rē•spin Your Idea of a Mental Health Day

The South Los Angeles Guide with nourishing bites, great art, and a touch of community.

By: Julia Childs-Heyl, MSW
rē•spin Your Idea of a Mental Health Day

If you’re feeling burnt out, you’re not alone. A study conducted in 2021 found that symptoms of burnout increased 38% in the past year, with 3 in 5 employees reporting work-related stress. Though our burnout levels are growing, so is the collective focus on mental health. Another recent study found that 84% of psychologists see an increased demand for their services. The data doesn’t lie, and it tells us two things: We’re tired but ready for things to get better.

Considering these statistics, we became curious about how we could rē•spin the idea of a mental health day. Mental health isn’t just about receiving therapy and tending to the inner workings of our psyche. Mental health is also about living a full embodied life – one with connection, community, leisure, and pleasure. Unfortunately, many don’t take a day to relax and unwind until they feel completely exhausted, irritable, and simply out of commission. However, this type of self-care works best with a proactive approach – don’t wait until your nerves are frayed and you’re one second away from burning a bridge to take a time out. 

With this in mind, we put together an itinerary for the perfect day in South Los Angeles, California. A neighborhood where a renaissance of art, culture, and food is collaborating to bring you the reset you need. Each space we’ve featured is within a 10-minute drive of each other. Who has time for traffic when you’re trying to chill out?

Get Fueled at Highly Likely

Start your day off at Highly Likely, every South Angeleno’s favorite cafe. Just as much a gathering space as a restaurant, they’re open seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. Chef Kat Turner is continually developing delicious staples and fresh bites that feel accessible and elevated. There’s something for everyone at any time of the day – from morning espresso to an evening glass of wine. “Highly Likely has become a meeting place for artists and professionals alike, and we often find ourselves hosting salons and gatherings for many of our local organizations, favorite chef friends, and regular guests; think tea parties, pop-ups, philanthropic events, book signings, and wine tastings to name a few,” shared general manager José Bejarano. He continued by stating, “All this is to say… We are here for a good time, and we hope you’ll join us!”

Kick Back at Reparations Club

After your morning meal and a strong caffeine hit, it is time to get your first dose of culture in. Enter: Reparations Club. Rep Club is a tightly curated selection of books and gifts. The space feels like the home a revered professor and beloved performance artist would share – meaning it is full of wisdom and great taste at every turn.

“Reading has been a form of escape and meditation for me personally, even when I can’t actually book a vacation to get out of the daily grind,” founder Jazzi McGilbert shares. The mission behind this space isn’t only an indulgence for McGilbert. It is a gift to anyone looking to enjoy a quiet moment amongst the bustling LA streets. “LA can be a pretty extrovert-centered city, and Rep Club is a little more introvert-leaning. It’s everybody’s living room—the place folks kick back for some peace of mind, listen to music, have an engaging conversation, meet your favorite author at a reading, or pick a corner to sit and crack open a new book,” she explained. Check out their events calendar and plan your visit accordingly. 

Build Community with Band of Vices

After grabbing a book (or ten if you’re anything like us), head over to Band of Vices, Band of Vices is a hub for arts and culture, functioning as a gallery and community space. Featuring the likes of Amoo Emmanuel, Charly Palmer, and Tony Ramos, you can expect to reconnect with already revered artists and be introduced to new talent all at once. Focusing on inclusion and calling in those who have historically been cast aside, they work to cultivate a sense of community. “The biggest response we get amongst anything else is it just feels good in here. Ultimately I feel like we have done our job because we have created an institution, an environment, something more for the community where they feel included,” explains founder Terrell Tilford

Relax and Rejoice at Alta Adams

West African and California cuisine team up at West Adams hotspot Alta Adams. Think along the lines of black eye pea fritters and braised oxtails. Their cocktail menu features are innovative with a twist, like the Hot N Ready, a spicy margarita with smoky grilled pineapples. Chefs Keith Corbin and Daniel Patterson have been at the helm of previous beloved restaurants, like Watts’ LocoL and a host of Alta Group restaurants in the Bay Area. At the core of their vision for Alta Adams is an equitable and inclusive hub where communities come together to break bread. Make your reservation here

Honoring Our Connections

If you haven’t noticed, each of these businesses cites community as a key value. While our lifestyles may be more siloed than ever, connecting is part of bolstering our mental well-being. So as you nourish your spirit’s needs, our wish is that you’ll also build kinship with others who visualize a world where we come together for our greater good.

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