Top of Mind
How to Relax
By Crown Affair
Sleep deprivation, body aches, decreased energy—the impacts of stress are wide ranging and generally terrible across the board. But (for obvious reasons) it’s never been more important to learn how to combat stress, self-soothe, and release tension from your body and mind. Luckily, the antidotes to stress are just as plentiful and wide-ranging as the causes… we just have to actually use them.
Physical relaxation comes in many forms—warm baths, stretching and yoga, even snacking on stress-friendly food and drinks. Green tea, for example, is packed with L-theanine known to relax the body and mind, while dark chocolate, honey, and mangos are also commonly cited stress-reducing foods. You can also release tension by shaking your body, dancing, or giving your scalp a nice massage. If you really need a minute, find a quiet place to put your head between your knees, get your head below your heart, and breathe deeply to restore your autonomic nervous system and cool your fight-or-flight response.
For mental and emotional relaxation, consider starting a gratitude journal to transform negative thoughts into positives, practicing meditation, or taking a walk outside. Try out a few techniques and always do what feels best for you. Whatever technique you land on, make sure to enjoy it. Having dedicated time to relax and recharge is one of the most productive things you can do—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Yuki Ogura ‘Bathing Women’ (1938)
- What does ritual mean to you?
Ritual to me means finding peace in repetition... Finding what you love, and making a routine of it. I’m all for taking new opportunities, new adventures, traveling, etc., but I also know now that there’s real peace in routine, so I try to have as much of one as possible and find the rituals that make me feel calm and centered in a time when nothing feels certain.
- What are some of your favorite rituals?
There’s the simpler ones, like a nice, hot shower, my skincare routine, maybe a nice skin or hair mask. Then there’s the newer rituals that come with my new chapter in Los Angeles, like packing up the car for a day at the beach, picking up sandwiches on the way, and enjoying the surf and sand until after sunset. Those days are everything to me lately.
- What is your morning routine?
I really wish I could say I had some sort of chic morning routine that involved me making my own matcha latte, reading a book, and meditating for 30 minutes, but that’s just not the case. I usually roll over and check my phone, then eventually move to my laptop, where I stay and may not eat, shower, or brush my teeth until the afternoon. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s just how I operate. Ha.
- How would you describe your hair? And from whom do you get your hair?
I get my hair from my mom, it’s a rich brown and has a natural wave to it. It’s not too thick, not too thin, just somewhere in between. It kind of just does its own thing.
- What is your current haircare ritual?
It’s a less-is-more approach right now. Shower, wrap in my Crown Affair towel, then let it down (don’t brush!) and run some product through it with my fingers depending what look I’m going for (some days are more sleek, others are more unruly), and air dry. Occasionally I’ll do a hair mask just to feel luxurious.
- What would you say has been your most major hair moment or memory thus far?
I have photos of my mom with a similar boy-short haircut to the one I have right now. I always knew I wanted to get this cut someday, but just had to work up the courage and confidence to do it. Now that I have this cut I definitely feel like I’m channeling her and her style from that time (late ‘80s/early ‘90s).
- Where do you find inspiration?
Lately, I’m super inspired by both classic and indie cinema, because I spent a lot of time during quarantine watching movies with such strong points of view; everything from Chocolat and The Beguiled to The Dreamers and Yi Yi. I recently signed up for Mubi and I’m excited to dive into their unique offering. I’m much more interested in movies than television series, but that’s just me. I’ve also been picking up old magazine issues from a store in Venice called The Mart Collective. I love looking at Vogue photographs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. They still feel so relevant to what I’m drawn to today.
- Favorite quote or words you live by?
It’s always changing but lately, it’s a lot of Pema Chodron. “We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.”
- Favorite artists?
- Favorite writers or books?
A sampling of recent/always favorite titles: Pachinko, Three Women, How To Change Your Mind, The Untethered Soul, Big Magic, A Little Life.
- Activities or hobbies?
Surfing, biking, floral arranging, vintage furniture hunting — all hobbies I’ve found joy in this year.
- What would you tell your 18-year old self, knowing what you know today?
You’ll get much further being you than trying to be like anyone else.