8 Things to Do When You Need More 'Me' Time

Everyone gets overwhelmed in the middle of the semester. Between school work, maintaining a social life and keeping up with life back at home, sometimes health is knocked down a few spots on your list of priorities - however, it should always be number one, especially mental health. Personally, I like to take some well deserved “me time” whenever I feel this way. Here are some ideas that I’ve come up with to get you feeling better ASAP

1. Go to an art museum or gallery

This week, I wasn’t feeling myself and knew exactly what I needed: a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I came here a lot when I was younger, and simply looking at paintings by Van Gogh, Degas and Renoir can make me instantly feel better. NYC is the perfect place to appreciate art. From the Met to the MOMA to the Whitney or the Guggenheim, there are so many choices you can explore. Being an NYU student even gets you free admission at the MOMA and the Whitney!

2. Go to Central Park or the High Line

Sometimes when you live in downtown Manhattan, it can be easy to forget that nature actually exists. As much of the city person that I am, I love being surrounded by the changing autumn leaves. The smell of trees and water and soil can rejuvenate the soil. After my trip to the Met, I beelined right over the reservoir Central Park, walked around and just looked out on the water for a bit. It was so calming. Another closer option to experience nature is the High Line. This isn’t my favorite place, honestly. I find it quite artificial and claustrophobic at times, but the view is absolutely breathtaking and the walk is lovely.

3. Sit in the Washington Square Park fountain

Washington Square Park is my happy place, especially when I’m sitting in the fountain. I always come here in between classes to eat lunch (preferably By Chloe!) or read my book (right now it’s The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath). Other times I love to just people watch, listen to music or just sit and think about nothing in particular. When the wind blows, the mist from the sprays of water falls on you lightly.

4. Sit in a café or go to brunch

For some reason, brunch always makes me feel better, without fail. Maybe it’s the second cup of coffee, or the pancakes or french toast, or ambiance of the café. Whatever it is, brunch is an immediate pick me up. I highly recommend Jack’s Wife Freda on Lafayette or Carmine. Also, sitting in cafés sipping on a piping hot cup of coffee, eating an overpriced pastry, reading a book or listening to music is so calming to me. I love Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It has that quintessential café white noise quality and wicked good pastries and espresso.

5. Do yoga and meditate

Yoga and meditation has helped me infinitely for roughly the past three to four years. My parents thought it was silly for me to bring my yoga mat to school with me, but I insisted and am so glad that I did. In my little shoebox dorm room, every so often I lay out my yoga mat in between the two beds and do 15-30 minutes of breathing exercises, stretching, yoga and meditation. I put on the “yoga” playlist on spotify, which mostly consists of the sounds of ocean waves (which I love, my favorite place in the world being the beach), and simply relax until my mind is clear again.

6. Explore New York’s gems

I think a lot of really cool places to go visit in NYC are underappreciated and often overshadowed. For one, Grand Central Station. I love standing in the middle of the main concourse, surrounded by strangers, staring up at the constellation ceiling. Or, walk down Christopher Street in the West Village straight to the pier overlooking the Hudson River. Like in Central Park, something about the water is so calming to me. Also, even if you aren’t religious, I love spending time in cathedrals. From St. John the Divine to St. Patrick’s, the stained glass windows, cool crisp air and silence instantly calm me down. Lastly, being Italian, I love Little Italy. The vibe, the food. Everything about it makes me smile.

7. Go to a bookstore or library

I’ve always loved to read for relaxation. Surrounding myself with books to page through makes me so happy. I could sit in a bookstore or library for hours on end going through the shelves and searching for the perfect book I want to read next. We have The Strand and the New York Public Library, of course, but there are plenty of unique little bookstores out there! From Bluestockings on the Lower East Side to Three Lives & Company in the West Village, it’s so easy to expand your horizons and escape between the bookshelves and pages for a little while.

8. Do something creative

I always feel better when I get my creative juices flowing. And that can mean any number of things! Get creative in the kitchen (if you have one) by baking a batch of cookies or cooking yourself dinner. Listen to your favorite songs and explore new genres and artists through friends’ suggestions or a simple search on the Internet. Personally, I love to draw, specifically hands. I don’t know what it is about them, but they’re really the only thing that I can kind of draw. I have a whole sketchbook full of them, and finding new ways to interpret them and translate that onto paper gets my mind clear and focused.