Living and working in New York is a number of things: expensive, crazy, competitive, and full of distractions and noise.
Allotting time for after-work meetings and seeing friends is hard enough, but practicing a balanced routine while completing responsibilities and catching up on sleep (never mind TV shows) can become a challenge, too.
As a busy writer in NYC, my weekday schedule is typically jam-packed from the moment I wake up (6 or 7 am) until I curl back in bed (11:30 pm, if I’m lucky). Sometimes weeks go by and I wonder, What did I do for myself?
So I decided to take a personal challenge: Every day for one week I would schedule 60 minutes of an activity or treat for myself. In the end, I felt like a more relaxed, happy, and purposeful person.
MONDAY: I decided to kick off the week on the right foot — or rather, pedal — and clipped in at SoulCycle at 7 am.
For 45 minutes, the class sprinted, climbed, rode, and lifted weights to high-energy music. My favorite instructor, Noah, does this thing called podium roulette, where he picks someone from class to ride the instructor’s bike — in front of everyone. I shied away this time, but I’ve got my eye on it for the next sweat session.
SoulCycle is 45 minutes long, so I decided to skip the subway and take the 15-minute walk home while listening to music.
TUESDAY: Every so often, I wake up super super early for no apparent reason.
Instead of going back to bed, I’ll work on an article or play with makeup for an upcoming story. On this morning, I did neither and chose to walk the Brooklyn Bridge at daybreak.
It took a little more than an hour to get down there, walk across, and get home, but it was beautiful! In addition to a few joggers and bikers, there was a couple taking engagement photos with the sun rising in the backdrop. I’m fairly sure I photobombed them, completely by accident. (Sorry, guys! You’re super cute!) In all seriousness, it was nice to have a place to walk without the fear of getting hit by a bus (although, bikers are scary, too). I took some photos and sat for a short minute, watching the sun elevate in the sky.
WEDNESDAY: One of the newest workouts in New York City is simply called “The Class” By Taryn Toomey.
For an hour, you jump, squat, yell, scream, and move your body to music. It’s sweaty, cathartic, and located in a crystal-accented TriBeCa fitness studio for an experience like no other. After class, you feel unstoppable.
Plus, the washrooms are filled with Chanel beauty products. How chic! Not only did I feel accomplished for exercising, but the uplifting mantras made me feel powerful… and then I felt hungry. Hey, working out is bound to increase your metabolism.
THURSDAY: To test my me-time abilities, I took it to the next level… by giving myself FIVE hours instead of one.
I embarked on a day trip with my best friend to Storm King Art Center, a two-hour drive north of NYC. We rented a car with this badass app called Maven, picked up smoothies and salads, and spent the day outside. We explored a ton of art and it was nice to breathe fresh air without cabs and pollution and the noise of the city.
FRIDAY: One of my all time favorite bakeries and places in New York is Breads Bakery.
Everything here is beyond amazing — and I’m not exaggerating. It’s my happy place. (When it doubt, buy the Nutella babka.) Instead of popping into the grocery store or ordering something on an app, like I usually do, I strolled in and took a leisurely hour to consume my food. With that said, I ate my entire sandwich and forgot to take a photo. So here's a pick of their amazing babka instead.
SATURDAY: Most people work five days a week, but I typically work eight.
Even during the weekends, I’m researching, reading, writing, and exploring. As everyone close to me knows, I have a deep respect and flat out obsession with ice cream. So, Saturday was for the s’cream. I went to grab a cone at Maman in SoHo and sat down with a book that I've been meaning to start reading. I can’t say that I’ll finish it any time soon, but I felt like I accomplished something by knocking out a few pages.
Not a bad way to spend an hour on a Saturday. And I didn't even drip on the pages!
SUNDAY: My me-time week was almost over when I realized I wanted to share more me-time with me-friends.
A bunch of us went to brunch at Clancey, a restaurant on the Lower East Side.
We bonded over sharable plates like Yesterday Lo Mein (cold noodles and pork) and decidedly not-sharable cocktails.
Brunch lasted a little bit more than an hour before I had to retreat and finish a story that I abandoned mid-sentence. It was great to catch up with my girls, and I realized that me-time can include shared experiences, too. As long as you're doing something for yourself and making time for things and people you care about, it’s relaxing and enjoyable. The little things, am I right?