Many people struggle with things to do when retired and bored. It’s a common emotion that can be difficult to deal with. That’s why we created this helpful list of 30 great things to do as a retiree to overcome boredom. We also discuss how boredom can lead to creativity and new experiences in retirement. Eager to learn more? Let’s dig in!
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You should focus on avoiding getting chronically bored as a retiree. Because experiences boredom can also lead to great experiences and creativity. Most people retiree between the age of 64 and 68 years old. On average, life expectancy is 84 years old according to the CDC and this chart from the center of retirement research. So, once you’re retired you’ll have around 20 retirement years ahead of you.
Chronic boredom is linked to serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. So, if you feel that you’re struggling with boredom and it’s becoming something you can’t easily overcome, you must really talk to a professional doctor. Taking action yourself is the first step in how you can overcome chronic boredom.
If you experience boredom sometimes, this doesn’t have to be a problem at all. According to this article on Harvard Health Publishing, letting boredom work for you is one of the best remedies to find new creativity and things to do. Basically, you’ll need to question yourself and explore why you’re bored. This is a good way to get a better understanding of yourself and fuel yourself with creativity to explore new things to do.
It’s one of the reasons why we mention in the list allow yourself to do nothing as one of the things do in retirement. There’s a lot more you can do when you’re retired and bored. In the following list, we share unique ideas and examples of how other retirees overcome boredom during their retirement.
#1 Learn New Skills
A lot of retirees love to learn a new skill during their retirement. Working for 40 years within one field or profession can become a little bit boring. Learning an entirely new skill is a great way to spend your retirement.
Let’s look at how my father spent his time in retirement. My father is a retired accountant. He has a love for cars and repairing cars. But as an accountant, he worked in an office job all his life. Since he’s retired he applied for a part-time job in a car repair shop. He is working in a car repair shop as a mechanic two days a week. He is learning on the job.
Another great example of how learning new skills on how to overcome boredom in retirement is when we look at how my father-in-law spent his time. He is a retired policeman and is now working as a skipper and tour guide on a tour boat. Before he got retired he didn’t have any experience with boating and working as a tour guide. Now, he just loves to be on the water, meet new people, and tell stories about the city he grew up and worked his entire life. He has a lot of good stories to share! So learning a new skill can even create new job opportunities!
Best Course Investment For Learning New Skills In Retirement
Ever heard of the online platform Masterclass? It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to have something fun, and learn new skills when you’re retired!
The masterclass platform is an online education platform with the world’s most successful and famous teachers; scientists, chefs, athletes, musicians, writers, etc. From cooking, acting, writing, poker, singing, sports to science, and so much more. Masterclass offers masterclasses taught by the best in the world: Bill and Hilary Clinton, Lewis Hamilton, Gordon Ramsey, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, and many others.
You want to make the most out of your time in retirement. Challenging and educating yourself is the best way to do just that. And the online platform Masterclass can help you fill your retirement days with fun things to do and learn from the best teachers in the world. How cool is that?
#2 Find A (new) Hobby
A hobby is an activity or interest that you like to do for pleasure or relaxation. It’s an activity you feel passionate about to spend your retirement days with it. But what kind of hobby should you do? Well, maybe you don’t have to look too far.
Hobbies At Home:
Baking, Breadmaking, Blogging, Cheesemaking, Clothesmaking, Coffee Roasting, Homebrewing, Cooking, Pet adoption & fostering, Foreign language learning, Soapmaking, Gardening, Pottery, Vegetable farming. Should I go on? The list of hobbies you can do at home is endless. I selected a few of the best hobbies you can do at home.
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However, there are more great things you can do at home. If you love gardening, but don’t have a lot of space at home, make sure to try out the Garden Tower Project. With the Garden Tower Project, you can grow over 50 plants and vegetables in just 4 square meters!
Another cool thing to do in retirement is to create a Legacybox and digitalize all your (old) media to reminisce on the good old times. We all have some boxes at home with old video or audiotapes, and maybe even some other analog media.
Some other fun things to do at home. If you like a nice cold beer, you can make your own beer with a Beer Making Kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop.
You can start a winetasting club with friends, family, your neighbor in retirement with an awesome Membership to Wine Awesomeness. You just have to start somewhere, and finding your retirement hobby becomes a lot easier.
