Photo by Jenny Woods | @bunnyjennyphoto on Instagram
April has become a challenging month for me over the past couple years. It now marks the end of another school year and the beginning of a summer full of work, friends and being back in my hometown until fall comes around. I’m happy to see my friends and family, of course, but I usually grow restless around this time. With spring in bloom my body senses it is time to adopt something new into my life, but this isn’t always possible when you’re tied down to a job and other responsibilities. That’s why learning to be content when you’re restless can be very helpful when change isn’t an imminent option.
There are many things you can do to appreciate your time off, and ways to start to think of “restlessness” as a time to reflect or redirect your path. The most cliché, but significant thing you can do is embrace the time given to you and learn more about yourself. Once you meditate on your goals and what makes you you, it can help you to seek out new opportunities because you’ll most likely have a better idea of what you want to pursue next. If you find yourself restless because you don’t know what to do next, make a list of reasonable goals both big and small. Every achievement counts as a step in the right direction. Small goals lead to the bigger picture so don’t write those off as minimal or insignificant.
If you’re feeling restless because of the progress the people in your life seem to be making – quit that now. Someone’s progress is another’s time to relax. People move at different speeds and it’s alright to feel like you’re slower than others. You won’t achieve valuable growth if you’re trying to move quickly when it’s not your time to do so. Everyone needs a break to re-address their motives, direction, and focus, so don’t rush through the process only because you feel pressured to. Comparing yourself to others can grow into a huge weight on your shoulders and it will only discourage you from reaching your goals if you’re not careful. Instead, look to others for inspiration or guidance. After all, we’re all in the same boat, regardless of how fast or slow it’s moving.
Although restlessness can seem stale, it’s all about attitude and perspective. Anything can make you feel dull or stuck, but it’s how you look at it which will determine your next step. Learning to use restlessness as a moment to idle and think will prove to be much more effective than being nostalgic and missing the “good old days” when things were in motion. Even changing minimal aspects of your daily routine can eventually lead to the bigger change you've been pining, even if that means adjusting the music you listen to, the genre of literature you read, or the things you usually do to spark creativity. In my own experience I've noticed that my outfit, the surrounding lighting, and even the last time I showered affect how creative I feel, as superficial as that may sound. But in a sense it's all about how you feel about yourself that can determine your own restlessness. To be content when you're restless means you must be content with yourself first, because the eyes you use to look at life are the same eyes that look in the mirror and determine who you are.