20 Soothing Solo Activities You Can Do At Home

Crafternoons and bubble baths await.

Alone time can be psychologically healing if you look at it in the right light. Solitude can spark creativity, give you perspective, or rest your mind.

A survey conducted by the BBC in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, found that the majority of activities people found restful were things that could be done alone, from reading to enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. People often have go-to activities for enjoying their own company. But if you ever find yourself bored or struggling to find new ways to spend your solo time, we've rounded up a few of our favorite ways to spend time alone.

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Pick up a paintbrush.

You don't have to be a present-day da Vinci to enjoy painting. Grab a glass of water, some paint, and a canvas or paper and watch your stress melt away with every stroke. Not sure where to start? Online video tutorials can help.

Bake a batch of cookies.

Whether you're a first-time baker or a seasoned pro, sifting, mixing, and baking just makes you feel good. It requires your full attention, and when you get into a rhythm, baking can foster a host of psychological benefits. Mix things up with a new cookie recipe if you're looking for a challenge.

Cue the music.

It doesn't matter if it's on vinyl, a cassette, or streamed from Spotify. A 2019 study found that listening to music reduced stress responses like restlessness and high blood pressure. Plus, concerts and live music are finding new ways to reach us!

Write a letter to someone you love.

Try putting down your phone and put pen to paper. Not only will you bring the recipient joy, but writing by hand can also stimulate creativity. The rhythmic movement of writing makes you slow down and enjoy the process. Feeling a little rusty? Here are a few tips for the perfect handwritten note.

Treat yourself to a DIY spa.

There's nothing like a face mask to make your feel refreshed, and you'd be shocked at what ordinary pantry items can do for your skin. Put on your fluffiest robe and head to the kitchen. This DIY honey face mask will turn you into an at-home beauty mixologist in a jiffy.

Start a scrapbook.

Take a trip down memory lane and have yourself a crafternoon at the same time. Looking back at happy times will warm your heart, while designing page layouts and cutting page accents will give you a meditative focus. Plus, trying to remember the age of an old friend or your kids in a particular photo can be a bit of a brain workout.

Let a celebrity read you a story.

You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the pure, nostalgic delight of a celebrity reading your favorite children's book. These days, everyone from Jennifer Garner and Reese Witherspoon to Frozen's Josh Gad are taking to social media to help entertain and educate kids. Listen in, and you'll be transported back in time.

Rearrange your closet.

Rearranging your wardrobe can help you hone in on what you truly love, want, or need. While purging unwanted items can bring a big sense of relief, it's not necessarily all about getting rid of your clothes. Reorganizing by season, color, or cut can help provide a fresh perspective, and tidying up will make you feel better about yourself and your surroundings.

Grab your garden shears.

Get outside and get to work. Frustrated? Take it out on the dirt! Dig a hole and plant something pretty. Need to feel a sense of accomplishment? Grab those pesky weeds, and get a garden bed back in order. All in all, being outside and among nature while gardening can do wonders to sooth your mind.

Learn to meditate.

While there are many different approaches to meditation, training the mind can have far-reaching benefits for stress and self esteem. If you're just getting started, apps like Headspace or Calm provide hundreds of guided meditations, varying in length and focus.

Pick up that old instrument.

Have an old guitar lying around or is dust collecting on that keyboard you've been meaning to play for years? Brush up on your skills. Practicing music is a rich and fulfilling experience, and a 2017 study even suggests that musicians have improved long- and short-term memory.

Paint your nails.

Even if you're a regular at your local nail salon, there's nothing quite like lighting a candle, turning on your favorite show, and sitting down with your favorite shade of pink. The simple act of taking time out to care for yourself can be therapeutic, plus you just might be transported back in time to the joys of high school slumber parties.

Try an online class.

Online instruction isn't just for college students. Keep your sense of curiosity, and try learning for the sake of learning -- no grades, no pressure. Many educational opportunities exist online for free through sites like Coursera.

Write an entry in your journal.

Journaling about your thoughts and experiences can be especially meaningful to look back on years down the road. Plus, the physical process of putting your emotions and perspective down on paper can be extremely cathartic.

Learn how to cross-stitch.

This age-old craft involves patterns and counting, and you'll be hard-pressed to find an at-home activity that is quite as relaxing. Spend a sunny afternoon stitching on the porch or enjoy the sound of rain on the roof while you tackle a pattern on a stormy day. Either way, you'll create a little art project and a potential gift for a friend the next time you get out of the house. Ready to learn? Here's how to get started.

Finish a puzzle.

Unwind with a challenge for your mind. Whether it's a crossword, riddle, or a jigsaw puzzle, concentrating on a tangible challenge that demands determination will push you to think outside the box. You'll feel especially accomplished when you finish, assuming you're not missing the last piece of a thousand-piece puzzle.

Revisit your favorite books.

We're always up for a good new read, but there's nothing like revisiting a classic. Shop around your bookshelf and fall into the pages of one of your favorites, even if you've read it a hundred times.

Practice your coloring.

Coloring books aren't just for kids these days. Sharpen your color pencils, and connect with your inner artist, limited skills required. You'll be surprised how shading in a page of flowers can really improve your mood.

Get pretty with a new hair tutorial.

The best time to try out a new hairdo is when you don't have a destination or deadline to get you out the door. Learn how to French braid, try some curling iron tricks, or see if you can style your hair with your hair straightener.

Soak in the tub.

Grab a book, run a bubble bath, and just relax. Amp up the ambiance with a candle or two, but this simple joy is just that: simple.

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  1. de Witte M, Spruit A, van Hooren S, Moonen X, Stams G-J. Effects of music interventions on stress-related outcomes: a systematic review and two meta-analyses. Health Psychol Rev. 2020;14(2):294-324. doi:10.1080/17437199.2019.1627897

  2. Talamini F, Altoè G, Carretti B, Grassi M. Musicians have better memory than nonmusicians: A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(10): e0186773. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186773

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