93 Fun Things To Do On Bed Rest (Pregnant & Surgery)

Bed rest is a term used to describe the recommendation to remain in bed, preferably with the head level or below the feet.  It’s generally associated with pregnancy, however, bed rest can be prescribed to anyone who needs time to rest and relax.

One day of bed rest might be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of life, but weeks of bed rest can cause restlessness. So what are some things to do while on bed rest?

With a little creativity, there are plenty of things you can do during this time. Below are a few bed rest ideas that should help guide you to be productive with your time even when limited to a bed.

Reasons Bed Rest Might Be Recommended

Bed rest won’t be advised for every pregnancy (only around 20 percent of pregnant women). It’s believed that a little rest could help reduce the risks of pregnancy because it should be 1) relaxing, 2) a healthy way for the body to recover, 3) less stressful on the body and mind than being busy.

Medical professionals will only prescribe bed rest to reduce the chance of complications or if a woman appears to need rest. The most common complications can be a result of:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Premature labor
  • Twins
  • Poor development
  • Prior complications or loss (still birth etc.)

Some of reasons for bed rest have been studied by medical researchers and found to not be a factor in preventing complications (read study 1 and study 2).

so it’s important to know that bed rest isn’t always the answer for pregnant women and it’s possible your physician recommends against it.

Bed rest has also been prescribed for men and women with psychiatric challenges, those who have returned from war, and others under extreme stress. In the old days, patients were sometimes isolated from friends and family and any cognitive stimulation was removed from the room (no books, painting, or messages).

Don’t worry, we have a few ideas to keep you busy (also read: Fun Things To Do At Home For Kids).

Friends and Colleagues On Bed Rest

Fortunately, I never experience bedrest with my pregnancies, but as a school administrator there were many times when my teachers or other staff members left work for weeks and months at a time.

It was always a serious problem that would force this medical requirement. Although it meant not having to go to work daily, it was stressful for them in a much different way.

They were advised to do things to relax and get one’s mind off the situation.

My colleagues and friends would create schedules to provide meals for the person on bedrest.  After all, it is difficult to prepare meals while lying in bed.

Nowadays, there are many healthy meal options that can be delivered to your door. Another modern benefit is the ability to order so many of our household necessities through the internet (read my article: 100+ Table Topic Questions).

Let’s take a look at the following list of activities to stay productive on bed rest.

93 Best Things To Do While On Bed Rest (Pass Time)

1. Learn origami and give as a gift

2. Give yourself a manicure

3. Practice a language (Duolingo or other phone app)

4. Call your family and friends to catch up

5. Play solitaire 

6. Use stress balls in your hand to relax

7. Practice breathing exercises

8. Work on your grip strength with squeezing exercises

9. Stretch your muscles (neck, arms, hands, feet)

10. How long can you hold your breath (time yourself)

11. Learn to whistle

12. Snuggle with your spouse or dog

13. Comb your hair

14. Comb the hair of your dog or cat

15. Practice sudoku

16. Do a crossword puzzle

17. Write “thank you” notes to family and friends

18. Email an old friend from high school to see how they are doing

19. Place a small tray on your lap and work on a jigsaw puzzle one section at a time

20. Practice meditation

21. Catch up on work emails

22. Play cards against yourself

23. Learn a card trick to amaze your family members

24. Learn a magic trick to entertain your family members

>> Also read: Best (Free) Typing Games For Kids

25. Practice singing

26. Watch a movie

27. Listen to music

28. Find a new podcast with a topic you enjoy

29. Read through a cookbook and make a list of recipes you want to try

30. Pay your bills

31. Prepare your forms for taxes

32. Study for school

33. Make flashcards for learning (memory and school)

34. Make a to-do list for when bedrest is finished

35. Apply a face mask to hydrate your skin

36. Put your feet up (elevate your legs)

37. Write a letter to your future self

38. Write a letter to your future child

39. Write 10 things you want to try when you’re finished with bed rest

40. Write down your goals (New Year, short term and long term)

41. Give yourself a massage (with massager or your hands)

42. Write down your grocery store list for the current week

43. Repair worn jeans or clothes with a patch

44. Draw (there are many youtube tutorials for learning)

45. Record audio messages for your children (and future child)

46. Write down your relationship objectives for the coming year (ways to improve)

47. Research a future vacation spot

48. Give yourself a makeover (experiment with makeup)

49. Brush/Floss your teeth

50. Sleep!

51. Use a medicine ball to do some exercises on the bed

52. Play catch with someone in the room (tennis ball or softer)

53. Use a trashcan and “shoot hoops”

54. Look at a map to learn about a new place

55. Read a book

56. Have a “happy hour” video call with a friend (not if you’re pregnant)

57. Go shopping (browse the internet)

58. Get caught up on the news (paper or internet)

59. Watch a sports game (depending on the season)

60. Request breakfast in bed

61. Snack time (keep a stash near your bed)

62. Work on an adult coloring book

63. Learn to knit or crochet

64. Finally complete a rubik cube

65. Read your favorite magazines

66. Look through your old photo albums and reminisce

67. Start writing a journal

68. Make a scrapbook

69. Trim your nails

70. Story time with your children

71. Teach your kids a lesson (math, grammar, science)

72. Write a screenplay

73. Write a book

74. Use superglue to fix something that broke (glasses, coffee mug)

75. Frame a few photos to put on your wall

76. Create an exercise plan to use in the future

77. Write a list of chores for others in the house

78. Make a schedule for people who are helping you (trash pick-up, feeding the dog)

79. Create a scavenger hunt for kids in your home

80. Learn how to make a website

81. Start a youtube channel

82. Keep your boss updated on your health

83. Practice calligraphy 

84. Clean your purse or handbag

85. Make labels for household items (organizational)

86. Teach yourself to juggle

>> Also read: How To Keep A Baby Warm At Night

87. Relearn “cat’s cradle” game from when you were a kid

88. Build your vocabulary with a thesaurus

89. Volunteer to proof-read and edit documents (from work, church, school)

90. Visualize your “happy place” and what you would be doing there

91. Delete old photos (that you don’t need) and chats on your phone

92. Invite your children or spouse to play a board game on the bed

93. Plan your next vacation

Stay Busy, Even While On Bed Rest

If you’re on bed rest for a prolonged period of time it can have negative impacts on your cognitive and physical health. If muscles of the body aren’t used, they will atrophy.

Similarly, if the mind isn’t stimulated with communication and everyday decision making, it will slowly begin to lack strength, possibly influencing memory and critical thinking skills.

The mere act of laying in bed all day can cause our skin to exhibit sores (ulcers) so be sure to stay moving even while in bed.


This article shared many things to do while on bed rest. Your first thought regarding bed rest might be to watch tv or read a book, but with a little creativity you can keep yourself busy for weeks!

It’s hard to stay motivated while on bed rest so ask a family member to hold you accountable. Write a list of things you want to accomplish and check them off as you complete them.

Switch your activities up and use a timer so you don’t end up doing the same thing all day and become bored.