I am restless.
When I was a kid and I felt like this, I’d spend an entire weekend rearranging my bedroom. I’d move all the furniture, hang posters on different walls, and reorganize my closet. By the end of the weekend my space felt new and different, and it was enough to give me a jolt of excitement every time I walked into my room.
As I grew older, I had different ways to get out of ruts. As a teenager I’d spend my hard-earned money to buy new clothes. In college and the years immediately after, I’d cut or dye my hair. Changing my appearance was good because I took it with me everywhere – all I had to do was look in the mirror.
There’s no furniture to rearrange now, and my stylist would never let me chop off all of my hair.
I don’t know how to ditch my restlessness. I know I want something new, and different. I want to feel excited again, about anything. I want a path. I want something to look forward to. I used to think that funks like this were normal, but now I think it’s just me.
I’m tired of feeling out of sorts. I need to know my next move. I need to stop pacing the halls. I need to, I don’t know, be a grown up? Whatever that means. I need a kick start…preferably one that doesn’t involve shaving my head (Annie would never speak to me again). Hopefully I’ll find one soon.
Paint a wall
Read a new book
Do a new craft
Learn a new recipe
I need to convince Mike to let me paint!!!
I both love and hate when I find people as tortured as I am. Hate that they have that anxiety and depression, but I find solace that I’m not the only one.
But! I agree with the painting. Painting seems to be my calming mechanism (so much so that I went and got a part-time job at the paint store. Just so I could ogle all of the pretty colors). I could definitely help you pick out colors. It’s one of my favorite things. I should write about that. But yes, paint. Even if you just start with a wall. Have Annie help. Fresh coats of paint have been shown to increase happiness (OK, I don’t know if that’s really true, but I figure you can’t argue with fake science).
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
What did you love to do when you were a kid? Play tennis? Run? Play music in a band? Whenever I feel out of sorts, I go back to something that brought me joy when I was a kid.
I look forward to hearing what new direction you take!
I like this!
This is great advice.
This is great advice.
Sounds silly, but have you tried running? Get a treadmill, maybe?
It might not work for everyone, but I find the steady “pat, pat, pat, pat” of my feet hitting the ground to be very soothing when I’m restless.
I can’t really run because my ankles and knees are so abused from playing sports when I was younger, but I do like walking on the treadmill at the gym!
So, as the parent of small children, one Annie’s age, I think it’s easy to get in a rut when you’re in charge of little ones who thrive under routine. Parenting is awesome and you learn so much but….it’s not exactly mentally challenging. If you can manage it, try taking a class in something that interests you. Maybe an exercise class (power yoga?) or something crafty.
I feel ya. We all get this. We call this “road trip time!!!” We generally head for the beach. you live closer to the beach so that may not do it for you Our kids are older, so its also easier to say, grab your kindle and swimsuit and overnight bag. They flip out and run for the car. I think kids need this every now and again too. Hope you find something that gives you a break from your restlessness and ‘day to day’
I would love a road trip – you’re right, anything to get away from the day to day.
I realize I am weeks late in replying to this post cuz I suck, but: How about a day trip? (if a road trip can’t be squeezed in)
Plan a day trip with Annie: one that includes driving someplace that you’ve both never been too maybe or a place that you both love…spend the day sitting at a new beach or investigating a new area, lunch out, maybe dinner out. You both bring your cameras to capture what you like best about the place you’ve traveled to so over the next few days you can revisit. And then maybe you & Annie could do a mini scrap book with both your pictures & Annie’s pictures & stickers & things–nothing that requires “perfection” but is FUN to help you remember your mini trip…
Not. Just. You.
I was about to suggest….Zumba? The female energy and music cannot be beat. It may take a few times, but I cannot recommend it enough.
Zumba was how I got out of my rut earlier in 2012. It was totally by accident that I even went (good Groupon deal), but it became a saving grace and even though I don’t go as regularly as I would like, I look forward to the nights when I do get to escape for an hour.
Whether it’s Zumba, Yoga, Surfing, Knitting, Painting, or, heck, just about anything else, I hope you find what you’re looking for.
You could change your hair! Just add a pretty wild streak maybe of purple to your locks! Rep Maddie everyday and ur woul probably make annie go crazy!
I think those funks are pretty normal. We all find ourselves in them at some point or another.
