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Here’s How You Can De-Stress in the Hudson Valley Right Now

Photo courtesy of Emerson Resort & Spa

From good morning to goodnight, these local tips will help you keep calm and centered during the coronavirus crisis.

We’re living in an unprecedented time, Hudson Valley. We are all in our houses, surrounded by family or all alone, and going slightly crazy either way. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep our stress levels low and maintain healthy, positive mindsets.

With wellbeing in mind, we touched base with Mount Tremper’s Emerson Resort & Spa co-directors Christina Burns and Liz Zabel for 12 tips to de-stress and stay calm during the coronavirus. Try one, or a combination, of these steps along with our suggestions of how you can accomplish them right here in the Valley.

Photo courtesy of Emerson Resort & Spa

1. Wake-up ritual

Burns and Zabel: “How you start your morning can determine how the rest of your day will go. Even though many folks are working from home and self-quarantining, it’s important to take five to ten minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. You’ll soon find this practice sets the tone for a clear and open mind each day.”

Our Suggestion: Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush might be closed during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s still offering weekly live events for sitting guided meditation. For those who rise and shine early, join the 6 a.m. ritual. Other local retreats holding online meditations include Dharma Drum Retreat Center, the Garrison Institute, and the Kadampa Meditation Center.

2. Morning detox

Burns and Zabel: “Since the body is exposed to many toxins throughout the day, it helps to flush and detoxify your system at the start of your morning with tea or warm water with honey and lemon. A detox drink can help bring your body back into a healthy balance.” 

Our Suggestion: Brew up a pot of Silver Tips tea, based out of Tarrytown, for a refreshing boost. The shop is offering 15 percent off and $3 flat rate shipping for all orders over $30. Or, visit the Harney & Sons Fine Teas Facebook page for virtual recipes and lessons about all things tea.

3. Social distancing during a nature walk

Burns and Zabel: “While health officials are encouraging social distancing, they are also recommending getting some fresh air and keeping a six-feet distance. Whether by yourself or with your partner, enjoying a 15-minute walk during the day can help improve cardiac health, fatigue and tension. It’s important to give your mind and body a moment to itself.”

Our Suggestion: The Hudson Valley has some of the best trails in New York State (not that we’re biased or anything). All of the Scenic Hudson parks (with the exception of Mount Beacon) remain open at this time. However, make sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines to stay safe. For those who want to stay close to home, a walk around the block will do.

4. Eating smart

Burns and Zabel: “With limited resources to be active, it’s important to balance your diet with wholesome and nutrient-filled snacks and meals that will keep you full throughout the day, helping to prevent indulging in the assortment of treats that may just be a couple feet away. Greek yogurt, legumes/beans, nuts and quinoa are just a few examples. However, don’t be too strict from having a few treats from time to time. Everything in moderation.”

Our Suggestion: Shop at local farmers markets like Hawthorne Valley Farm, Beacon Natural Market, and Locust Hill Market for fresh vegetables, produce, and more. Not only will you be supporting local business, you will also be eating healthy and smart.


5. Spring cleaning

Burns and Zabel: “Use this time at home to finally complete that spring cleaning you’ve been putting off. Organizing and cleaning out your closet and cabinets can help relieve stress and give you a sense of accomplishment.”

Our Suggestion: You’re stuck at home, so you might as well spruce up the living area and do a little spring cleaning. Follow these tips to make it a little more enjoyable. The first one? Listen to loud, lively music. Check out these virtual performances while you dust around the house.

6. At-home spa day

Burns and Zabel: “It’s important to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically, and sometimes that’s unplugging and treating yourself to your own at-home spa day. For a DIY spa experience, the Emerson Spa recommends taking the time to use a face mask, lighting aromatherapy candles, and putting on calming music such as instrumentals or nature-inspired melodies to help unwind.”

Our Suggestion: Visit your favorite Hudson Valley spa websites and learn some tips and tricks to stay glowing at home. The Wholeness Center offers a how-to on reversing skin damage, while Haven explains the benefits of a body scrub. Haven is also open for front-porch pickup.

