Escape From the Election
Finding some peace in stressful times
I am someone who is rarely divorced from reality. I don’t care about the lion, the witch, or whatever is inside that wardrobe. I often watch “60 Minutes” reruns just for fun. And I check multiple news outlets multiple times a day. Every day. So thank you very much, Aaron Sorkin, but for the most part I can handle the truth.
That is, I could until the presidential election of 2016. Like many of us, I have been driven slowly, but most assuredly, insane. Now with November 8 behind us, it’s time for a much-needed break. With a move to a tropical island (or the one I’ve been Googling off the coast of Nova Scotia) not in the cards, relief must come closer to home. It can.
Bedford’s Dr. Ari Kellner, a licensed psychologist in private practice in New York, says, “The endless news cycle causes anxiety. There’s just no way around it. The adrenaline builds and the body literally reacts as if it’s in danger. It’s an emotional flood. The key is to move out of this negative space and into one of gratefulness, meaning, and value.”
To do so, Kellner recommends reaching out, not opting out. Rather than planning your move to Canada (see above), volunteer at your local religious institution, charity, or other non-profit. From the local food pantry to a church or community group to our neighborhood libraries, there’s no shortage of such opportunities to get involved.
Still, any amount of good work can be quickly undone by an offensive quote or bold-faced headline. Yes friends, it’s time to unplug. I know, just thinking about it makes my left eyelid twitch. But apropos to our current society, there’s a whole world of technology support to help you turn off your technology. Last year, the popular NPR podcast “Note to Self” ran a series called “Bored and Brilliant” where listeners accepted a new challenge each week that helped them disconnect from devices. Find the info on this self-described “boot camp” at wnyc.org. Another way to digitally detox is to install one of several apps that track your usage (read: overusage) of your phone. Look up Moment, Offtime, or BreakFree in the app store, download, and start living a more balanced life.
Of course there’s no better way to find balance than yoga. Classes abound in our area and serve as a perfect getaway from the negative static surrounding us.
Karen McInerney teaches a weekly class for all ages and skill levels. She says, “The body is our home and just like our real world home, it needs restoration. We can’t do anything about the chaos outside, but we can control how we react to it.”
Of course, some prefer their escapism with a little less ommm. New outposts of the “Escape the Room” challenge have been popping up all over our area (Stamford, Danbury, Scarsdale, and elsewhere). This one-hour-long interactive experience presents a team of willing participants with a kind of puzzle. They are locked together in a room and must use clues and other hints to find their way out. Before you cry claustrophobia (as I did), imagine the laser focus it would require to break free from being trapped with your mother-in-law. Who’s thinking about CNN now?
On the flip side, some may prefer a day without boundaries. Enter iFly. Based in Westchester County, New York, this indoor sky-diving experience has also been earning local raves.
As we all settle in for the next four (eight?) years, it will take some time for the wounds of this election to heal. But sometimes the best approach is also the simplest. To clear your head, Tony Godino, a lifelong runner and founder of the Leatherman’s Loop trail race, says, “Just go for a run.”
COME FLY WITH ME
Under the heading “what will they think of next” comes indoor skydiving with iFly Westchester. It’s a safe way to experience the dream of flight. Flyers receive special training, the right suit and goggles, and a phenomenal story to tell.