Maybe a drastic hair change doesn’t work for you, but you could paint your nails crazy colors, and wear something fun and outrageous. Dance around your house. Eat cookies for dinner. Stay up all night watching funny movies. Sometimes you just need a very different kind of day to pull yourself out of the funk.
I’m right there with you. Not quite in a rut per se, but so restless and wanting a change and spark of excitement.
It’s true. I find myself slipping into ruts with somewhat regularity. I find that exercise really is the best thing for it. Sometimes you just HAVE to run it out.
I’m sorry you’re in the ruts. It’s not a fun place to be.
I’ve gotta jump on the running bandwagon and suggest that you check out the Couch to 5K program. Then, pick a fun 5K race to train for in the next couple of months. The exercise will raise your endorphin level, while the race gives you a goal to work toward – two things that always help when I’m feeling restless.
I was going to suggest the same thing! A goal, some endorphins, some good music and you can kick this funk with some fun!
Mrs Woog says:
Did you just write what is in my head? Cheeky bugger….. Xx
I agree that exercising is a great solution. Make it a regular part of your day. Plan some time every day for just you – go to the gym, take a walk, catch a movie, volunteer, or have lunch with a friend. It is important to have a schedule and know what you are doing each day. If you have no clues, go to Home Depot. That place is filled with boredom busters. Also, reading a book every day is GREAT modeling for Annie. If she sees you do it and value it, the probability is higher that she will make it a part of her life as well. I can’t stress how important that will be to her success in school….
My two cures for restlessness in my own life, if I have also exhausted the possibilities of baking, hairstyling, filing and furniture rearrangment:
I have always loved voluntary work and still find it very rewarding. My son is 4 now and he likes to join in. We try to plan at least one Good Deed per week and then do it together. Otherwise when it doesn’t rain, we garden together and I find that very therapeutic.
When I was less busy at work I would fit in 2-4 hours of voluntary work per week (but it had to be hands on – making tangible practical/emotional difference; my favourite was working for a helpline, my second favourite was guerilla gardening in the community).
Otherwise, I go somewhere I’ve never before and that’s fun.
But that’s because my restlessness is due to boredom 90% of the time. What is your restlessness about? What is it asking for?
Annie helps me every day fill bags for Friends of Maddie – she likes helping and she’s actually good at it! I wish I had more time for other charities but FoM and March of Dimes take up my volunteer hours.
Oh Heather, you are very much NOT alone! Restlessness gets us all, and I think there have been some really good suggestions so far. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately although for me it has mostly come of dinner foods. I swear we eat the same 10 meals on rotation! Small steps though can pull you out of it – I love the suggestion about the Couch to 5K. It’s a goal, it’s longer term and you have to have a plan. Thinking of you!! xoxo
Boy does this post ring true for me also. I’m fast approaching my 60th birthday (Nov. 3) and I keep thinking to myself “is this as good as it’s going to get.” I don’t mean it in a selfish way. I am very grateful to have my health, family, job and friends but yet . . .
You know the old Oprah cliche “find your passion.” Well if I knew what my passion was I’d certainly go after it but I don’t have a clue.
Anyway, didn’t mean to make you feel worse, just wanted to let you know there are so many of us like you out there also searching. We just have to remain positive that we will find whatever it is we are looking for.
I know exactly what you mean, Rebecca, and I feel this way too. I have lots of blessings in my life that I am very grateful for. I sometimes feel like my life is passing me by though and would love to find something to be passionate about. I wonder sometimes if my expectations are too high: that life isn’t about being passionate and that I should be happy with just ok. I try to enjoy the little things while keeping seaching for that passion though.
No, you didn’t make me feel worse at all – I feel comforted by this, actually.
Hmmm…I’ll let you know if I figure it out for myself. The ways you stirred things up when you were younger (redecorating your room, changing your hair) were me exactly.
I would suggest something little, like going for a bike ride every morning or evening and trying to ride a little further each time, but it sounds like you’re looking for a bigger change.
New car? Ooh, or a guinea pig!
How about planning a great, big trip? The planning is 1/2 the fun, so set it for a date at least a few months out. Canada? Australia? We just returned from a Hawaii/Australia trip and were surprised that it didn’t cost nearly as much as we had feared.
