I’ve always felt the heaviness. As an empath, I feel whatever other people are feeling, and living in New York forces that on me. Maybe it’s because I’m an empath, or maybe because I’m a millennial, but either way, I needed to learn how to chill.
This concrete jungle is a fast-paced lifestyle that I have managed to keep up with, and yet, I still find myself feeling weak at times. I’ve endured breakups, bad dates, messy friendships, and toxic work environments and I’m still trying to not let it get to me. There was one day that I didn’t take my anxiety medication, and it forced me into a two-day depressive episode. Shit happens and in New York, you really just have to pick yourself back up and keep going.
I spend a lot of time looking down. At my feet, at my phone, at my hands, at my computer. As a human being on social media, as a writer, as a worker, as a poet — I spend a lot of time looking down and evidently building tension in my neck and shoulders. When I’m stressed, my muscles tighten. I keep pain and anxiety locked into my upper body, and to me, getting a massage isn’t just a luxury, but a necessity sometimes. With that being said, I figured it was time to try Chillhouse.
As a New Yorker and a millennial on Instagram, Chillhouse is known as being a big thing. It’s a “destination for modern self-care,” in the heart of New York City. Along with the cafe of delicious drinks and treats to heal you from the inside out, they offer amazing wellness services and treatments, including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and sauna experiences.
I recently visited their face and body studio in the Lower East Side and experienced the Chill Pill massage. I wanted to ease some anxiety, calm my body and relieve stress and tension in my back.
*Disclaimer: they did offer me this massage as a part of their Me x Monday series on Instagram. Mondays are typically the busiest, most stressful day of the week…aka the best time to indulge in some self-care. So, Chillhouse–if you’re reading this, thank you and I love you.*
The moment I entered the room for my massage and tucked myself in and under the covers of the heated massage bed, I felt a sense of relief. My masseuse was kind and nurturing and immediately felt the tension in my upper body. I had to actively remind myself to unclench my jaw, to relax my shoulders, to breathe.
After the heavenly massage, she asked me, “What’s with all those deep knots in your back?!” I could only shrug and laugh. She recommended that I stretch every morning when I first wake up and every night before bed to relieve some pain. She also suggested that I get massages a lot more frequently. It was almost a wake-up call, honestly—I need to start taking better care of my body.
Everyone has a different version of what “self-care” is. Self-care is whatever you want it to be: going to the gym, getting a facial, treating yourself to a manicure and a pedicure, watching movies on the couch, going on a hike, taking a bath. Self-care is the act of doing something that makes your body and soul feel good.
My experience at Chillhouse was almost euphoric. With the lo-fi hip hop beats, the soft pink and yellow lighting illuminating the hallways, the heated massage bed, and my masseuse–an angel in disguise–who handed me a cup of water immediately after I left the massage room, I felt so nurtured. I cared for myself enough to know that I needed something like this.
If I’ve learned anything in my twenty-three years of living, it’s that your body is always talking to you. Listen to whatever it’s telling you. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders. Breathe. Chill.