Therefore, I think many people mix up freedom with escapism. There are healthy ways to exercise our freedom, which doesn’t include running away from our issues. The unfortunate fact is that many of our “escapism” tools become rooted in our brain chemically, and before too long they become our “go to” choice of ignoring what we need to face up to. For the moment, it feels good. Picture the husband who is dealing with a drug addicted son, and chooses to escape through an office affair. Even the elderly person who doesn’t want to deal with health issues finds refuge in gossip which hurts others, but give her a “better than” feeling that helps her escape her own problems.
So how can we turn this around? How can we find ways to take a healthy break from our trials, and come back more energized to deal with them? Here are some ideas:
1. Find rest first. I know this seems elementary, but check your sleep allouance. Are you getting enough sleep. We can discuss the following tips all we want, but if a person is depriving themselves of sleep their body needs, they will be sowing seeds on infertile ground.
2. Are your actions freeing you or caging you? Here is one quick question to ask yourself: “Do you have to hide any part of your ‘freedom’?” Doing drugs, drinking, watching porn, having an affair, out of control shopping, over eating, etc. My guess if you do any of these or dozens of others, you have to be secretive about a part of it, or all of it. That is not freedom, that is a jail you are building for yourself.
3. Fill the vaccum. We all fall into negative patterns, or at least times of negative behavior when we reach higher levels of stress. That is what usually leads to us thinking or behaving in a subpar, escapism way. Once we identify those, and rid ourselves of it, we need to fill it with something which is truly serving. Hiking, bike riding, building model planes, volentering, reading, drawing, visiting with friends, taking long walks, writing, photography, swimming, exercising…
These are all things we can do which can replace what is getting us off track, and not really freeing us in any meaningful way.
As with changing any negative pattern, acknowledging the need for change is the first step. From there, I hope these tips can get you and keep you on the straight path.