Are you a retiree looking for ideas to cure your boredom?
You’ve landed in the right place because that’s exactly what we’re unpacking below.
Our team has curated a list of things to do for seniors who are a little bored in retirement.
So pull up a screen and get ready to take notes because we’re outlining 45 options to consider.
- What Do Seniors Miss the Most During Retirement?
- 45 Fun and Interesting Things to Do When Retired and Bored
- 1. Get a Degree
- 2. Learn a New Motor Skill
- 3. Read Up on Aging Research
- 4. Start a Garden
- 5. Make Your Own Alcohol
- 6. Try a New Exercise
- 7. Look for Volunteer Opportunities
- 8. Go to a Local Museum
- 9. Offer To Watch the Grandkids
- 10. Get a Quarter-Time Job
- 11. Try Yoga or Tai Chi
- 12. Redecorate Your Home
- 13. Become a Mentor
- 14. Call a Friend
- 15. Play With Your Pet
- 16. Read
- 17. Make Art
- 18. Do an At-Home Exercise Session
- 19. Become a Home Chef (Not Just Cook)
- 20. Try Soap Ivory Carving
- 21. Try Origami or Napkin Folding
- 22. Go on a YouTube Sightseeing Tour
- 23. Curate an At-Home Film Festival
- 24. Create a Bucket List
- 25. Write To an Old Friend
- 26. Go Shopping
- 27. Learn How To Code
- 28. Write Your Memoir
- 29. Watch a Documentary
- 30. Start a Scrapbook
- 31. Go to the Library
- 32. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook
- 33. Color
- 34. Start a YouTube Channel
- 35. Learn To Play an Instrument
- 36. Start a Gratitude Journal
- 37. Start a Meditation Practice
- 38. Clean Your Dishwasher and Washing Machine
- 39. Do a Puzzle
- 40. Do a Clothes Purge
- 41. Go for a Hike or Bike
- 42. Organize That Problem Closet / Drawer
- 43. Do Family Research
- 44. Join Clubs
- 45. Learn a New Language
- Final Thought
What Do Seniors Miss the Most During Retirement?
People look forward to retirement. Free time is plentiful, and you’re no longer tethered to a hectic schedule.
What’s not to love?
But sometimes, retirees discover that they miss certain things about their working life and routines, including:
- Goal-setting and goal-striving
- Casual interactions and relationships with strangers and co-workers
- The learning that comes along with working
- Spending time outside of the home
45 Fun and Interesting Things to Do When Retired and Bored
Our list of things to do when retired and bored has a little something for everyone — or at least we hope it does.
Also, please note that some suggestions are for immediate action, and others are more long-term ideas.
Explanations aside, let’s dive in!
1. Get a Degree
Maybe you have a degree; maybe you don’t. Whichever the case, consider getting another one. Many schools offer unique course and degree options for seniors and adult students.
Remember to check out community colleges near you.
They often offer a lot more than people assume, plus taking a single class is a great way to ease yourself back into scholarly pursuits and help you determine if it’s something you want to revisit.
2. Learn a New Motor Skill
Motor skills keep the brain young and Alzheimer’s disease at bay. So if you’re interested in staying sharp as a tack, tend to your motor skills.
Options abound. You could learn how to knit, sew, draw, or learn calligraphy. Something as small as learning how to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand is terrific brain exercise.
3. Read Up on Aging Research
Another excellent way to slow the aging process is reading up on the subject. Not only will you enjoy the many benefits of reading, but you’ll also learn new ways to prevent the rapid deterioration of your gray matter.
Do yourself a favor, though, and vet your sources. For every credible one, there are 200 scammers.
And before you load up on supplements that promise to reverse the effects of aging or something equally as miraculous, talk to your doctor.
4. Start a Garden
It doesn’t have to be extensive or fruitful. A small flower garden may hit the spot.
Not only is gardening great exercise, but it can often support the local wildlife and add curb appeal to your home. Plus, it’s a wonderful mindfulness activity.
5. Make Your Own Alcohol
Are you a beer fanatic? An amateur sommelier?
