5 things to do when there’s nothing to do

Whether it’s self-imposed or just a blank space on your calendar, “downtime” can quickly lead to boredom if time stretches on and isn’t well spent. Here are 5 suggestions to make the most of your “you time”.

Reconnect face-to-face. We all spend a lot of time on our devices. Put away the phones and tablets and turn off the TV. Now what? Grab a deck of cards or a board game and challenge your family to old school fun. Take turns telling stories about your most embarrassing moment, your first day at your first job or how you met your best friend. Discuss your dream travel destination or the new hot restaurants in town. Even better, share your best (and worst) jokes. The topics of discussion don’t matter, but don’t miss the opportunity to have irrelevant, unhurried conversations with those who matter most. These times don’t last forever.

Enjoy the solitude. How often do you truly have time to yourself? Treat this time as valuable. Sit down with a book and enjoy the pleasure of a good read. Don’t want to commit to a book? (Hey, this is your time, you don’t have to!) Grab a stack of magazines you can flip through with less commitment. Enjoy a workout or yoga session in your living room, anything that feels like an investment in you. You deserve it.

Try new recipes. Okay, this sounds like work, but hear me out. Cooking together is a great way for families to connect, and cooking solo is a great way to experiment. There’s no pressure, no potluck to attend, no guests coming for dinner. Love Thai food? Try making your favorite dish from scratch. Make grandma’s famous gumbo, or make that cake you love. Plus, this is an opportunity to create meals to freeze and serve later–when you actually have other things to do and cooking moves further down on your priority list.

Find videos to feed your brain. Use your downtime to check out some of the great current YouTube content. Whether to learn, connect or just be entertained, YouTube has lots of great content, surely something for everyone. Travel the world with Oneika the Traveller. Manage your money with His & Her Money. Learn new recipes with Fit Men Cook. Or master your makeup with Jackie Aina. If you prefer something a bit more cerebral, check out TED Talks. With thousands of talks given by experts in many fields, you may soon be an expert yourself.

Use podcasts for education or pleasure. The beauty of these options is that you can actually multitask and get other things done while you’re listening. Just pop in your earbuds and you’re transported to another place, all while you’re washing dishes or lying on the sofa. Podcasts’ content and format varies based on the host. Some are recorded in a talk-radio interview style, some are like an author’s audio journal, some are fictional stories with multiple voice actors–like old-time radio theater. New to podcasting? You can find them on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or just by searching podcasts online. A few you may want to try are Reid This Reid That (“pop culture, politics and black girl magic”), The Nod (celebrating “the genius, the innovation, and the resilience that is so particular to being black”), or even Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations (audio of interviews Oprah has conducted with some of the world’s top movers and shakers.)

These are just a few ideas, but we’d love to hear yours! Please share your suggestions below.

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