Practicing Escapism

Practicing Escapism

What day of the week would you guess searches for jokes are at their peak?

I would guess Monday. How else would you get through a “bad case of the Mondays”? Turns out, I’m wrong! Searches for jokes are at their LOWEST on Mondays! And highest on Fridays-Sundays (when I commonly search for lunchbox jokes for the kids for the week).

So what search terms are highest on Mondays?

Depression. Anxiety. Doctor. 

This is devastating. Joke searches also dive after traumatic news events like bombings. This information suggests two things:

We live in an unhealthy cycle!

On Mondays, our tiny weekend freedom has ended and we are stuck back at work and school. Because we have so little freedom (2 days/7), we try to escape as much as possible. We search for jokes, we binge watch Netflix, and hopefully we’re able to disconnect from work and enjoy real time with our families.

When Monday rolls around, we are forced back to REALITY. We have a job to go to. Bills to pay. Health problems to face. Everything we avoided all weekend rushes back to us. Now we have dishes in the sink AND work deadlines! “Why didn’t I do the dishes this weekend?!” We ask. The answer: We didn’t want to.

Mondays are also the beginning of the week’s tunnel. We can barely see the weekend light at the end of it because we have to get through 5 MORE DAYS. The depression and anxiety set in.

So why don’t we search for more jokes on Mondays?

Escapism Requires Hope

These search trends seem to suggest that we have no hope on Mondays. And if the trend indicates we can’t have hope looking down a 5 day tunnel, we have NO CHANCE looking down a 10-to-30-year tunnel to the bright light of retirement!

On Mondays and after traumatic events, we don’t want to escape. We want it to END.

I’m a big fan of healthy doses of escapism. Through good film or theatre, it is possible to forget your troubles for awhile while also learning something from the lives or stories being presented. These events also used to involve getting out and interacting with others. Going to the theatre is an event! Going to the movies used to be too. Now, we’ve replaced this with whatever tile ends up being the biggest on our Netflix homescreen. We just waste time instead of thoughtfully deciding the best methods of escapism.

Practice Mindful Escapism

I am not one that thinks it’s possible to productively use every one of my minutes (good for you amazing productivity gurus!). Some of us just need to shut down once in awhile. That being said, I do think we can be mindful about our escapist choices.

Next time you find yourself with a “bad case of the Mondays” (whether it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or any other day!), ask yourself these questions before mindlessly scrolling Facebook or starting a show you don’t even enjoy:

  1. Am I being an active participant or mindlessly consuming? Good media should promote thoughtful engagement; it should not be completely mindless.
  2. Do I have hope? When we lose hope, we stagnate. We shut down. This is when we should be searching for jokes or inspiration (and sharing appropriately with other hopeless coworkers on breaks).
  3. Do I have a REAL escape plan? When I get really frustrated, I start tinkering with spreadsheets to recalculate our plan to escape or I plan vacations so we can get a glimpse of that freedom.
  4. Will this help me be more productive later? If the escapism isn’t actually going to help with your efforts later, stop. Plan unproductive times to help you be more productive.
  5. Am I learning? Sometimes, I like to read the stories and numbers of people that became millionaires fast to give me hope and learn how they did it. Other times, I like to research things that aren’t related to a specific project at work but are something I want to know.

With all that, I’ll end with the first joke I found in my own joke search on Monday!

When I see lovers’ names carved in a tree, I don’t think it’s sweet. I just think it’s surprising how many people bring a knife on a date.
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16 Comments

  1. TJ

    It makes me sad that depression, anxiety and doctor are the highest search terms! Especially since we as a culture generally sweep depression and anxiety under the rug, pretending that it’s not a legit concern. Meh. I completely agree with you about mindful escapism.

    • MaggieBanks

      I in no way mean to say depression and anxiety are not real problems! But yes… we only choose to face the reality of our situations when we’re at our lowest. This seems so unhealthy. If we can’t be real about where we’re at in life every day of the week, we’ll never find the hope to get out of the situation!

  2. Haha, I searched for a dr on Monday, because of injury over the weekend. 🙂

    When I was at my last job and unfulfilled at work, when I’d get to the office on Monday the soul crushing reality of my situation would come full force. I took lots of walks, but man, that little escape with the weekend bubble gets popped quickly come Monday morning. Especially if you’re not enjoying your work or too busy to forget it’s un-fulfilling.

    The sheep dog told the shepherd, “Alright, all 30 sheep are here.”
    Shepherd says, “But I only have 26 sheep.”
    The Sheepdog replies, I know, I rounded them up.” 😀

  3. While I don’t love Mondays, my ability to relax on Fridays is actually much lower generally, because I hate ending the week with a boatload of work undone. That’s when I make my biggest efforts, if need be, so I can truly enjoy the weekend.

    And then of course if I succeed and enjoy the weekend too well, a search for the doc might ensue after a Weekend Warrior injury 😉

    I do love the productive escapism though. When I had trouble getting my mind on task, giving myself permission to work on something entirely different and make up the time later is invaluable. Those are the days I get the most editing done. It’s a good argument for having more priorities or projects in your life than just work and having fun.

    • MaggieBanks

      Agreed. It’s possible to fill your life with meaningful distractions that bring joy. I think we’re in denial about actually wasting time. “I’m not diverting… I’m just opening my Facebook.” Instead, we could say: “I’m going to set this project aside for 30 minutes and do something I enjoy instead!”

  4. I have a regular time for escaping: my commute to and from work. That is when I listen to audio books, usually fiction stories to provide entertainment.

    However, good point about being more mindful – so applicable to many different areas of our life. Also, I agree one of the best ways to channel that “case of the Mondays” is towards design and execution of your escape plan.

    • MaggieBanks

      A regular escape time is helpful. I usually crash into mine after the kids get to bed! 🙂

  5. Haha, love that last joke, definitely going to add that to my go-to list!

  6. The Green Swan

    Ha funny joke at the end! The search info supports the general feeling of having the “Monday Blues “. That’s a shame but it shows the importance of trying to find a job we can tolerate, if not love.

    I know I’ve experienced that feeling before, wanting to escape from an unfulfilling job. Once and a while it’s ok. If it happens continuously then you know it’s time for a change!

    • MaggieBanks

      Unfulfilling jobs, unfulfilling lives… reality sinks in on Mondays! I’m glad you liked the joke. 🙂

  7. My calculus math teacher always gave us a bonus point on our tests for telling (writing?) her a funny joke. It was a great reminder that life goes on and one test isn’t everything. She would then tell her favorite of all the jokes while she passed the papers back. It was really special!

    • MaggieBanks

      What an awesome idea. Better than what I did in college… buy a pack of powdered donuts after every test Freshman year… Freshman 35 anyone?! 🙂

  8. TheRetirementManifesto

    Good commentary on the rather sad state of our current cultural reality. We must decide for ourselves how to approach life. A realistic FIRE plan is a valid option, and one most of us “out here” on FIRE blog pages are pursuing. Great reminder to laugh and relax along our journey (even if we’re carrying a knife!).

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s so sad! We spend most of our lives trying to detach ourselves from our lives. At least a FIRE plan is a productive method of escapism!

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