Simple Maintenance for Your Joie de Vivre

This week I wanted to write about escapism. Certainly not escapism in every sense of the word, as there are a lot of negative views on this as a coping mechanism. The way I wish to discuss it is a lot more positive. I would like to discuss escapism as a much-needed break from all that is boring and mundane. I would like to prescribe you a daily dose of “adios” — or rather a temporary vacation from reality. Here I have listed a series of five methods which allow you to break out of the stresses of everyday life.

1. Books

Books are a relatively obvious form of escape. You enter another world and another identity. Reading is therapeutic: you can explore so many things without any real consequence. I would always recommend books before television (although if you must watch television, I recommend binging documentaries). If you “don’t have time for books,” because of your coursework readings, take some English classes and then you’ll have to make time for books. Book clubs are also an option I’d consider if I were you. Local libraries typically have an array of book club options. 

2. Nature

Nature is a great escape and now is the perfect time to get outside! The crisp autumn/winter air will cleanse your soul. Bundling up may seem like a hassle, but the stress relief is totally worth it. Try taking different trails; as much I like to be outside, the same trail starts to feel like less of an escape and more of a habit. Mix it up! You can walk alone, with a friend or with a pet. Walking in a winter wonderland is always best followed up with a cup of hot cocoa by the fire. 

3. Art 

Art is therapeutic and extensive. You can practice photography with a careful eye. You can write your mind inside out. You can take your very being and cover it with a scripted character — or you can take a blank canvas and cover it in your imagination. The possibilities of expression are endless. I recommend finding one form of art which draws you in. Maybe you take a class with your friend or you find time to discover a passion on your own. 
4. Food

Food can be an escape. I don’t mean you should eat your way through a stressful situation, but I do like to enjoy good food in stressful times. Let me give you an example: Sometimes, when I’m overcrowded with work, I plan a breakfast. This planned breakfast outing is a nice way to start off a really busy day — after all, the early bird gets the worm. I would recommend Cora’s. They have a decent early bird special with affordable options. At this breakfast I don’t allow myself to dread all that is yet to be completed: I just enjoy my bottomless coffee and eat my toast with a smile. 

5. Meditation & Yoga

I don’t know how many people actually take the time to practice yoga and meditation, but they are genuinely life-altering practices. I can honestly tell you that back when I was really into both yoga and meditation, my mind was in a lot better of a state and honestly so was my body. Not only do they allow you to recharge, but they give you mental and physical strength. I was most committed when I joined a class so I would obviously recommend you do that as well. It can be pricey — especially when it comes to yoga — so if that’s a concern for you right now, I’d recommend looking into apps and free online meditation/yoga guidance. 

Being able to escape is something that should be available to everyone. It comes in many forms and everyone will have different versions of escaping that they are particularly drawn to. Maybe you like to escape into music or working out. I gave five examples of escape that I practice, but there are many more options, not only that I turn to, but that other people turn to. It is important to note that escapism in the way I have discussed should not only be limited to when you have “time.” Time is not a guarantee. In fact, the best “time” to escape is when you feel like you don’t have time because it’s never about having time, but always about making time. The effects are best felt with consistency: An escape a day keeps the distress away.