“No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself. It’s like your shadow. It follows you everywhere.” Haruki Murakami
When you’ve had a tough month (or a tough year) there’s nothing more inviting than dreaming up an escape plan.
It’s tempting to throw in your unsatisfying job and your less than perfect partner and book a one-way flight to somewhere warm. Or to head to the ski fields and learn how to master a snowboard. Or to just find a quiet little place a few hours out of town where the traffic isn’t crazy and where property prices are still six figures, not seven.
At some point in time, most of us feel a desire to run away. Some people find the feeling deepens with every new layer of commitment. When you add a mortgage, a life partner, a child, a successful career, your own business, it’s not unusual to occasionally experience a sense of heaviness, as though life has become a burden that must be endured.
Sometimes you do need to escape an unhealthy or unsatisfying situation, but before you make that decision it’s worth pushing the pause button and looking more closely at what else you can do before walking away.
Here are some things to try first.
1. Take a mini-break immediately
Free up the weekend or take a couple of days leave from work to calm your mind. Make sure at least some of that time is spent resting or doing things you love. If you can, get away from home for some of the time so you’re not tempted to carry on with your regular routine.
2. Break your boredom
One of the burdens for anyone who lives a routine life is boredom, and one of the biggest problems with boredom is it leads to a lack of motivation and energy. Push yourself to do something different at least every few days. It can be as simple as changing the way you structure your day, having lunch somewhere new or moving things around in your living room.
3. Change yourself
When relationships start to get tricky, one of the problems is that each person has become locked into a dynamic where they behave in habitual ways. You can’t change someone else, but you can change your behaviour. As soon as you do things differently, the relationship dynamic begins to change.
4. Is there a lesson in this?
It’s worth remembering that the lessons we need to learn will continue to show up, so ask yourself if there’s anything useful to take from your situation before you book that flight.
5. Check in with your values
Often we’re unhappy because we’re not living in alignment with our values. Spend a couple of hours reconnecting with your most important values and think about small changes you can make to be more aligned.
After trying these things, if your instinct is still telling you it’s time to get out, maybe you need to listen to that.
We would be delighted for you to reproduce our articles as long as they remain intact and contain the author’s details as follows: ‘Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher and the creator of the Life Purpose Programs. She works with people who want to live purposeful and meaningful lives. Kate can be contacted at totalbalance.com.au.’