The Problem With Balance in The City That Never Sleeps

Living in NYC is hard. Being deemed 'The City That Never Sleeps' is accurate and enticing for visitors looking for an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip. But what about us New Yorkers who live here, who eat, breathe, and sleep this chaos. 

When there is constantly a million options available to us from what to do, where to go, what to eat, and who to see, it can become overwhelming. 

And how do typical New Yorkers deal with the stress? They try to do it all. Here's what a typical 30-something professional's schedule could look like here.

6:30am: Wake up, get ready for the day
7:30am: Out the door to get to work early
8am: Get to work (begin the craze of go-go-go)
1pm: Realize that you didn't eat lunch so scarf down something real quick
7pm: Leave for the gym
7:15pm: 1 hour gym class (pseudo-relaxation time)
8:15pm: Leave the gym to meet friends for drinks and dinner
8:30pm: Drinks and dinner (and already thinking about the next day)
10pm: Dinner winds down
10:30pm: On to the next thing (maybe a date, more friends, something exciting)
12am: Head home because its a work night
1am: Home and needing to do things before work the next day
??am: Squeeze in some sleep

Now, this may not surprise you. This may actually look similar to your schedule whether you live in NYC or not. Think it's healthy? A desirable schedule that allows for maximum use of time?

As a therapist, the major problem I have with this type of schedule is that it's not sustainable and does not allow for any sort of balance.

Perhaps living this way one or two times out of your week could be maintained, but I see this type of schedule with my clients all the time.

They attempt to sustain the constant demands that the city places on them and adopt this hectic schedule due to not knowing any better. Then they eventually reach a breaking point and seek out therapy because something is not working. 

I know slowing down is the antithesis of what people in NYC live for, but like all good things balance must be invited in for this lifestyle to be livable. 

If you are ready to begin re-evaluating the sustainability of your schedule, here's where you can begin:

  • Consider what you really need to accomplish in the week to feel good
  • Practice saying 'no' to the things that do not add value to your week
  • Allow the extras to be optional if you are feeling up to it  
  • Add at least one thing per week that is just for you and makes you feel good (ideas: walking on your lunch break, reading before bed, a solo-date, cooking food, seeing a friend you don't normally see)
  • Stop yourself from playing the should game (i.e. "I should really be doing more")

Like all good things in life, this might not come easily. Give it a week or two to experiment how it works for you. If you hate it, go back to your old ways. But if it brings you less stress and more peace of mind, stick with it.

Remember, balance is not perfectly 50/50. It could just be one small tweak to make your lifestyle more manageable. 

If you need a little boost in support, contact me about individual sessions & group retreats focused on just this!