New York City can seem like a larger-than-life place, but it’s also home to millions of people who are just trying to live their normal-sized lives. And this big city doesn’t always make life easy for regular people. While it may inspire big dreams, New York City can also crush them. New York City can bring people together, but it can also crush them into tiny, crowded spaces, or cause them to feel isolated in crowds. Making it in New York City means, as Frank always said, that you “can make it anywhere.” But making it here isn’t easy. Feeling stressed, anxious, and over-worked are common.
New York City is a great place, but there’s no doubt that it’s tough on mental health. That’s why every New Yorker should know a few things about caring for their minds.
Table of Contents
The Mental Health challenges of New York City
Why is New York so tough on mental health?
We touched on a few reasons a moment ago. The crowded streets of New York are the result of the city’s density and the fact that it’s a center of employment in the region. That’s great, but it’s also proven to cause stress and anxiety. Even those who don’t consider themselves claustrophobic probably don’t enjoy getting smooshed into the corner of a subway car. Who would?
New York City is also loud, which makes it harder to sleep here. Lack of sleep has all kinds of rough effects on your health. And this is a problem even if you’re trying to get good sleep — something that not all New Yorkers do. New York is a hard-working city full of professionals who put in late nights. It’s also a hard-partying city that encourages unhealthy drinking habits and, in some cases, drug use. These activities can mess up sleep as surely as any blaring taxi horn, and they can also lead to conditions like burnout and addiction.
So what can you do about this? How can you focus on the right things and make your New York City lifestyle better for your mental health?
Get Out of Town!
If New York City is so tough on mental health, there’s one obvious solution: Leave!
No, don’t worry — we don’t mean leave forever. We’re just talking about a trip to your perfect, peaceful vacation destination. Studies show that vacations are healthy in all circumstances, and that’s particularly true in the hard-working and crowded world of New York City. Taking a break from long workdays will help your productivity, and getting out into nature will give you a healthy break from the sometimes-stressful realities of urban life.
Finding Your Space
You don’t have to leave New York City to get a little breathing room, though. Just head to one of New York City’s 1,700 parks, which are full of relatively secluded spots and opportunities for quiet contemplation. Just be sure to visit during daylight hours and to stay safe. While New York City is safer than ever, it’s never a great idea to be alone in the woods of Central Park at night.
Your space doesn’t have to be physical space. It could be a sense of belonging, too, like the feeling that you get at your favorite gym or yoga class, or the special space that you and your friends make for each other.
The Little Things Matter
New York City is full of big things: Huge buildings, tall statues, and massive crowds. But the details can make all the difference when you live here. Small steps can help form or even change your outlook on things and improve your mental health.
Maybe it’s making a habit of using a podcast or a book to make your commute seem shorter and like time better spent. Maybe it’s a volunteering day you take once a month or once a week. Maybe it’s simply rearranging your furniture so that your favorite chair is in the sunlight, or getting some blackout curtains and a white noise machine to help you sleep. Nailing the details of the New York lifestyle can lead to changes far grander than you might assume.
Call in the Pros
Mental health is an aspect of your overall health. Most people understand this, at least on some level, but far too few people act on this knowledge. You take care of your physical health with the help of a professional — so why wouldn’t you do so for your mental health?
In fact, according to the experts at nyctherapy.com, this is exactly what you should do. Proper mental healthcare demands the attention of a professional. Turning to a New York City therapist is an essential step forward for your mental health, whether you’re addressing a serious mental health issue or simply want to develop better strategies for reducing stress and communicating well with others.
In New York City and everywhere else, mental health should be a priority. Treat it that way! Develop a lifestyle that’s easier on your brain, and do so with the help of professionals who understand mental health.