21 things to do in the sauna to not get bored

Bored emoji in my sauna downstairs.

Do you ever get bored in the sauna? Please keep reading if that is you, because I have compiled a list of 21 things that you can do in the sauna to not feel like you’re watching the paint drying!

In this post I’ll tell you every little hack out there that you can apply, to not get bored in the sauna. I am personally the kind of sauna-person that easily gets bored. Over the years, I have therefore developed several little habits and tricks that keep this boredom away. I’ve also done a bunch of research online about this topic. So, based on all this, I’ve put together the comprehensive list of 21 thing you can do in the sauna to not get bored. I’ll first present an overview of the whole list, and then I’ll discuss each point separately in more detail.

Ok, so here is the full list of 21 things you can do against boredom in the sauna:

  1. Bring a book or magazine in the sauna.
  2. Listen to music, audio-books or podcasts.
  3. Play a board-game or puzzle.
  4. Do some stretching or yoga poses while in the sauna.
  5. Meditate or practice deep breathing.
  6. Talk to someone else in the sauna.
  7. Do some visualization exercises.
  8. Try using different essential oils or herbs in the sauna.
  9. Play a round of mental games (memory or math).
  10. Use the time in the sauna to plan your day or week.
  11. Practice a foreign language.
  12. Write in a journal or do some creative writing.
  13. Use the sauna-time to brainstorm ideas for a project.
  14. Play a game of chess or checkers using a portable set.
  15. Do some light calisthenics or strength training exercises.
  16. Bring a deck of cards and play a game.
  17. Listen to a guided meditation or relaxation recording.
  18. Use the time in the sauna to reflect and set intentions.
  19. Bring a sketchpad and pencils and do some drawing.
  20. Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment.
  21. Use the time in the sauna to let your mind wander.

1. Bring a book or magazine to read while in the sauna

Some people enjoy reading in the sauna to pass the time. Reading is always nice in general if you are stuck somewhere and have some time to spare, keeps your mind active and stimulated in a more profound way than for example videos and social-media does.

Anyway, as the sauna can be rather straining, it might be a good idea to bring a book that is a bit on the lighter side, such as a feel-good story or a crime novel.

However, another option is to bring a heavier text, that requires you to think a lot about every sentence read, such as for example a poetry book. That way your mind will get stimulated without having to actually use the book that much in the sauna. Only one short poem of half a page could in fact the mind stimulated for hours!

For bringing physical books into the sauna, it’s important to be careful not to get it too wet and sweaty. The same goes for bringing in a magazine. In general, only bring in books or magazines that you don’t mind getting damaged.

Some people also bring a digital device into the sauna, to read an e-book. I would personally not recommend this. If you do bring in an e-book-device, just be prepared that is might get damaged, or even completely stop working in the future. So, only bring in an e-book at your own risk!

Reading in the sauna however only really works for people who do not wear glasses, or are at least able to read a book without glasses. The reason for this is that glasses should ideally be left outside the sauna, since their protective surface can otherwise be damaged.

If you’re a glasses-user and you still want to read in the sauna, you could try to find a pair of old glasses that you don’t mind damaging. Although this means they are probably not as sharp as your new glasses, it’s still a better option than destroying your regular glasses!

Bored emoji in my sauna downstairs.

2. Listen to music, audio-books or podcasts

A great way to keep the boredom away is to listen to music, a podcast or an audio-book in the sauna. If you have your own home-sauna, you can even install a sound-system to make the experience fully immersive.

However, if you don’t have a sound system in your sauna, or if you use a public sauna, you will have to find some alternative.

One such alternative is to use headphones. This practically your only option if you are in a public sauna and there are other people around. However, there are mixed opinions as to whether it is a good idea to actually use headphones in the sauna. I personally do not wear headphones in the sauna. Nevertheless, there are people who do, and they typically claim they do not experience any problems.

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If you do choose to use headphones in the sauna, you can follow these tips to make the experience smoother: Try to use moisture-resistant headphones. There are headphones specifically designed to be used in high-moisture environments. So try to find this kind of headphones. These are typically more expensive than the normal ones, but would definitely worth the extra cost.

Keep the volume at a safe level: The high heat and humidity in the sauna can potentially affect your hearing, so it’s important to keep the volume at a safe level. Also, take breaks and remove the headphones periodically to allow your ears to cool down.

Some people bring phones into the sauna, and listen to music from there. I would not personally recommend this either, at least not unless you don’t mind if the phone gets damaged. I have personally brought phones into the sauna for very short periods, to take pictures or record videos, without any damage to the phone so far. However, there have been cases of phones getting destroyed in the sauna, so it is definitely something that could happen.