If so, have you ever considered making your own brew or vintage?
Some people buy all the equipment and “cook” in their garages or basements. If you go that route, ensure the space you set up is well-ventilated.
If you want to approach the project more casually, you can work with a make-your-own beer and wine store. They’re popping up everywhere lately. They do most of the labor; you pick the grapes or hops to create a custom blend.
6. Try a New Exercise
Staying fit is a good idea that confers a treasure chest of benefits, not the least of which is living longer. So if you’re bored, why not try something new instead of the same old, same old?
If you normally speed walk, try hiking. If you cycle, try jogging. Just make sure you have the right shoes and equipment to prevent avoidable injuries.
7. Look for Volunteer Opportunities
Helping other humans and animals can fill your spirit, and non-profits often rely on volunteers. These days, you can even volunteer with online organizations that genuinely make a difference.
Pick an area you’re passionate about, as you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
8. Go to a Local Museum
If you’re like many middle-class retirees, you’ve likely lived in your neighborhood for 20 to 40 years and only visited the local museum when you chaperoned the kids’ elementary school field trips.
So why not support a local institution and head to the community museum for a few hours when you want to get out of the house for a few hours?
9. Offer To Watch the Grandkids
You love spending time with the grandkids, and your kids would probably appreciate the rest.
Be careful, though, not to be an overbearing grandparent who is at your children’s house every week, being demonstrative. If they want you there, great! But learn to read the room. Sometimes, less is more.
And whatever you do, don’t disregard your children’s house or childrearing rules — even if you think they’re ridiculous.
10. Get a Quarter-Time Job
Are you a worker by nature? Consider getting a quarter-time job to keep yourself happy and busy. It doesn’t need to be taxing; it’s just something to get you out of the house.
11. Try Yoga or Tai Chi
Many people come to yoga and tai chi in the second half of their lives.
Both practices are excellent for your physical and mental health, plus they’re super mindfulness activities — which also come with many advantages.
Don’t be intimidated by the bendy yoga poses strewn across social media and magazines. Those are crazy poses meant for photographic consumption and have little to do with a “normal” class or practice regimen.
12. Redecorate Your Home
How long has it been since you spruced up your home? Even if it was only six months ago, why not switch things up? Budget won’t cooperate? No problem: Move the furniture around to create a new space with fresh energy.
Want ideas? Head to Pinterest, where scores of accounts focus on interior design. And don’t forget about YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. They all have home improvement and interior design shows.
13. Become a Mentor
Were you successful in your working life? Pass on your knowledge by mentoring an up-and-coming star in your field.
If you’re not business-oriented, consider working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America or a local religious center that may need teachers and mentors.
14. Call a Friend
Did you know that we’re in the midst of a loneliness epidemic? As each year passes, increasing numbers of people lose genuine connections with family, friends, and peers.
Think if there’s someone in your life that may need a call. Even if you haven’t spoken with them in years, picking up the phone and saying, “I was thinking about you,” may make their year.
15. Play With Your Pet
Do you have a four-pawed member of your family? Could they use some play time? After all, if you’re bored, they may be too. Are you a dog parent? Check out a dog park in a neighboring town.
A mere 10-minute session will cheer them up (if they’re in the mood), and it gets you moving, too.
Reading really is fundamental — at any age. The more you read, the more you’ll “exercise” your gray matter. It also helps build new neural pathways that fight the effects of aging.
And you needn’t read serious, complex stuff. Relaxing with mass-market fiction or romance novels is fine! The book snobs can shove it.
17. Make Art
So you’re not the second coming of Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt, or Augusta Savage. That doesn’t mean you can’t make art. If it comes out ugly, oh well.
Don’t want to spend a ton of money on something you may not pursue? Head to the dollar store. They often have paint, brushes, clay, and other craft supplies for super cheap.
18. Do an At-Home Exercise Session
It rarely hurts to get up and get moving. Why not do an at-home exercise session if the weather isn’t cooperating?
There are thousands of aerobics classes on YouTube for all different levels. Pick one and clear some space. Most cable services also have a free, on-demand exercise channel.
