Christmas is a prime time for feeling like everything is spiraling out of control. There is so much to get done in a relatively short period of time. Patience seems to be in short supply and nerves become frazzled. Everyone has a story about how much they have yet to get done before Christmas Eve – shopping, wrapping, decorating, visiting family and friends, attending Christmas concerts and parties. Then there are those pesky year-end work targets that hang over the celebrations and damped the mood like Scrooge.
When the pressure in our lives begins to build, like it does at Christmas, our minds can start to spin, and it becomes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the light is there and sometimes, all you need to do is shift a little to see it. So, how does one actually “shift”? By escaping.
Escaping the Stress
Escaping can be a very helpful tool that can be easily incorporated into almost any busy schedule. It involves purposefully pulling yourself away from negative, overwhelming thoughts and providing yourself with an opportunity to take a mental break.
Be aware however, that there are helpful and non-helpful forms of escaping. For example, taking a year-long trip to visit the Tibetan monasteries may not be a particularly cost conscious form of escaping. It may actually add more stress than the stress it is intended to lessen. Using drugs and alcohol when the going gets tough can be a tempting way to “forget your stresses”, however it carries health concerns with it and, for some, the dangers of addiction. The same applies to gambling. The point being that you need to find a positive way to escape that supports your lifestyle, values and goals.
So, if you are not about to jet off somewhere exotic, how can you practice escaping and still reap the physical and mental benefits of unplugging temporarily? Here are some ways to put into practice around the holiday season.
Watch a Feel-good Movie
I love to watch any movie that has a happy ending. It allows me to escape into a world of either fantasy or love-conquers-all. I forget, just for a few hours, about the housework, unanswered emails or the shopping that awaits me.
Go for a walk
I really love this one. I find that walking and allowing my mind to wander to be refreshing and calming. Upon return to my home or work, I am blessed with a new perspective. The issues that felt like hundred-pound weights only an hour before no longer carry the weight.
Everyone knows the benefits of meditation when you are experiencing anxiousness, tension or are worried. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. And here is the cool thing – I have learnt to practice mediation wherever I am. I have incorporated it into my walks, when I am waiting in the doctor’s office or even while I am in my favourite coffee shop.
Although this can easily become a negative escape tool, I just had to add it because I love it so much. When negative emotions arise, turning to delicious comfort food does provide me with a momentary boost. However, I do need to be aware of the negative health consequences if I practice too much.
Escapism can be a powerfully positive tool, allowing you to rest and recharge your mind and body, before facing up to life’s challenges. Think about the positive aspects of this practice especially at this particularly demanding time of year. Think of it as an early Christmas present for yourself.
How can you practice imagination today? What in your life can you build an imaginary story around? What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!
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To our Health and Wellbeing,