As the world slowly begins to open back up again and some of our schedules go back to the way they were pre-pandemic, you may feel stress and anxiety symptoms beginning to rise. Just when you began to get into the swing of your “new normal” the world shifted again. You may be feeling less than excited about having to get back to working in the office, having to trek the kids off to practice, and braving the subways like the good ole days. You aren’t alone. Stress is inevitable, but on the heels of a global pandemic and one of the most uncertain times in most of our lives, you may be feeling more anxiety than usual. Here are some ways that you can help to ease your stress and anxiety in New York.
Move your body.
Exercise is a major factor for helping to keep stress at bay. It naturally strengthens your immune system, oxygenates your brain, and produces tons of feel good chemicals in your body. By moving for at least 30 mins a day, you can improve your quality of sleep, boost your mood, and even increase your self esteem. The best part about exercising as a stress reliever, is that it can be any type of exercise you enjoy. Try taking a walk in one of the beautiful parks that NYC has to offer, bike ride along the Hudson River Greenway along the West Side Highway, check out a new fitness class with a friend, or have a dance party in your living room. Your brain and body will thank you.
Give your brain some food.
Studies have recently shown that reading can improve your mental health by lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress, and may even improve your quality of sleep. Reading can literally change your brain by creating new neural pathways, which increases cognitive function, imagination, and even empathy. Some studies even found that reading can even decrease pain and depression symptoms. Being in the Big Apple certainly has its benefits when it comes to finding something new to read. New York has an amazing public library system, where you can easily give your brain the food it’s been craving. More than just books, The New York Public Library offers more than 90,000 free programs a year across its 92 locations. From author talks, live concert performances to exhibitions, the New York Public Library has something for everyone. If the library isn’t your speed, find your way into a bookstore to find something new (or old) to read, like Left Bank Books or Strand Book Store.
Get your daily dose of laughter.
One of the most amazing benefits of living in NYC is that there are live performances every single day of the week. Broadway, concerts, people performing in Times Square, you can find entertainment around every corner. Entertainment is one thing, but New York City has some of the best comedy in the country… hello SNL much? And research shows that laughter truly is one of the best medicines, when it comes to combating anxiety, depression, stress, and loneliness. According to the MAYO Clinic, laughing has both long term and short term benefits that include activating your stress response, increasing blood flow and oxygen, decreasing pain, boosting your immune system, and helping to connect with others. So check out one of the hundreds of comedy venues to get to giggling. New to comedy? There are tons of different types to try out. Check out seeing a musical comedy, improv show, or sketch show if you are into theater. Stand up shows are a great date night idea and you can find stand up every night of the week in NYC! Check out the line up at Comedy Cellar, Gotham Comedy Club, or The Comic Strip for some great stand up acts. And if you want a good old fashioned chuckle, without the live performance aspect, head out to the movies for a comedy film or watch your favorite sitcom on Netflix. There is no wrong way to get a daily dose of laughter.
Silence the noise.
New York City can feel overwhelming at times no matter who you are. It can feel busy, noisy, cluttered, and crowded, which can make almost anyone anxious at times. Meditation for anxiety is one of the world’s oldest practices used to calm the noise and quiet the buzzing mind. Most meditation practices, and there are many, involve focusing on an object, which can be your breath, a mantra, or other visualization. As the mind wanders from the object, the act of meditating gently brings the mind back to focus. According to the MAYO Clinic, meditation can give you a sense of calm and balance that can benefit your mental, emotional, and even physical health. Meditation is said to lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve mood, increase productivity, decrease stress and anxiety, and even increase imagination and creativity. There are hundreds of different types of mediation practices, from guided meditation, to mindful meditation, to breath work, you are bound to find one that fits for you. If you’re new to meditation, check out the classes at MNDFL, Kadampa Meditation Center, or New York Insight Meditation Center. Right now a lot of meditation studios are meeting virtually, so you wouldn’t even have to leave the comfort of your pjs to get your zen on.
Throw some salt on it
Salt therapy or halotherapy is an alternative natural therapy that uses hymilaian salt rooms or caves. The salt is said to have healing properties that, by just breathing the salty air, can aid ailments like allergies and the common cold. While the science behind this type of therapy is still minimal, the one thing that salt therapy seems to be sure of, is that you will leave the session feeling much more relaxed. NYC is starting to offer more and more of these types of therapy sessions from spas to immersion venues like Modrn Sanctuary. The one thing they all have in common is that no phones are allowed in the room and talking is not permitted. Some of the venues even play tranquil music, so it would be impossible not to relax. While the jury is still out on if the salt actually does benefit respiratory health, relaxing in a cave without your phone for 45 minutes is certainly a way to destress. If salt therapy sounds like it’s for you you have to check out Montauk Salt Cave right in Midtown.
If you are struggling with stress or anxiety in New York, you are not alone and a Be.WELL. Therapist is here to help. A Be.WELL. Therapist can help you ease your stress and take control of your mental well being. A Be.WELL. Therapist is available in both Midtown, NYC and Hoboken NJ.