The key is to choose something at your level. Also, if nobody else is around, don’t take risks. Better to be safe than sorry.
19. Become a Home Chef (Not Just Cook)
You’re a good cook — but why not push your limits and level up to becoming a home chef? Pick a recipe that goes above and beyond your usual fare. Then head to the “good” supermarket for the freshest ingredients.
If it’s inedible, you can always order takeout. But don’t give up. The more you try and practice, the better you’ll get.
20. Try Soap Ivory Carving
Old-time whalers made carvings out of their prey’s bones, teeth, and baleens. A fun afternoon project is practicing the artisan carving techniques using bars of soap.
Start by watching a show on the topic or reading up on it. Then try making a sculpture. Ivory or Irish Spring bars work well, and a regular dinner knife is usually sharp enough.
21. Try Origami or Napkin Folding
Origami and napkin folding are excellent motor skill exercises. Plus, they let you stretch your creative muscles.
Google will be your friend in terms of finding tutorials and walk-throughs. But don’t be afraid to break out and come up with your own creations.
22. Go on a YouTube Sightseeing Tour
We live in the digital age. Take advantage of international sightseeing tours from the comfort of your couch.
People around the world regularly upload video footage. So check out the Eiffel Tower and the Venice canals. Many YouTubers travel around the globe and post videos from various locations. Find a few you enjoy and keep up with their travels virtually.
Finding content creators who live in extreme climates — like Cecilia in Svalbard — can also be a lot of fun.
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23. Curate an At-Home Film Festival
Maybe you’re a rom-com fan, or perhaps murder mysteries is your cinematic genre of choice. Whatever the case, curate an at-home film festival for yourself or a group of people.
Remember to include shorts and TV episodes. Mixing them in-between films is fun. Take it to the next level by pairing meals, snacks, and cocktails with each film.
24. Create a Bucket List
If you’re retired and bored, make a bucket list. Brainstorm about everything you’d love to do, see, or try at least once before “kicking the bucket.” Dream big or small. It’s your choice.
25. Write To an Old Friend
When was the last time you wrote or received a letter? It’s quickly becoming a long-lost art, but people genuinely appreciate getting them. In a world of 140 characters, pouring over a long, proper letter can lift the spirit.
26. Go Shopping
Shopping is always an option when bored and restless (budget permitting). Check out your favorite stores; roam the aisles of Target! And remember that no rule says you MUST buy something. Window shopping is always an option.
27. Learn How To Code
People sometimes balk when they hear this suggestion — but don’t write it off too quickly. XHTML and CSS coding is a lot easier than most imagine. Yet it’s complicated enough to keep your mind sharp and engaged.
Some people fall in love with it and use their skills to help their communities, places of worship, and friends’ side businesses.
28. Write Your Memoir
You never have to show it to anyone, but writing your story can be a cathartic experience.
And who knows, maybe you’ll discover that you’ve been suppressing an inner Hemingway or Austen your whole life.
Studies show that writing is great for maintaining good mental health. So why not give it a shot? Nobody will be grading you.
29. Watch a Documentary
Curl up on the couch, bed, or favorite chair and pop on a documentary about something you adore or know nothing about. Both options can be stimulating.
And if you choose the latter, you may discover a new passion.
30. Start a Scrapbook
Do you have piles of stuff in boxes scattered around the house? If so, now may be the moment you finally begin organizing it. Elevate the game by starting scrapbooks. They can be wonderful keepsakes for generations to come.
31. Go to the Library
Check out your local library or ones in neighboring towns. It’s a super way to do lots of reading without spending a fortune. Plus, libraries often sponsor various lectures and learning events that may be up your alley.
32. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook
Thanks to the wonders of technology, it’s easier than ever to “have a reader.” Just create an Audible account, and you’re off to the races.
Most books published these days have an audio version. Plus, there are more podcasts than ever.
If your computer and Internet skills aren’t top-notch, ask your kids or grandkids to help set you up. They’ll probably be thrilled to lend a hand.
