We don’t always need to be productive. In fact, that pressure can be incredibly exhausting. And some experts are even advocating for a six-hour workday in lieu of the 8 (10? 12?) hour days we often end up working. In spite of the fact that we undeniably work a lot and most of us feel so busy (all the time!) we still can find ourselves at the end of the day feeling, shockingly, bored. So, I’ve been making a list of things to do when bored at night so I don’t end up zoning out in front of the TV because I can’t think of anything better to do.
After I’ve powered down the computer on a night with no plans, I often find myself looking for something mood-boosting to do. But instead of immediately reaching for our screens again (no judgment, we’re all guilty of the mindless social media scroll or zoning out to endless episodes of a show) sometimes, it’s nice to spend our evening in a different way.
Whether it’s something thoughtful for someone else, gets your creative juices flowing, or actually is productive and knocks out a lingering task on your to-do list, we rounded up 58 ideas to do at night that will leave you feeling refreshed and kick your boredom to the curb.
SOMETHING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU
1. Give your nails some love. No professional manicure is necessary—you don’t even need to paint them! Just shape, file, and buff your way to nice nails. We love this beautiful set for nourished and polished nails.
2. Give yourself an at-home facial. A mini facial might be just what the doctor, er, esthetician ordered. Cleanse, mask, tone, serum, moisturize. Your skin deserves it.
4. Unroll your yoga mat. It’ll feel good to move your body whether it’s for 10 minutes or 40.
5. Go on a walk. Some fresh evening air will do you good! Try to turn your phone on silent or airplane mode or better yet, leave it at home.
7. Exfoliate your body. We’re talking head to toe.
8. Look back and think about the ways you’ve grown. It’s easy to skip from season to season of life, without feeling like much has changed. Read this, and reflect on the beauty of unseen transformation.
9. Warm up your complexion. Boost your summer glow with one of our favorite nontoxic face tanners.
10. Try out lymphatic massage. Your new addiction, trust us. Once you see how good you feel and look, this will be a new staple in your wellness routine.
11. Dream about a new haircut. Scroll this post to see if there’s a style calling your name and if a fresh chop is speaking to you.
12. Take a detox bath. Light a candle, pour in some Epsom salts and soak up the bliss while gently supporting your body’s detox process.
13. Watch one of these 90s movies. There’s nothing like a good throwback.
14. Online shop for this season’s trendiest shoes. We’ve been seeing braided sandals everywhere, shop the sandals of the season with these cute picks.
15. Browse listings looking for your dream house. Anyone else have a side hobby of looking at houses on Zillow? I love trying to find the most unique listing and comparing my pick with a friend’s. It’s fun to dream right?
17. Dock your tech. Spend the rest of the evening tech-free. That means no emails, no social media scrolling, and no TV. Instead, grab a cup of tea, a good book, hop in the bath and wind down.
18. Stock up on sunscreen. Summer is coming, make sure you’re stocked—here’s the best sunscreen for every skin type.
19. Hide a few little love notes. Write some simple and sweet notes and tuck them in your significant other’s coat pockets, bags or drawers. It’ll be a sweet surprise and doesn’t take much effort.
20. Upgrade your summer loungewear game. Move over sweatsuits, the summer of the house dress is here. Shop everything from billowy and breezy to simple and chic.
21. Send a handwritten note. A love note, thank you note or just a note to say hi—we guarantee it will make someone’s day.
22. Listen to some music. Without multitasking! Truly listen. For a dose of nostalgia and good vibes, play your favorite music videos from the ’90s or early ’00s.
23. Play a game. It’s so easy to zone out with TV when boredom in the evening strikes. We have a better idea though. Grab your partner, kids, or some friends and try out one of these fun games!
24. Call your mom. You’ll get some much-needed mama comfort and love and she’ll be absolutely thrilled to hear from you. Everyone benefits from a check-in, especially when it’s spontaneous—the perfect close to both of your days.
25. Make a gratitude list. It’s so good to be intentional about seeing the beauty and good in our lives. Jot down a few things you’re grateful for, you’ll be surprised how many there are.
26. Clean out your fridge. Maybe not the most exciting thing to do, but necessary nonetheless. Once that’s done, read this article for inspo on what to stock your newly cleared shelves with.
27. Swap your products for cleaner ones. There can be not-so-great ingredients lurking in our cleaning products, fortunately, we’ve rounded up the best nontoxic cleaning products that actually work. *Adds to cart*
28. Spend some quality time with your calendar. Take advantage of these unscheduled moments to look forward to your week and take stock of what’s on your agenda. Set your priorities for the rest of the week or weekend, schedule workouts and time for self-care, put a hangout with a friend on the calendar, and make sure childcare is locked down. Hello to a calm, clear week.
29. Get your mending kit out. Sew a button onto that cardigan that’s been missing one for ages.
30. Rotate your mattress. The sign of a responsible adult? Maybe, but it certainly gets overlooked. Boost your mattress’s lifespan by rotating it a few times a year at the very least.
