Pleasure or escapism?
Even before anyone had ever heard of Covid 19 I must admit that my way to relax at the end of a long week and escape the stresses of work was to indulge myself with a lager and a few salty snacks. Before I start preparing dinner, I fill a small bowl with a few crisps or nuts and sit down and relax for half an hour or so.
The trouble is that I begin putting the crisps or nuts in my mouth and before you know it, I turn to get another one and the bowl is empty. How did that happen? Most of the time I hardly remember eating them, let alone what they actually tasted like. I just shoved them into the hole in the middle of my face as quickly as humanly possible until they were all gone.
Recently I have been asking myself ‘Did I actually enjoy them?’. I know I enjoyed the thought of them before I started eating them, but did I actually get pleasure from eating them? The truth is, the moment passed so quickly that I don’t know. This behaviour has become a habit. A reward at the end of the week for all my hard work Monday to Friday.
I think that many of us engage in what are seen as pleasurable behaviours, but we aren’t always doing it because we actually enjoy the experience. Instead it’s a reward because we think that we deserve it or an escape, usually from our day to day lives.
Examine your motivation
This behaviour has come to the fore recently during the pandemic. If you belong to the same types of Whatsapp groups as I do, you’ll have read all those messages and seen those endless jokes about eating and drinking to excess in order to survive lockdown. This appears to be the emotional coping mechanism employed by the majority of the population. Another escape from the reality of the current restrictions on our lives. We don’t necessarily do something because we enjoy it for itself, but in order to help us forget our everyday lives.
I think that this can also be true when it comes to holidays. During a Skype call recently a friend talked about wanting to go away for a weekend in her caravan. She said that it didn’t matter where she went, she just wanted to ‘get away’. I wanted to ask, but obviously didn’t, ‘get away from what?’
Should the purpose of a holiday be to ‘get away’ or to ‘escape’ from real life? What about the opportunity to explore another country or area of your country? How about the chance to try new foods and to discover wildlife or architecture that is different to where you live? It’s not to say that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to forget about work and home life whilst you are away. It’s always good to have some down time and switch off for a while. But consider going on holiday as running ‘toward’ something rather than escaping ‘from’ your life.
choose simple pleasures
If this is all sounding pretty familiar to you may be it’s time to work out what you are trying to escape from and change your thinking about your everyday life so you feel more positive about it. Want to live a more fulfilling and intentional life so that you don’t feel the need to escape from it? Check out Natalie Bacon’s free training course How to Live an Intentional Life.
Another way to learn to appreciate and enjoy your life is to practise gratitude. If you have to stay at home due to Covid19, be be grateful for Zoom and the internet that enables many of us to do our jobs and keep in touch with our families without stepping outside our front doors. Need some ideas for making the most of being at home, read my recent post on this topic. If you want to ‘escape’ try enjoying some simple pleasures. A walk whilst listening to an uplifting or amusing podcast, reading a book, having a bubble bath or asking your partner to give you a massage.
Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).