How I Deal When the Shit Hits the Fan
Listen, despite what Facebook or Instagram likes to show you, life isn't all delicious meals, shopping sprees, and travel. In fact, life is usually a stressful complicated mess that can be overwhelming and at times downright depressing. One day you think everything is fine, you take a mental note and check each box off with a cute little tidy mark. Then the next day, everything seems like it's going in the opposite direction.
This is where I'm at.
A few weeks ago I was blissed out on the fact that I love my job, that I have an awesome apartment, incredible take-a-bullet-for-me friends, about to come into a small (but desperately needed) amount of money, and I was super content with being who I am, as an independent person.
Then today happened.
The only part of the last few weeks that remained with me was the fact that I still really do love my job. Other than that, everything changed. I was advised that it is almost certain that my rent is going to go up so astronomically at the end of my lease that I won't be able to afford my apartment, the place I have made my home for the last three years and absolutely adore. Great. Then the money I am (still) waiting for is taking it's sweet ass time getting to me, despite counting the days like a I was in the military. And finally, I was informed that my best friend, the one I consider my sister for all intents and purposes, is moving internationally in one month.
Top all of the above off with concern for an elderly loved one who is far away, and I'm about to tap out.
So you see why I would be close to losing it?
BUT. I'm going to try my damnedest not to.
Here are my tips for healthy escapism:
Read a book.
I love reading. I especially love reading books that have some form of basis in fantasy, or as little basis in reality (i.e. similar to my life) as possible. Be it an epic love story (even 50 Shades of Grey will do!), magic (I have managed to read full series of books on the subject), a combination of the two, or an autobiography of someone who isn't me, would do.
Watch a movie.
Watching movies is one of my favorite pastimes, even when I'm not stressed out. So when I am feeling like Imma need a couple hours to get my shit together (and by that I mean a total blackout of the outside world), I tend to watch even more films. All genres are acceptable, as long as they don't make me sad. Personal faves include Mamma Mia (by the end of it I always find myself feeling better), or any Harry Potter movie (don't judge me!).
Side note: binge watching any good tv series is just as good, if not better than watching a movie. I have become a master binge watcher in the last couple of years... so you can see how I try and stress manage. I also have a tendency to browse my social media in times of panic.
Take a walk.
Honestly, the healing power of a good walk is unmeasurable. The fresh air and rhythm of the pavement can be as good as a therapist. I've found myself walking around just thinking to myself, counseling myself on how to move forward from one problem to the next. I ask myself questions, like - What's the worst case scenario? How can I make this situation better? What's my plan? I am a girl who needs a plan in order to manage, I don't like it when I'm not in control (yeah yeah, I know I'm a control freak, bet you don't like it either). Walking it out helps me make a plan.
Talk it out with a friend.
A therapist is mad expensive, so for me a friend is an even better alternative. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes on any given situation can bring about a solution I never thought about. I have had my fair share of heart to hearts with friends about a problem I was having, or decision I was trying to make, and somehow when I spoke to them, even if a solution didn't surface, I felt better because I was saying it out loud; sometimes even saying it out loud helps.
SOOO being the clean freak that I am, I clean when I'm upset. It helps me think. Just like walking, I go through the motion of cleaning/walking, and try to get my mind in order - not necessarily thinking about what is bothering me, but just trying to think about makes me feel better.
*By healthy escapism, I mean that I don't run away from my problems, I do deal with them, but when everything starts getting a little much, I stop and take a breather.
Escapism is a survival tactic for me, and for many others I'm sure. There is only so much we can absorb before we start shutting down from the world. Thankfully, I am able to recognize when things get a little too much for me, and take a step back and remind myself of what makes me happy, and what I need to do to get back to my (relatively) calm space.