Stressed out in Chicago? Here's how to unplug

Stressed out in Chicago? Here's how to unplug

Let’s face it: Life in Chicago can be stressful.

As if Chicagoans need any proof, a recent CNN/Money report ranks Chicago the sixth most stressed out city in the country.

Whether it's the long commutes or lengthy winters, the higher-than-average unemployment rate or lower-than-average overall health, there are plenty of reasons Chicago's on edge.

In addition to long hours spent in the car and at work, CNN/Money specifically cited Chicago's lack of sunny days as an added stress. So how can you unplug and relax?

Take a vacation

Getting away on that beach vacation to leave work behind and soak up some sun is getting more difficult, says Renee Meaux, marketing manager for highly rated Sunset Travel & Cruise on Fullerton Parkway in Chicago.

She says her agency gets a lot of clients looking to totally escape from the stress of the city, but what they’re willing to leave behind is a different story.

“Everybody wants to get away and chill, but they still want that wi-fi connectivity,” she says of clients booking vacations on the beach. “It used to be that people wanted to go where they couldn’t be found, but they just can’t do that anymore.”

Make time for massage

For those too busy to even book a vacation, massage therapy can be a way to deal with stress.

Massage therapist Sandy Saldano, owner of highly rated Therapeutic Kneads in Highland Park, says the stress levels of her clients have skyrocketed in the 27 years she’s been in the business.

About 90 percent of Saldano’s clients cite stress as a reason behind the pain they feel. Even though Saldano recommends massage therapy as the primary way to repair the body, she also gives her clients tools they can use beyond hands-on treatment.

Aroma therapy, exercise, reading and plenty of sleep are all ways to deal with stress levels in a healthy way.

“Sometimes the best treatment is doing nothing, and I mean literally nothing,” Saldano says. 

One of the most important pieces of advice Saldano says she gives to clients is to ensure they make time for themselves. Saldano offers online scheduling to allow her clients  scheduling flexibility. The typical 30-minute massage at Therapeutic Kneads costs $60.

"We schedule everything these days," she says. "We put kids soccer games on the schedule, right? Why won't we put ourselves on the schedule? I encourage people to put monthly massage on their schedule. Once it's on the schedule, it's easier to take that time out."


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