Various Activities to Alleviate Boredom After an Injury, Illness, or Surgery

Updated on September 27, 2018
Recovering from a serious surgery or illness doesn't have to be all bad. It might actually turn out to be an opportunity to do something you have never done in disguise!
Recovering from a serious surgery or illness doesn't have to be all bad. It might actually turn out to be an opportunity to do something you have never done in disguise! | Source

Recuperating from a surgery is a boring process, but the activities listed in this article should help keep your mind occupied while your body heals.With a positive attitude and an engaged mind, you will start feeling better faster after your surgery.

The idea is to enjoy yourself until you are back on your feet. Who knows, you may even be able to cross some things off of that list of "things you needed to get around to sometime."

  • Learn a New Skill or Hobby
  • Curbing Boredom on the Web
  • Television Shows Guaranteed to Cure Boredom
  • Gain Knowledge While You Recover
  • Make a Family Keepsake
  • Check Books off of Your Reading List

Learn a New Skill or Hobby

Learn new skills is a good way to keep your mind sharp. You will be so busy and engrossed in what you are doing that you won't have any time to be bored. In many cases Amazon will deliver them right to your home, so you don't even have to leave the house. Below are five exciting hobbies that you can do while you are immobile in recovery.

1. Try Knitting and Crochet:

If you are feeling well enough to sit up and use your arms, recuperating from surgery is an excellent chance to learn a skill like knitting. While ordinarily you might not have the patience to sit still long enough to learn, now you are trapped so you might as well. You can use the time to make yourself a scarf, or learn how to make a baby blanket if someone is expecting. Your sense of accomplishment from completing a handmade project will help raise your spirits.

2. Practice Your Drawing:

Many people wish they were better at drawing, but do not have the time to devote to learning how. The best thing about drawing as a hobby is that it does not require many supplies, a pad of paper and a pencil and you are set.

3. Study a New Language:

Learning a new language is great for your brain, your career, and can help you communicate with more people. With all of these benefits, don't you think it's time that you brushed up on your high school Spanish? Or learned a new language entirely? If you do well learning the language, perhaps you should reward yourself with a trip to a country that speaks that language to look forward to when you are feeling better. Why not Portuguese? Italian? German? Russian? Arabic? The opportunities are seemingly endless, and don't forget to learn about their culture and cuisine as well.

4. Learn Knot Tying:

Maybe you learned how to do knots as a child in scouting, but it has been a while. Learning new knots is practical, and a fun way to impress your friends.

5. Learn Card Tricks:

Card tricks are often deceptively simple, and once you get the hang of one or two, you will really be able to take off. It is a fun way to entertain children, or make your friends fear you on poker night. If it doesn't work out you can at least build a card house or get in a game or two of solitaire.

There are plenty productive ways to engage your brain that can be accessed from the comfort of your bed via a laptop.
There are plenty productive ways to engage your brain that can be accessed from the comfort of your bed via a laptop. | Source

Beating Post-Surgery Boredom on the Web

1. Surf the Internet:

It is always entertaining finding a new blog to read. You probably have plenty of time on your hands, so if you are bored, try a website like Reddit that constantly generates new content.

2. Browse Pinterest:

Pinterest is an online bulletin board where people share ideas about crafts, hobbies, recipes, tips, working out, travel, and holiday ideas among other inspirational activities. It is easy to keep occupied for hours while coming up with ideas for what you will do after you feel better from your surgery. You could end up learning new smoothie recipes or new home improvement ideas. Before you know it you won't be bored, and several hours will have passed without you even noticing.

3. Catch Up on Your Emails:

Wade through all the old emails that you meant to respond to....eventually. Check in with old friends that you don't get a chance to keep up with regularly, see if you can make a new pen pal, and don't forget to email a thank you note to anyone who may be helping you out while you recover such as friends and family members or doctors and nurses. Is there a political issue you care a lot about? Email your senator and let them know how you feel.

4. Stream Youtube:

I'm sure that YouTube is nothing new to you, but it certainly deserves a mention as a way to kill time when you are bored! There are tutorial videos about anything you could imagine, learn how to do a new hair style, grow pineapples, or improve your swimming technique. You can also help stave off after surgery depression with funny videos and music videos.

5. Make a Video:

When you get tired of watching videos on YouTube, try making your own. It is easier than you think, and there are numerous resources online to show you how. A good place to start would be to record your pets or children doing funny things, and edit the footage on your computer to make a video.