Given that you don’t have an at-home sauna with a sound system, just using an old, portable music player, with an in-built speaker, is the best option in my opinion. That way, you can avoid bringing in your phone, and you also don’t need to use headphones directly on your skin. Just make sure however that it’s a music player that you don’t mind if it gets damaged. Also, if you’re in a public sauna, you will of course have to turn it off if you are not alone.

3. Play a board-game or puzzle

Bringing a little board game or puzzle into the sauna is doable. Just make sure to not bring a game that you mind getting damaged.

This can in fact be a really fun way to pass the time. You might even get so caught up in the game so you don’t even realize your sauna session has already passed!

However, you may not be able to finish the full game in the actual sauna. Don’t stay longer than you should in the sauna just to finish up the game!

4. Do some stretching or yoga poses while in the sauna

My personal favorite way to keep the boredom away in the sauna is to do yoga or stretching. It’s great, because your muscles are so relaxed in the sauna, and it feels like your flexibility is better than in the cold.

Also, it’s a great way to pass time in the sauna without having to bring in any extra equipment!

However, there is just one thing you have to keep in mind if doing this: Since your muscles are so relaxed in the sauna, you are often able to stretch them deeper than you would in room temperature. This may sound great, but a lot of people claim it can lead to over-stretching. Thus, remember to be gentle with your body while stretching in the sauna.

Me doing some stretching in the sauna to not get bored.

5. Meditate or practice deep breathing

Taking a few minutes to meditate or practice deep breathing can be a great way to relax, unwind, and improve your mental and physical well-being.

Some people like to close their eyes while meditating in the sauna. I personally find this a bit risky, at least if you’re alone in the sauna. I prefer having my eyes open for the reason that I get so relaxed so that I am afraid I will fall asleep, or get drowsy.

Especially if go to the sauna after an exercise session, or do yoga in the sauna like me, it’s probably better for you to keep your eyes open while you meditate. At least in my experience, you get so exhausted so that you could easily fall asleep or loose your attentiveness if you get too relaxed.

The types of meditations that work well in the sauna, in my experience, are mantra-meditations, or just numbers, or thinking repetitively about a certain sound.

Breathing-meditation also works, in my experience, given that it is gentle and focused more on the exhaling than on the inhaling. I have tried to do strong deep-breathing, with a focus on inhaling in the sauna a few times, only to end up feeling extremely dry in my throat. Thus, I would avoid this kind of breathing meditation.

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However, as mentioned, a gentle type of breathing exercise works perfectly well, at least for me. I usually do an exercise where my exhale is twice as long as my inhale, and the breathing is paused for a short while before the exhale.  

6. Talk to someone else in the sauna

Having a conversation with someone else in the sauna can be a great way to pass the time, connect with others, and stimulate your mind.

Just be sure to be mindful of other people’s privacy. Some people just want to be in their own thoughts in the sauna, so thread gently initially if you’re trying to strike a conversation with someone.

However, given the right circumstances, conversing with others in the sauna can indeed help to provide a sense of socialization and connection. You might even make a new friend!

7. Do some visualization exercises

Visualization exercises can be an excellent way to make the time pass faster in the sauna, if that is something you enjoy.

Some people for example like closing your eyes and picturing a relaxing scene in their minds. However, I think visualizations can be done also with your eyes open, if you concentrate.

As mentioned earlier, it can be a good idea keep your eyes open in the sauna if you are there alone, especially if you’re exhausted after a prior fitness session. This is because you might get so relaxed so that you fall asleep or get drowsy in the sauna!

8. Try using different essential oils or herbs in the sauna

Using essential oils or herbs in the sauna takes some thinking, smelling, and doing, so it’s a great way to make the time go faster in the sauna!

Just make sure to use oils that are safe for use in a high-heat environment and to follow the instructions for use carefully.

Essential oils and herbs can actually potentially help to create a relaxing atmosphere. Some people also find that they have a stress-reducing effect for them.

9. Play a round of mental games (memory or math)

Mental games, such as memory exercises or math problems, can be a fun and engaging way to pass the time in the sauna and stimulate your mind. Just be sure to choose games that are appropriate for the sauna environment and that won’t be too intense or strenuous.

In general, mental games are great, since they can also help to improve your cognitive abilities and provide a sense of mental challenge, or accomplishment!

Me in the sauna, trying to not get bored.

10. Use the time in the sauna to plan your day or week

The sauna can be a great place to relax and clear your mind, making it a good time to plan your day or week. You can use this time to make a to-do list, set goals, or simply think about your priorities.

