Sometimes we are terrible at escaping from our day-to-day.
I’m always amazed when I read articles that talk about how Americans are so hesitant to take days off from work. We’re somehow swallowed up by the idea that escaping from work simply means more work when we return. So we would rather just rely on quick breaks, and lunch hours at Starbucks (or your beverage location of choice) to keep our sanity.
But then we break, we realize that our body needs time to recharge… so we try to use the weekends for that. But then we treat our 48 hours worth of weekend as a 7 day vacation, and return to work on Monday just as tired as when we left.
And I get it. We want to always be current. We never want to feel behind. For some there’s just too much riding on the need for constant relevancy. Yet, we pursue these avenues at the expense of our mental and physical health.
I was once a terrible offender of this. I would refuse vacations. I would rely on 10 to 15 minute walks, hour long lunch breaks and weekends to keep me sustained.
Til one day, I had an emotional breakdown.
It was on a lunch walk, when everything about me just finally gave in to the pressure that I was merely stretching a rubber band and soon I would snap back to my desk to slog through the rest of the afternoon, making sure I did enough of the to do list to not overwhelm the next day.
Today, however, I still take advantage of those walking breaks, and lunch breaks, but now I’m more assertive about asking for days off and taking vacation days. Those are times to recharge, refresh, rethink the strategy. It’s an opportunity to regroup one’s soul.
This is where, for me, Disney, Xbox, and music come in. What those 3 things have in common is that they make fantastic escapes from the every day.
Xbox takes us to another world, to explore, to expand our minds, to rethink aspects of life. Of course, for some, it’s a gathering place, a friendship circle, a therapy session, a chance to let one’s self go, amongst like minded people.
Music takes us on a rhythmic journey, with lyrics and choruses that make us sing out loud, and for those moments forget that there’s a world around us, stretching us into every possible direction. I will admit I sing songs by Taylor Swift, Nickelback, etc because there’s good music there (quit laughing, there is!). For me, there’s space in those songs to belt out loud, and put that stress into a method that would ultimately make me feel better, in the end.
And then there’s Disney. Disney, who’s whole mission in life is to allow you to be a kid. To have that child-like sense of wonder and curiosity, to enjoy not fully having to be a grown up (though the prices would infer something different). When you’re at a Disney park, or a Disney related activity or event, you’re allowed to be young again. Young at heart, if you desire.
You know, I go to Disneyland Park, a lot. On my last trip, there, I realized that for as much time as I spend at the theme park, they always feel like the first time. Part of me still gets excited to see Mickey, to ride Space Mountain, to enjoy a bucket of popcorn, to see the parade, to marvel at the fireworks. All of it brings out this 12 year old that whispers “Thank You” to the 42 year old, he’s housed in.
I say all of this to say that it’s ok to take time for yourself. To sit down, and listen to some music. To pick up a controller, and enjoy a game. To travel to the Magic Kingdom and scream your head off, on a rollercoaster. To take time away, from those things that give you consistent tugs on your brain, heart, and soul. Even if you love what you do, the escape can be just as rewarding, and fulfilling.
So, no, it should never be hard work to escape working.