Of course, if you take a cruise, they include free child care
Annie Younger says:
I say paint something and start planning to decorate for Halloween! Burn some time on Pinterest for some new Halloween ideas.
I hope you are out of your funk soon!
You could always come here and help me demo my kitchen!
Volunteering sounds like a great idea, and I’m not just saying this because it’s what I try to do when I feel like my life is going nowhere. The nice thing about volunteering your time is that you can immediately gauge how your time spent doing something charitable makes a difference!
Barring that, I second the advice about figuring out what you’re restless about. Do you need a new challenge in your life? Do you maybe feel like you might like to try being a working parent rather than stay at home?
You know what else? If you want a haircut, your stylist will get over it. I was worried about cutting my hair and confusing my daughter with the change, but she actually adjusted pretty well. In fact, I think she finds my hair more interesting now.
All my volunteer time is spent on Friends of Maddie! As for cutting my hair, eh…I like it long, I’ll just have to start trying new things with it.
I hear you. The restlessness hits me a lot these days, and I have been trying to stay ahead of it, so I do not fall into the deep despair that sometimes wraps itself around me. Like you, the hair was always a fun thing to change for me, but I just did that in August (chopped about 5 inches off and changed color,) so that’s kind of out. I usually do things that take me a little out of my comfort zone, helps to energize me and kick me out of the rut. That’s how I started baking a few years ago – bread, cookies, etc. Bread is particularly fun. Try this one to start, it’s very easy (baked write into the title, pun intended): http://goo.gl/GpFEA Get the Healthy Bread in Five book, even more gratifying. This weekend, I am cooking an Indian feast for 8 and I have only really ever made basic dals before. OH, and the big one for me is to try a new exercise. Spinning really got me out of a rut recently, I just did a 5k on the spur of the moment (can you tell I am prone to ruts?), but my favorite is DANCING. I do a dance fitness class that’s like zumba on steroids and it has saved my sanity. I love love love it, and a friend of mine who is a Chinese medicine practitioner tells me it’s an excellent sanity saver because it “gets the chi moving.” I am going even farther out of my comfort zone and will attempt to actually create choreography next. When I play it safe, I get restless. So I try things that make me a little uncomfortable about myself – and then I feel energized once I get past that. Color a little outside the lines, it helps me, truly.
Thinking about you
That bed looks really delicious – thank you for the recipe! I will definitely try it.
I am super-uncoordinated when it comes to classes, but maybe I can convince some of my friends to just GO dancing with me. I used to go out dancing all the time. I miss it!
I’m about to pop my third loaf this week into the oven. Slater with butter and honey….you’ve got a winner. Damn, I’m hungry. My ass, however…..is not happy with me.
When I first started Dance Trance (which is what it’s called, I know, it’s a horrible name,) I never thought I would GET it. I kept messing up the footwork and getting annoyed with myself for not getting it perfect. That’s what kept me going back, I was competitive enough with myself to want to do it right. And now I do. Just takes practice. If I can do it, anyone can, believe me! But anything really – dance is amazing, even if it’s just going out dancing, like you said. BTW, adult ballet, tap, jazz, broadway, etc. Those are all such fun to take as well – plus, hello, LEGWARMERS. No better excuse.
Becky Campbell says:
Take a class!! Maybe one at a community center!! I bet they have childcare available and you could learn a new skill or perfect an old hobby and Annie would love to hang out with other kids! Go online or watch cooking shows and commit to learning a new recipe every week!!:)
When I feel like this, sometimes, I get a new tattoo. Kindof drastic, but it works for a long time to settle my restless urge. I know you have the ink for Madeline, maybe you would get something for Jackie! ? I’m not sure but it works for me
We all get in they rut. I read. Walk on my treadmill. Ride bike. Go get a mani/ pedi. Go on a mini 4 day weekend. Bake. Rearrange furniture. Clean. Weed out drawers and closets. Hope this helps!!!
Eddy Nalls says:
With all you have been through continuing to put one foot in front of the other is amazing! Give yourself a break! Try to stay in the moment with Annie and life! That is a real challenge but so important! You are so fabulous in music; maybe take a music class of some sort or find a way to share your talent with the world through community theatre or some other avenue.
