Self Care vs. Escapism (Take Responsibility)

What does your self-care look like?

How do you carve out time to recharge and reset when you feel depleted?

Have you ever been overworked, upset, overwhelmed, or feeling depressed and decided to take some time to yourself doing things that you thought would make you feel better but your return feeling the same or perhaps dreading your tasks and projects even more? Naturally when we are stressed or feeling down we take a break to regroup however our reasonings may vary depending on who we ask. However, when we take a break only to come back the same as we left is an indicator that we engaged in an act of escapism rather than self-care and this is toxic behavior.

What is Self Care?

Self-Care, a term we are hearing more and more during this time of quarantine. When we look up self-care on social media we will see images of skin-care routines, bubble baths, yoga, and more. However, by definition Self-Care is described as the practice of taking action to preserve or improves ones health.

Self-care is intentional. An act the is driven by purpose with an end goal of leaving better than when initially started. When we make the decision to take a self-care day or engage in a moment of self-care we are choosing to take a moment to preserve our mental, physical, and spiritual health. While some of use have what we call self-care rituals that we do daily, weekly, or monthly on the other hand some moments are taken as needed. No matter how often self-care is done the intentionality behind these moments remain the same.

Big acts of self care are not better than small acts of self, the key is to do consistent self care. This will help you live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle while also preventing burn out.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Beckmann DMFT, LMFT, BA

What is Escapism?

Escapism by definition is the tendency to seek distraction & relief from unpleasant realities by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. Escapism can be easily be confused for Self-Care because the overall concept is taking time for ourselves. However, when we take a closer look at escapism it is the act of avoidance masked as self-care; which is a very draining habit. Escapism is a quick fix to situations and emotions that will remain or get bigger without the proper attention.

What is the difference?

The difference between self-care and escapism is intention, how you feel, and productivity. As mentioned above self care leaves us feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. Today the lines between self-care and escapism have been blurred. Binge watching TV, hours of scrolling on social media, being under the influence are act of escapism that have negative effects on the mind and body overtime. Yes, we all need a break and finding healthy was to cope with the stress and triggers of the day are important. Self-care is productive. While some view some modalities of self-care as avoidance or escapism it is key to look at the benefits of such things and intent. Self-care can be used as escapism however, can escapism be used as self-care? The answer is no. Self-care is a way in and helps you feel more alive. Escapism is a way out and has a numbing or desensitized affect. Escapism can be 2 things; Behaviorally Destructive or Perceptually Destructive. The results of escapism will leave us feeling stagnant overtime.

2 Types of Escapism

Behaviorally Destructive Escapism shows up when we are impulsive and making risky decisions. Often times when we feel as though we are lacking in areas of our lives we will over compensate in other areas. Because control has been lost in an area of our life we seek ways to feel in control. Escapism in this form is a short term relief that will result in long term effects. Behavioral Destructive Escapism can look like excessive drinking, drug abuse, impulsive shopping, risky sexual activity, excessive TV, excessive social media.

Perceptual Destructive Escapism is all about intent. When we mask escapism as self-care we are engaging in perceptual destructive escapism. Just like behavioral destructive escapism we are avoiding our reality however, perceptual destructive escapism is the act of choosing to put off a project or a concern because it is to hard to face. The result of actions such as these is the feeling of guilt or shame that is present either during or after our “self-care”.

Healthy Self-Care

Can self-care be healthy? Absolutely.

Can self-care be used to escape? YES!

The reason some may feel self-care overall is avoidance is because we are reclaiming our time. Self-care is used as escapism when we take that family vacation once a year because we have been working extremely hard and our family misses us. Self-care is used as escapism when take that Yoga Class every Wednesday because we realize it is a great way to decompress. In these way self-care is productive and serves the mind and body. Healthy self-care enhances the life rather than numbing. Is a bubble bath self-care? Yes, placing herbs, Epsom salt, and essential oils into a bath relaxes the muscles, detoxes the mind and body, and is great for meditation. Afterwards, you find you wake up feeling refreshed. The key to self-care is consistency and activities that align with how you want feel. Self-care should not feel like a task and can be as complex or as simple as we want it to be. We get what we put into any situation and self-care is not an exceptions. Self-care tips I use daily:

  • Engage in healthy positive self-care activities or routines that align with your goals and values, how you want to feel, and that resonate with the real you.
  • Practice introspection and awareness during that time.
  • Allow nothing or no one to infringe on this time.
  • Leave room for magic! Every detail does not have to be planned out AND YOU CAN MIX IT UP EACH TIME!
  • Practice self-care consistently whether daily or weekly create a healthy habit.

You will know that you are on the right track almost instantly because you will feel it. Too cliché? Well it is the truth, self care leave you feeling refreshed and at peace. some of the common sensation people describe after doing a self-care related activity is:

  • Refreshed
  • Rejuvenated
  • Motivated
  • Relaxed
  • Inspired
  • Happier
  • More Clarity
  • Less anxious

If you feel as though you need assistance creating healthier self-care habits start small. Start each day with 5 minutes of silence without your cell phone. From hear work up to taking 10 minute breaks during your work day that you would usually take to check your notifications or walk around your office to meditate or just close your eyes and focus on your breath. If you need guidance during your mediation download Free Guided Meditation Here. Self-care does not have to be complex just practical. If find you need extra assistance and are struggling to maintain a healthy self-care routine it is advised to seek a Life Coach are specialist for in-depth quality assistance.

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