The great thing about finding a new hobby or activity is that you can have the opportunity to learn something new. You have all the time in the world to try out all different types of hobbies until you have found the one for you. It can be a fun adventure as well to try out something new every week or month. Sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone. But that’s the space where the magic happens, and you feel the excitement.
You can also ask yourself, what did you do when you were younger? Did you have any hobbies when you were a child or teenager? Probably you will enjoy this same hobby now as well. This way, you don’t have to look for a new hobby. Just rediscover that old one again.
Here are some extra hobby ideas;
- Outdoors: Camping, Canoeing, Canyoning, Hiking, Beekeeping, Stargazing, horseback riding
- On a budget: Candle making, Book discussion clubs, Card games, Crossword puzzles, puzzles, Seashell collecting, Stone collecting
- Something different: Amateur radio, Beatboxing, Hula hooping, Glassblowing, Wikipedia Editing, Magnet fishing
- Arts: Acting, Cabaret, Drawing, Coloring, Stand-up comedy, Juggling, Jewellery Making, Playing a musical instrument like guitar, piano, Photography
#3 Start With New Sports
Staying active in retirement is one of the best things you can do to enjoy your time in retirement. So why not become active with a sport. You can do everything you like, some popular sports among retirees are; Tennis, Bowling, Baton twirling, Swimming, Running, Baseball, Basketball, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, Archery, Kayaking, Kite flying, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Handball.
Being active is extremely important when it comes to healthy aging. To sport regularly helps you not only to fight boredom but also get more energy and stay stronger.
Activities like yoga and going to the gym are popular among seniors and retirees. Especially because going to these places not only helps with staying active, but are also great for socializing and meeting new people.
#4 Redecorate Your Home Interior
As a retiree, you probably spend more time at home than you did when you still were working. Many people want to redecorate their house when they just got retired. It is a great activity to do, and it probably gives you a lot of new energy as well.
If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to interior design, I recommend following the Masterclass of Kelly Wearstler, the renowned interior designer from the United States.
#5 Start Gardening
Technology is all around us, and that’s why we get detached from nature more and more every day. If you want to recharge your batteries and come back to the present moment, you need to be within nature. Gardening can be a great activity you can do during your retirement.
Gardening is very good for your health. You burn calories, it’s a stress buster, mood buster, and you will get a more appreciation of nature and life. It’s meditation for your mind and physical exercise for your body. And growing your own vegetables can be so much fun and satisfying as well. So get yourself a gardening kit and get out there. And if you don’t know how to garden, watch an online Masterclass from Ron Finley, one of the best and most respected gardeners in the United States.
Ron Finley also teaches you how you can start your own (vegetable) garden, even if you don’t have a garden! There are so many possibilities to start gardening within your home or on your balcony with an indoor vegetable gardening kit or get creative with a Bonsai Tree Starting Kit or a Garden Tower Project.
#6 Improve Your Cooking Skills
Everyone has to eat. So why not make the most delicious meals every day. It doesn’t have to be very expensive. With only a couple of ingredients, you can make the most mouthwatering dishes. Go on Pinterest to look for recipes and watch YouTube tutorials if you want to see how you make it.
But you can also gift yourself cooking masterclasses from the best chefs in the world. Invite a few friends over to enjoy this Masterclass together or organize a gourmet dinner for your family and let them taste what you created with the help of Gordon Ramsey, Aaron Franklin, Thomas Keller, Gabriela Camara, and many more.
#7 Try Something New Every Week
Getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to not get bored during your retirement. Because the opposite of boredom is excitement. And trying out something new is the best way to get excited. You can make a list of things you’ve always been interested in and always wanted to try. Let’s say you call it “Try Before You Die.” And start trying things out.
You can keep the list very small or grow the list into an adventure bucket list. It’s really up to you how adventurous you want to make it. And it’s also up to you if you’re going to do it every day, week, month, or year during your retirement.
Don’t let fear hold you back or let age play a role. Magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone and try out something new. It fills you with confidence and gives you a new perspective on life. It’s your retirement so why not make it the most exciting time of your life!
