Written by Leah Sinclair
We’re living in tumultuous times and the need to escape is real – and we spoke to women about their perfect way to unwind and take a break from reality.
If there was ever a time for complete and utter escapism, now would be it.
With the rise of the monkeypox virus, UK inflation increasing for the ninth month in a row, and the chaos that is the Tory leadership debate, it’s safe to say there is a lot going on in the world – and sometimes, you just need a break from it all.
Recent stats from retailer Spar found UK adults are increasingly spending more time doing various activities in their neighbourhoods, from 35% of women attending arts and crafts classes to 25% joining local book clubs, proving that the need to fill our time with activities that take our minds off things is at an all-time high.
But what are some of the best things to do to truly escape from reality?
Well, we asked 11 women to share their ultimate escapism hacks, from reality TV to horseback riding.
Hannah Rankine, life coach
“One of my escapism hacks is watching reality TV and The Real Housewives in particular. People seem surprised because I am always harping on about self-development but I think it is amazing escapism and an awesome sociological insight into women and the way they interact in the world.
“That being said, let’s not make it deeper than it needs to be but it is the ONLY time I’m not trying to achieve something, learn something or be productive in some way. I even make myself put my phone down instead of scrolling during TV time. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is my happy place.”
Catherine Warrilow, managing director of daysout.com
“Since being partly remote I’ve struggled with getting my brain in gear in the morning and switching off after work. I spend part of my week in Abingdon where we live and part in Manchester. So, every morning I walk to work, even if that means I’m working from home.
“We’re lucky to have a town full of parks, so without fail every morning I go for a walk.Some days that’s 6am other days it’s 8.45am depending on work and parenting schedules.But I’ve got to the stage where I HAVE to do it.It gives me invaluable headspace away from everything, to just take in what I can see around me, and exchange hellos with fellow walkers.”
“One of my weekly favourite hacks is definitely a candle-lit, piping hot bubble bath filled with Himalayan salts, eucalyptus essential oil and moon charged water. All accompanied with a snack or full meal and depending on the day either a peppermint tea or glass of rosé while either binge watching a show or movie on my laptop (no phones allowed) or listening to a sound bath meditation.”
Caroline Allen, freelance writer
“My ultimate escapism is going to museums. Ironically, I don’t actually like or care about art or museums but I find them so relaxing. They’re always empty. I love the wide corridors and the way you can simply get lost in them. It’s my favourite thing to do when I need a bit of time out.”
Rebecca Alford, head of brand at secondhand book retailer Wob.com
“Reading before bed is how I calm my mind. I think escaping to other worlds through books helps us to temporarily step away from life’s challenges and problems, and even if it’s just for a few minutes, it can dissipate the stresses of the day.”
Lubna Kerr, actor and writer
“I escape by looking at houses I can’t afford to buy online. And imagine which one I could buy if I could!”
“My number one form of escapism hack has to be aerial silks. I know, It’s a bit of an odd one, but honestly, it just helps me take my mind off everything – my work, any personal issues.
As someone that’s previously struggled with really poor mental health (eating disorders and depression), aerial has been the one thing that’s helped me regain a sense of who I am and really learn to love my body and all the marvelous things it can do.”
“Watching stand-up comedy is my form of escapism. Laughter always makes me feel happier and makes me realise we’re all living similar lives.”
Sophie Milliken, CEO of Moja
“As a single mum, entrepreneur and soon-to-be PhD student, my mind is on the go constantly. To escape, I go for a regular Thai massage. Having a Thai massage reminds me of an incredible spa trip I had in Koh Samui a couple of years ago so has that positive association.
“It is also a unique style of massage which is rather active with stretches in the first part of the treatment. I find myself being very present in the stretching phase before then totally relaxing for the more traditional part of the massage afterwards. I always float home after one of these.”
Ranaa Farooq, GP
“I could talk endlessly about what hacks have helped on my self-development journey from being an almost burned-out GP to now living a life more authentic to myself.However, one of the main tools I use is diaphragmatic breathing aka ‘belly breathing’.If I’m feeling stressed I take 10 deep breaths using the technique.
“We often resort to breathing into our upper chest when stressed and this can lead to chest pain and prolongs the stress response. However, if we breathe into our bellies it helps to soothe the nervous system and reduces stress.”
“During lockdown I was lucky enough to be close to a stable and as soon as I was able to, I jumped into the saddle to escape the doom and gloom of the news.
“I’ve ridden since I was young but found it hard to fit in around working a busy job in London. The pandemic reignited my passion and in this passion, I found my true escape. It’s impossible to think of anything else than the moment you are in when you are in the saddle. It brings me such joy and gives my brain the rest bite it needs in order to enjoy all that life has to offer.”
Images: courtesy of women featured
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