As the pandemic and the imperative to ‘socially distance’ continues, some of you, like me, might be feeling tired and emotionally drained. This period is taking a toll on most of us, and us creative-types in particular. That’s why we need to have coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional toll of not only the current social and political climate, but also the way our social lives have been curtailed. In short, we need ways to escape occasionally. Here’s what I’ve tried:
Writing or Creating
Considering this blog, this one may may be obvious, but if you can create you should. Creating or creative activities allow you to enter into a state of ‘Flow’. Flow is the mental state of being completely immersed in an activity. This in itself is an escape and since you’re creating, you will have something to show for it when you’re finished and be rewarded with the feeling of productivity and accomplishment. I’ve written a novella and a novelette since this all began and I’ve been painting to keep my mind off things.
A lot of people are taking this time of relative isolation to learn new skills. Having a hobby or a project is a great way to immerse yourself in an activity and occupy your mind. It’s also productive. Baking and cooking are great examples of hobbies that don’t require a ton of investment to try, as is gardening. I’ve started an herb garden and I’ve just switched to a gluten free diet so I’ve been experimenting with that.
Perhaps another obvious choice, but any form of media (fiction, at least) is an escape. Movies, books, comics, TV, ect, can all be a great way to immerse yourself in another reality for a while. I’ve been purposely avoiding dystopian fiction lately and focusing on more lighthearted things like comedies and romance, but there’s so many great stories to choose from.
I love my house, but being confined to it 24/7 is starting to frustrate me, so I’ve been making a point to go on walks, go to the waterfront, and just generally spend some time outside. Being in nature is healing. It can rejuvenate the mind and soul, not to mention the fact that we also need to exercise and going for a walk, a run or a swim if you have access to somewhere to do this can be really beneficial.
My saving grace these past months has been roleplaying with my friends through Zoom, discord, google hangouts, or a site called roll20.net. Not only is its a way for me to escape into a fictional world and live out someone else’s life for a change, it’s also a means of keeping in touch with friends and getting some social time. I’m in three games currently so three nights a week, I’m able to spend time with different groups of people and do so safely. If roleplaying’s not for you, there’s also a few sites online where you and your friends can play boardgames, pictionary, and cardgames together which should provide a similar benefit.
I hope you’re all finding ways to get by out there. Please leave your tips and tricks for mentally escaping in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!