#8 Create A Retirement Bucket List
A fun way to find new things to do in retirement is by creating a retirement bucket list. A bucket list is nothing more than a list of things and activities you really want to do ‘before you kick the bucket.’
When you’re creating your bucket list, don’t make things too complicated. Just sit down at a relaxed spot, maybe your garden, your living room, or somewhere else, and start writing down the things that you come up with.
You can make this list together with your spouse, and maybe ask friends or family members for inspiration. I recommend first to write down all the ideas you can think of, before thinking about things like ‘it’s too expensive,’ or ‘I’m too old for that.’ You never too old for anything, as long as you feel good about doing it, just do it! Age is just a number!
When you created your bucket list, you can also combine completing your bucket list by doing something new once a week. It’s an excellent opportunity to plan new activities!
Looking for some fun bucket list inspiration? Check out my article, 101+ Ideas For Your Retirement Bucket List.
#9 Start With Bird Watching
Being outside is related to many health benefits. A great activity you can do when going outside is birdwatching.
If you want to start with birdwatching I recommend visiting the website of Audubon. Which is one of the most complete websites when it comes to birdwatching in the United States.
#10 Learn A New Language
Have you ever wished to have learned a foreign language like maybe Spanish, Italian or Chinese? Well, I have, and perhaps this is something you want to do too during your retirement. And nowadays it’s so easy to learn a new language. You don’t have to go to school; you can stay at home or learn while you’re driving your car, doing housekeeping tasks or other activities because you can learn a language online.
You can learn a new language through online one on one video lessons via YouTube or an app on your phone. It really is up to you and how much time and effort you want to put in it. It doesn’t even have to be really expensive, just make sure you have an internet connection and a computer/ tablet or smartphone. And probably some earplugs are helpful as well. Here are a couple of online language courses you can check out:
Also, read our article about learning a language as a retiree; Can Seniors Learn A New Language?
#11 Adopt/ Babysit A Pet
Pets make life so much more fun. And you really can’t get bored if there is cute dog craving for your attention. You can either adopt a pet or babysit others. A lot of pet owners have busy jobs and don’t have a lot of time for their pets. And organizations like Trustedhousesitters and PetsitUSA matches pet owners with sitters nearby who can watch their pet.
#12 Go On Pinterest
Pinterest is the biggest online bulletin board you can imagine. Create an account and put in your interests, and Pinterest does half the work for you. It will give you inspiration, ideas, and Do It Yourself projects on anything you like.
It helps you discover and do what you love. From creative gift ideas, gardening tips to inspire you to do, and fun projects yourself in and around the house. If you see a fun idea, just pin this idea to your Pinterest boards, so you collect all sorts of ideas you want to try out someday
#13 Do Volunteer Work
Helping others makes you feel great about yourself. And it makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day. It isn’t a surprise that a lot of retirees are doing volunteer work during their retirement. It’s one of the most popular things to do in retirement.
And charities are always looking for great volunteers. It’s a good way to stay active, feel productive, and helping others gives you the feeling you’re contributing to something bigger.
There are a lot of opportunities to do volunteer work. You can volunteer at churches, schools, or local charities near you. Don’t be afraid to ask around in town at church, supermarkets, schools, etc. And if you’re a more adventurous type of person, you can go to a different state or overseas to work as a volunteer as well. It’s a great way to travel for free if that’s something you want to do.
If you found something you think you like, you can ask for a day to try and feel it out. This way, you know what they expect from you, and you can build in time for yourself to think about if this volunteer job is something you want to commit to during your retirement. Make sure to be selective and find a charity that fits you.
Where To Find A Volunteer Job
- Use your expertise and the many years of experience to train a student within the same job field as you.
- You don’t have to look far for volunteering. You can also help your neighbor(s) with simple tasks if they are not able to do this anymore.
- Habitat for Humanity: As a volunteer, you construct homes or renovate older or damaged ones. They are spread around the US.
- PeaceCorps.gov: You can volunteer abroad. You have the opportunity to work within communities overseas to improve education, health, environment, and more. This is a cheap way to travel because housing and travel expenses are taken care of.
- Volunteer.gov: check out this website if you’re looking for volunteering in the national parks of the USA.
