We don’t always need to be productive. In fact, that pressure can be incredibly exhausting. And some experts even advocate for a six-hour workday in lieu of the eight (ten? twelve?) 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 can still find ourselves at the end of the day feeling—shockingly—bored. So, I’ve been making a list of things to do at night so I don’t end up zoning out in front of the TV.
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.
Featured image from our interview with Riley Reed by Michelle Nash.
70 Things to Do at Night (That Don’t Involve Screens)
Whether it’s something thoughtful for someone else, an activity that gets your creative juices flowing, or a way to spend your time that’s actually productive and knocks out a lingering task on your to-do list, we rounded up 70 things to do at night that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to kick your boredom to the curb.
(Psst… If you have kids coming to you saying the infamous, “Mom, I’m boreddddd,” try one of these fun ideas geared toward kids.)
Something to Take Care of You
1. Give your nails some love. No professional manicure 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. 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 non-toxic face tanners.
10. Try out lymphatic massage. Meet your new addiction. 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 fresh style calling your name.
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. Bring out your journal. Whether you like to write in the morning or at night, an evening journal sesh will set your mind right for the mornings to come. Unload the day’s feelings on paper and you’ll feel a lot better for it—promise!
14. Watch one of these 90s movies. I know we said no TV, but there’s nothing like a good throwback.
15. Online shop for this season’s trendiest shoes. Boots of all colors, heel heights and lengths are always in style come fall. Madewell has some of the best picks.
16. 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?
18. 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, hop in the bath and wind down.
19. Stock up on sunscreen. Sunscreen is always a must, so make sure you’re stocked. Here are the best sunscreens for every skin type.
20. 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.
21. Upgrade your summer loungewear game. Move over sweatsuits, the house dress era is here to stay. Shop everything from billowy and breezy to simple and chic.
22. 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.
23. 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 aughts.
24. 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!
25. Call your mom. You’ll get some much-needed mama love and she’ll be thrilled to hear from you. Everyone benefits from a check-in, especially when it’s spontaneous—the perfect close to both of your days.
26. Make a gratitude list. It can be so healing to be intentional about finding the beauty and good in our lives. Jot down a few things you’re grateful for. You’ll be surprised how many there are.
27. Snuggle up with a good book. There’s nothing like a fiery page-turner to keep your mind sharp and senses engaged. Check out one of these picks to get you out of a rut.
28. 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 on your newly cleared shelves.
29. Swap your products for cleaner ones. There can be not-so-great ingredients lurking in our cleaning products. However, we’ve rounded up the best non-toxic cleaning products that actually work. Time to add to cart.
30. Spend some quality time with your calendar. Take advantage of these unscheduled moments to look forward to your week and check in 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.
31. Get your mending kit out. Sew a button onto that cardigan that’s been missing one for ages.
32. 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.
33. Update your resume. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, make sure it’s up to date. That way you can 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, learn more about developing your personal brand.
34. 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 transforming a small closet into a thing of beauty.
35. 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 and anything barely used can be given to a friend.
36. 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.
37. 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.
38. Clean one small thing. You don’t have to tackle the whole house. Just one part of it! Finally, take on your oven, dust your ceiling fans, or give your shower head a quick rinse. You’ll feel better knowing that your home is squeaky clean.
39. 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!
40. 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.
41. Refresh your bedding. There’s nothing like snuggling into fresh sheets after a hot shower. Treat your future self to clean sheets—she’ll thank you later.
42. Browse for gifts. Does anyone else get overwhelmed during the holiday season? It’s never too early to scout out thoughtful gifts for the people you love. Bookmark gifts for birthdays, holidays, or pick-me-ups for the people in your life. Again, your future self will thank you.
43. Write a haiku. Fun, simple, and sometimes silly, blow off some steam with a quick haiku. Share with someone, or keep it for yourself.
45. 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.
46. 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.
47. 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.
48. Make some DIY flower-pressed art. Grab some blooms and books and create a new piece of art to hang in your home.
49. Get out your paint brushes. Whether you watercolor or pull out the acrylics, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as the swirl of paint on canvas.
50. 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.
51. Redecorate (or rearrange!). Get your creative juices flowing by emptying your bookshelves and piecing them back together. You never know what might look good until you shake it up and restart!
52. Recreate 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.
53. Meal plan for the week. 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.
54. 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?
55. 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!
56. Pickle some vegetables. One of the easiest ways to upgrade a dish is with pickled veg, and it’s even sweeter when you have them on hand. 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!
57. Make the most delicious blueberry muffin. We did the work for you and tested five recipes to find the winner. Breakfast for the week is solved (if you don’t eat them all fresh out of the oven).
58. 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.
59. Bake something delicious. There’s no boredom buster like baking. We have some ideas for you.
60. 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, and a touch of jam or honey. My favorite dinner.
61. 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.
62. Take an online wine class. Whether you’re into sparkling rosé or Argentinian 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.
Something Just for Fun
64. Color-code your bookshelves. There’s something that’s just so joy-sparking about rainbows.
65. Adventure to your neighborhood lending libraries. Set out on a walk with a mission in mind. Scope your neighborhood for lending libraries to drop off some of your old reads and find new treasures. I have three just within a few blocks’ radius, and it’s a joy to discover what’s inside every time.
66. Make a playlist. I love making playlists for the seasons, my (many) different moods, and even just the week. Have some fun on Spotify and curate songs to your liking.
67. Have breakfast for dinner. Pancakes on a Tuesday? Nothing makes me feel more like a kid.
69. Hop on your bike. Take advantage of a nice evening and ride leisurely through your city or town.
70. Go out for ice cream. At the end of the day, is there anything better?
This post was originally published on June 1, 2021, and has since been updated.