Go Big—But Go Home
Use short bursts of restlessness to your advantage when tackling challenges. Your fight-or-flight response can help you get through anything that scares you a little (a work presentation, asking out a cute guy). However, adopt the habit of rewarding yourself with some time to decompress once you reach your goal. "I'm a huge advocate of using stressto motivate," says Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D. "But you need to build in breaks for recovery and rejuvenation."
Cut Yourself Off
Avoid OMT, or "one more thing" syndrome, says Kathy J. Helzlsouer, M.D. Trying to squeeze in that last OMT before bed can lead to big-time restlessness (not to mention lots of sleeplessness). If you must power through a p.m. checklist, mark down unwinding as your final to-do item, says Helzlsouer. "If it needs to be written down for you to consider it acceptable, that's fine." Spend some time chilling out, then cross it off the list.
Listen Up to Shut Up
If sitting still makes you want to dig your nails into the chair, then you're probably nowhere near ready for silent meditation. Instead, buy a mind-body relaxation CD, on which a trained professional talks you through a guided meditation session. This will allow you to focus on something other than your own thoughts as you decompress, says Kristen Burris, an acupuncturist and women's-health expert in Eagle, Idaho.
Count Your Breaths
An ace way to manage restlessness, deep breathing can also improve your sleep quality and boost your energy levels, says Susan Ginsberg of Stop and Breathe. Beginners can try two-one breathing, in which you exhale for twice as long as you inhale, for 10 to 20 minutes. To help with stubborn sleep problems, go with 8-16-32 breathing right before bed: eight long belly breaths lying on your back, 16 on your right side, and 32 on your left.
Just Admit It
Sometimes the best way to fight restlessness is to acknowledge it's there. When you start feeling fidgety, take a moment to recognize what's going on, says psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig, L.C.S.W. "Remember that you don't have to act on the impulse to move around," she says. "You can even say out loud: 'I'm fine right now just as I am.'" Getting the hang of baby steps like these will encourage you to enact healthy changes.