The Great Escapes

There’s no need to feel guilty when you find yourself thinking, “I’ve got to get out of here!” Chances are your husband has the same thoughts at times, and will not only understand your need to get away, but will also enjoy having the house to himself for a while. When you return in a better frame of mind, he probably will be relieved and grateful.

Here are some tips for short, sweet getaways:

Be prepared. Have a few escape spots in mind, so that when pressures build and you’re overcome with the desire to flee, you’ll know which direction to head. In addition to the library and mall, one of my favorite escape hatches is a nearby park, where I enjoy a brisk walk or sitting on a bench and watching the children play. Now that none of the kids screaming, “Mommy look at me!” are mine, it’s a relaxing pastime.

Get energized.

An afternoon at the movie theater can crank up your imagination. Some women prefer escaping to the gym, where exercise gets those endorphins flowing; after a brisk workout, they feel more able, to. cope. Having lunch with a friend is another good way to vent frustration and gain strength to meet challenges. I highly recommend this escape, as staff members at my favorite restaurant can verify. Their corner booth has an imprint of my derriere permanently embedded in it, and they are considering installing a plaque with my name on the wall beside it.

Soak away stress.

You don’t always have to leave home to escape. A relaxing bubble bath can do wonders for your disposition. While you’re soaking, surround yourself with scented candles. Soothing music can also relax you and put you in a better mood. Pop a praise CD or tape into your stereo system and reflect on the inspiring words. Or choose classics like Mozart to take you away from it all.

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Find time to read.

A good book can provide escape anywhere. In my workshops I frequently quote from one of my favorite “feel good” books, Barbara Johnson’s Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death. When I do, the ladies invariably ask, “But how do you find time to read?” The question always surprises me. From the time I first learned to recite “See Dick run,” I’ve been in love with the written word. So I make reading a priority. I give myself permission to read — even in the middle of the day, even if the dishes aren’t done and dinner isn’t prepared. Sadly, many women tell me the only time they feel justified reading is when they’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Give yourself permission to enjoy a book!

Rediscover childhood.

When was the last time you sprawled on the floor with a box of crayons and a coloring book in front of you? As a grandmother who frequently engages in this activity, I can assure you its still as relaxing and satisfying as when we were youngsters. (Getting up from the sprawled position, however, is a bit more difficult at this age.) Blowing bubbles is another childlike activity that’s fun for adults. Grab an inexpensive bottle of the soapy stuff, dip your wand in, and blow softly. Then enjoy the glorious sight of glistening bubbles floating over the treetops. If it’s been an especially stressful day, imagine yourself on board one of the bubbles!

Take up a hobby.

Scrapbooking is one relaxing pastime worth trying. My friend Wendy introduced me to this delightful hobby of chronicling family history in photos and artwork. I dragged out our boxes of family photos, made copies of the older, more fragile images of my ancestors, and am preserving them in albums for my children and grandchild. Look for classes offered through craft stores, community centers, or a senior center. Or purchase supplies and instructional books and do your own thing!

Copyright © 2003 Mary Ann Cook, used with permission, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Adapted from Honey, I’m Home for Good.