When you flee domestic abuse, one of the best places you can first run to is a Transition House. A safe house that’ll give you some time to gather yourself and get organized. Today I wanted to share ideas for activities you can do while staying in a transition house while you ‘hurry up and wait’ for the next step in life to happen.
Transition Houses are Boring
Gregory and I have been to three transition houses over the course of 2 years and have managed to come up with a list of activities that help pass the time. Because if I’ve learned one thing about these houses, they are boring.
You’ve got all these things you’ll be doing while in a transition house, but you’re going to have a lot of down time. For someone like me who deals with depression, if I don’t fill that downtime with something, I will go further into what I call ‘The Dark Place”.
Leaving abuse is hard, breaking free isn’t just about leaving physically, but also mentally. I am not one that can survive if I am stuck in my head with no escape from the constant battle of ‘did I make the right choice… it wasn’t that bad… I have ruined everything AGAIN!’ When I am bored, this is where my thoughts wander.
So, to keep from getting bored I try and make myself busy. My first two stays in transition houses were painfully boring and I didn’t know how to busy myself to prevent the mental breakdown that would lead me back to my abuser. But by my third ‘adventure’ house, I had a clear idea of what I could do to keep my head on straight.
Oh, and did I mention some houses don’t have wi-fi? There, now you see why transition houses can be painfully boring. It’s time to learn how to keep busy.
Things To Do
- Get a Physical
- Seek Mental Health Assessment
- Plan your Next Step to Freedom
- Organize Your Financials
- Get a New Phone Number
- Make New Social Media Accounts
- Make a New Email Account
- Seek Next Step for Housing
- Get a Restraining Order
- Learn About Legal Rights/Get a Lawyer
- Talk to other Residents
- Phone a Family Member or Friend
- Learn About Abuse
- Learn Coping Mechinisms
- Learn About Healing and Health
- Learn About Healthy Relationships
- Write in a Journal
- Write About your Abuse
- Write a Letter To your Future Self
- Write a Letter to Someone
- Clean/Do Your House Chore
- Unpack Your Bags/ Sort Your Belongings
Self Care It’s important to love yourself, take care of yourself, make yourself feel good.
- Do a Face Mask
- Homemade Body Scrub
- Paint Nails
- Find a new Hairstyle
- Take a Long Bath/Shower
- Put Moisturizer On
- Shape Your Eyebrows
- Try a New Makeup Trend
- Get All Dolled Up with Nowhere to Go
- Learn to Self Massage
- Day Dream to the Extreme
- Plan for Your Future
- Dance Like No One is Watching
- Listen to Music & Sing
- Look Up Inspirational Quotes
- Take some Selfies
- Play with your Children
Get Outside If your safety isn’t at risk, try to get outside the transition house as much as possible.
- Go for a Walk/Run/Hike
- Go to the Mall
- Go to the Library
- Go to the Local Gym
- Go to the Local Swimming Pool
- Go to the Park
- Take a Drop in Fitness Class
- Try Hot Yoga
- Check out Local Attractions
- Go to a Movie
- Go to a Museum
- Walk the Beach
- Sit Outside Soaking Up the Sun
- Sit Outside with a Good Book and Tea
- Sun Tan
- Take Photos Outdoors
- Go to a Local Coffee Shop and Enjoy the Atmosphere (Use Free Wi-fi)
Hobbies Busy hands are happy hands… stay productive.
- Arts and Crafts
- Draw/ Colour Adult Colouring Books
- Learn to Bead
- Learn to Sew
- Learn to Knit
- Learn to Crochet
- Learn to Paint
- Learn Caligraphy
- Learn Card Tricks
- Learn a New Language (DuoLingo)
- Play Boardgames
- Learn to Bake
- Learn to Cook
- Do a Puzzle
- Play Video Games
- Start a Blog
- Read Some Blogs
- Binge Watch Netflix Series
- Scroll Pinterest
- Learn to Hoop (Hooping)
- Try Photography
The Cost of Freedom
When fleeing abuse and starting over with nothing, you generally have a limited supply of money. Therefore, your options on the lists above are going to be limited. It’s not easy being at poor and at square one again financially. But it’s worth it to be safe and healthy. Now it’s time to learn how to be resourceful and make things happen for yourself.
Some transition houses have donations of books and movies. I’ve been in a transition house where they had the means to buy adult colouring books, beads, and other activities to try out. Try asking for some art supplies, even just some paper and pencil crayons can get you started. Also, transition houses provide baking ingredients, so try out your skills and make some treats for all the residents.
Self-care is fun, it is even more fun if you can make it a girls night. So attempt to find another resident that you connect with and have a spa night. Pool your resources, nail polish and face masks for a good time. I’ve had many a fab gab sessions where there are at least 4 ladies still sitting around the kitchen table with tea and coffee still being poured at 1 am because we are still laughing and sharing stories.
A great way I keep my new hobby costs down to a minimum is by heading to the dollar store or thrift stores to find materials to work with.
I’m someone who needs to have contact with people to keep me grounded. When I left each time, I was a mess. My brain constantly told me I was a bad person. A bitch. The Problem. A Stupid Little Girl. Talking to staff, residents, family, and friends helped me realize that that wasn’t me, it was my abuser. He was still in my head and it took weeks before I could differentiate his words from my thoughts. And it took months before my thoughts became the dominant ideas in my head.
I sure felt like I was complaining a lot, annoying people with my negativity, the redundancy of my words was not lost on me. Now that I look back I am embarrassed because I wonder if it came across like I was fishing for compliments… I wasn’t. I was brainwashed. Keeping in contact with people helps you sort out fact from fiction. If you don’t have a support team, find one. There are ways to get free counseling and services, you need only ask.
Before You Go
I hope you don’t have to use this list, but if you’re ever in a transition house, you’re bound to be sitting there one day feeling the thoughts come to your mind, the tears bubble up, and your body ready to burst. Whether from fear, sadness, anger, pain, guilt, love, or boredom, I guarantee a few of these will have you redirected towards the light on this long journey to freedom.
If you have any more ways to keep busy in a transition house that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below! I hope to never find myself in one again, but if by chance I do… I will be referring back to this post and hope to have some new ideas below. Good Luck out there my friend.