31. Update your résumé. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, make sure it’s up to date. That way you easily tweak it when it’s time to search for a new job or opening. If you’re itching for a career change, read this first. While you’re at it, read this about developing your personal brand.
32. Organize your closet. A place we visit every day that can quickly turn into a nightmare. If you’re needing a boost of inspo to get you going, read all about how our Deputy Editor transformed her small closet into a thing of beauty.
33. Purge your beauty products. Dried nail polish? A crusty bottle of that serum that broke you out? Chances are, you have some products that are basically empty, old, or just don’t work for you. Sort into a toss and share pile—anything old or expired gets tossed, anything barely used can be given to a friend.
34. Clean out your purse. Simple, easy and so satisfying. Say au revoir to gum wrappers, hair ties, and empty granola bar wrappers that can certainly pile up.
35. Delete old screenshots on your phone. Sort, using the favorite button, and make a note of the images you want to print and frame. Delete your grocery list from last week and that random picture you can’t remember why you wanted to save.
36. Clean one small thing. You don’t have to tackle the whole house. Just one part of it! Finally, tackle your oven, dust your ceiling fans, or give your showerhead a quick rinse. You’ll feel better knowing that your home is squeaky clean.
37. Check in on your finances. It’s easy to let weeks (months) go by without checking in on things. Look in on your savings and checking accounts. Where can you cut back and save more? Are you still subscribing to services you no longer use? Take a look before your next credit card bill!
38. Unsubscribe from mailing lists. How do our inboxes get so big? Set a timer for 15 minutes, and unclog your inbox. It really just takes a simple click. Unsubscribe from all of your spam emails in just a few clicks by visiting Unroll.me and finally achieve inbox zero.
39. Write a haiku. Fun, simple, and sometimes silly, blow off some steam with a quick haiku. Share with someone, or don’t.
41. Upgrade your home with some vintage décor. Shop for a deal from one of our favorite online vintage stores. And even if you don’t pull the trigger, virtual window shopping is fun.
42. Plan a dinner party. Instead of zoning out tonight, grab a paper and pencil or your phone and start hashing out the details of a little get-together—the guests, menu, drinks, and games. Can’t think of a reason to throw a party? Celebrate a great new cocktail recipe, a promotion, or just because your apartment is clean and you want to show it off.
43. Tweak a t-shirt that isn’t quite right. Have a T-shirt you like but never wear? Cut off the bottom to make a cute crop top or the sleeves for some easy muscle tee vibes.
44. Make some DIY flower-pressed art. Grab some blooms, some books, and create a new piece of art to hang in your home.
45. Get out your paintbrushes. Whether you watercolor or pull out the acrylics, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as the swirl of paint on canvas. If you’re feeling adventurous, get inspired by this artist and try your hand at making your own pigments and paints.
46. Take a virtual class. Try this Masterclass on the fundamentals of French pastries, this one from The MOMA on fashion as design, or soap making or figure drawing from Udemy.
47. Try to re-create your favorite restaurant meal. You don’t have to be much of a chef, just grab the ingredients and find a similar recipe online to try out.
48. Meal plan for the week. Foodwise, the week always goes better when I plan ahead. Not only do I eat healthier, but less food goes to waste since I’ve put a bit of thought and intention into how I’m going to use all of my ingredients.
49. Plan your breakfast for tomorrow. How about a hearty and healthy start to your day, rather than a quickly downed black coffee and protein bar. Your metabolism will thank you. Maybe some overnight oats?
50. Perfect your go-to cocktail. Research how to make your favorite drink, grab the ingredients, and mix it up at home. Once you get it just right, serve it up at your next dinner party!
51. Pickle some vegetables. One of the easiest ways to upgrade a dish. Try this quick pickle recipe for everything from red onions to cucumbers! Leave them for an hour and munch on them as a snack later this evening, or pop them in the fridge overnight to eat with lunch or your morning avocado toast!
52. Make the most delicious blueberry muffin. We did the work for you and tested five recipes to find the winner. Trust us, you’re gonna love it. Breakfast for the week solved (if you don’t eat them all fresh out of the oven).
53. Cook something from a physical cookbook. It’s easy to get in a rut and leave those pretty cookbooks collecting dust. Crack them open and cook something fun.
54. Bake something delicious. There’s no boredom buster like baking. We have some ideas for you.
55. Make yourself a snack board. Even if you’re spending the evening solo, there’s nothing quite as fun as a pretty board. Add cheese, cured meats, olives, nuts, some fresh fruit and veggies, crackers, a touch of jam or honey—my favorite dinner.
56. Make a reservation at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Invite a friend, get it on the calendar, and make a night of it! In the meantime, make a list of the ones you’d like to hit and start crossing them off.
57. Take an online wine class. Whether you’re into sparkling rosé or Argentinean Malbec, get to know how it’s made, who the best producers are, and what pairs well with it. You’ll impress your next dinner date or help your friends decide on a bottle to share the next time you go out.
If you have kids coming to you saying the infamous, “Mom, I’m boreddddd,” try one of these fun ideas geared towards kids.
This post was originally published on June 1, 2021, and has since been updated.