Before I start, I would like to take a moment to point out that I have now officially written two blogs in one month (look who's KILLING this whole New Years Resolution thing!) I will give you a moment to let that sink in and marvel at my accomplishment...
In life, we all have moments where we need an escape. A way to take a step back and disappear from the reality we are living in that moment. When the days get too long or become too much. Feeling bogged down in the monotony of the day in and day out, motivation and creativity may cease and if you are like me, depression may find its way in. Sometimes the need for escape hits right after a busy time at work or after the winter holiday chaos. Sometimes, it's during moments of stress with a relationship or loved one. And sometimes, it can be induced by the weather—have you ever craved the beach after a long string of gray, rainy, and cloudy weather? Yea, me too.
I've learned over the years to listen to these queues when they present themselves. Perhaps I was a pioneer in the "self-care movement"(doubtful) or maybe I just avoided the doldrums as much as humanly possible, but I found ways to escape when things just seemed to be too much. You can tell it's time for an escape for me when you walk into my house and it is messy (more than usual, ha) and the dishwasher isn't running (it is ALWAYS running). When I start ordering takeout for dinner more than once a week or when I'm putting projects off until the very last minute. If you're a friend of mine, you might recognize my "disappearance act" where I stop replying to texts and Marco Polos in a timely manner and it seems like I've fallen from the face of the Earth. It's times like this when that overwhelming feeling can suddenly claim your brain and with it comes irritability, anxiety, and the need for escape.
Although I wish it were the case, I am not in a position in life to book a last-minute flight to some remote island every time I want to escape. Sometimes it is in the cards to retreat to a cabin for the weekend, go camping, or even schedule a summer trip, but not usually. Therefore, I have had to be creative with ways to distance myself from these impeding feelings. Some ways I escape:
Escape looks different to everyone, and it should. But the need exists for everyone sometimes and learning to recognize it in yourself and others can help keep balance.
Building up to the holidays this season, I noticed in my daughter the need for escape and as her mother, I tried to provide ideas for her. We talked about journaling, books to read, music to listen to, and video games to play. It wasn't working. At 12 (approaching 13), I am not sure I had a clear idea of what my escape was either, but her obvious need was weighing on me. I needed to get her away from her day-to-day and help her gain a new perspective on things. In the process of worrying about how I was going to accomplish this, I too started to see myself craving escape. Crap. We gotta get the hell out of here.
Enter...my sister. The hero. After talking through things with her, she offered up her little cottage as an escape for us after the holiday. I squealed in delight, and off we went. Her family, my family, and my mom all piled into our cars and drove the 4-hour drive to a much-needed few days away. We spent the New Year and my daughter's birthday there playing games, going on walks, exploring little ski towns, and making memories. It was just what we needed.
It amazes me how some time away from things can really re-frame the way you see life. The rest for your brain, the break from responsibilities, maintaining a household, and accomplishing tasks, can really help to focus on what needs to be done when you return to reality. So if the lens you look at life through starts to get dirty, distorted, or unbalanced, I urge you to escape. Take a moment. Take a day. Take several days. Reset. Reflect. And when you're ready, move forward again.
Memories that Matter from our New Years Escape:
- Dance party to classic music in the living room with Grandma and learn the new dance we now call "the DD."
- Playing "Exploding Kittens" and grandma thinking she had the name right when referring to it as "Smashing Cats."
- Walks along the lake, with the sun shining down on our chilly faces.
- The sound of a million rattling dice as we played "Tenzie."
- Mario Kart tournaments.
- The fire department showed up as a result of us cooking our NYE steaks.
- The best Dollar Tree I have ever been to in my ENTIRE LIFE.
- The premiere of the homemade movie we created on an iPad, complete with a trailer, a villain, and a series twist in the plot.