WORK vs. PLAY: 12 Ways to Find Harmony in NYC
I moved to NYC when I was 25 years old, full of dreams and teeming with energy. Now it seems like a distant memory, after 9 years of being here, so much has happened, I have gained so much from the experience of it all. I'd like to share a bit of my story, and the tools I've learned or re-established in my lifestyle to stay sane!
First off, you should know that I am from California, raised by a 1/2 hippy + 1/2 corporate single mom - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... Anyway, it was a goal of mine to bring wellness & the California lifestyle to the east coast, to share the healing practices that helped me become who I am today. I knew I wanted to impact people, but it seemed that California had it under control, so I set out for NYC to see if I could help chillax people and curb Obesity.
After being here for a few years, a small fish in a large sea, I became overwhelmed, unsure that I would be able to reach the goals I had set. However, a set of crazy circumstances led me to where I am today, with a small studio tucked away in East Williamsburg, all of which led me to be clearer in my goal & intentions than I have ever been.
For so long, I had lived wanting something other than what I was doing, but all of a sudden I was doing it, and then found myself not being able to enjoy the fact that I accomplished what I set out to do! You know the old saying, "the grass is always greener," well I refused to believe that I all I could ever do is want for things that I don't have. Why can't I just enjoy the accomplishments I've made. So I looked deep within, and found myself staring at an utterly large mirror, called NYC.
NYC inspires us, but it is also a jarring reality check in terms of socio-economic standing. You simply can't survive here without money, so it's really hard to not focus on how little (or much) you have. We are all hustling to be here, and it can be really exhausting, while at other times being really exciting, too.
So if you're like me, and you're feeling that NYC can bring you down at times, and curb your focus on how awesome you are, try these simple ways to help flip back:
1. Home Is Where the ♥ Heart Is: This is an oldie but goody. If you're Home (aka apt) looks like sh^t, it's time to head over to your local home improvement spot. Even just a coat of amazing paint, will lift your spirits. New York can be a dark place, so choose subtle, light & bright colors. As for affordable home goods & inspiration, check out our Pinterest Page, where I've started several boards with links to affordable furniture & beautiful rooms (I'm always adding more too!)
2. Plants Make Us Happy: I kid you not, there are studies that show how plants, whether indoors or outdoors make us happy! I don't have the biggest green thumb, but I've managed to find plants that are hard to kill. Most of your indoor plants are pretty hardy, as are succulents - in fact they do better if don't water them as much (think desert). I am also a huge fan of air plants, also easy to take care of. And of course, it also helps to get out of the house and into the park. Maybe you don't live on a gorgeous 100-year old tree lined street, so spending time in the park or even camping is essential.
3. Create Boundaries: It's hard but setting healthy boundaries can make us feel more balanced. Like making sure you don't let someone talk you out of going to your favorite Yoga or KM class, when you know it will make you feel better and sleep better. More importantly, setting boundaries at work with your boss or co-workers can be useful to making sure your time off is truly off. As a business owner, I make my own hours and it's very easy to feel the need to just keep working, cause there is always stuff to get done. However, just as I said it will always be there, so know that working on it now, doesn't rid you of work, it only moves you to the next thing on your to do list.
4. Find Quiet Time: With technology always humming at our fingers it easy to get any question answered that pops to mind. I am finding however, that I seem less focused and sometimes even less inspired because my mind has only had space to be analytical but not creative. I've even re-invigorated my meditation practice, a simple book like A Return To Love, by Marianne Williamson, can be enough to send our mind into meditation, but learning how to meditate is also very useful.
5. Surround Yourself With People Who Have Similar Goals: For some, our friends make up our NYC family, so finding people who understand you and support your growth in a positive way is key. Friends can easily get you down with their own stuff, but even if you're the trail blazer in the group, it's good to at least have open-minded people who will support you and possibly even join you in your healthy lifestyle!
6. Be A Kid Again: You are never too old to play like a kid again. Build a fort, finger paint, play twister, roll down a hill, fool around or blow some bubbles! Immerse yourself in total content for the moment, without any cares about adult responsibilities.
7. Get Away & Take A Vacation: I know, for most, it seems like a far off dream to even be able to afford a trip somewhere. But even taking the train to Long Island or Connecticut and staying at an Airbnb spot, or better yet staying with an old friend, can be just enough to recharge and decompress from this crazy city. And as I mentioned before, camping is a fun adventure, that involves some a little work but a lot of chillaxing. Try to go to a lake like Lake George, Forked Lake or Saranac Lake - tons more spots can be found and booked online at Reserve America.
8. Play Relaxing Music: Sometimes I feel like it's the music in a class or the instructor's voice that brings me peace in a Yoga class. New York can be noisy, and sometimes our brains feel so overwhelmed with the din of daily life. So if you can't find peace & quiet in your home, then turn the TV off, close your computer, mute your phone, and zen out to healing music like Jims Sims, magical Native American Flute, or Source Vibrations' Selfaggio Harmonics - some believe the Selfaggio Frequencies heal your body on a cellular level. Not into the hippie stuff? Try this chill lounge playlist from Spotify, Summer Chill.
9. Do Things That Make You Feel Happy: Some may paint, others play instruments or sing, and others dance, garden or go for a run. Whatever it is, you should find time to do it. Just you and the thing(s) you love!
10. Exercise: You are more than just a brain that sleeps and eats! You have a body, and you will feel sooo much better if you use it. Our bodies beg to be of use to us in an age of ever growing technology. Need motivation? Music has always been a great motivator, we love to play invigorating music in our rigorous classes, and mellow music in our chill classes. If you're out running, make sure it's not too loud, so you can hear traffic. Whatever you end up doing it will be time you spent doing something good for yourself, you will no doubt feel relaxed and rejuvenated!
11. Eat Healthy: You will hands down feel physically better if you are conscious about what you put in your body. Indulging everyday takes its toll, balance out those late night party snacks with raw juices, smoothies and other delicious eats. We love Grass Roots Juicery on Graham Ave! They make it easy! Just add Spinach to any of their non-green smoothies and take out the agave (no need for extra sugar).
12. Receive Healing Bodywork: This is one of my favorites! I love bodywork, Massage and Thai Yoga Massage are on the top of my list. While most other bodywork is dedicated to healing injuries and addressing other body issues, Massage and Thai Yoga Massage are great for relaxation as well! Check out Sam & Sarah's awesome events this Summer here! Let them transport you to a place of bliss and total relaxation, it's like going on a vacation without the extensive travel.
So here's to an awesome summer filled with some of these fun ways to find harmony with the city.