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11 Ways to Experience a Mindful, Slow, Hygge Lifestyle in a Big City

Experiencing the design and lifestyle of coffee and chocolate can nourish serenity, escape, creativity and inspiration — what we call a “time cupsoul.” Everyone has time for a cup of coffee, but silence is the new luxury.

How can you find more silence — time cupsouls — in a world capital city like Washington, DC? Read our list of more than 10 actionable ideas.

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Wake up early

It’s quieter in the morning hours; the 9-5 standard work day has not started, and the associated rush hour traffic, and overall buzz simply aren’t relevant. Have you ever walked around NYC very early in the morning? It’s magical. It’s not as loud. Morning light dances around the corners of buildings and slices through coffee shops. The rising sun sheds the shadows of the night. That gentle citywide transition period between sleep and fully alert is albeit brief, but oh so beautiful. Try to see if you can catch the morning magic in your city. Is it during a window of time before 8 am? 7:45 am? What does morning magic mean to you? (See below for hygge ideas to create more calm coziness.)

Use your phone & social media notifications mindfully

Do you use social media only once or twice a day, or every hour, with every. single. notification? Constant buzzing from your phone, whether from texts, social media alerts, news, or phone calls, is simply not conducive to literal (or metaphorical) silence. It takes almost 30 minutes to refocus once interrupted, so why not turn off notifications altogether, silence your phone, and/or place it in another room? Out of sight, out of mind. Out of ear, out of mind! Try it for one hour and observe your mind-body response.

Invest in noise cancelling headphones

Sometimes the city that you dwell in is loud! Traffic, honking horns, construction — some call it charming, the city’s “personality,” and sometimes it is loveable! Other times, it’s not. One of the best purchases that we ever made was noise canceling headphones. You will literally hold more control of how much silence you experience, which makes it easier to slow down.

Play calming music

Music changes our moods. Which music brightens your day? Which music makes your space feel relaxing? The next best thing to silence, which is likely not easily found 24/7 in a city, is calming music. Explore different genres and set the vibe of your home (or the headphone-d vibe of your nature walk) with a symphony or spa tune.

Take walks in nature

Observing nature can be a meditative, quiet, process that helps us all to slow down. Finding green spaces in your city — whether in a park like Rock Creek in DC or Central Park in NYC — might foster more calm during your day, as well as a solid chance to connect with the natural world and by extension, ourselves. Quiet nature walks are also great with friends.

young trendy couple chatting and strolling in park on autumn day
Photo by Katerina Holmes on

Find your favorite coffee shop and enjoy a time cupsoul

As you already know, a time cupsoul is experiencing a moment with coffee or chocolate that kindles emotions like creativity and awe. Have you found the coffee shop in your city that nourishes that experience for you? Haven’t discovered it yet? Comment below with your city (and/or neighborhood) and we can help research it to find a time cupsoul-friendly coffee shop near you!

light city people art
Photo by Tommy Milanese on

Art galleries, museums and/or cathedrals are three public spaces that come to mind when we ponder on silence and also creativity. Depending on the crowds, in any given location, it’s probable that you can enjoy stunning colorful artwork, grounding stone sculptures, and lovely cold air conditioning. These buildings provide ample opportunity to ponder the concept of s-p-a-c-e. How the building itself is designed: the usage of white walls to showcase different frames, the layout of walking paths, the grand height of the ceilings and more generally, how space contributes to peace in all forms.

Enjoy a bite of dark chocolate

Dark chocolate changes your body on a chemical level, and can gently spark feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Give yourself permission to treat yourself to a small serving of dark chocolate from your favorite bar. We’ve written dozens of chocolate bar reviews, but you can’t go wrong by trusting your own interests when you peruse the descriptions on this craft chocolate website. 🙂 (We love their selection, shipping and customer service.)

Schedule time for your favorite (non-digital) hobby

We wrote non-digital hobby here due to the probability of notifications/interruptions (see above), but any hobby that sparks joy for you is wonderful. If there’s a hobby that helps your mind to relax and to enter flow, such as reading a book, writing in your favorite notebook, knitting, drawing, painting, or cooking, prioritize that one first, and block your calendar so that you are able to create during a specific amount of “you time” that’s honored by family and friends.

Visit your local farmer’s market & cook a healthy meal

Whereas industrialized agriculture is fast, local agriculture is slow. Is there a farmer’s market in your city? Support local farmers and their communities via buying fresh items from the farmer’s market.

The Dupont Circle farmer’s market in DC is a sprawling Sunday affair, where you can buy seasonal vegetables, fresh flowers, bagels, and more. Good for you, good for the planet. Why not cook a new recipe using goods from the market? Cooking with loved ones requires more time than ordering-in, and may even create a special memory or two.

woman looking at vegetables
Photo by Alesia Kozik on

Make your home a cozy oasis & create some hygge

We wrote an article about how to create a coffee shop aesthetic at home (here) which references the Swedish concept of hygge. What makes you feel cozy and safe at home? Is it lighting from this Pixar-esque lamp or the aroma from one of these candles, or is it soft bedding from this comforter plus this duvet cover? Curate your home to include whatever objects that make you feel your best. Or, make small adjustments with the items that you currently own. Turn off the overhead light and use those small lamps, instead. Rearrange your room, switch the artwork from one room to another. Move your pillows and rugs. Drink from a different coffee mug! Research feng shui. Color code your bookshelf. Enjoy.

Which tip did you try today? If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing a latte heart with us. UNTIL AGAIN SOON, WISHING YOU MANY TIME CUPSOULS.

Take care.

This post is not sponsored. This post contains a few affiliate links, which means that if you do click through and then buy something, you may help support an insatiable coffee and chocolate habit at no cost to you.   Any written opinions here are by time cupsoul/our own.


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