6. Start a Blog:

Is there something that you are really interested in, and would love to share? Then starting your own blog is a great way to share your passion. You can start a basic blog on blogging sites such as blogger, or if you want a bigger project, buy your own domain name and get set up with a Wordpress template. It's a good way to pass the time, feel mentally stimulated, and a successful blog can even sell advertising to help you make money.

7. Write Articles Online for Money:

If starting your own blog seems overwhelming, make your own Squidoo lens, or sign up for another writing platform. It is a fun way to spend a few hours, and it is rewarding to see something that you worked hard on published online. If you write a popular article, you can even earn some money.

8. Plan a Vacation:

Even if it is just your dream vacation. Research the location, activities to do there, pick out an awesome hotel, restaurants, and how you would get around. Research the cost of airfare and the best flights to take. Who knows, maybe some day you will be able to go, and you might as well be prepared.

9. Update Your Photographs:

If you are bored, try to organize your photographs online on sites like Facebook or Flickr, or make sure they are in order on your computer. Identify who is in the photographs and where and when they were taken so that you will remember later.

Joshua Jay's Amazing Book of Cards: Tricks, Shuffles, Stunts & Hustles Plus Bets You Can't Lose
Joshua Jay's Amazing Book of Cards: Tricks, Shuffles, Stunts & Hustles Plus Bets You Can't Lose
Learning card tricks is a great way for children to pass the time and keep their mind occupied while recovering from surgery. Don't write it off as just for children though, knowing a card trick or two is always a fun way to liven up a party!

Television Shows Guaranteed to Cure Boredom

If you are going to be recuperating for a long time, you will quickly tire of everything that comes on cable. I suggest getting full seasons of television shows so that you can be entertained for hours on end. I tried to select shows with lots of seasons so that you are able to pass more time. I also included shows that are available on Amazon so that you can order them online and download them to your computer without having to leave your home to go to the store.

1. Breaking Bad:

This is a dark show with a lot of violence. I would not recommend this if you have young children who would wander into the room. The show is well written and the characters are fantastic. The story line is very complicated, which will keep hooked for hours and hours of entertainment.

2. Better Off Ted:

A lighthearted comedy about office dynamics. I recommend this show to people all the time, but in particular I think it is good for someone who isn't feeling well because it will cheer you up. The characters are simple and funny, so if you are a little zonked because of your surgery you will still be able to follow along just fine.

3. Downton Abbey:

This is a well done period piece which made me really take the genre more seriously. It has plenty of drama and intrigue to keep you hooked for a long time. If you are not feeling well enough for a complicated story, you will still enjoy the show for the gorgeous costumes and scenery. Unfortunately there are not as many seasons available of this show as there are for some of the others.

4. Weeds:

Weeds starts of as a lighthearted comedy making fun of the plight of upper middle class suburban life, but in later seasons transitions into a darker comedy with a stronger political message. It is funny and well done, and has many seasons available. The show is funny, and most episodes end with a cliffhanger so you will realize that you watched many more episodes than you intended. The is obviously a lot of drug use, and some violence, in the show so keep that in mind if you have children in your house.

You can never go wrong with a little binge-watching if you find yourself bedridden.
You can never go wrong with a little binge-watching if you find yourself bedridden. | Source

Gain Knowledge While You Recover

1. Tune into iTunesU:

Check out some podcasts of university lectures. There are tons available on virtually every subject imaginable. I find the ones on humanities and politics the most approachable.

2. Enroll in an Online Course:

You can sign up for a correspondence class, or work through an open courseware class. Take the time to brush up on your math, learn more about finance, or learn some computer programing.

3. Expand Your Vocabulary:

There are lots of websites with games to help you learn new vocabulary words. Freerice donates rice based on the amount people play, and other sites are designed to help you learn vocabulary words for standardized tests such as the LSAT or GRE.

4. Learn Geography:

Having a good understanding of geography is helpful for business and makes you appear more worldly. You can get a good start by playing games online on sites such as Sporcle where you can practice your state, capitals, countries in Africa, or major rivers of the world.

5. Study Art History:

If you can't tell the difference between a Monet and a Manet, then this might be the project for you. Learn about the great masters and their influential works, and you will be sure to impress your friends and family!

Make a Family Keepsake

1. Try Scrapbooking:

Try making a nice scrapbook out of family photos. If you don't feel well enough to do it by hand or if you lack the patience, then make a digital scrapbook on the computer that can be emailed out to your family. Family members that live far away will be especially grateful to receive this.

2. Create Your Family Tree:

You have probably always wondered about your ancestry, or have heard stories about family members that you don't remember all of the details about. Using online tools like Ancestry, you can easily compile a family tree without leaving your bed.

