It’s my most popular post of all-time: “28 Fun Things to Do When You’re Bored and Sick at Home”.
And that doesn’t surprise me. I know from experience how mind-numbing and depressing it can be to be stuck at home for weeks or months on end, unable to do the things you enjoy.
You might think that keeping yourself entertained while you’re sick is a luxury problem, but that’s exactly when you need good mental health the most. Positive distractions can take your mind off the pain and reduce stress, or act as a therapeutic form of self-expression that supports your overall health.
Of course, nowadays the Internet and on-demand entertainment provide you with an endless stream of movies to watch, books to read, music to listen to and social media to scroll through. And yet, staring at screens all day every day can be unfulfilling when you’re chronically ill – or worse, intensify headaches, eye strain and brain fog.
Are you done watching Netflix, playing video games and navel-gazing too? Then give these fresh ‘bored and sick’ tips a try to keep your mind entertained while your body rests!
30 Entertaining Ideas for When You’re Bored & Sick
This blog post contains some affiliate links to resources you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.
The following ideas to beat the boredom are meant for moments when you feel reasonably well, not when you’re too sick to lift your head from the pillow. Some activities can be done lying in bed or on the couch, but not all tips will be doable for everybody in every situation. Think of this post as inspiration that you can adapt to your own likes and needs!
02. Grow plants that are easy to maintain. You could sow garden cress, plant flower bulbs or get one of those beautiful succulent terrariums. Keeping plants at home doesn’t just look pretty, it actually supports your health too – win-win!
03. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Yes, it requires focus, but it also kills a lot of time. Of course you can do a classic jigsaw puzzle, but virtual jigsaws or recreating the Eiffel Tower with a 3D puzzle also offers a lot of fun.
04. Listen to audiobooks. If you love stories, but aren’t well enough to read or hold your book, audiobooks are a great solution.
05. Do gentle yoga in bed to release tension from your body, get your blood flowing and support your recovery. Try relatively easy poses like Cat-Cow Pose, the Happy Baby, a reclined twist or legs-up-the wall.
07. Connect with loved ones via Facetime or Zoom. Nothing beats meeting face-to-face, but when you’re bored and sick at home alone, a short virtual chat can really make you feel better.
08. Star gaze at night. Look out the window or sit in the garden to admire the infinite universe. You could even learn to recognize the constellations or get a telescope for a close-up look.
09. Make healthy popsicles. Not only are they easy to make and a treat to eat, popsicles can even ease an aching throat and help you stay hydrated with nausea and diarrhea. Check out these healthy popsicle recipes to get you started.
10. Cuddle with your pets. Nothing like a four-legged friend to lift your spirits!
11. Listen to new music. Not just the latest album from your favorite band, but explore a new genre. When you’re sick, you may not be up for punk rock or trance, but perhaps you could try out old school R&B, easy jazz, folk pop, Latin music or musical ballads.
12. Browse beautiful coffee table books. You might be too tired to read, but you can still get inspired by the iconic photography of Steve McCurry, the heart-felt stories of Humans of New York or Banksy’s street art.
13. Create an easy bird feeder, like stringing peanuts together or making a peanut butter bird treat. Hang it somewhere you can easily see the birds from your window.
14. Upload happy memories to a digital photo frame. That way, you have something uplifting to look at when you’re sick in bed.
16. Secure a tiny basketball hoop to your door or wall, if you love playing sports and have enough energy to get up.
17. Search Pinterest for ‘recovery-boosting recipes’ – nutrient-packed meals that require little energy to make. Think of overnight oats, chia pudding, slow cooker meals and sheet pan dinners.
18. Finished binging your favorite TV series? Try watching no-too-complicated documentaries instead. Browse your TV guide or subscription channel for the best infotainment about the animal kingdom, survival skills, personal development or true crime.
19. Write or craft your own greeting cards. You can make themed cards for the holidays or birthdays. An ergonomic lap desk can help if you’d like to get creative while sitting up in bed.
21. Move your resting outside if you have an outdoor area. Set up a hammock or daybed in the garden or relax on a comfy outdoor cushion on the balcony. Changing scenery can do wonders for your state of mind, not to mention the benefits your body gets from catching natural daylight, fresh air and vitamin D-producing sunshine.
22. Fold origami. Nothing too complicated, just some relaxed crafting that doesn’t take too much time and energy. And hey, if you can’t work it out, you can always turn your attempt at origami in a paper plane!
23. Start a collection. It can be anything you’re interested in: baseball cards, comic books, vinyl records or vintage clothes. Browsing eBay and learning about special collectibles will keep you entertained for a while.
24. Sticker books can be surprisingly soothing, and something you can do even when lying in bed. So imitate famous masterpieces with Paint By Sticker or create your own lush garden with botanical stickers – whatever cheers you up!
25. Make fun lists. What is your top 10 movies/books/albums of all-time? What are your 5 happiest childhood memories? Which 3 countries would you love to visit someday? Check out this journal for more prompts and inspiration.
26. Study a new subject. Is there something you’ve always been interested in and would love to learn more about, like Ancient Egypt, big cats, volcanoes or Renaissance art ? You don’t have to take an official online course when you’re busy recovering, you can just read a beginner’s book, watch documentaries or listen to podcasts on the topic of your choice.
27. Play mind games. Having one of those horrible sick days when it’s just you and your thoughts? Close your eyes and play mind games to distract yourself. You can mentally design your own exhibition, take an imaginary walk through your favorite place or try to come up with as many animals starting with the letter ‘b’ as you can.
30. Are you chronically ill? Get yourself a cool subscription – magazines, artisan tea or a spoonie box – to have something fun to look forward to each month.
You won’t always be up for fun activities when you’re sick, and you can’t always make yourself feel better. But I truly believe that noticing and enjoying simple pleasures in life can help you deal better with bad times.
How do you keep yourself entertained when you’re bored and sick at home?
For more inspiration to beat the boredom, download the free Bored and Sick Guide with 130 fun things to do at home when you’re (chronically) ill: