Since the very beginning of the pandemic, we have been restricted. This has potentially made for some very unproductive and negative behaviours to arise. So how do we master our emotions through positive outlets? Healthy escapism could be the answer.
With a global crisis raging on in the background, it can be quite difficult to steer our focus away from this and onto more productive activities or areas of our lives. A lot of us will be feeling more drained lately and find ourselves turning the news off more often than we usually would. Even going to lengths like avoiding certain people or leaving our homes all together. These are what psychologist Dr Victoria Miller from the Melbourne Wellbeing Group would describe as forms of negative escapism. When we find ourselves avoiding and procrastinating, we are also causing damage to areas of our lives in the process. So how do we determine what is negative escapism and healthy escapism?
Escapism, when used appropriately in a positive way, can transform our mindset. Our time used to escape our realities should be short and measured, leaving us feeling refreshed and reenergised to get back to our lives, says Dr Miller. Healthy escapism should feel and look like a form of self-care. Healthy escapism is a lesson in shifting focus from something unpleasant to something pleasant, and then being able to use those good feelings to refocus on the initial unpleasant activity to reinvent it into something constructive. Cultivating opportunities to self-indulge in short bursts of pleasure looks different for every individual. Below are some great healthy escapist activities to bathe in and rewire your mindset.
- Giving yourself a few minutes a day to sit and focus on your breath can be the quickest trick to refocusing and centring oneself in reality.
- Goodful on YouTube have some easy meditation clips for anyone who needs a quick refresher in their day.
- A Japanese form of a meditative connection to the natural world around you called shinrin-yoku meaning “forest bath”. It is the literal taking in and bathing in the forest atmosphere around oneself, simply being with the nature around through the five senses.
- The World Economic Forum on YouTube have posted a great overview of the process of Forest Bathing.
- Anyone who reads can tell you how calming the act of reading is. Reading is not only informative, but it also offers an outlet to refocus your brain on a different topic quickly, engross you and then once you have closed the book, reenergise you to get back to your own world with this newfound knowledge.