New York City is one heck of a place. This is the kind of city that people dream of moving to and living in. And then, once they’re here, they complain about it.
That’s only sort of a joke. After all, residents have plenty to whine about here in the big city. This is a stressful place full of rude people and subway stops that feel like convection ovens — when they’re not flooding, that is.
It takes a special breed to survive and thrive in New York City. And even the most New-Yorkish among us New Yorkers needs to take care out there. That’s why we’re here to talk about self-care in New York City.
What is “self-care”?
“Self-care” is one of those phrases that people tend to bandy around semi-seriously to describe a whole spectrum of things, from meditation and genuine self-help to downing a bottle of wine in the bathtub. To some, self-care is one of those meaningless buzzwords; to others, it conjures up images of millennials boozing their way through a Sunday brunch.
In this article, though, we’re talking about real self-care. Drinking on a Sunday does not qualify, no matter how funny it might be to say so on Twitter. For self-care to be meaningful, it has to be good for our mental health and helpful to our quest to survive in New York City.
Self-care can refer to pretty much anything we do to improve our mental, physical, or emotional health. Ideally, it means things that are mostly or wholly good for us and that encourage mindfulness and self-love (which is why those boozy brunches and bathtub breaks don’t count).
How to care for yourself in New York City
How you practice self-care will depend, to some extent, on who you are and what you’re like. If reading is your favorite way to relax, then self-care may involve reading at home or at the park; if you can’t stand reading, maybe you’ll listen to music or play video games instead.
Whatever your interests, self-care means deliberately carving out time to relax and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty. Busy New Yorkers tend to work long hours, and sometimes putting your feet up can feel like you’re getting away with something dishonest. Block off time in your schedule when you’re supposed to be relaxing, and you’ll get more out of your time off.
Self-care isn’t about tuning out, of course (at least, not always!). Staying in touch with your own feelings and needs is important. Try journaling and daily self-evaluations to check in on yourself and your hopes, fears, stresses, and emotional needs.
On the flip side, clearing your mind can be good. Consider meditation as a form of self-care. It’s a healthier way to calm your mind than those brunch mimosas.
New York City can be a tough place to do any of this stuff, of course. A key part of managing self-care is to find your space. Try going deep into one of the city’s parks to get some alone time; or, if you prefer company, try taking a yoga class or joining a gym. You can also make your apartment a little more soothing with the help of a white noise machine that blocks out the outside world (and roommates, too).
You can and should spend plenty of time caring for yourself. But don’t assume that taking time for self-care means you don’t have to get help from anyone else.
Mental health care is every bit as serious as physical health care, and you need to treat it that way. That means turning to professionals when you need to; or, better yet, before you need to. Therapy can help just about anyone, explain experts who offer NYC cognitive therapy. You just need to reach out to get the care that you need and deserve.