You know that feeling when you’ve had a tough day and you tell yourself, “I deserve to ___ because of that day.” The thing might be to have a cocktail, watch TV, go to bed early, or spend the night talking to a friend instead of getting work or chores done. Whatever it might be, we all have those moments. We all need to recharge our batteries so we can bring our best forward day after day. But when is an action a recharge and when is it an escape? And when is an escape healthy and when is it too much? I’m not here to tell you the answer, but to help you define the differences. If you can identify which is which then you can be more mindful about how you recharge.
For example, sleep might be just what you need to feel better and find yourself recharged the next day. But for others, climbing into bed at 7pm and sleeping for 12 hours might leave them feeling empty and exhausted the next day. We all want to escape our problems at times but if you are just kicking the can down the road is it really worth that escape? Wouldn’t it be better to do something that actually makes you feel better about whatever situation you’re facing?
The key to figuring out whether an activity is recharging you or just letting you escape your problems is whether you feel better afterwards or if the escape is just providing temporary relief.
So, as you explore ways to soothe yourself during tough times, these questions from Innovations360.com can help you identify ones that are more healthy than others:
- Did I walk away from that environment feeling recharged?
- Did that activity leave me feeling empowered or ashamed?
- Did my interaction with that group of people leave me feeling alive or depleted?
- Do I feel more or less prepared to take on tomorrow?
*The above list from Innovations360.com
You may need a toolkit of self-soothing ideas to reach into when you’re feeling like you need an escape, and there are so many options out there to help, but here are some common ones:
- connect with a friend
- meditate or pray
- practice breathing exercises
- color or craft
- spend time with an animal
- dance to your favorite tunes
- do something to help someone else
- cook a meal and savor the tastes and smells
- read or work on a puzzle
- go to a park and people watch
- some more great thoughts on healthy self-soothing from Positive Psychology
Oftentimes the easier path is the one that leaves you feeling empty afterwards, but it is so worth that little extra effort even when you think you have nothing left to give! You’re not alone in this struggle, so be gentle with yourself as you build up healthy habits.