Healthy Escapes and “Destination Meditations”
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If you notice, those “escapes” are on instant replay for us. Sometimes, you don’t even acknowledge the stress or negative emotions before you dive right into your favorite unhealthy escape.
You grab something sweet or crunchy and before you had time to think about it, you’re noshing away at it.
You’re out running errands and it turns into a full-blown shopping spree.
You unexpectedly and almost unexplainably blew up and got mad.
You’re paralyzed in worry and sit and think about something for far too long until it becomes a real issue in your mind. Now you’re obsessing over it.
It’s time to play a new tune!
First, know your triggers. Make a list of all your triggers.
Yes, this will take some effort to think about all the people and/or scenarios that precede running to your unhealthy escape (and feeling worse afterwards). Keep tabs on what happens right before you engage in an unhealthy habit/escape.
Personally, I noticed that I hate conflict with loved ones so instead of speaking up (for fear of conflict), I used to eat/stuff my face.
Next, write down simple pleasures and escapes you have access to.
Serving myself a nice cup of decaf coffee with my favorite flavor of creamer was a great way to signal relaxation during stressful family times, and relax before I speak up.
Ideas for healthy escapes:
Watch a funny movie or cheerful show.
An actual retreat or mini-getaway, time to get away, and restart your habits.
A walk to simply observe your surroundings and the life happening around you.
A cup of coffee or tea. Nothing used as a stimulant or replacement for a meal- just a casual cup of jo.
Take a nap before or during stressful situations.
Read a book or magazine.
Play with children or pets.
Meditate and/or pray.
Go for a swim at your gym and relax in the sauna
Listen to an audio book or instrumental music
If you know your triggers, you can precede them with regular involvement in your favorite activities. The stressful people or situation are less likely to irritate you.
Use one of the “Destination Meditations” below to escape after a day of stressful triggers or before you know you’ll be faced with challenges in the day ahead. Once you get in the habit of turning to healthy escapes, your mind and body automatically reach for them instead (and feel better afterwards).
If you can’t take a vacation this winter, take it here!