The way the world is today it seems as though we’re pretty much always on: we’re always expected to be contactable and always supposed to be thinking.
But I know I’m not alone in saying I really don’t find that healthy… I don’t think it’s good for us physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I’m a firm believer that we all need to take time to rest, and it’s a big step on the road to taking charge of your own life when you not only recognise your own need for rest but set the boundaries that allow you to do that regularly.
However I also think that sometimes rest just isn’t enough. Sometimes we need more than that, and by which I’m talking about a complete escape.
Do you ever take the time out to switch off completely from the real world; not just sit down in front of the TV your phone beeping next to you and/or the constant threat of a to do list running through your mind?
If I’m honest, just a few years ago the only ways I knew to do that were hideously unhealthy… they involved either eating until I felt so sick and/or appalled at myself that I forgot about the to do list, drinking until I didn’t care about the texts and emails anymore or losing myself in the company of someone – anyone – else who might distract me from whatever else was going on.
None of those things were healthy, but it took me a while to realise that all any of them served to do was make me feel even more frazzled and overwhelmed in the long run.
And then I discovered a little cabin in the woods… (not the horror movie kind). I’ve written before about my annual retreats from the world in a giant forest an hour or so from home – Kali and I head there for at least one week a year out of the range of mobile signal with nothing to do but walk, read, eat, sleep, write and watch movies.
It’s perfect – so much so that if I became a millionaire tomorrow I would book up for a few days every month for as far in advance as I could – and I always come back from there feeling completely refreshed, relaxed and energised.
But of course it’s not always possible to take a week off in the middle of nowhere every time you need a complete break, so it’s important to have those mini escapes too; the things and places you can disappear to for an hour or a day or maybe even a weekend any time you need to.
For me it’s books; specifically either super cheesy chick lits or a supernaturally tinged romance from Nora Roberts – that woman’s novels have the power to take me away completely from even the most stressful of days – and TV; the easier to watch and become engrossed in the better – why yes, I did binge the whole of Riverdale season one in a weekend recently!
Those things may not be the most intellectually stimulating of things (although insult Nora Roberts within hearing distance of me at your peril) but isn’t that the point?
In a world where we’re all expected to be permanently thinking the best escape – and maybe also the biggest rebellion – we can have is to do something that switches off our rational brains entirely and enables us to lose ourselves completely in something else.
Maybe your escape is a little more highbrow though; maybe it’s painting just for the fun of it, running on the beach as the waves crash around you, playing an instrument or something else entirely.
Whatever your escape is I’d love to know… and if you’re reading this and thinking “nothing” then maybe it’s time for you to find that escape for yourself, and then give yourself the time to enjoy it.
Because not only will it help you switch back onto the world with all guns blazing, but it’ll also give you the break you need to really enjoy every part of your life even more.