We all need to take a break once in a while, but not all escapes need to be
mindless. Studio 5 Contributor, Dr. Liz Hale, explains how to make the most
of your next escape and find real peace.
Who doesn’t want to escape at some point from something….Life is hard…it
seems it was meant to be. How do we know that? Because it is. But is it ever
good to take a break from it all? Leave behind the kids, the home, the
husband…or is it? Here to weigh in, our own resident psychologist, Dr. Liz
Wanting to escape is in part why we have so much alcohol and drug addiction
in our country. Even pornography addiction is known to be more of an
escape from anxiety and depression.
Occasionally, I’ll find myself saying out loud…”Ah, I don’t wanna play
anymore…” I don’t know what I’m really even talking about…perhaps I want
to take a break from being meeting deadlines, staying on a budget, working
every day, cleaning house, etc.
One day, a young tired mother answers her phone and hears, “I honey…..its
mom! I know you must be exhausted with the twins so I wanted to let you
know that I’m coming over to take care of the babies, so you take a nap…and
I’ll finish your laundry and fix dinner…so just call Steve at work and tell him
that he doesn’t have to come home early tonight from work to relieve you. I’ll
be right there.”
There’s a long pause on the other end of the phone and they young mother
says, “Who’s Steve?? My husband is Frank!” And the woman on the other end
of the phone is so flustered and she blurts out, “Oh my gosh I have the
wrong number…I’m so sorry.”
The young mother then soberly said…”So….does this mean you’re not
THE GREAT ESCAPE:
Who or what stresses you? Depends on the day, right? I’m impressed with
respite care; in our state there is respite care for elderly caregivers and for
children. (I’ll find this resource that was recently on the news.) Doing
something different, preferably doing something that brings balance and
benefit into your life, is key. For instance, let’s say you drop your kids off to
another caregiver for a few hours and then you use your free-time to return
home and clean-out the pantry, or the basement or the main closet in the
front entry. Do something that will bring you peace in the midst of a fast-
paced day. Never underestimate the effectiveness of working on an
enormous project 10-minutesevery day. It will surprise you how
accomplished you begin to feel as you watch the results unfold through any
You can certainly do something mindless with the freedom you’ve been given
while the kids are at school or in someone else’s care…that may have its
place. But consider choosing something that will aid you when life is bearing
Pop-psychology says that you must “learn to love yourself before you can
love anyone else.” That has never made me happy, to tell you the truth.
Perhaps it gives me a foundation to build on for the day, i.e., I get myself up,
dressed and ready for the day, but ready for what? To, hopefully, make a
difference in the life of someone else. Whenever I visit the Pity City of Me,
when I’m all wrapped up in myself, I make a very small, miserable bundle.
Any time I want to assess how I feel about myself, it always involves another.
How I feel about me is determined by how I treat…..YOU. Do you want to
know the secret to peace? Genuinely want more for someone else than you
want for yourself. You want to write a book? Want that more for your best
friend, who also expressed a desire to write a book, than you do for yourself.
Want to lose weight? Want that more for your sister, who’s also been on a
diet, than you do for yourself. Take a break from yourself by living
differently. Don’t drown misery out with medication or shopping or some
other substance, Develop more substance from within!
When you and your partner begin to experience gridlock, take a break in the
dialogue, as long as you are both clear about doing so, and state a time when
you will return to the table.
Some couples are in such a difficult place they need to create physical space
from each other. Controlled Separation is for reconciliation. No attorneys are
consulted, no money is moved around, there is no talk of divorce and there is
no dating outside the marital relationship…it’s just simply hitting the Hold
button. Do you ever want to freeze-frame? I feel that way when there is a
special moment with a family member, my dad’s birthday, or a visit from a
loved one who lives far away. The concept is the same…the idea, however, is
to cease creating any more damage.
One of my couples decided to give each other physical space for 90 days.
They were at a critical stand-still yet they wanted to give their marriage every
chance of survival; neither party wanted a divorce although they could not
see any other way when we first started working together. During this trial
separation, he sleeps downstairs in the guest bedroom; they take turns being
with the children after dinner and they switch off who leaves to spend the
night in a hotel every Friday Night while the other stays home with the
children, leading them in household chores on Saturday morning, prior to the
other spouse coming home at noon.
This is a fluid, ever-changing, ever-negotiating arrangement within the
parameters of protecting the marriage. Too often, we jump the gun, separate
without a plan, play the divorce card, involve attorneys and the locomotive
comes barreling down the tracks, unable to stop or reverse action. Be willing
to think outside the box; and be flexible in doing life differently.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING.
WOMAN; WITHOUT HER, MAN IS NOTHING.
WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN, IS NOTHING.
When I go to work on a particular project, and I can feel the pressure and
anxiety build, I often say to myself, “What if this were easy?” Is it possible
that I could make this easier than I’m tending to make it?” Oftentimes, that is
all it takes to set myself free to be creative and unstuck from the belief that
“this is gonna be SO hard and take SO long!!!”
Go for a walk, hop in the shower, take a nap or, if it’s late, go to bed and set
your alarm early to begin anew. Let your subconscious mind problem-solve
during the night…..leave the situation to gain a new perspective. Change
BOTTOM LINE: When you’re stuck on a problem, try taking a walk, cleaning a
closet…doing something totally different. Even sleeping on it proves useful
for problem-solving. Everything looks a bit different in the morning…..or in
the next moment. Suspend harsh reactions…hit PAUSE.
A former radio host of Bonneville’s “Dr. Liz Hale Show,” Dr. Liz has become a
household name to many. As Studio 5’s resident shrink, she discusses a wide
variety of hot-topics ranging from sex to stress. (Sometimes all in the same
Dr. Liz is a transplant from Seattle, Washington, although “a few” years ago
was a college co-ed cheering for the Utah State Aggies. While USU football
hasn’t changed through the years, she remains a loyal fan.
Dr. Liz, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, has been in private practice for 12
years specializing in marriage and family relations. She currently serves as a
board member on the Utah Commission on Marriage and is a popular
speaker at their annual conference.
Her greatest joy in life comes from being with her own family and working
with other families along the Wasatch Front at her downtown SLC practice.