how to carve out me time when you have no time

by Krystal Bick
April 25, 2018

New York is a mixed bag.

If you ask practically any New Yorker what they love about this city, it’s often what they also hate about this city: It never turns off. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that’s one of the leading reasons why I moved across the country to be here — it’s a city whose magnetic pulse beats in time with a constant rhythm, never resting, never stopping, never ceasing. And it’s addicting! But it can also run you ragged, if you’re not careful.

This month marks 3 years of living in New York for me and I’ve certainly seen the “hate” part of my relationship with the city rear it’s not so pretty head over the years. It’s not that I don’t find the pace of this place intoxicating, because I do, and it’s largely why I’m able to do what I do, here in this city among cities. But it’s also taken a toll on my division between work and personal time, especially considering that line is already pretty blurred for me, given the very personal brand I’m building (again, no complaints here, just acknowledging realities). So what I have I learned in three years? Well, my first year of living in New York can be summed up pretty well: I took advantage. Of everything! I worked late and stayed out even later. I indulged in perhaps one too many glasses of champagne at events. And I generally paid for it the next day, with a headache that I affectionately named Fred. Let it suffice to say: Fred was a jerk. And I didn’t like it when he showed up.

So fast forward to my third year mark? I think I’ve found my groove. Perhaps it’s the onset of my 30s or the simple fact I just couldn’t maintain that pace, but I’ve carved out a way for myself to enjoy New York but also enjoy my timeouts from it as well. It’s an always evolving balance, one that took me a fair bit of trial and error, but I’m excited today to share with you guys just a few simple ways I recharge after a long day, without overhauling my already packed lifestyle, starting first with my new favorite hair and skincare line, ApotheCare Essentials.

Tip #1: Take bath time seriously. OK, first things first. I get it. If you’re an apartment dweller like me, your bathtub may not be the first place you’ll want to go out of your way to soak for 20 minutes. Personally, unlike the tub you see here at The NoMad hotel, my tub is small and because of the old pipes in the building, doesn’t drain all that well either, making showers practically my go-to choice. But that doesn’t meant you can’t indulge in them!

I’m a nighttime person when it comes to showering, because I love just washing the day off of me. I feel much more at peace and relaxed when I get into bed rinsed and clean, and I think the indulgent part comes with what products you bring into the routine. Just like a spa experience, it’s the details that make all the difference. I recently started using ApotheCare Essentials after I attended their Master Fragrance class back in February — mainly because I couldn’t get enough of the smell! I’m currently using their Mender line, which features strong notes of white jasmine — a scent that is said to have both a sedative and antidepressant effects — perfect for this long winter we now find ourselves in (winter blues, anyone?).

After a few weeks of continued use though, I’ve loved the overall benefits of the line, as well. My hair, as you all may know by now, is extremely thick and dry — which gets compounded by the fact I also use heat styling pretty much every other day. I’m pleased to share The Mender shampoo and conditioner have actually brought back strength and it’s really helping with breakage. And here’s where I geek out a bit: the science behind each hand-selected ingredient is actually pretty fascinating (and pivotal in the success of the product). If you recall, we chatted about essential oils a few weeks back, and since then I’ve been researching the properties of a handful of them. Each Apothecare Essentials product contains a carefully extracted combination of:

  • Burdock root, which is known for balance and detox
  • White willow bark, which is known for soothing
  • Rosemary leaf, which is known for protection
  • Ginkgo Biloboa leaf, which is known for regeneration
  • Sage leaf, which is known to purify
  • Seabuckthorn fruit, which is known for revitalizing properties

Think of it as a finely tuned cocktail, infused into each skin and in-shower hair product. The Mender line specifically works to resurface the outer cuticle layer of each hair strand and I’m looking forward to continue for the summer months ahead (when I typically use less heat styling, giving my hair a much needed break).

Looking for other ways to indulge in your shower time? I usually light a few candles on the bathroom sink about 10 minutes before I hop in and I’ll put on this playlist. I also throw in a good body scrub and lather myself all over with a thick body cream before throwing on my pajamas.

Tip #2: Read aloud. I wrote about this back in February when I was chatting about unique date night ideas but I do think this is a great activity to do solo as well. For about the 20 minutes before I fall asleep, I’ll plug my phone in to charge near my dresser (far enough away and out of reach) and grab my current book to read out loud, again, either to my guy or to out loud to myself (it feels a bit silly when you do it at first, but I promise, you eventually don’t care). There’s something about it that reminds me of reading in class activities during elementary school, and I’ve noticed I’ll actually pay more attention to word choice and syntax this way (probably the nerdiest thing I’ve typed in a while), but as a writer, I actually love studying different ways to convey ideas and stories. It’s a simple activity and a much-needed break from falling asleep scrolling through social media — I feel much more mentally and emotionally satiated this way.

Tip #3 An evening tea. There’s something to be said about the indulgences of a ritual and I think an evening tea is a really soothing one, where even the act of making it is just as much of a factor as actually drinking it. Truth be told, I only very recently picked up a kettle, having just microwaved hot water previously when I wanted tea at home. But now, just the simple act of boiling water and hearing the hum of the kettle gently pick up speed before finally cooing to a soft stop, feels much more home-like, than the instant gratification of zapping water. These days, I’ll treat myself to an evening rosehip or spearmint tea, before I settle in with my book to read out loud.

Tip #4 Documentary series. OK, so here’s my idea of a wild and crazy, Friday night. Dinner out at one of my favorite village restaurants with my guy, where we’ll talk about heading to a cute, dimly lit bar for a second round of drinks, before ultimately deciding we’d much rather catch up on our latest documentary obsession. These days, I’ll full admit I’m getting old, and the idea of cozying up after a delicious meal, with an equally delicious documentary series like Wild, Wild Country or Dirty Money, sounds much more enticing to me than staying out to last call at 3am. Granted, I don’t delegate much free-time to watching TV, so when I do, I want to make sure it’s something that stimulates me, creatively and mentally. I cut out reality TV a few years back after a certain Bachelor contestant left a bad taste in my mouth (Juan Pablo, I’m looking at you) and these days, rely on Netflix for their binge-worthy documentaries, which always make for great dinner conversation.

And there you have it! Just a handful of ways I try to enjoy my ME time in a city where it’s easy to lose yourself a bit. What do you guys do to unwind and recharge after a long day? Would love to hear!

 

This post was in collaboration with ApotheCare Essentials. As always, all opinions and styling are my own. Thank you for supporting all This Time Tomorrow collaborations!

Photos by Nora Varcho

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