Restless: feeling nervous or bored and tending to move around a lot (Merriam-Webster)
For as long as I understood the concept of the term, I have flippantly associated my inability to do nothing as being a perpetually “restless” person. Summertime is oh-so-alluring throughout the semester with its promises of free time, but give me two days with no schedule and I’m daydreaming of a return to textbooks and school time pressures.
This summer has been spent in California where, outside of a month’s worth of medical internships, I have been without responsibility. I understand that I am extraordinarily blessed with this vacation time and that this makes me sound nothing less than crazy, but I find myself wishing for a challenge, something to force me to wake up at 6:00 in the morning and create a purpose-driven day.
So I’ve determined that I should make this statement: I, Elle Simmons, do not know how to relax, and that’s ok, but there are ways to prevent the dreaded “restlessness.”
A Prevention Guide for Restlessness
- Set the Alarm: Just because you don’t HAVE to wake up at a decent time in the morning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. First of all, every credible scientist will tell you that circadian rhythms should not be messed with, and Common Sense will tell you that waking up late means you will stay up late which means that you will create a cycle of wasting half of every day (so many regrets).
- Plan Your Day: You’ve established that you absolutely CANNOT live without your planner (or some form of mental schedule), so use it for vacation time. Even if it sounds something like “Wake up, drink coffee, go to the beach, read Thoreau,” you’ll satisfy your obsession with checking things off the list — in other words, you’ll have goals to complete.
- Appreciate Deep-Thinking Time: Every single one of us has something to worry about, whether it be a house to clean, a family to take care of, an assignment to turn in, or a job to return to, but try to make time for mentally separating from the immediate worries of the day to think about big-picture (even seemingly ludicrous) concepts. Think about the effect of capacity-based ethics, or whether gravity’s definition will change in the next hundred years (I mean, we don’t use Aristotle’s definition anymore, but people believed it for at least 1,000 years, so it’s possible, right?), or if we are all actually seeing the same colors or even the same shapes. Stretching your perception of the world, of life in general, is an accomplishment.
- Create Small Adventures: Whether it be hiking through the woods instead of the beaten path, actually trying one of the thousand recipes that you’ve saved on your Pinterest, or going treasure-hunting in a thrift shop, find small things to keep your life fresh. As much as you adore routine, free-time sometimes happens and when it does, there are inexpensive ways to fill it with excitement.
I dedicate this to the “restless” ones, to those like me. Embrace your free-time, make it memorable, not miserable.