Beauty

How to Get Out of Your Head (at Home)

From her home studio in a historic Spanish-style building in West Hollywood, New Zealand–born aromatherapist and clean perfumer Emily L’Ami has practiced what she calls therapeutic perfumery with Bodha, her line of clean perfumes, incense, and diffusers, since 2014. Now, of course, the idea of soothing oneself with scent makes more sense than ever. “We could all use an extra layer of calm right now,” she says. But L’Ami uses all her senses to find little pockets of tranquility. “From the bright green of the trees out my window to the orange blossoms and jasmine wafting in from the street, the smallest everyday things are catching my attention in new ways,” she says. L’Ami has some brilliant tips—most of them gorgeously scent-related—for getting out of our anxious thoughts and into the present.

perfume making
  1. 1

    Use Scent to Cue Your Mood

    “When you engage your sense of smell with any kind of ritual, no matter how simple or small, it creates a much deeper bond in your subconscious. For example, every morning, while my husband’s still sleeping, I light a stick of incense and meditate. Then I make the same pot of Moon Flower oolong tea from Leaves and Flowers. After doing it for a while, every time you smell that tea or you smell the incense, your subconscious instantly goes: Okay, feeling calm. It’s powerful—it just takes you there straight away.”

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    2

    Calm with Touch

    “I get the most anxious around bedtime and when I first wake up—I think those are two big anxiety points for many people. It’s when we’re without the busyness, focus, and tasks and are just back with ourselves. So when I get into bed, I put an aromatherapy pillow on my eyes, then one hand on my chest and one hand on my stomach, and I do a couple rounds of super simple breathwork—doing a couple more breaths out than in. I grew up doing yoga, my parents were into yoga, and I was in the Ashtanga world for a long time. When you place a pillow over your eyes during savasana, it just deepens the whole experience. The addition of scent—our pillow is filled with lavender and chamomile—makes it even more powerful. We placed little acupressure points on the areas where it touches your eyes and forehead. This small extra weight helps teach those muscles to let go and relax, which is especially important when we’re looking at screens all day.”

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    3

    Massage Your Feet

    “I do a little bit of self-massage every day after the shower with a scented body oil, focusing on my feet. I’ve heard that feet are so important in Chinese medicine, and I do hold a lot of stress there.”

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    4

    Self-Massage before Bed

    “Another small ritual I do every night, after I brush my teeth and wash my face and get into bed, is smooth on a little bit of hand cream. I keep the cream on my bedside table—it has the most calming smell. It’s another little cue that helps tell my body it’s time to relax.”

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    5

    Ignite Your Visual Senses

    “Whenever I meditate, I visualize the chakras. I see the colors coming up from my feet. First red, then orange, yellow…I’m always just busting to get to the heart chakra, which is dark green. Green is my color, so I try to surround myself with it: green plants, green cushions. It’s such a nourishing color.”

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  4. “I have also been looking at this beautiful little Japanese book called A Dictionary of Color Combinations. It has endless arrangements of colorful tiles. We learned about the book last year when we visited Awaji, an island in Japan where 70 percent of the country’s incense is made. An incense fragrance designer called Mr. Shozo appeared in a baby-blue jumpsuit with a little red belt—he must have been in his late seventies—to tell us about it. We felt like we were in a Wes Anderson film.”

    A Dictionary of Color Combinations

    6

    DIY a Scented Candle

    “I love making my own scented candles with a beeswax candle and a couple drops of essential oil. We make an oil called Calm—it’s made with wild geranium, lavender flowers, and Californian sage—that I use, but you can use any essential oil you like. I use Calm in so many ways: I also like to place a few drops into a diffuser, or in a hot bath, or into jojoba oil to make my own body oil. It’s all about relaxing your nervous system and creating an inner sense of quiet.”

    7

    Literally Stop and Smell the
    Roses (and Jasmine, and Orange Blossoms)

    “When my friend emailed me a photo of some orange blossoms from her yard, without thinking I actually found myself leaning forward to smell my computer. I was like, Oh my god, I’ve gone full virtual. As an antidote, I go for walks in our neighborhood. There are so many different types of roses blooming around us right now. They’re my favorite smell, and they have the highest energy vibration of all the flowers. Jasmine also smells amazing right now. I love just taking a walk and finding things I can smell.”

    8

    Engage Your Sense of Sound

    “There are so many great live Instagram soundscapes and sound baths right now, like Secular Sabbath and
    Conscious City Guide. If I’m feeling stressed, I listen to binaural sounds.”

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