I am not a doctor but have you had your Vitamin D checked? Low Vitamin D does have an impact on mood, and other systems in our body. There is a blood test for it and many doctors never think to have it checked. It is a simple test and a simple solution! You might want to speak to your doctor about it.
You are an amazing woman who has encouraged so many other women and families to do the best they can. You need to take care of yourself so you can be the best for you!
Jessica Makuh says:
I have a lot of days like that, too, and I’ve been in a rut lately. I just can’t get out of it. I keep hoping.
Sounds like a smart woman like you needs some brain candy, something to get those synapses firing! Take a class, like watercolors or an instrument. Or do some online learning, like a language. Livemocha.com or Hello-Hello both offer free language learning. Then plan a trip to a place that speaks that language.
Most colleges now offer tons of distance learning classes, too. See if you can find something that interests you, gives you a long-term intellectual goal to work towards.
I hope you find your “thing” to do and keep all of your hair :).
Totally.Not.Alone…come to Vegas for a weekend and I’ll buy you a drink (or 4).
I know you enjoy photography. How about an online class where you work at your own pace to do the assignments? I’ve really gotten into my photography the past 1.5 years and it’s been fun.
Yeah – I’ve really been enjoying the classes I’ve been taking through the university!
Rachel L says:
Certainly not just you as far as the restlessness is concerned. Some of us suffer from severe wanderlust that crops up at certain times and makes our feet itch. It’s time to learn something, or try something new. In your case I can only imagine it would be made more prominent by the feeling of wanting something to brighten this extremely difficult time you’ve been through. Keeping my fingers crossed that the right thing comes along to excite and spark for you.
My suggestion would be to find somewhere you (and Annie) can volunteer in your community. Perhaps if you find something that you are passionate about, you can get excited about helping others in a meaningful way. Might I suggest the local hospice, the pound, a food bank, homeless shelter, elementary school, hospital, community garden, Boys and Girls Club or after school program. Share the love you obviously have inside of you!
Annie helps me with my daily Friends of Maddie work! FoM takes up all my volunteer time. She likes helping and I like her help!
My girlfriend and I started going to the movies every tues night a few years ago. It was nice because when you only have to pay for one dinner and one ticket it isn’t that expensive! It gave us alone, adult time and we could see movies that our husbands did not want to see. Some weeks we saw duds but it was still a nice break. It also gave the husbands nice alone time with the kids. It’s Lso awesome to get to Oscar time and to have seen every movie!!
Oh, Heather-I am so there too! I had to stop on my home just to cry..from the restlessness…I need something to change but too many people depend on me….I just don’t know what to do…I am volunteering more, I have a second job-nothing is scratching that itch!
All these comments. I wonder if everyone here clicked onto the comment section to get ideas for relieving their own restlessness. I did!
Meg McG says:
If you’re not at peace then you are out of balance. You might need to find stillness. I’d suggest something free form like Zentangle, hand embroidery or knitting. They aren’t hard to learn at all and lend themselves to stillness and mindlessness. You seem like you have plenty to keep you busy but nothing rested. If you don’t like crafts or drawing then I’d say start reading poetry. Poems are short and digestible and easy to find a few moments peace.
I think you need a challenge. If you aren’t into the physical type (like myself) then I suggest a mental one. Learn something new like a craft or skill. Or, make yourself some type of resolution and try to stick to it. I know you like Pinterest; you could challenge yourself to pick things from your boards and actually do them according to a schedule. For example, you could say you are going to try out three ideas per week. If you want to make yourself accountable for it you can blog about it here, or you can make it a completely personal journey. I know from my own experiences mental stimulation can really help get me out of a rut.
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best of luck!
I agree with the gardening and reading folks. Nothing like adding beautiful color to your yard to pep you up, in my opinion. And reading is great but maybe not so much a cure for restlessness. You are so good with photography, maybe you could offer to take pictures for some organization, pre-school, etc or just for your own enjoyment. With fall coming, maybe you could learn some fall crafts. I remember well feeling out of sorts at times when my kids were young so I would do out-of-the-ordinary things with them like go to the zoo, story hour at the library, window shopping at the mall, scrapbooking, organizing photos, etc. How about joining a book club? Or taking a cake decorating class or stained glass class or basket weaving class? (I think I am showing my age now!!) I have every confidence that you will find just the right activity to get you out of your doldrums. Good luck, sweetie!!
