You’ve probably heard the MAPH advice (rant) on the importance of taking breaks, being healthy, and leaving Hyde Park at least once by now. But you may be wondering: how can you possible fit in a luxurious escape from Hyde Park to dinner/a movie/shopping/escapades when you live off of student loans and have an endless number of impending papers? Sometimes, you just can’t. But that doesn’t mean you can stop taking breaks!
Fact: It is possible to get some stress relief in with very little time and absolutely no money, with no more than about a hundred yards of walking. Where is this mysterious place, you ask? Rockefeller Chapel, but a few brief steps from the MAPH office.
Here are a few of their excellent, brief, and relaxing programs:
1. Tea & Pipes – Tuesdays @ 4:30-5 pm
Going to Tea & Pipes every Tuesday was one of the best decisions I made, especially during Fall Quarter. I let my brain turn off for 30 minutes while consuming (yet another) cup of caffeine, absorbing the important (psychological) nourishment provided by cookies, and listening to organ music. On particularly stressful days, I would lay down on the padded benches and meditate. And then, refreshed and fed, I’d return to the library (but a 5ish minute walk away), guilt-free: I probably would have spent that half hour on facebook anyway.
Excellent if: you have only half an hour and need a pick-me-up
2. Yoga – Tuesdays @ 4:30-5:30 pm & @ 5:45-6:45 pm
For those well practiced in yoga and looking for an hour of exercise, this is not it. If you are looking for some seriously needed stretching and relaxing yoga that you can do in your normal everyday clothes, this is definitely for you. I wish I had gone more, because it was incredibly relaxing to stretch and reflect in the quiet of the chapel at sunset. Also I generally felt pretty weird going into down dog at the library. It’s much nicer to get your stretch on in a group.
Excellent if: you have an hour and far too many muscle knots from hunching over a computer
3. Tower Tours – @ many times
Climbing 271 stairs might sound like a terrible way to take a break, but the view you get at the top of the tour–city, lake, Midway, etc–is definitely worth it. (Also you can call it exercise?) You also get to see and hear the carillon bells up close and personal.
Excellent if: you want to be a tourist without leaving Hyde Park
4. Twenty Minutes Still – weekdays @ 8-8:20 am
Twenty Minutes Still is a guided meditation every day at 8 am during the week. It’s not religiously affiliated, although there is something almost sacred about sitting in the quiet hush of the chapel early in the morning, reconnecting with your brain and body before embarking to class and studying. Having spent so many morning falling out of bed and promptly starting to work, I can say that I wish I had regularly taken 20 minutes of my day to 1) wake up properly and 2) take a breather before diving into the stress. 20 minutes may not seem like much, but it will make a big difference, especially during midterms and finals.
Excellent if: you only have 20 minutes, are an early riser, and need to mentally prepare for your day
5. Visit Modo the cat – @ anytime
There is a cat in Rockefeller Chapel. Enough said.
Excellent if: you love animals, especially animals that have human jobs
There are many, many more options, including concerts, religious services, lunchtime organ music, and dialogues!