Being bored at night used to be one of my biggest triggers when it came to depression and anxiety.
Something about only having that dark room staring back at me was terrifying. Only, it wasn’t ghosts and demons I was scared of – it was my own thoughts.
(I know, I know – let me be dramatic for ONE second, okay?)
I believed that in order to overcome being bored at night, I had to find ways to force my way through it like a steamroller.
I thought it was something we all had to cure.
However, I’ve since discovered that feeling bored at night isn’t something we should just try to remedy and push back against. It’s something we should try to work WITH.
Time is a MASSIVE tool. (In more ways than one…)
Learning how to embrace it has been key to healing my mental health and mindset.
I now have set activities that not only help improve how I feel in general before I go to bed as part of my nightly routine.
I also have ways to process any negative thoughts and feelings that to tend to pop up from time to time.
Here’s what I do when I’m bored at night to improve my mindset.
24 things to do when you’re bored at night alone
I’ve split these things to do when you’re bored at night into three main categories:
- Things to do when you’re bored at night alone
- Things to do when you’re bored at night in bed
- What can I do at night when I’m bored to help improve my mindset?
Now, ALL of these activities will help with your mindset and feeling a little more positive before drifting off to sleep.
However, I’ve done set them into three sub-headings for a reason.
The activities you can do when you’re in bed are different to those you can generally just do alone in the evening (you’re supposed to avoid technology before sleeping, for example), and I want to get pretty specific about the activities you can do to SERIOUSLY improve your mindset.
Here are a few things you can generally do when you’re bored at night alone, but you’re not immediately thinking of hitting the hay.
#1. Watch Netflix (other steaming services ARE available)
One of my biggest stress relievers – weirdly enough – is to watch horror movies and spooky TV shows on Netflix.
If I’m bored alone in the evening or at night, I stick on a movie that I’ve watched before and love, or something new I’ve had on my list for a while.
#2. Watch YouTube
Allow yourself to fall down the YouTube rabbit hole.
Just make sure you keep an eye on the time as it tends to escape you when you’re watching dozens of Among Us play-throughs…
I personally love to watch ASMR at night as it’s super-relaxing and helps you get to sleep if you’re having trouble.
#3. Have a snack
An evening snack that chips and hummus or popcorn seems to taste so much better when you’re bored at night.
Going to bed with a satisfied tummy also feels really good and can help you sleep a little better.
#4. Practise yoga
Look up a short, gentle night time yoga video on YouTube that you can do in your PJs or simply do some light stretching combined with deep breathing.
This short flow by Yoga With Adriene is really lovely.
#5. Take the opportunity to learn
I love learning, but I sometimes feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day.
When you’re bored at night it’s the perfect time to sit down with a book or your laptop and research a topic you’ve been meaning to learn about for a while.
(I’m currently reading about Tarot reading because I am truly committed to being Spooky.)
Another way you can feed your brain and continue learning is with a platform called the How To Academy.
The How To Academy provides you with hundreds of talks, conversations, podcasts, and information on a range of topics from politics and history, to film and psychology.
I personally love the range of talks they have on wellbeing.
Check out the How To Academy.
#6. Go for a walk or run
Walking or going for a run when you’re bored at night can feel really freeing and liberating.
It also gets the endorphins flowing so it’s likely to put you in a better mood than before you left.
If it’s unsafe to do so alone – or at all – in your area, this may not be a good option for you. If this is the case, I invite you to put on some of your fave music that makes you feel positive and dance like nobody’s watching.
…And if they are, the neighbours are in for a treat!
#7. Write a blog post
If you have something you want to get off your chest that you believe will benefit the world, why not write it down in a blog post?
#8. Speak with a friend
If it’s not too late at night, reach out to a friend and see if they want to chat or even facetime with you.
Even if it is super-late, why not reach out anyway?
Some of the best conversations happen after the sun’s gone down.
If you’re bored at night alone, you might as well make the most of your time and de-clutter or clean.
Once every few months I go through my drawers, filing cabinet, and general cupboards.
I then make separate piles of stuff I want to throw away, donate to the charity shop down the road from me, or tidy back in its rightful place.
It’s SO therapeutic and keeps my mental health in a good place.
What to do when you’re bored at night in bed
When you’re bored in bed at night and having trouble sleeping, it’s generally advised that you avoid looking at screens as the blue light is thought to disrupt your sleep.
Here are a few extra things you can do when you’re bored at night that don’t involve a TV, phone, or computer screen.
#10. Listen to music
Create a soothing, uplifting Spotify playlist and put in some quality ear buds.
Allow yourself to become totally immersed in the ~vibes~.
#11. Listen to a podcast or audio book
Listen to an uplifting, funny, or informative podcast or audiobook.
Just like with Spotify, you don’t have to look at your phone screen. Just hit play and keep your phone locked by your side.
#12. Write poetry
I find a really amazing outlet for any negative feelings or thoughts that come up is poetry.
Even if you don’t feel like your poetry is very good and never plan on sharing it, just getting a stream of consciousness out of your mind and onto a piece of paper can feel be really cathartic.
Like poetry, getting creative can really help process the emotions that crop up with poor mental health.
Again, like poetry, you don’t have to be amazing at drawing or painting in order to do it – art is subjective anyway.