- Volunteer.VA.gov: if you want to help out with veterans, then making sure to check out this website. You can volunteer at a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in your area.
- Federal Election Volunteers: You can help election officials in your state-run the polling locations as a Poll Worker.
- Earth Team Volunteers: if you love the environment, then this can work for you. As a volunteer, you will work to improve soil, air quality, conserve water, and enhance wildlife habitat on private lands.
- Meals on Wheels: You can deliver food to the hungry by volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
If you want to read more information about why volunteering is popular among so many retirees, I recommend reading my article, Why Do Retirees Volunteer?
#15 Babysit Your Grandchildren
This is an easy shot. Of course, you want to spend time with your grandchildren. If your grandchildren live close by, you can even offer to babysit them one or a couple of times a week. A lot of retirees spend their retirement this way. It saves a lot of money on daycare for your children.
Before you offer to babysit your grandchildren, make sure that you want to commit yourself to this. It depends on what you have planned for yourself in retirement. For example, if you’re going to start traveling for a longer period, you probably can’t commit to babysitting your grandchildren several days a week.
If you don’t have enough time to babysit every week, you also can offer to be a ‘babysit safety net,’ like, when there’s no one else available, that your children can ask you to babysit.
Either way, if your babysitting or not, spending more time with your family and grandchildren are great things to do when you’re retired! Your grandchildren will grow up very quickly, so make sure to enjoy this time to the fullest!
#16 Spend More Time With Family
I just mentioned it, spending more family time is a unique thing to do in retirement. During their careers, many people didn’t have much time left to spend with their beloved family members. When you were also busy with your work all the time, you might want to catch up with those important moments you missed. It’s never too late to reconnect with family members or friends that you haven’t seen or spoken in a long time because of your busy career.
If your doubting to catch up with a family member, just pick up the phone and ask if they want to meet up. Often it’s great to meet up again, and you probably have a lot to talk about!
#17 Get A Retirement Job
Wait, say what now!? Yes, you read it correctly, I recommend you to get a retirement job. Not a full-time job, though, you need to enjoy your time as a retiree. However, it’s possible that you’re bored in retirement because you miss working and being among colleagues.
There are many jobs available for retirees that you can apply for, I made a helpful list in my article, 50 Best Jobs For Retirees.
#18 Stay Active
One of the most important things you can do in retirement is staying active. Staying active helps you to avoid boredom, but it’s also related to many age-related (health) issues. According to the CDC staying physically active is essential for healthy aging.
If you’re in an average physical condition, make sure to follow at least the CDC recommendations when it comes to daily physical activities. Their slogan is to move more and sit less.
There are many things you can do to stay active. Of course, several sports activities, but also other everyday activities, like hiking or swimming can help to reach your activity goals. You can find other helpful tips in my article, How Can I Stay Active In Retirement?
#19 Go Outside Every Day
Being outside is important helps you to feel better. There are many related health benefits when you go outside every day. According to this article on Harvard Health Publishing, some benefits are;
- You Feel Happier
- Your concentration will improve
- You get more exercise
It’s easy to go outside, and even when the weather isn’t nice, it’s often still lovely to go for a walk. We live close to a park, and the beach in The Netherlands, so we often go outside for a walk or a fresh dip in the sea. It’s a perfect way to re-energize again!
#20 Stay Socially Connected
Did you know that many retirees lose a lot of their social connections when they’re retired? Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you! Keeping up with your social connections is a great way to fight boredom in retirement.
However, for many retirees, their social life was closely related to their work environment. So try to keep in contact with your old colleagues, or visit some new/ old friends. It’s recommended to increase your social circle when you’re becoming older. According to Harvard Health Publishing, older adults with broader social connections, are often more active, which is related to many health benefits, like we discussed earlier.
#21 Learn To Play An Music Instrument
Learning new things is important in life. And when you keep learning, you can probably avoid boredom in retirement. Keep that inner child in yourself active, it helps you to stay curious, and keep learning!
Many people always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, but they often didn’t have the time during their busy careers. And no, you are never too old to learn something new! A great way to learn something new is by following a Masterclass.
Did you know that Carlos Santana teaches how to play guitar on the Masterclass platform? Get your Annual Membership to Masterclass here.
