I mentioned before that reading is an escape for me, and it’s true. I read books to take mini vacations. In fact, I even wrote an article about it that I published with my local newspaper: “The Best Way to Travel.” For me, reading is the best vacation around, right up there with writing, drawing, meditating, and taking a walk. I do all these things to escape my troubles, if only for a short time. The best part about these little vacations is that if I don’t like them, I can simply close the book, shut the laptop, toss down the pencil, get up, or walk away.

I do miss taking vacations out of the house, but I'm content using other methods of escape. If you feel cooped up (a feeling most everyone can sympathize with this year) or you just have a lot on your mind, you should think about finding an escape that works for you, too. Now, I’m not suggesting you shirk your responsibilities or ignore your troubles completely. It’s important that you face them (sort of talking to myself right now, too), but it’s infinitely easier to deal with something after you’ve stepped away from it for a time. Constant stress does no one any good. Even just taking a step away mentally for a few moments can help put things in perspective.

That said, there are times when I don’t feel like doing anything because I’m too depressed or angry or anxious, etc. At those times, I sit down and take a time out. Sometimes I put myself in a place that helps calm me, such as imagining myself on a beach. Other times, I force my mind to be completely blank. For those of you who are spiritual or religious (yes, I consider the two terms separate), getting in touch with your higher power through meditation or prayer can help. There are some times when nothing works, when my mind is simply not a good place to be. I just have to ride it out, but those times are, thankfully, rare. Hopefully, you’re able to find something that always works for you, and if you can’t, just know you’re not alone.

In conclusion, remember that it’s okay to step away for a little bit to get your bearings. Occasionally, you won’t have much time, if any, to do this, but if you manage even a few seconds away, it could help you be more objective about your situation when you return. Read about how this relates to the writing process in my next post. If you already have things you do to help yourself take a “vacation,” go ahead and talk about them down in the comments. I’d love to read about them, and maybe you’ll give me ideas to try out when I have trouble using my usual escapes.