- by Dr. Liz Hale
Who doesn’t want to escape at some point from somethingÃ¢â?¬Â¦.Life is hardÃ¢â?¬Â¦it seems it was meant to be. How do we know that? Because it is. But is it ever good to take a break from it all? Leave behind the kids, the home, the husbandÃ¢â?¬Â¦or is it? Here to weigh in, our own resident psychologist, Dr. Liz Hale.Ã?Â Wanting to escape is in part why we have so much alcohol and drug addiction in our country. Even pornography addiction is known to be more of an escape from anxiety and depression.
Occasionally, I’ll find myself saying out loudÃ¢â?¬Â¦”Ah, I don’t wanna play anymoreÃ¢â?¬Â¦” I don’t know what I’m really even talking aboutÃ¢â?¬Â¦perhaps I want to take a break from being meeting deadlines, staying on a budget, working every day, cleaning house, etc.
One day, a young tired mother answers her phone and hears, “I honeyÃ¢â?¬Â¦..its mom! I know you must be exhausted with the twins so I wanted to let you know that I’m coming over to take care of the babies, so you take a napÃ¢â?¬Â¦and I’ll finish your laundry and fix dinnerÃ¢â?¬Â¦so just call Steve at work and tell him that he doesn’t have to come home early tonight from work to relieve you. I’ll be right there.”
There’s a long pause on the other end of the phone and they young mother says, “Who’s Steve?? My husband is Frank!” And the woman on the other end of the phone is so flustered and she blurts out, “Oh my gosh I have the wrong numberÃ¢â?¬Â¦I’m so sorry.”
The young mother then soberly saidÃ¢â?¬Â¦”SoÃ¢â?¬Â¦.does this mean you’re not coming over???”
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Who or what stresses you? Depends on the day, right? I’m impressed with respite care; in our state there is respite care for elderly caregivers and for children. (I’ll find this resource that was recently on the news.) Doing something different, preferably doing something that brings balance and benefit into your life, is key. For instance, let’s say you drop your kids off to another caregiver for a few hours and then you use your free-time to return home and clean-out the pantry, or the basement or the main closet in the front entry. Do something that will bring you peace in the midst of a fast- paced day. Never underestimate the effectiveness of working on an enormous project 10-minutesevery day. It will surprise you how accomplished you begin to feel as you watch the results unfold through any given week.
You can certainly do something mindless with the freedom you’ve been given while the kids are at school or in someone else’s careÃ¢â?¬Â¦that may have its place. But consider choosing something that will aid you when life is bearing down.
Pop-psychology says that you must “learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” That has never made me happy, to tell you the truth. Perhaps it gives me a foundation to build on for the day, i.e., I get myself up, dressed and ready for the day, but ready for what? To, hopefully, make a difference in the life of someone else. Whenever I visit the Pity City of Me, when I’m all wrapped up in myself, I make a very small, miserable bundle. Any time I want to assess how I feel about myself, it always involves another. How I feel about me is determined by how I treatÃ¢â?¬Â¦..YOU. Do you want to know the secret to peace? Genuinely want more for someone else than you want for yourself. You want to write a book? Want that more for your best friend, who also expressed a desire to write a book, than you do for yourself. Want to lose weight? Want that more for your sister, who’s also been on a diet, than you do for yourself. Take a break from yourself by living differently. Don’t drown misery out with medication or shopping or some other substance, Develop more substance from within!
When you and your partner begin to experience gridlock, take a break in the dialogue, as long as you are both clear about doing so, and state a time when you will return to the table.
Some couples are in such a difficult place they need to create physical space from each other. Controlled Separation is for reconciliation. No attorneys are consulted, no money is moved around, there is no talk of divorce and there is no dating outside the marital relationshipÃ¢â?¬Â¦it’s just simply hitting the Hold button. Do you ever want to freeze-frame? I feel that way when there is a special moment with a family member, my dad’s birthday, or a visit from a loved one who lives far away. The concept is the sameÃ¢â?¬Â¦the idea, however, is to cease creating any more damage.
One of my couples decided to give each other physical space for 90 days. They were at a critical stand-still yet they wanted to give their marriage every chance of survival; neither party wanted a divorce although they could not see any other way when we first started working together. During this trial separation, he sleeps downstairs in the guest bedroom; they take turns being with the children after dinner and they switch off who leaves to spend the night in a hotel every Friday Night while the other stays home with the children, leading them in household chores on Saturday morning, prior to the other spouse coming home at noon.
This is a fluid, ever-changing, ever-negotiating arrangement within the parameters of protecting the marriage. Too often, we jump the gun, separate without a plan, play the divorce card, involve attorneys and the locomotive comes barreling down the tracks, unable to stop or reverse action. Be willing to think outside the box; and be flexible in doing life differently.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING.
WOMAN; WITHOUT HER, MAN IS NOTHING.
WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN, IS NOTHING.
When I go to work on a particular project, and I can feel the pressure and anxiety build, I often say to myself, “What if this were easy?” Is it possible that I could make this easier than I’m tending to make it?” Oftentimes, that is all it takes to set myself free to be creative and unstuck from the belief that “this is gonna be SO hard and take SO long!!!”
Go for a walk, hop in the shower, take a nap or, if it’s late, go to bed and set your alarm early to begin anew. Let your subconscious mind problem-solve during the nightÃ¢â?¬Â¦..leave the situation to gain a new perspective. Change changes.
BOTTOM LINE: When you’re stuck on a problem, try taking a walk, cleaning a closetÃ¢â?¬Â¦doing something totally different. Even sleeping on it proves useful for problem-solving. Everything looks a bit different in the morningÃ¢â?¬Â¦..or in the next moment. Suspend harsh reactionsÃ¢â?¬Â¦hit PAUSE.