#22 Become A Mentor/ Coach
As a retiree, you have a lot of experience, both in life and from your career. A great opportunity to fight boredom in retirement is by coaching other people.
You can become a life coach or career coach for younger people. Why not share your knowledge and help others? Did you know that you can follow a program to improve your coaching skills, and get internationally certified as a coach! Check out the programs on Coach Training Alliance here.
#23 Start Writing
You probably have a lot to talk about if you want to share all your life experiences. So, why not write them down for yourself, and maybe future generations?
Writing your story, or maybe your life lessons is an inspiring way to avoid boredom in retirement. If you find it challenging to start with writing, I recommend following a course on Masterclass. There are many different writing courses available that can help you become a semi-professional writer!
#24 Go Traveling
The best way to spend your retirement is to travel and see the world. Right? Have you always wanted to go to Europe? Now is the time. Or maybe you want to buy an RV and hit all the states in the US or travel to Asia/ Africa to experience a new culture.
Traveling is all about going to new places and experience new things. So that doesn’t mean you always have to go to the other side of the world. Places you have never seen before can be very close to you. If you don’t have a ton of money to spend during your retirement, you can still travel. Go hiking through a nearby forest or National Park you haven’t visited yet. Where would you go if you had an overseas visitor? Visit those places in your area. Google the historic sites near you, and you will learn something new every day.
And if you do want to go all out, then go for it! Don’t wait for the right time. Now is the right time. Just plan your trip and start enjoying exciting new places during your retirement. You can create a bucket list with all the things you always wanted to do and see. Figure out which one is the ultimate one and make sure to travel to this place first. And just tick off your bucket list from there on out.
If you’re alone, don’t worry. There are so many people traveling alone and have the time of their lives. It’s the best way to meet new people and experience new countries and cultures. And if you don’t want to travel alone, then you should look for a travel buddy. On the websites Travel Buddies and Senior Travel Buddy, you can look for a travel partner.
When you’re looking for more travel inspiration, I recommend reading one of my travel-related articles;
#25 Build Your Family Tree
Many retirees want to know more about their families. How far back the generations go, where their family actually coming from. If you didn’t do so already, building a family tree can be an interesting activity when you bored in retirement.
This activity is also known as genealogy, a helpful website to start with is ancestry.com
#26 Limit Your Screen Time
According to a study of the BLS, the American Time Use Survey, retirees spend most of their time watching television. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with watching your favorite show on Netflix or go to YouTube to watch funny videos. However, I would recommend limiting your screen time.
Replace the time you spend watching television with fun activities like going outside or spending on your hobby. You probably feel less bored very quickly!
#27 Stay Mentally Active
Keeping your brain active or staying mentally active in retirement is something many retirees are worried about. When you’re bored in retirement, you probably also have some issues with remaining mentally active.
It is important to keep up with mentally challenging activities because it’s related to avoid health issues that come with age. According to Harvard Health Publishing, mental activities are essential for healthy brain aging. Activities like jigsaw puzzles, reading, and learning new things are a great way to keep up with those activities.
You can find more helpful inspiration in my article, How Can I Keep My Brain Active In Retirement?
#28 Allow Yourself Time To Do Nothing
When you just got retired, you need to get used to your new lifestyle. Allow yourself time doing that. You don’t need to replace your busy work schedule with all kinds of other activities. It is also important to relax and allow yourself time to do nothing.
In fact, when you’re doing nothing, you often come up with new ideas for new activities you can do in retirement. Getting used to your retirement lifestyle is one of the most essential things you can do when you strive for a happy and fulfilling retirement. You must know that almost every retiree needs to deal with different emotional stages in retirement. You can read more about it in my article, What Are The Five Stages Of Retirement?
Woodworking can be a great hobby to do as a retiree. It’s perfect to avoid boredom. With working you both work on your creativity and fine mobility skills. For many people starting with woodworking means getting out of their comfort zone.
#30 Find a Part-time Job
Many retirees feel that they want to work a few days in the week during their retirement. It helps them to meet other people and to stay active. So if you feel like working in your retirement, you probably want to look for a part-time job maybe two or three days a week.
You can find a list of interesting jobs for retirees in this article that I wrote.
These other articles might be interesting for you to read as well: