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Solitude – A Rare Gem

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By Christina Maxwell,

We’re in the homestretch of summer and heading back to the vacation-less grind (cue miniature sympathy violins).  Here at our New York City office, we know what it means to be in a city that never sleeps.  There is always so much to see, taste, hear, feel and get done.  Quiet and solitude are a rarity—but one worth fighting for.

Wherever we live, we face the challenge of finding peace and quiet.  Stimulation comes at us from every direction at every hour—music playing in the background at our desk, the endless stream of emails to be answered and notifications popping up on our screens from social media sites.  Deadlines must be met, dinner cooked (or picked up…again…), the dog walked, bills paid.

When does it stop?

It doesn’t.  Unless we make it.  To stop for a moment, just for ourselves, goes against everything around us.  But what are these endless demands and the barrage of constant stimulation doing to our happiness, productivity, relationships and health?  A moment of quiet solitude can do wonders for our state of mind.  And a refreshed mind can make us more productive as we face the demands of the day.

Read on to discover some ways to hit “pause” (besides a good old Netflix binge) that we’re excited to try.  We hope they can help all of us unwind and savor a moment of vacation wherever we are.

-Take a hint from kids and pick up a coloring book.  Coloring books for adults have become all the rage, now praised as an alternative to meditation.  Try this beautiful Secret Garden themed coloring book, which topped Amazon’s bestselling book list! Take your imagination even further with this Harry Potter coloring book.

Go on a walk.  Without a Fitbit.  Without a destination.  Just walk.  Try out a new trail or new city block.  You may stumble upon a hidden green trail, a quaint café, entertaining people watching or just get some extra Vitamin D.  Rainy day?  Take your stroll inside to a local museum or greenhouse.

Get up early one day before work and treat yourself to a delicious breakfast alone at a scenic restaurant.  Use the time to reflect on the week so far and to set your intentions for the day ahead.  If you live in NYC, check out this sunlight-filled and Secret Garden-reminiscent House of Small Wonder in Brooklyn or enjoy fresh and adventurous avocado toast at Two Hands Café in Manhattan.

Spend ten minutes focused on gratitude.  Take a pen to paper to really reflect on what you are thankful for—whether that’s your working air conditioner, the next door neighbor who sometimes mows your lawn or simply the fact that you have eyes to read the words you’re writing.

Create something.  Anything!  There is something therapeutic about harnessing your mind to make something out of nothing.  Whip up a pasta dish without a recipe, try your hand at gardening or go to a pottery class and create a beautiful (or beautifully disastrous) vase.  You may just discover a new talent!

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