3. Make a Book of Family Recipes:

Take this opportunity to compile a family recipe book that you can share with your children and extended family. You could put the recipes in a fancy scrapbook or compile them online to share digitally. This way you won't have to worry about family recipes that have been passed down being lost.

4. Record Family Stories:

Write down any and all of your family's stories that you remember. They could be stories about trips with your parents and grandparents, or funny stories about your children while they are young. In time, your grandchildren will love being able to have stories about their parents when they were children.

5. Update Your Estate Planning:

Make sure your will is up to date and that you have taken care of all of your estate planning needs. If your will still says, "In the event that we have children. . ." and your youngest child just graduated from college, then it might be time for an update. If you are on strong pain medicine though, this might be one to skip.

6. Get a Jump on Christmas Shopping:

Even when Christmas is months away, it is always a good time to come up with what you want to buy your loved ones as a present. Browse sites like Amazon, or other company websites for your favorite stores and select what items you think your family members would enjoy. You will be grateful to have one less task during a stressful season by the time Christmas actually comes around. Don't forget that you can start addressing your Christmas cards early too!

Creating a family photo album is a thoughtful and practical way to keep busy while your stuck in the house.
Creating a family photo album is a thoughtful and practical way to keep busy while your stuck in the house. | Source

Check Books Off of Your Reading List

What better time to make some progress on your reading list than when you are laid up after a surgery? You can order the books on Amazon to have them delivered to your home so you do not have to drive anywhere, or find them on Audible and listen to them as a book on tape while you are resting.

These books are engrossing, and will make you feel like you accomplished something while you were recovering from your surgery. Check out what types of books you might be interested in. I hand picked books that will either help you with your career, or have a better understanding of history and world event.

1. "The Power of Habit":

Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business: An explanation of why we do the things that we do, how habits are formed in our brains, and how we can utilize this information. The stories he uses as examples are interesting, and there is a lot of information about how to apply this to business and marketing. It reminded me a lot of Malcom Gladwell books, and you may find it useful for self improvement.

2. "At Home":

A Short History of Private Life": If you ever find yourself pondering why we have salt and pepper on the table instead of cinnamon and oregano, this is the book for you. It is an interesting walk through of all of the little things in your home that you always took for granted. It is not an action packed adventure story, but the anecdotes are engaging and you will find yourself wrapped up in the story.

3. "New York":

A complete story of the history of New York City, which is long enough to keep you entertained for a long time. It follows a handful of fictional families through real historical evens with short vignettes as you travel through the generations. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.

4. "What is the What":

An engrossing and heart wrenching story of a boy from Darfur. It is well written and will certainly take your mind off of whatever medical problems you are facing.

5. "Unbroken:

A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption": A heartwarming story about a World War Two airman who is shot down in the Pacific. From the same author as Seabiscuit, this story covers the life of an amazing hero.

You Tell Me

Have a suggestion you don't see here? Please share it in the comments.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Guestbook Comments

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Yes! If you have a tablet, this one will make your time flyyy by:

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This helped me so much, in 2 weeks I crocheted a big blanket and started reading The Artists Way which prompted me to write a daily diary - a habit that now helps de-clutter my mind. Also got around to deleting unnecessary photos on my phone. I loved the time!

    • Tonya Mickelson profile image

      Tonya Mickelson 

      5 years ago

      Great ideas - I would probably be able to keep busy just with writing!

    • TerriCarr profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice videos. Singing Dad and daughter was really sweet and the kitten is precious!! More, more!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Lens. Impressive content. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      DeepaVenkitesh LM 

      7 years ago

      great lens, I loved it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent lens! Squidlike

    • spikeyflower profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @captainj88: I really think that writing helped me a lot, because it is more distracting than watching TV. The other thing was finding a whole TV series to get really engrossed into. I tried to practice a foreign language a lot, but I found that it didn't work very well for me because I was getting frustrated about slow progress, which compounded my frustrations about my injury.

    • spikeyflower profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @shewins: A torn meniscus is what got me going! I was going stir crazy! I got started writing because I was just so bored of TV.

    • shewins profile image


      7 years ago

      Recovering from a broken foot is what got me going writing on the Internet. First I started a blog, then I discovered HubPages. Recently I started putting some stuff up here at Squidoo, and I really like it so far. This is a very good list of activities you can do while you're recuperating from illness or injury.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      7 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      This is a fun list. Which did you find worked best for you during your recovery?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good list just reading the list would help them to feel more interested, and maybe think about something more productive. Well made lense thanks

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      All of these activities sound like wonderful ways to recuperate after illness or surgery.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      You have so many great ideas here.

    • MelanieMurphyMyer profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lists! :)


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