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With apps like TikTok and Instagram it’s easy to spend hours mindlessly scrolling, often losing chunks of time to social media. Personally, I actually think this is fine. It’s your life, do what you want. And I myself have been known to spend an hour on TikTok before bed, too tired to read, or even watch an episode of a show. This is fine once in a while, but probably shouldn’t be a daily activity. If you find yourself bored, this can be an easy fix. But even if you’re burned out emotionally, from work, or from social outings, there are still ways to unwind that are better for you — mentally, physically, and for your soul.

Spend time either doing something productive that will benefit you in some way, or something that you genuinely enjoy. This may also be an opportunity to learn more about yourself — if you can’t seem to name a pastime you enjoy (besides watching tv or hanging with friends), this is a great time to explore and try new things to learn about yourself.

I’ve made a list below for anyone feeling lost or uninspired. The past couple of weeks I’ve found myself on social media or binging reality tv way too often, and these ideas have helped me get out of my rut!

Productive ways to spend time (what to do when you feel restless)

Do something that will benefit your home:

  • Cleaning: there’s nothing like opening your fridge, opening your eyes, and seeing that you’re a sewer rat living in filth! Pick a room or an appliance and give it a good scrub.
  • Organizing: whether it be your cabinet of files, the heap of cups on your night table, or a stack of blankets and papers on the couch, put a timer on for 5-10 mins and organize — you’ll feel so much fresher in no time.
  • Improving: maybe there’s something your saving for — a new couch or an additional piece of furniture — but you can also improve other things around your home, whether it be rearranging your furniture, putting on clean bed sheets, or laundering your bathroom rugs and shower curtain, there’s always something that can be improved.
  • Gardening: if you have a garden, tend to any weeds, and water your plants. If you don’t, think about your home and whether there are any plants or herbs you think can start thriving in your life.

Do something that will benefit your health:

  • Exercise: whether it be a team sport, hitting the gym, or doing a workout video at home, this is a great way to stay healthy and boost your mood.
  • Spending time outdoors: walking, hiking, playing sports, having a picnic — all good ideas to get some fresh air and vitamin D. Sometimes the only thing that can make me stretch my legs is the promise of a hot chocolate — do whatever it takes to get that blood flowing.
  • Meditating: there are so many apps and YouTube videos on this by now that there’s no excuse not to learn to meditate if it’s something you’re curious about. A ‘guided’ meditation is great for beginners. After time, you’ll feel centered and lighter.
  • Yoga/stretching: great for everyone, including people who have injuries/muscle pain. If you’ve been on the couch for hours, do a 5 minute yoga video — there are even videos for couch potatoes if you really don’t want to get up.
  • Read positive materials: any self-help or self-improvement book is great here.
  • Journal: if you don’t want to write about your day, try a writing prompt, or write a list of things you’re grateful for, things you’re excited for, things you’re worried about — just the act of putting these thoughts down on paper will release you.
  • Cooking: cooking is an interesting one because since your mind is busy, you won’t have time to stress about any things you’re anxious about. Trying a new recipe is a great way to grow, while nourishing yourself. I’m all about that two-birds-one-stone action.

Do something that will benefit your future:

  • Creating outlines: create or update your budget, make goal lists, plan for upcoming events or things you want to do.
  • Educate yourself: take a course, webinar, or watch an instructional or inspiring video. These can range from learning a language, instrument, or something as simple as watching a documentary on baby animals.
  • Learn: read about topics you’re interested in to learn more — become an expert in the things that excite you! 
  • Tweak your career tools: boost your resume, look for job postings, update your LinkedIn, start following the careers of those you aspire to be.

Fun ways to spend time (what to do when you want to relax)

Do something that brings you joy:

  • Hobbies: there are certain things you can do while watching tv (colouring, gaming, crocheting, working on a puzzle) but sometimes it’s nice to just listen to music while unwinding with your favourite hobby. I like to always have a book I can turn to, a videogame I can play, and a show that I enjoy, that way, I can do whichever one I want based on what mood I’m in. It’s great to get lost in something you enjoy, especially when you become obsessed with your current fixation.
  • Spending time with loved ones: call your parents, text a friend, make plans. I’ll text a friend asking if they want something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t yet to get me excited (e.g., check out a specific coffee shop, walk on a certain trail, go skating, etc.).
  • Passion project: Everyone has something they’re passionate about, and I believe everyone has something they can be creative with. Whatever that is, go for it. Whether it be woodworking, painting, fashion, nutrition, history, geography, there’s a way to be creative about it and even make money from it! Maybe you can sell your creations, maybe you can write or talk about them, or maybe you can teach others. Research what other people with your passion do and get inspired to work on something. 

I really believe all of these things are good for you, whether it be for your mind, body, or just good for your soul!

Next time I can’t think of something to do, I myself am going to go back to this list. If none of my usual pastimes, such as my current read, show, or walk is speaking to me, I’ll try to spend 5 minutes doing something like organizing or working on a passion project. When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve found I often want to continue the task and end up being completely productive!

Now go forth, and either improve or enjoy your life (and maybe both).

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