I felt like hell the other day. I was in a crappy mood, my negative thoughts were too loud, and I felt like my chest was clogged with sadness.
There wasn’t a specific reason I felt this way — it was just one of those days.
Pretty much all damn day every day, I work. I love what I do, so most days, even if I feel like shit, I can get through all the bad and work my ass off.
But on this day, trying was the last thing I wanted to do. What I wanted was to escape and forget all about my responsibilities.
Some people make bad decisions when life gets tough.
Young people, mainly because of peer pressure and the need to fit in will turn to drugs or alcohol to forget their baggage.
Neither of those is a healthy way of coping.
That’s why I put together a list of seven healthy ways you can escape life for a couple of hours — or an entire day — before you get back to reality to kick ass.
It’s okay to not deal with stuff now and then, just as long as you try again tomorrow.
That’s the crucial thing here: that you come back and give life another go.
1. Work out
Hear me out before you roll your eyes and skip to the next point.
Working out is such a great way to escape life and melt away stress.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forced myself to work out when I’m pissed or stressed only to come out in a fantastic mood.
While you’re working out, you’re so focused on doing an extra push-up or not giving up that your mind can’t possibly go to anything else.
Whether you’re running, working out at home, or at the gym, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll feel stronger and more equipped to deal with all the shit in your life.
To make working out more fun and play some of your favorite songs.
2. Make playlists
Making playlists never fails to boost my mood. I get to sit and listen to old and new songs while figuring out how to group them.
A playlist can be whatever the hell you want it to be.
Give them genius or silly names. Make your music order so perfect you can’t possibly click shuffle, or do what I do and throw them in randomly because you always shuffle the songs.
Fill your playlists with songs in the same genre and others mixed. Make one specifically for Sundays and another for long drives.
There aren’t any rules to playlists. You make them for you — that’s it.
Some playlists I’ve created:
Pick up an actual book, read digitally, or listen to an audiobook. I don’t care what form you choose to read in — just that you read.
Read something you genuinely want. Not what you think you should read.
If you can, go to the library and browse the shelves. Pick out books at random, read their summaries or their first pages, and choose the one that interests you.
Don’t worry about the genre or whether you found it in the teenager’s section even though you’re twenty-three.
If you like it, that’s what matters. It’s about whether or not it will engage you.
Books are like little movies in your head, and it’s a great way to get drawn into something other than real life.
Here are some books I recommend:
- Beartown by Fredrik Backman: It begins, “Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.”
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King: What if you could go back in time and stop JFK’s assassination?
- We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia: Women go to school to learn how to become the perfect wives for their husband, who gets two wives. But there is a bigger conspiracy at play and an unexpected romance blooms.
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero: “A book for those ready to make big changes in their lives. From confronting your fears, to taking risks, to making money, to finding love, Sinceroteaches how to become your own personal cheerleader — and kick butt doing it.”
4. Watch something funny
For the next hour — please don’t watch your show for longer than an hour — feel free to binge-watch Netflix, Hulu, or whatever the hell other streaming programs you prefer.
Butyou can’t watch something dramatic or heavy because that won’t get rid of your bad mood.
Do you know what will? Laughing. Laughing is proven to bring down stress levels and to boost happiness.
That’s why your best bet is to lose yourself in a sitcom, something light and funny.
I recommend a show like New Girl,Brooklyn Nine-Nine,F.R.I.E.N.D.S.,or How I Met Your Mother.
5. Dedicate time on your favorite hobby
When I want a break from writing, I’ll color on my iPad, or I’ll work on my art journal.
Do something you’ll completely lose yourself in, add music, and maybe even a cup of coffee or tea.
Create anything. Write a song, build a puzzle, or play the guitar you’ve had locked up in the closet for a year.
Lose yourself in a creative process without worrying about having to get back to work.
6. Play a game
Play a board game with someone or download an app. I’m partial to two games on my phone, Monument Valley 1 & 2 and 7 Words.
I prefer those games because they require thinking, thus complete focus.
Here are three articles with suggestions for relaxing games and games that require a lot of thinking.
- Business Insider: 15 Games That Make You Smarter Just By Playing Them
- Los Patiperros: Best Free iPhone Games For Calming Anxiety and Relaxing
- Softonic: 12 Best Relaxing Puzzle Games for iOS 2019
If you want to get off the screen, then play something in real life.
I’ll usually play solitaire or a game of speed with a sibling. Other times, we’ll play Mancala, Sorry!, Rummikub, or Monopoly — if we set apart hours.
7. Hang out with someone
Hanging out with my friends, when they’re in town, is one of my favorite things to do.
We can just hang out in someone’s home, watching the worst movies we can find on Netflix, and still have a great time.
Text a friend and have lunch with them, ask your siblings to come over for a game night, or go bowling with your partner.
Don’t hang out with some asshole who will feed you more negative vibes.
Hang out with your happiest friend, or the friends that make you smile and laugh more than usual.
When I feel like my mind is about to explode, I’ll go upstairs to the room I share with my sisters.
In five seconds, someone is bound to say something that makes me laugh too hard.
As a final reminder: never feel guilty wanting to escaping reality and taking a break. No one expects you to be strong 24/7.
Let’s talk about
Let me know in the comments:
What activities do you do to de-stress, relax, and escape?