12 Places To Heal During The Holidays

As magical as the holidays can seem, this can also be an unreasonably tough time of year. Professional burnout is rampant, family strife can flare up, and the end of this year in particular feels pretty damn disheartening. (Am I the only one who watched a "2016 year in review" video montage this week and found myself crying two minutes in?)

If nothing else, it's certainly a moment when many of us are daydreaming about getting away from it all on a beach somewhere — but maybe, because of family obligations or financial constraints, that's not in the cards. Still, that doesn't mean you can't find smaller opportunities to get away from it all this holiday season and just…heal a little.

I asked my colleagues at R29 where they go to recharge, whether where they live or where they kinda have to go to visit family. Believe it or not, not one person sent me the name of a bar! Instead, I got parks, boat rides, gardens, day spas, even surprisingly peaceful stores. It turns out, there are little pockets of rejuvenation everywhere. Read on to find a new healing spot — or at least, for a moment, to escape the chaos — and let us know in the comments where you go for a reboot.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pablo Enrique/MOMA PS1.
James Turrell, Meeting Exhibit at MoMA PS1
Queens, NY

"
I just went to the James Turrell exhibit at PS1 this weekend, and I must say it was the most uplifting installation I've seen in a while. It was a truly meditative experience, a place where I found myself at peace." —Erica
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Photo: Norma Jean Gargasz / Alamy Stock Photo.
Rillito River Park
Tucson, AZ

"
I go biking along this river path near my house in Tucson." —Sarah
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Photo: Matteo Del Grosso / Alamy Stock Photo.
Bayard Cutting Arboretum
East Islip, NY

Suggested by Dilpreet.
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Photo: Via @naturopathica
Naturopathica Chelsea
New York, NY

"NYC's bustling Chelsea neighborhood isn't exactly what I think of as zen. But this beautiful spa tucked inside the Naturopathica store on West 26th Street is an oasis. The treatments are wonderful, and the sensory lounge and meditation room is so restorative." —Anna
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Photo: Ian Stanley / Alamy Stock Photo.
Spanish Steps
Washington, D.C.

"I like sitting on the Spanish Steps in D.C. in the peaceful, quiet neighborhood of Kalorama, surrounded by embassies and shady trees. They're close to where all the action is in the city, yet still feel really intimate and quiet. And having grown up in the city, going there brings back a lot of memories. Plus, the Obamas are moving just a few blocks away from there, and it's nice to know that, especially given the current political climate." —Natalie
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Photo: Tim Rue/Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
Olympic Spa
Los Angeles, CA

"All ladies, all mugwort tea hot baths, all Korean scrubs, all the time — all for $40? Color me zen." —Ellie
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Photo: Via @cheekwood
Cheekwood
Nashville, TN

"A friend bought me a membership here when I moved to Nashville; it's a botanical garden, art museum, and sculpture trail. It's like an all-in-one extravaganza of lovely beautiful calming things!" —Amelia
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Photo: Via @lovephilosophy
Philosophy Wellbeing Beauty Workshop
Paramus, NJ

"I have a bad association with malls (maybe because I grew up going to this one every couple of weeks), but the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall is actually really nice. Still, shopping isn't really relaxing, especially during the holidays, so it's amazing that the beauty and wellness brand philosophy has created a mini-spa retreat that's totally free and open to the public, right in the middle of the mall. You can shop for beauty products there, but I love the meditation corner — you can strap on a VR headset and 'walk' through the desert while Gabby Bernstein guides you through a relaxing breathing exercise. It's lovely." —Anna
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Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/ Getty Images.
Forest Park
Saint Louis, MO

"Going on a walk/run/bike ride in Forest Park is a beautiful escape from a sometimes ugly city." —Amy
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Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images.
The Dog Cafe
Los Angeles, CA

"I find somewhere I can look at puppies, like The Dog Cafe in Los Angeles." —Kaitlin
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Photo: Paul A. Souders/CORBIS/ Getty images.
Washington State Ferry
Various cities, WA

"My happy place is the Washington State Ferry — just traveling on it, especially a long trip like from Anacortes to the San Juans — really helps you think. You can also sometimes see whales and orcas!" —Anna D.
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Photo: Danita Delimont/ Getty Images.
Douglas Falls Trail
Near Montreat, NC

"You hike down to the falls, through rich trails covered in moss and hemlock trees. You eat lunch by the river, swim if you want, and hike back up in another half day — it takes five-plus hours depending on how slow you walk and how long you spend in the valley. It's one of the most peaceful places on earth, and I have only once or twice run into someone else on the trail." —Ash
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