Top of Mind

10.22.20

Self-Soothing

Self-Soothing

By Crown Affair

In a perfect world, we would be able to relax any time we found ourselves stressed. (Actually, in a really perfect world, we would not be stressed at all, but we digress...) Alas, anxiety is a daily part of life for many of us more and more these days, and we could all use a little help from time to time. Luckily, there are ways we can help ourselves. 

Put your hand on your heart. Warmth from a hug or touch releases oxytocin, a hormone that generates feelings of well-being and calm. By putting one or two hands on your heart and breathing deeply, you’ll generate oxytocin to help regulate your body’s stress response, and start to feel more centered and calm. 

Massage the back of your head. Similar to a warm touch to your heart, massaging your vagus nerve can release oxytocin and help you feel better. Feel along the back of our skull until you find the spot where your head meets your neck and give it a light massage, paired with a few deep breaths.

Treat your senses. Most of the easiest (and most enjoyable) self-soothing techniques appeal to at least one of our five senses. Think: watching something funny, listening to relaxing music, lighting your favorite candle, or taking a warm bath. Feeling extra stressed? Treat yourself to all of the above. 

Ground yourself. Treat your senses and they’ll treat you back. The next time you feel your head start to spin, remember the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique and list 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. 

Repeat positive affirmations. We’ve talked before about the lasting benefits of positive affirmations, and there’s no better time to practice them than when you need them most. Positive affirmations work best when they are clear, direct, and begin with “I.” Close your eyes and say “I can handle this.” “I am strong.” or anything else you need to hear in that moment.

Above all, self-soothing is about being kind to yourself. So give yourself a break, take your time, and remember all feelings will eventually pass.

𝘈𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘗𝘦𝘭𝘵𝘰𝘯 '𝘚𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮' (1932) #topofmindCA

- 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?

Mainstays like Matisse and Miro, and some recent discoveries I’ve fallen in love with: Thai Mainhard, Jean-Francois Le Minh, Christie Macdonald.

- 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.