Coloring isn’t just for young kids! In fact, the adult coloring industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade.
Why? Research shows that it’s a great activity that keeps your brain sharp, plus it’s a highly effective mindfulness tool that can help people who struggle with depression and anxiety.
34. Start a YouTube Channel
Who says YouTube stars must be young? Why not go live!?
Pick a topic you love and start making videos. The sky’s the limit, and the world is your potential audience. There’s always the chance you could “go viral” and make that fortune for which you’ve long yearned.
Or, maybe you’ll only attract three followers. That’s great too! After all, you’re doing it for fun.
35. Learn To Play an Instrument
It’s never too late to pick up an instrument. Go big with a tuba or bassoon, or keep it simple and pick up a harmonica or recorder.
Reading and playing music is yet another thing that will keep your mind agile, plus it’s a great way to meet new people.
Inquire at your local school if any of the music teachers give private lessons. They usually do and appreciate the extra money. Especially in the summer when things are tighter.
36. Start a Gratitude Journal
Though we have yet to figure out why it happens, studies show that keeping a daily journal is great for maintaining good mental health.
One of the more life-affirming journaling genres is gratitude writing. It keeps people focused on the half-full part of the glass, which eases everyday stress and promotes better health.
37. Start a Meditation Practice
Meditation is no longer an esoteric practice for new-age eccentrics. Studies have definitively proved that meditating is excellent for the body, brain, and spirit.
It contributes to lower blood pressure, alleviates depression and anxiety, and improves cognitive function.
Ease into it slowly. Starting with just five minutes a day is excellent. Then work your way up to 20 minutes daily. If you become addicted, as many people do, you can train for hour-long sessions.
38. Clean Your Dishwasher and Washing Machine
We use them to clean our dishes and clothes — but we can forget to clean them.
If you’re feeling bored, think about doing an appliance cleanse. Look for how-to videos and articles online if you need to familiarize yourself with the process. And in case you were wondering: Yes, clean appliances work better and more efficiently when kept clean.
39. Do a Puzzle
Set out to complete a traditional jigsaw puzzle — or try one of the many online jigsaw websites. Sudoku, Wordle, and crosswords are also options. Or play chess — with other people or your computer.
40. Do a Clothes Purge
Admit it: Your closet could use a purge. Are there things in there that you haven’t worn in…decades? If so, it may be time to start sorting.
Throw away ripped or torn garments. Then make a pile of clothes you have not worn in the past two years but are still in good shape.
From there, you have a couple of options:
- Put them on consignment at a local thrift or second-wear boutique.
- Give them away to Goodwill or a similar charity.
- Put them up for sale on one of the many second-hand clothes swap sites.
Remember to ask your children if they want some hand-me-downs.
41. Go for a Hike or Bike
A great cure for boredom is getting out into nature. So strap on the appropriate footwear and go for a hike or a bike ride. Hit a nearby option or travel somewhere special a few towns over.
42. Organize That Problem Closet / Drawer
For years — maybe decades — you’ve tossed everything you didn’t know what to do with in either a drawer or a closet. Make today the day you finally dive in and clean up.
It’s often an entertaining experience, as you’ll come across things you completely forgot about. And when you’re done organizing, you’ll enjoy the immense sense of satisfaction that washes over you.
43. Do Family Research
How much do you know about the generations of your family that came before? It’s easier than ever to start researching the matter. Who knows what fascinating things you’ll learn about your ancestors!
44. Join Clubs
Whether you pick an online or offline group, joining a community can improve your mental health. It’s a way to stay connected with like-minded people.
45. Learn a New Language
Sure, it’s easier to learn a foreign language as a child. But it’s not impossible as a senior. Language study is another great way to keep your brain active and in top condition.
Moreover, there are more ways than ever to get the job done. You can even enlist a native speaker and do lessons over video chat.
It’s fine to be lazy and bored now and again. In fact, according to studies, not doing anything can be beneficial and help rejuvenate your creativity. Nature knows you’ve earned that right!
But don’t forget that retirement can be one of the most exciting times of a person’s life. You’ve done the work, and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.