Do it for YOU and no-one else.
#14. Read a book
Reading is a great way of winding down from the day and allowing your body to relax for sleep, especially when you’re bored in bed at night.
#15. Breathing exercises
Look up some breathing exercises for anxiety during the day and make a note of them, then give them a go when you’re bored at night in bed.
A breathing technique that I like is box breathing.
In order to ‘box breathe’:
- Breathe in four seconds
- Hold that breath for four seconds
- Breath out for four seconds
- Hold it for four more before you inhale again
This .gif from Maimonide’s Emergency Medical’s website demonstrates the box breathing technique really well.
What can I do at night when I’m bored to help improve my mindset
Writing about your day, emotions, and thoughts can be excellent for your mental health and mindset.
It doesn’t have to be anything deep or profound or an exact diary of every little thing that’s happened during your day, just write about how you’re feeling and how your day went overall.
Sometimes seeing our lives laid out on paper can help put everything into perspective and be useful when unpacking our racing thoughts.
#17. Practise gratitude
Practising gratitude is one of the BEST things you can do for your mindset – hands down!
(If you’re into manifesting and the Law of Attraction, practising gratitude is one of the single most important things you can do to raise your vibration.)
Appreciating what you have got instead of what you haven’t automatically makes you feel more positive.
When practised daily, gratitude can seriously help give your mental health a boost as well.
I personally use the Five Minute Journal to write down three things I’m grateful for every single morning and evening and I’ve had amazing results.
Write down either a short scene in which you see yourself acting out one of your goals or write a letter to the universe in which all your dreams have come true.
Make sure to write these in the present tense – as if these dreams have already happened – and include how you FEEL in them.
What does this goal manifesting bring to your life?
How would you feel if you had achieved it?
What would your life look like?
#19. Shadow Work
I’m big into shadow work right now.
Your shadow side is the side of you that you don’t want to show anyone.
(This side of you usually starts development in childhood so it’s deep rooted AF.)
This ‘shadow side’ of you might be angry, anxious, or have incredibly low self-esteem – all attributes that we’re taught to hide and hate.
Improving your mindset and learning to think positively isn’t about avoiding negative thoughts and emotions. Far from it. Ignoring anything remotely difficult that comes our way and burying our head in the sand isn’t going to help us in the long-run.
What we need to do is acknowledge the negative emotions and thoughts – embrace them.
Recognise that they’re still part of what makes you YOU and allow yourself to feel instead of trying to automatically push these less ‘desirable’ traits back down inside our own minds.
Feel to heal, and all that.
Be kind to yourself and even thank that negative emotion.
Try to feel GRATEFUL that your mind is capable of feeling such a range of emotions.
Remind yourself that you’re human and that all emotions are just part of life.
I invite you to write your limiting beliefs down in your journal and then work through them; analyse where they might have come from and figure out how you can let them flow through you in a healthy way (e.g. art or poetry).
Learning to love EVERY part of ourselves is key to cultivating a positive, peaceful mindset.
#20. Assess your goals
Think about the goals you’ve previously set (if you haven’t – set some!).
Think about how close you are to achieving that goal and what you need to do to get there.
Write new, revised goals if you feel called to.
#21. Practise self-care
Here at Seeking Serotonin, we’re obsessed with self-care and self-love.
(And by ‘we’ I mean me.)
What better time to practise some well-deserved self-care than when you’re bored at night?
Run a bath, put on a face mask, give yourself a pedicure, break out the Rampant Rabbit – go all out!
#22. Set intentions
Intentions are like a cross between goal-setting and affirmations.
Writing down your intentions allows you to focus in on your goal.
Setting intentions can be really powerful; writing down your goals is a way to hold yourself accountable and really put some intent behind achieving them.
All you need to do is think about your goal and write it down in concise, powerful, affirmative form.
For example, instead of writing, ‘I want to make a successful business,’ I would write, ‘My [insert type of business] is BOOMING. Ideas flow to me and I make six figures a year! I’m so grateful to wake up every morning and LOVE my job.’
You get the idea.
#23. Visualise your goals
Visualising is a really powerful tool when it comes to manifesting your dreams and achieving your goals.
I invite you, when you’re laying in bed bored at night, to think about a short, clear scene that indicates that you’ve already achieved one of your huge goals.
It only has to be a couple of minutes long, but make sure you visualise the scene from your point of view, not someone else’s like a movie.
A great way to insure you do this and to really bring the scene to life is to have certain cues – such as touching your hair – that happen in said scene that ground you within it.
Try to really feel how you would feel in that moment.
What specific emotions would manifesting this dream evoke in you?
Music can really help with harnessing the emotions you would feel in the scene.
The night time tends to be quiet and still – perfect for meditating.
I invite you to write down some powerful, strong affirmations to help you feel like a total bad-ass.
Repeat these in your head as you drift off to sleep – this can be REALLY affective.
You can look back on these whenever you need inspiration from the best source on the planet: yourself.
A witchy ray of sunshine who loves to help others on their journal journey. I’ve been journaling since childhood and have since gone on to earn a degree in English and a diploma in Shadow Work. I love my plant babies, yoga, and anything spooky. Find out more on my about me page.