Some people feel that planning in the sauna in fact helps them improving their productivity and organization in profound ways, in their daily lives.

11. Practice a foreign language

One really fun and useful way to keep the boredom away in the sauna is to practice a foreign language in the sauna. For this you also don’t need a lot of equipment. Just write down some words or phrases on a paper before you go to your sauna-session, and you’re set!

A tip is to choose the most difficult words or sentences if you don’t want to write down that much on the paper in advance. That way you will need to spend a lot of time on each chunk of words.

12. Write in a journal or do some creative writing

The sauna can be a great place to let your thoughts and feelings flow freely and stimulate your creativity. You can use this time to write in a journal or do some creative writing, such as poetry or short stories.

In general, writing in the sauna can in fact help to improve your general self-expression, and make you reflect more deeply on things.

13. Use the sauna-time to brainstorm ideas for a project

The sauna can be a great place to let your mind wander and come up with new ideas. You can use this time to brainstorm ideas for a project or goal that you have been working on.

For example, take some time to think freely about that hobby-project that you have not yet started!

14. Play a game of chess or checkers

Playing a game of chess or checkers requires a lot of thinking and for your mind to be in a sharp state. That being said however, some people still like doing this in the sauna. It definitely adds an extra layer of difficulty to the game!

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These are good sauna-pass-times because the equipment usually very basic, and not that easily damaged. However, do remember to not bring your favorite chess-board that you don’t want damaged!

15. Do some light calisthenics or strength training exercises

Doing some light calisthenics or strength training exercises in the sauna can be a good way to get some physical activity, improve your fitness, and reduce stress. Just be sure to start slowly and listen to your body to avoid overexertion.

Cartoon person sleeping in my traditional sauna.

16. Bring a deck of cards and play a game

Playing cards in the sauna can be a fun and engaging way to keep the boredom away in the sauna. Just be sure to choose a deck that is appropriate for the sauna environment and that won’t be damaged by the heat or moisture.

Some people find that playing cards in the sauna provide them with a sense of socialization and fun, and that it even improves their mental abilities to some degree.

17. Listen to a guided meditation or relaxation recording

It’s hard to get really bored while you simultaneously listen to a guided meditation or relaxation recording. This can therefore be a great option for passing your time in the sauna. It’s also a great way to relax and unwind.

Just remember that you might not be able to compete the whole recording before you get too hot and have to leave the sauna!

18. Use the time in the sauna to reflect and set intentions

Another way to pass the time in the sauna is to take the opportunity to spend this time reflecting on your life, and to perhaps set intentions for the future.

For example, you can use this time to think about your goals, values, and priorities. In general, many people think this is good for improving their self-awareness, and that it provides a sense of purpose and direction.

However, most people don’t take the time out of their regular schedule to do this. But now you have the extra time to do it in the sauna!

19. Bring a sketchpad and pencils and do some drawing

Drawing (or doodling) in the sauna can be a fun and creative way to pass the time and stimulate your creativity. Just be sure to choose materials that will work reasonably in a sauna. Also, don’t bring in materials that you think can contain any harmful chemicals. (These often have a strong, unpleasant smell.) This is, as mentioned earlier, because chemicals can potentially travel easier in very hot conditions, and you don’t want to get them into your breath.

Anyway, drawing in the sauna can definitely be a fun thing if that is what you enjoy, or perhaps if you want to just try something new!

20. Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment

A classic trick against boredom in the sauna is to practicing mindfulness! Try to focus on your senses and the present moment, letting go of any stress or worries.

You can also try to focus your attention at a small detail in the sauna, such as a little crack in the wood of the bench. Try to notice the tiny things that you would have otherwise ignored, and see how your senses react.

21. Use the time in the sauna to let your mind wander

A final tip against boredom in the sauna is to just try take a step back and relax: Let your mind wander, and allow yourself to daydream and let go of any stress or worries.

Taking some time to relax and let your mind wander in the sauna can be a great way to escape from the stresses of daily life in general. Enjoy that you have the luxury of some extra time for yourself, and try to simply let go!

So there you have it! What did you think about the list? Have you tried any of these little anti-boredom tricks yet? Or do you have other tips on how to pass time in the sauna that I didn’t mention? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Anna

Author: Anna Svensson

Anna is a Scandinavian who grew up with saunas. She has had a life-long love for, and interest in, saunas. In this blog, she shares her best hacks and things she has learned about saunas over the years. You can read more about Anna in the “About” page.

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