Back in April, I had a weekend planned to visit my cousin and a couple other friends in New York City, but the night before I was supposed to leave I found myself exhausted and unable to sleep at 3 a.m. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I knew I was hitting a wall.
Knowing that I was headed to New York where I normally spend the whole time trying to see, do and eat as much as possible, I decided to trust my body’s warning signs and seek out some rest without canceling the trip. Was it, I wondered, possible to have a quiet and relaxing weekend of self care in the city that never sleeps? I honestly wasn’t sure, but figured it was the only experiment I had the energy to conduct.
Here are the highlights:
For breakfast I got a fresh squeezed juice from Fresh Pick, a local shop I’d found on Yelp in Long Island City. It didn’t look like anything special, just a small slightly grimy convenience store that I never would have bothered to go in if people hadn’t raved about it in the reviews. Despite the spring rain outside, I ordered a juice combination known as Summer – a mixture of grapefruit, cucumber, orange, and pineapple. It wasn’t something I would normally go for but it was good and felt energizing. Next, I wandered for a bit around a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, explored an independent bookstore, and visited Stick With Me Sweets, a chocolate shop specializing in the most beautiful handcrafted bonbons.
Signature Theater in Hell’s Kitchen (a neighborhood in Manhattan) was hosting a day of free self-care workshops, so I attended a free yoga class followed by a mindfulness discussion and meditation practice.
Afterwards, I went to brunch with a friend at Xyst, a popular vegan spot I’d read about. I wouldn’t rave about the place, but my rosewater pancakes were unique and delicious.
In the early evening, I attended my first Sound Bath at Integral Yoga Studio in The Village. I signed up for this without really knowing what it was, just that it sounded like a relaxing experience. I’ve since learned a sound bath is when resonant, overtone emitting instruments (like tuning forks, gongs, and crystal singing bowls) are played in a room where the participants are all in a resting, meditative state. The idea being that the vibrations and sounds help to submerge you into a relaxed state. In addition to this, research demonstrates sound waves can reduce blood pressure, enhance sleep and memory, reduce anxiety and enhance your mood. I would compare how I felt afterwards to that warm, fuzzy dream like-state you find yourself in after an amazing massage.
My final day in New York began with meeting a friend at Modern Love in Brooklyn for another vegan brunch — this one was delicious and worth raving about. I had the Strawberries and Cream French Toast with strawberry compote and a coconut whip.
Later in the afternoon, I took advantage of a Groupon to try out Premier 57, a spa modeled after the traditions of Korean public baths. My $59 Groupon gave me access to multiple saunas, an ice room, salt room, hot tubs, heated pools with massage jets, and more.
While the weekend was not without stressful moments, overall I feel my experiment was successful. Not only did I find affordable ways to treat myself, reduce stress, eat healthier (most of the time) and relax but I also got to experience a more local side of New York.
Stay tuned next week for my tips on How To Plan Your Own Weekend Of Self Care On A Budget.