Are you an escape artist? Your nights are for overthinking and your mornings are for oversleeping? You did ten sit-ups just hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock? Do you generally avoid dealing with your problems, or do you numb your feelings when they become uncomfortable? The truth is that the best way to escape from your problem is to solve it.

I know: The most difficult prison to escape may be your own mind. Sure, it’s all right to escape for a spell to recharge, but habitually avoiding and evading your issues may result in addiction. How do you skirt around your problems?

Sleep too much, play one too many video games, drink, or eat in excess? Your latest video game may have prepared you for a zombie apocalypse, but did it prepare you for life? Eating too much? You know what they say: Eggs are fantastic for a fitness diet. If you don’t like the taste, just add cocoa, flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

But truly, what is your “go-to pick-me-up”? Is it escapism or simply self-care? Is it helping you move forward and flourish, or is it numbing you out and making things more exacting and exhausting? Please be honest with yourself. Is what you are doing causing more harm than good?

Sure, there is a boatload of things that may make you “feel” better, but are they making you be better? Take shopping, for example. When you get tired of shopping, you just sit down and try on shoes? You know what they say: If the shoe fits, buy it in every color. What is the shortest horror story ever? Sold Out. Yes. There is a little bit of magic in buying something new. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with unwinding with a quick shopping spree now and again.

Binge watching TV? Yup, you do marathons – on Netflix. If so, you may feel short-term comfort or consolation, but it will do nothing to amend or ameliorate the situation you’re in. How do you feel when you emerge from your Netflix coma? Genuine self-care will strengthen you emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Find hobbies and pastimes that help you relax and recharge.

We all know about eating and sleeping well and getting some form of exercise, right? Is your favorite exercise at the gym judging? What’s that, you don’t exercise because it makes your coffee spill? Uh-oh.

Go ahead and choose one hobby you enjoy. Now add it to your day. Try meditation, because some questions can’t be answered by Google. Have you tried bath salts, essential oils, or massage? Today’s directions: Just add oil. I bet you’ve tried chocolate cake. I know: There’s no Chocoholics Anonymous because no one wants to quit.

Yes, you’re on social media posting those sugary, saccharine hashtags: #blessed, #wokeuplikethis. Uh, huh. That’s fine for some feel-good marshmallow fluff. If you need some coddling self-indulgence, go right ahead. But is this truly taking care of yourself or fostering growth? Your life is still moving faster than you are, and you still can’t catch up.

The secret sauce is self-awareness, sweet friends. You may need to overcome how you think about yourself. However, self-criticism is not a lasting form of motivation. The most important conversation is the one you have with yourself. What questions do you ask yourself? Do you accept the consequences of your behavior?

Sometimes we need to feel pain rather than delay or distract ourselves from it. The endless quest for a pain-free, blissful existence will not make room for self-knowledge or acceptance. It’s up to you to nurture and improve your health daily. No matter how much you escape, the stress and anxiety you left behind will be waiting for you with open arms. Trust me on that.

Fill your life with a mission and motive. Find friendship and genuine love wherever you can. Perhaps the thing holding you back is actually the thing that could drive you forward. It’s tempting to avoid bothersome feelings, but we need to respond to our emotions in order to care for our well-being.

Remember, sweet friends, that it is possible to satisfy your need. It is impossible to satisfy your greed. Don’t try to go back to change the beginning. Start right where you are… and change the ending.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at