I’m happy to know that you’re restless! I hope a new door opens very soon.
I was thinking about this last night – odd I know- but up above I had suggested that you take up running, but what about planning a run? A local to you 5K that would benefit Friends of Maddie, I’m not sure of the logistics, but it would be a greay way for you to raise money and keep your mind occupied.
Are there any classes offered through the rec center or YMCA that you can do with Annie? Gymboree, art, music.. Maybe taking the focus off your rut and exploring new things with Annie could help.
I’m sure someone already mentioned this but: Travel! When I feel restless or bored or stuck, I start planning trips – road trips, city trips, national parks trips, international trips, Sandals Resort trips, whatever… These aren’t necessarily trips I can afford right now or have the time to take right now but I just have so much fun planning them – I feel rejuvenated afterwards as though I actually took the dang trip. I have road trips mapped on Google Maps that span the entire country. I have itineraries planned for different countries and continents. There are so many good travel sites that are so much fun to navigate and the pics would be fun for Annie to look at and think of how many pretend journeys she could go on looking at them with you. You could build the Castles of Scotland in your own back yard with cardboard boxes.
You could also create a family trip wish list of places you want to take Annie and future Spohr children to before they grow up. Oh my, I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I’m a bit of a freak like that, though. You might not find it as exciting.
You could also go on a Target shopping spree for all new makeup with colors you haven’t tried before (cheaper than a clothes shopping spree and that has a similar outcome to the hair cut idea).
Last one: some sort of cooking goal like creating the perfect homemade bbq sauce or marinara sauce or dinner roll recipe, etc. You could try cooking a new one every couple of days and have blind taste-tests to keep track of the winners as you tweak the item a little here and a little there, come up with names for your awesome new food (Smoky Spohr BBQ Sauce? Maddie’s Marinara? Annie’s Alfredo? Rigby Rolls?).
Sarah a says:
Blood pumping…. When I lost my grandparents who raise me and my siblings my world was caving in. I needed a new something but wasn’t sure what because some many things were new right then… I went skydiving it gave me a rush that completely re energized my life and brought back the feel after a year (plus) I finally felt alive again… I’ll jump again if you wanna go ????
You can make a new friend…very selfish recommendation though, I just moved to LA and am actively looking for people to hang out with. I’m a long time reader, but very infrequent commenter.. But seriously, finding new things to do and new people to hang out with can help relieve rut-dom. Mixing up things in the kitchen (new recipes, modified favorites) can also help, particularly if you believe that we are what we eat!
I totally relate to this! I used to always change up my hair when I felt this way too. (My friends used to be able to tell when I was thinking about breaking up with a boyfriend cause I would do something drastic with my hair. :P) But now…. I love it long, so don’t want to chop it and then hate it as I wait for it to grow out and I don’t want to damage it with bleaching anymore (BTW, how do you keep that color from fading, so jealous of your hair). So changing the hair is out AND buying things is out, cause who can afford that?
Three things I can recommend:
1. Try focus on teaching yourself something new every few weeks. Like an instrument, knitting, a language, or something practical even like learning to fix things around the house or car.
2. Have you seen those photography challenges that are around on the web? It’s typically a list of what picture to take each day for a month. You could use that as a challenge to focus on a specific subject with your photography.
3. Make a list of fun things to do over the next few months or years. I have a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. Some things are big, like travel to Paris (check) and hike the Appalachian trail (which I won’t be able to complete, but I’m trying), but other things are small, like learn how to make gnocchi from scratch.
Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch says:
I’m the EXACT same way. I usually go the color my hair route or go spend money (neither one probably very responsible!) I’m loving the suggestions …think I’m going to try some myself!
Amanda Taylor-Rhodes says:
It would probably help you get out of your rut if you get a job outside the home , even a part time one. I know after being a SAHM for yrs, it drove me absolutely nuts after awhile. No other adults to talk to during the day, and feeing isolated, and as though I had no purpose (other than raising the kids). I am now a much happier and better mom and wife now that I am working outside the home again. I feel like I have been totally recharged! Try it!
Faux painting and decorating addict says:
Unfortunately, it can get worse with age. The problem is sooner or later you start placing a great deal of value on routine. Once that happens being in a rut seems almost natural.