Every day, what surrounds you impacts you in ways large and small. You wake up in a comfortable room, work in a stressful environment, eat certain things in mostly the same places, and you sleep well or fitfully. Your physical and (especially) mental health are changed every day, whether you realize it or not.
The environment you live and work in matters. And when the place in which you live and work is as unique and as powerful as New York City, the impact is proportionately large. Every day that you wake up and go to work, you’re subjecting your mind and body to everything that makes this big, crazy city such a weird and sometimes wonderful place to live. New York City can be great, but it can also take a toll on your mental health.
How New York City can mess with your mental health
In some ways, New York City’s impact on your mind is pretty obvious. This is a stressful city! When you’re commuting via a crowded and underperforming subway system, you get frustrated. When you compete against the very best and brightest in the most cutthroat professional setting in the country, that’s exhausting. New York City’s streets are crowded with people, and not all of them are particularly kind or polite.
In other ways, New York City’s impact can be more subtle. Take sleep, for instance. It’s no secret that sleeping well is crucial to your mental health. As “the city that never sleeps,” New York City has a habit of keeping its residents up late. If you’re not enjoying the bars until 4 AM, you may find yourself being kept up by the rowdy folks who are. Combine that will glaring streetlamps and honking taxi horns, and you have a recipe for lousy sleep.
This competitive professional scene doesn’t help your mental health, and it can lead to poor work-life balance. Work stress doesn’t stay at work, and if you’re bringing your work home with you and answering emails after dark (as many New Yorkers do), then you’re harming your mental health.
Combatting New York City’s impact on your mental health
New York City is not, by and large, a very good place for your mental health. But that doesn’t mean that you have to leave for other cities in towns with inferior pizza and no decent opera. All you really have to do is to be conscious of New York City’s impact on your mental health, and do your best to counteract it.
What does this mean? It starts with self-care and paying attention to your physical, mental, and emotional needs. Can you eat better? Improve your sleep with blackout curtains and ear plugs? Can you retreat and get some time alone in a public park, or in the bathtub back home in your apartment? Make time to really care for yourself and improve your health, and you’ll find that you become better equipped to take on New York City.
Don’t go through all of this alone, however. New York City is home to some of the best mental health care providers in the business, and they can do a lot to help you handle the stress, anxiety, and other mental strains associated with living in New York City. You don’t have to have a diagnosable mental health condition to benefit from therapy, explain the experts at NYC Therapy Group. On the contrary, virtually anyone can benefit from therapy’s insights and strategies.
There will always be things about living in New York City that are tough. But with the right priorities and the right strategies, you’ll be able to take care of yourself.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.