Is It Escapism or Self Care?

Patricia was so sad. “I just sit in the chair and cry,” she told me. “I don’t get my work done and I can’t get past it.” “It” could be anything. For some people, it’s a bad fight; for others, a blunder they made that they regret so much it gets in the way of moving on. For still other people, what keeps them stuck are the harsh words their spouse threw at them or the secret they found on his computer. For others, “it” is a fight or the lack of words at all; stony silence where there once was laughter. The logical next step is to tell a person to start some self-nurturing activities: go to the gym, read a book, take a walk in the park. “Oh, I do that,” Patricia assured me. “I’m just wondering whether I haven’t turned it into escapism,” she said, adding that she could end up taking an all-afternoon walk in the park or getting so engrossed in a book that she doesn’t do the dishes. It’s Escapism If You Answer These Questions the Wrong Way What an excellent question she posed: Just where does self care end and escapism begin? And how do you tell which one you’re engaged in? The answer can be found by asking the following three questions: 1. What proportion of your time do you spend in goal-oriented activities versus the self-nurturing (or escapist) activity? 2. Do you often feel a compulsion (or a strong pull) toward the escapist activity? 3. How do you feel when you have completed the escapist or self care activity? We...
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