surprised how many great experiences you'll forget. You also might discover you have some interesting thoughts that were worth documenting.

5. De-junk. A break from school is a great time to go through your stuff and get rid of the junk. Simplifying and downsizing always make me feel better.

6. Start a Conversation. Have you ever asked a grandparent a question about their past? Something like, what was the most exciting thing you've ever done? Or how about, If you were 18 and had your life to live over again, what would you do?  You never know what you might find out.  Maybe some wisdom, maybe just some humor, but it could be fun, and they will be touched you took the time to talk to them.

7. Reconnect with Nature: There is something about being outside that is good for the soul.  Find hiking trails or bike trails in your community. Go fishing or swimming in a lake.

8. Read the Bible What are you filling your mind with? What if you filled it with words from the Bible?  Spend a little time reading about how much God loves you, His promises to you and His guide for living a life that brings peace.

9. Learn a new skill/hobby. What interests you? Whatever it is, I'm sure you can find a tutorial on YouTube that will teach you how. Does music interest you? You can get a cheap Ukulele and teach yourself to play. Crafts learn to knit or find a reclaimed woodshop and create something cool.  Sports look up drills that will help you increase your skills.  Baking, find awesome recipes and cook for your friends or family. And the list goes on.

10. Get in shape. Having some downtime is the perfect time to focus on exercising. Set some manageable expectations for yourself and try to achieve them. Today I am going to run a half mile.  Or whatever is right for you. Train for a 5k race. Click here to find a race in your area. You will feel great about yourself! You can also find many Apps or videos with workout regimens that can match your ability.

How's that to get you started? The cool thing about all of these ideas is that they will help you grow as a person and enhance your life. I know that many of you struggle with hating yourself or not feeling good enough. Achieving goals, helping others, and learning new skills will help you feel great about yourself.

If you have other ideas of what to do with your idle time during breaks from school, please share them by commenting back below. Tell us about a new skill you learned or a goal you accomplished.


Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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