By Mary Reitano

Perhaps you can relate to Southwest Airlines’ humorous advertising campaign which once asked, “Want to Get Away?” The campaign “featured folks looking to get away after an awkward blunder…. One featured a guest snooping through her host’s bathroom medicine cabinet only to have the shelves fall in a cacophonous collapse. Another had a museum curator explaining the laborious art of ‘sand painting’ before a member of his audience sneezed and ruined the piece.” (USA Today). Or, perhaps you need to rebound from bigger issues—exhaustion from work or caregiving, a breakup, or a disappointment.

It is okay to escape! Really! We all need temporary escapes and distractions in life in order to recharge. One good way to break out of the worry rut is to distract yourself with something enjoyable and absorbing, and then approach your problem with a fresh perspective. Distraction has a negative connotation in our society—think of distracted driving. But intentional distraction can be healthy. Distraction breaks the cycle of stress, intense emotion, or overcoming a bad habit. In Psychology Today website, Dr. David Sack wrote that distraction “takes you out of your negative, unconscious, and habitual way of thinking, reduces the intensity of the negative emotion so it is easier to manage, and allows you to take a conscious time-out. That doesn’t mean you deny or run away from difficult emotions. Later, you’ll return to the emotion and process it when you’re in a better position to come up with a creative resolution.”  Just don’t make escape or avoidance a permanent state. That only creates more problems and increases anxiety in the long run.

Many of us were indoctrinated with an over-developed sense of responsibility, a need to always be productive, and the importance of always facing problems head on.  But no one can do that every week, every month, all year without a break.  And that can make it hard to unwind, let go, and relax, especially when you are on vacation. So, consider these thoughts, and plan your escape!

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” Earl Wilson, American Journalist

“I think the most important thing about music is the sense of escape.” Thom Yorke, English Musician

“I like to escape to the beach and kind of ground myself whenever I can.” Lili Reinhart, Actress

“I enjoy an easy jog. In the mountains, or the forest with my own thoughts, I can escape from the world for a bit.”  Francisco Javier Gomez Noya, Spanish Athlete

“Basketball is such an escape from a lot of things.” Scottie Pippen, Former NBA Player

“When all the routines and details… get on our nerves, we just yearn to go away from here to somewhere else. To go fishing is a sound, a valid, and an accepted reason for an escape. It requires no explanation.” Herbert Hoover, U.S. President