photo of Midtown Manhattan skyline with Little Jo photographer cartoon

Staying mindful amid the hustle and bustle of New York City is not an easy task.  Between the throngs of people, congested traffic and fairly constant noise, it’s easy to feel frazzled by the frenetic energy of the place.

Is it possible to find calm in a chaotic environment, and can you relearn to appreciate a place once you’ve gotten to know it maybe too well?  As I’ve been dealing with anxiety this past year, those questions have been in the forefront of my mind quite a bit.  I’m happy to tell you that there’s hope, so call off the movers and read on below for…

My list of top 5 tips for facing, embracing and falling back in love with your city.

  1. Take a minute to really listen to the sounds you hear around you.  Name the sounds silently in your head and simply observe them without judgement. See if you can expand your field of awareness to notice sounds in the distance as well as the more immediate sounds closer to you.  Make a game of staying with a passing sound until you can no longer hear it.
  2. Exercise.  Run, walk, do yoga or Pilates, ballroom dance, stand on your head…do whatever daily exercise you enjoy.  Exercise is a natural stress buster.  If you’re less stressed you’ll be better equipped to enjoy the pace of the city on your own terms.
  3. Speaking of exercise….find ways to flex your creative muscles, too.  Draw, paint, bake, tend a potted plant, knit a sweater, color in a coloring book, learn to play a new instrument.  Creating something of beauty (even if it’s for your eyes only) is invaluable for fostering self growth.  Growing as a person will make you happier, and if you’re happier, those around you will also benefit.
  4. Imagine that you’re seeing your environment through a child’s eyes.  Look for the  magic in patterns, colors and shapes. Take out your camera and snap a picture of whatever catches the fancy of your inner child (the sillier the better!)
  5. Close each day with a pampering ritual.  Drink a cup of herbal tea, rub your favorite essential oils on the bottoms of your feet, curl up with an inspiring book, or simply plop the book on your lower abdomen and watch it rise and fall as you breath deeply in and out.

Have any staycation tips you want to share?  I’d love to hear!



  1. Sharon Miranda says:

    6. buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Or just one flower. Have fresh flowers in the house all the time!
    Lovely post, my creative genius!
    xox mm

    • Joana says:

      Hi Meh-meh,

      Ooh, yes, I forgot about that one. I’m headed off to Trader Joes to buy myself a bouquet RITE NAU! (Hee-hee!)

      xox – J

  2. Helen Reich says:

    I like the idea of listening to sounds in a very active way; That way, we turn a potential annoyance into more of a sonic journey. I’m going to give that a try.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      I do find sound meditation to be helpful. I’ve used it in the pit when I’m getting distracted/irritated by what’s going on right next to me. If I focus on trying to hear the sounds coming from an instrument on the other side of the pit, my immediate annoyance usually fades into the background. At times when I’ve been super anxious, I’ve even tried to take dictation – naming the actual notes I’m hearing – in my head.

      The meditation coach I worked with was the one who introduced me to Mindfulness Meditation, which ultimately has been the most helpful in “treating” my anxiety. She suggested I start my meditations with a short body scan where I simply noticed any areas of tension, as well as any emotions, and any thoughts attached to the bodily sensations. After that, the practice is to simply observe your thoughts as if they are cars on a train passing by. We often get hooked by a various thought, but true meditation is noticing when you’ve become hooked and then returning (without judgement) back to an object of focus (like your breath) while going back to letting thoughts come and go.

      On that note…I’m sending you many loving thoughts!!
      🙂 Joana

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