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The ephemeral escape

  • Published at 03:34 pm September 12th, 2019
At_September 2019_The ephemeral escape
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Your guide to planning that perfect 24 hour getaway

The hustle and bustle of the city can often take a toll on us. Daily life in Dhaka --what with the blinking notification lights on our phones creating a constant sense of urgency, to the roads filled with people desperate to get somewhere -- does not do much for our mental health. This is a major reason why more and more people jump at the opportunity to travel, and are so hesitant to come back to this crazy life. But let’s be real -- we can’t all board a plane to peace anytime we want. Be it for a job that demands all our time or family that needs our constant presence, sometimes a long holiday just isn’t the most practical way out.

But whoever said a holiday has to be long?

When everything is just too much to handle, a small escape is all you need. With a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of will-power, you can enjoy a 24-hour getaway; and when you come back, you’ll be ready to tackle the world.

Before you plan your getaway, there are a few things you need to map out.

Pick a place that truly gives you joy

It doesn’t have to be somewhere far away; even a resort on the outskirts of the city can serve the purpose. But make sure the place you pick has plenty of elements that you can enjoy. Do you want to be surrounded by nature, be able to see the beach from your window, or jump into a pool the second you walk out of the establishment? It’s important to measure your options and see what really calls to you.

Choose your companions wisely

While this is just as true in life, for a trip you’re planning, it’s crucial. When you have a lot of time in hand, going with a large group of people and ignoring the antics of certain people can be easy enough. But when you’re crunched for time, and there’s something as major as your mental peace riding on this trip, you must, with excruciating precision, handpick the crowd. Not everyone can add to your trip, and not everyone will be willing to experience the getaway the same way as you. To avoid all sorts of conflict, pick the people you are comfortable sharing a space with, and also know will be more than happy to do the same things as you.

Plan what you want to do

This may seem like it defies the whole purpose of a getaway; I mean, who wants to follow a strict plan just to get out of an already unbearably strict routine? Not I. But when I say plan, I don’t mean restricting yourself to a schedule. Plan to let yourself relax; decide that you will leave your worries home, and just appreciate being alive in a world that is much more beautiful than we usually see. Decide that you want to be happy during this day-long trip, that you want to read or write or paint; that you want to listen to music that calms you, or play something you’ve been meaning to learn. Choose to do only the things that bring you happiness. Choose peace, and stick with it -- because Lord knows, you deserve it.

You may ask, “What could 24 hours possibly do to help?” The stress you’ve been dealing with and all the factors that work so hard every day to aggravate your mental health can’t possibly be cured in a day. And they aren’t meant to be cured in a day, either. This escape is merely that -- an escape from your troubles. Oftentimes, we need to step outside the room and the chaos to be able to clearly see the problem. When you take a day out to just relax and reflect, you somehow muster up the strength to not only deal with, but also resolve the issues that may cause you stress on a daily basis. When you return, you don’t carry the yearning that you feel after a longer holiday; you haven’t gotten used to a different, more carefree lifestyle overnight. What you do come back with is a calmer mind and soul, and a better understanding of the way to approach your problems.

That’s not to say that a long holiday isn’t helpful. By all means, go on a week-long trip -- it will help you in ways that a small trip like this can’t. But for times when your only aim is to take care of yourself, to feel like yourself again, and just give yourself some much needed time and attention, this is a game-changer. There’s a certain inexplicable sort of pleasure in leaving the world behind momentarily, while also acknowledging that that very world awaits your return. 

The thing about a quick retreat is that you know you only get this one day, at least for a while. When you accept that fact, your brain will automatically make you focus on the good things, and block out the bad. It’s still at the back of your mind, but you’ve now mastered the art of not letting the worries take over. It can help you appreciate things a lot more, and train you to choose your mental health every once in a while. When you choose yourself over every other, important but not the most momentous, matters, you see that change reflected in your everyday life. You crave the moments of peace and quiet you allowed yourself to experience, and you actively make time for it amidst the turmoil. It teaches you how to be happy, and content, even when everything isn’t ideal.

It’s not uncommon for us to put off making vacation plans; we can usually convince ourselves that there are pressing matters that need to be taken care of immediately. And so we keep postponing the break we so desperately need, hoping to get to it when things settle down. But that’s the painful truth: Things don’t always settle down; at least, not enough for us to stop worrying completely. Give yourself a break, and plan this getaway. Everything you need to do will still be there, but you’ll be better for it. Choose your mental health; choose joy, choose peace.