As a corporate girl used to working 40+ hour weeks, with a 45+ minute commute and a side hustle teaching 6am yoga classes, I had a dramatic change in my free time when I moved to Germany with my husband and found it impossible to find a job. At first it was really hard and weird having so much time. It was kind of uncomfortable honestly. I didn’t know how to handle free time. But now, I have so many “projects” going on that I am never bored.
Turns out, these past eight months of being retired have actually been training for this crazy situation we are all going through. When we were back in the States last month, I had a friend ask me what I actually do to fill my time and to prevent me from being bored. Who knew back then how timely of a question that would be! Keep reading for some boredom buster inspiration.
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Pick Up That Side Hustle You’ve Been Wanting To Do
For me that was blogging. I knew we’d be traveling a ton while living abroad and I wanted a way to be able to share my tips and recommendations with friends and family. For those of you that do blog, you know that it is way more time consuming than it looks. Whether you want to start a food blog, a hair/makeup YouTube channel, a health and wellness website, this is the perfect time to start. Pick your domain name, set up your site theme, start filming your YouTube channel, etc. If you’ve been thinking about getting fitness trainer certified, start working on that now. If you want to start a photography side biz, start putting your portfolio together.
Take An Online Class In Something Unique
I’ve taken tons of free online classes since moving here: SEO, Google Analytics, Pinterest strategies, etc. Those are all classes to help improve some of my blogging strategies, but I’ve also taken classes on random topics that were interesting to me (e.g., travel agents, event planning). This page has a list of free Ivy League classes. I also recommend Coursera and edX. Or, just google “free online class” + topic you’re interested in. Maybe you want to take a class on interior design just for fun!
Learn a New Language
We tried so many language learning apps before we moved to Germany. Babbel is my personal favorite because they do a really good job of teaching grammar and do a mix of speaking, listening, reading and writing. I also highly recommend Paul Noble’s books on Audible. He does an amazing job of teaching the language in an intuitive, non-stressful way. Give this Audible book a shot and I promise you’ll be impressed.
Do Something With All Those Pictures
One of my first projects when we moved here was compiling our wedding photos to make a wedding album for our coffee table. Making a scrapbook is one of those things that just sits on my to do list but never gets done. But with easy websites like Artifact Uprising and Shutterfly it’s actually super easy to do. Plus, this is one of those projects that when you actually start, it’s actually fun to do. P.S. Shutterfly has an awesome sale going on right now!
Calligraphy is a dying art, but it is such a fun impressive skill. I’m better at hand lettering, which is a more contemporary spinoff of traditional calligraphy. Hand lettering is drawing to create beautiful letters. I used this book on Amazon and these markers to practice hand lettering. For more traditional calligraphy, I recommend Laura Hooper. This is a fun, creative way to spend your time, and you can practice this skill while watching TV.
Take an Online Workout Class
I’ve had the Peloton app since December and have been recommending it to my friends a lot lately. The Peloton App has a free trial for 90 days! Even if you don’t have a Peloton, or a bike, the app has tons of classes you can do at home. The bodyweight classes are great if you don’t have any dumbbells at home. I love Becs Gentry’s & Olivia Amato’s core classes and Hannah Frankson’s & Leanna Hainsby’s 10 minute arms toning classes and the power yoga classes. If you don’t have light dumbbells, look in your kitchen. Use two full water bottles, a large bottle of vegetable oil, two cans of veggies, etc. You don’t need much to feel the effects of the arms toning classes. Peloton also has meditation classes, and in this period of uncertainty, maybe a 10 minute meditation class is something you really need. They’ve also just added cardio dance classes and they are so fun! If you do join, add me on the app @laura_travels.
I know all gyms and boutique fitness studios back home have closed. A lot of them are starting to post online classes, which is amazing. Check out my old kickboxing studio @vestamovementponce for their free online workouts on IGTV. My old yoga studio Pure Motion Yoga has free yoga classes on their website.
Foster or Adopt a Dog
So many friends say they really want a dog, but they just don’t have time to train it with work and travel. Now that you’re stuck at home, there really isn’t a better time than now! Adopt a dog, potty train it, crate train it, and you have your new best friend for life. Check with your local humane society and local rescue groups. A lot of facilities are either desperately looking for fosters, and some are starting to do virtual adoptions online!
Pick Up A New Hobby
Whether it’s knitting, sewing, painting, photography, gardening, beer brewing, podcasting, etc., obviously it’s the perfect time to find a new hobby. Everyone is looking for hobbies nowadays. I decided to try painting. I bought this water color paint set online and am using YouTube videos to learn.
Read a Book
Girl it’s about time you pick up a book! If you haven’t read Where The Crawdads Sing yet, jump on it doggone it. Add me on GoodReads so we can share book recs, buy a Kindle, or join Book of the Month Club. Other book recs: The Great Alone, Then She Was Gone, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Golden Hour.
Keeping myself busy with projects is what gets me through my days. That does not mean it’s what you need to get through these crazy times. Maybe you just need to relax, take naps, do a puzzle, binge watch shows on Netflix. Or, set up your own personal wine tasting (can I virtually join?). Maybe you need a Harry Potter movie marathon. It’s okay to be bored; it’s okay to be [a little] stressed. Do what’s right for you boo boo. We will all get through this.
What about you? Any other suggestions for fending off the boredom blues? Leave them in the comments below!