I’m moving out of Manhattan at the end of September and heading down to Wilmington, North Carolina in mid-October! My heart flutters every time I talk about it. It’s really happening, folks.
Some of my friends were thoroughly shocked to hear of my choice. How could I leave a city that is the center of the universe? How could I live with constant FOMO? How could I abandon the bagels?
My first therapist taught me to use mindfulness in the face of anxiety. This basically entails using my five senses to ground myself wherever I am.
I ask myself, “What do I hear, smell, touch, taste, and see right now in my immediate environment?” and go on to list everything I can observe.
A cozy corner table in a coffee shop can be oh-so inviting. I can spend hours in The Black Cow or Manhattanville Coffee, and it’s because these spaces make me feel really comfortable. Heck, I wrote this blog post at the Peekskill Coffee House.
Maybe it’s the bustle of the morning customers in need of caffeine, the smell of steamed milk and cinnamon, or the endless stream of tunes that keep me coming back. The combination of these factors make the magical coffee shop a perfect place to practice self-care.
From one coffee-love to another, here are a few acts of self-care to try the next time you visit your local coffee shop.
Allow the Environment to Affect You
Why do I love coffee shops so much? The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes are generally pleasant at the majority of shops. One of the easiest ways to practice self-care is to put yourself in an environment that makes you feel good, and coffee shops just do that for me.
My favorite coffee shops emit warmth, play music to fit the mood, and are full of light. What environmental details matter to you when it comes to feeling good? If your ideal coffee shop has free WiFi, serves sandwiches, and sticks to a jazz playlist, then search for that spot and visit it often. Your coffee shop could become a self-care spot for years to come!
This tip is related to allowing your environment affect you but deserves further explanation. I’m not suggesting stalking anyone in particular, but people-watching (and dogspotting) can be a wonderful way to reconnect with humanity and ground yourself. Simply grab a table and take in the fascinating human beings and animals around you while you sip your tea.
Relax, you’re not creepy – everyone people watches! Starting by simply observing the actions and reactions around you that catch your eye. Focus on the occurences that bring you joy and let yourself get lost in someone else’s universe.
Check Tasks Off of your To-Do List
In my opinion, the coffee shop is the perfect environment to complete tasks you’ve been putting off at home. Tax prep, studying, or finally organizing your inbox may be slightly more bearable in the presence of pastries. There’s also a good chance other people will be working around you. Let the atmosphere of productivity inspire you.
Complete that nagging task and take a sip of coffee. I always feel so good when I cross something off my list.
If the background noise becomes too distracting, I suggest listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you work. You could try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks or Join Amazon Prime Music and start with a 30-day Free Trial.
Some people prefer to meditate in a place that is totally silent, but I actually like to meditate with a bit background noise. Maybe you’ll like meditating in a coffee shop too!
I typically try to meditate alone at a table for a few minutes before tackling that to-do list. I start by focusing on my breath in relation to the various sounds and smells around me. I feel my body touching the chair and my feet resting on the floor. A few minutes of being aware of my environment creates the calmness that allows me to reach that tranquil place.
Order a cup of green tea once you’re done meditating and let the calm vibes flow!
Strike Up a Conversation
If you have extrovert tendencies and social interactions re-charge you, then take advantage of the friendly atmosphere that many coffee shops provide. Connecting with the person at the next table could make you feel really great.
Unsure of how to make that first move? Try respectfully complimenting a stranger, chatting with your favorite barista, petting a dog (with the owner’s permission), or making a silly face if a baby or young child looks at you.
Do you practice acts of self-care at your coffee shop? Share your personal experiences and favorite spots in the comments!