7. Striking a pose

Burns and Zabel: “To change your blood flow and re-direct pranic energy, lay on the floor for a few moments with your legs lifted over your head.  This simple pose, Legs Up The Wall, will help relieve stress and spark the body’s inner ability to heal itself. Another pose you can try is Forward Folding, position your head below the heart to help calm the nervous system. This practice only takes five minutes and can easily be done daily.”

Our Suggestion: Tune into an online virtual exercise class to get the body moving. A number of Hudson Valley virtual classes feature yoga. Try Hudson Valley Peak Performance’s yoga spa classes or Breathe Studio’s yoga class. Download Zoom and sign up.

8. Inner artistry

Burns and Zabel: “Use this time at home to tap into your artistic side and find a hobby you’ve always wanted to start or re-visit but haven’t had the time to. Whether that’s painting, writing, practicing yoga, knitting, or spending more time with an instrument, there are plenty of fun ways to challenge the mind and allow for self-growth through a new or re-visited hobby.”

Our Suggestion: Order paint from Hudson Valley Vintage (offering free shipping and local pickup) or Knot Too Shabby to kick off your next project. Both Knot Too Shabby and Hudson Valley vintage are offering virtual tutorials and workshops on their Facebook pages for those who wish to join.

9. Digital Detox

Burns and Zabel: “As the COVID-19 news continues to break each day and ongoing social media chatter, many of us are guilty of spending too much time glued to a screen whether it’s our own mobile Smartphone, computer or TV at home. While it’s important to stay informed about the ongoing news and changes, when spending time with friends, family or loved ones, it’s best to disconnect from your devices and be present in the moment for a bit. Doing so for just an hour or two can make a difference. Some fun and interactive activities you can do with a group include playing board games, cooking altogether, at-home workouts and more.”

Our Suggestion: Disconnect from devices for an hour or so while the family indulges in a delicious meal. For Troy locals, take part in Troy Takeout Bingo to support the area’s restaurants. Skim through this article to see what other restaurants are offering in terms of pickup and takeout at this time. Check in with your loved ones and fill your stomachs without a cellphone in sight.

10. Required reading

Burns and Zabel: “While many might be quick to create a Netflix or Hulu show list to complete, picking up a new book will give you a digital break and allow you to escape into another world for a bit. Whether it’s before going to bed or in the middle of the day, reading a book will help settle the mind and body.”

Our Suggestion: Purchase a book care package from Rodgers Book Barn, order curbside pickup from Magpie Bookshop, or have a quick five-minute consultation with Half Moon Books to choose the perfect page-turner for curbside pickup.

11. Bath time at home

Burns and Zabel:  “Sometimes a soothing bath ritual at home is just what the doctor ordered. Water therapies have long been used by spas as a means for relaxation.  Many Emerson Spa therapies incorporate products and professional treatments by Comfort Zone.  Take a warm bath with Comfort Zone’s Tranquility™ Oil to help achieve a quiet, peaceful mind and body. Another great option to disconnect, unwind and focus on your mental health.” 

Our Suggestion: Make the bath that much better with soap, bath bombs, scrubs, and lotions from Periwinkles at Rhinebeck. Online shopping is in full swing and the store is offering bath fizzies at three for $9.99. Merriweather’s is also selling creams, lotions, and oils on its site.

12. Dream vacation planning

Burns and Zabel: “As hundreds of trips and plans are being cancelled it can cause distress and disappointment, but remind yourself that this is only temporary. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or re-book something, discussing and planning a future trip with friends, family or even a solo trip can give you something to look forward to well after this pandemic is over. A future vacation can also be a perfect opportunity to reflect upon your personal resolutions and set the tone for future goals.”

Our Suggestion: For now, all we can do is dream of what life is going to be like when this is all said and done. Check out our 24-hour guides to Chatham, Rosendale, or Tannersville to start planning a trip to parts of the Hudson Valley you have yet to see.