Do you want to keep busy?
A helpful way to change your gambling behaviour is to find enjoyable activities that don’t involve gambling. These activities can give you something to look forward to and make you feel happier, less bored, and more confident. They can also stop you from thinking about gambling by distracting you.
Does your family member or friend want to keep busy?
A way that you can help your family member or friend change their gambling is to encourage them to find enjoyable activities that don’t involve gambling. These activities can give them something to look forward to and make them feel happier, less bored, and more confident. They can also stop them from thinking about gambling by distracting them.
Does someone want to keep busy?
A way that professionals can help people change their gambling is to encourage them to find enjoyable activities that don’t involve gambling. These activities can give the person you’re working with something to look forward to and make them feel happier, less bored, and more confident. They can also stop them thinking about gambling by distracting them.
“I read and read and read in my first 8-9 months of being gambling free. I think I read something like 40 books or more.” - Anonymous
What can keep people busy?
There are many enjoyable things to do once people have quit or cut down their gambling. The idea isn’t to replace gambling, but to find a variety of activities they can choose from depending on their mood and situation.
Fun activities don't necessarily have to be expensive. In fact, many other activities can be less costly than gambling.
It’s a good idea to begin with small steps. The focus is on taking action towards your goals, rather than waiting for motivation to strike. It’s natural to want to feel motivated before taking action, but often it’s the other way around – taking action can actually help boost motivation.
Coming up with new activities to try can be challenging. One helpful strategy is for people to think of activities they’ve always wanted to try, activities that make them feel good, or activities that they used to enjoy before gambling became a priority. It’s important for people to choose activities that they either genuinely enjoy or get a sense of achievement from.
“Definitely taking up new or old hobbies is a must.” - Anonymous
Are you struggling for ideas?
Check out this list of activities for some ideas.
- Rearrange the furniture in the house
- Clean the house; have a big “spring clean”
- Watch television or a movie; listen to music or a podcast
- Cook a meal; make a cake; try a new recipe
- Do the laundry
- Fix something that’s broken; change a light bulb; do some sewing
- Check your emails
- Work on your car or bike
- Go grocery shopping
- Work on your finances; make a budget
- Walk along the beach or in your local park
- Watch a movie
- Go on a day trip
- Visit the zoo
- Go to a local market
- Go away for a weekend
- Go to the library; visit a bookshop
- Go shopping
- Go to auctions or garage sales; look around antique stores
- Visit an art gallery or museum
- Attend a sporting event – like football or a cricket match
- Write a letter to a friend
- Play a computer game
- Do a jigsaw puzzle or crossword; play a card game
- Read a book, magazine or newspaper
- Look through your photos
- Sit outside in the sun
- Play with or groom your pets
- Go to a café or restaurant
- Write a short story, poem, or novel; go to a poetry reading
- Keep a diary, journal, blog or start your own website
- Learn or practice a musical instrument
- Paint; draw; sketch; design something
- Do some pottery
- Knit; crochet; sew; cross stich; quilt; needlepoint
- Study a language online or in a local class
- Start collecting – comics, spoons, stamps
- Do some metal work, woodwork or model building
- Take photos and edit them on the computer
- Arrange flowers
- Redecorate your home; update your furniture or pictures; start a new house project
- Phone, email, or text a friend
- Visit a friend, neighbour, or relative
- Prepare a special meal for friends or family; organise a get-together
- Go out with friends to a concert, show or sporting game
- Go to your favourite restaurant or on a picnic with friends
- Play with your children
- Invite a friend over for movie and popcorn; Invite a friend for coffee or a drink
- Play cards, board games, or computer games with partner or friends
- Go shopping with a friend or family member
- Join a book or movie club
- Join a local social club or sporting team
- Plan a trip with others
- Join a social group or choir
- Go on a date
- Help out a neighbour; volunteer; assist a local charity
- Go camping
- Have a facial, a massage, or a footbath
- Buy yourself new clothes or another special gift
- Paint your fingernails
- Have a bubble or aromatherapy bath
- Have a haircut or hair colour; try out new hairstyles
- Listen to a relaxation playlist; learn or practice meditation or yoga
- Burn some aromatherapy oils or incense; light scented candles
- Eat your favourite food or drink
- Go to a health club, sauna, hot tub
- Hug your favourite person
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Have an evening in – enjoy the peace and quiet
- Buy a gift for someone special; make and send a card
- Eat healthy meals and nourishing snacks
- Go for a walk or a jog
- Go roller-skating, skateboarding or rollerblading
- Ride a bike
- Join your local gym
- Take up tennis, basketball, or netball
- Kick a ball around the oval
- Go ten pin or lawn bowling
- Try outdoor sports – rock climbing orienteering, abseiling, or hiking
- Learn horseback riding
- Have a game of golf; play mini-golf
- Play Frisbee or catch
- Go for a swim; do water aerobics; go surfing
- Go fishing
- Try indoor sports – squash, soccer, table tennis, badminton
- Practice yoga, pilates, meditation, tai chi
- Learn how to dance – ballroom, Latin, ballet, tap
Do you want more help?
To find out more about how to keep busy, you can start an online chat with us or call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 – free, confidential, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These services are available to support anyone affected by gambling harm, including family members or friends.
Do you want more help?
To find out more about how to keep busy, you or your family member or friend can start an online chat with us or call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 – free, confidential, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These services are available to support anyone affected by gambling harm, including family members or friends like you. It’s not only the person who gambles that can be affected, but the people close to them too. It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re supporting someone else. Check out the family and friends section in our peer support community to connect with people who understand.
Do you want more help?
To find out more about how to keep busy, you or the person you’re working with can start an online chat with us or call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 – free, confidential, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These services are available to support anyone affected by gambling harm, including family members, friends, and professionals like you. It can be hard for professionals to support people with gambling issues. To learn more about how you can help, go to our section on How Professionals Can Help.