After a low-key awards season in Los Angeles—with no in-person Charles Finch x Chanel dinner, Vanity Fair party, or after-after party hosted by Madonna to speak of—the city is more than ready to partake in group gatherings for the summer. From Malibu to Silver Lake, festivities are happening—although invites cautiously start with “fully vaccinated guests only, please.” Soon, we’ll all be filling our backyard patios with smiling, fluorescent-white-toothed guests ready to mingle.
Getting back into the swing of things socially can take some getting used to—and navigating L.A. social circles can be challenging. For many people (present company included,) it quite often tends to cause tons of anxiety. As someone who entertains and socializes a great deal, it has taken me 46 years to realize I have varying degrees of social anxiety. I certainly may not show it in the moment, but after a night of intense “people time” I can’t sleep, worrying if I said the right things, did the right things, unintentionally offended anyone, whether I made sure everyone felt equally welcome. And while some spent the last year and a half gleefully avoiding friends and family, there’s still a looming reality that we will soon be tied to social calendars once more.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month—an important time as ever to address social (and generalized) anxiety head-on. Now is the moment to take inventory of ways to help you feel your best and ease your stress. This is not an official guide per se, or even a guaranteed path to soothe your nerves—but they are indeed helpful methods to consider.
Dr. Romy Simone, Santa Monica
Benefitting the mind, while also benefitting your complexion, facial acupuncture is the five-thousand-year-old Chinese practice that will ease the stress that enters the body and shows up on your face. For celebrity acupuncturist Dr. Romy Simone, one of the most compelling reasons to get facial acupuncture is not just for the visible results, but for the de-stressing aspects. “One of the most important parts of this treatment is the relaxation element,” she tells W. “The acupuncture needles help release stress in the face as well as in the entire body—like a mind, body, and spirit reboot, if you will.” Using tiny, painless needles Dr. Romy’s targeted method helps lessen fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the body’s own natural collagen production. Another added bonus: no downtime, no foreign substances prickling your skin with questionable additives, and no drastic changes to your look that may need tweaking further down the road.
Pause West Hollywood
Because sometimes the best gift you can give yourself is the gift of silence. For anyone needing to calm their over-stimulated, neurotic minds, floatation therapy will soothe your brain while also helping to promote healthier skin, hair, and nails. Entering a pitch-black sensory deprivation tank filled with a warm water filled with 1200 pounds of magnesium sulfate, you’ll find yourself instantly floating in the salted waters. The idea may sound claustrophobic (there are music options and lighting options if you need) but in actuality, the practice is anything but that. This unique form of water therapy has gained major traction among A-listers in film and sports circles as an essential practice to calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and headaches—while the physical act of floating helps restore postural alignment, circulation, glow, and for all of those creative types, provides mental clarity.
Danielle Brooks, Beverly Hills
We’d be remiss if we did not mention the option of talk therapy in an article about stress management and anxiety treatments. One of the best outlets to relieve stress is to talk to a professional outside of your circle of friends and family. Therapy is essential these days, and not just because of the pandemic: aside from having to deal with real life, our minds and bodies have been inundated with outside stimulation and excess information. Brooks has been a renowned therapist in the field of psychotherapy on the West Coast and New York for decades, helping to service the mental and emotional needs of her clients both in person and on Zoom.
A Walk in the Canyons
Franklin, Runyon, Temescal, and Tree People
Because Los Angeles is one of the largest and most spread-out cities in America, there’s not really one single, central gathering place. At times it can be hard to feel like you’re in a large community. What L.A. does have, though, is an abundance of scenic trails to help you connect with nature—which is a key component in helping calm the nervous system. Less expensive than a shiatsu massage, walking costs nothing and it can be done alone or with friends to help you connect with something bigger than anything material—and help you center your mind.
Physical Therapy Through Pilates and Realignment
Nonna Gleyzer Studio, West Hollywood
Gleyzer’s practice is not your run-of-the-mill pilates studio. The Ukraine-born-Olympic-gymnast-turned-celebrity-trainer counts Gisele Bündchen, Jodie Comer, and Emma Roberts as loyal devotees. She’ll often start your first session correcting your alignment, troubleshooting areas where your body holds the most stress and agita. Dubbed by The New York Times the “Pilates Witch,” she’s famous for being able to pinpoint these stressed-out areas just by looking at the way you stand, breathe, and speak. Her private sessions not only work to elongate your muscles but get you breathing properly by holding your posture (and sanity) correctly.
Adapt’ Âscend In Fiore
A healing botanical tincture with the unique dual benefits of providing energy during the day and acting as a sleep aid at night, Adapt’ Âscend’s concentrated fluid plant tinctures Ashwagandha and Reishi work together to increase resilience on a psychological and physical level while decreasing the body’s reaction to stress hormones. The herb to fluid ratio of 1:1 is stronger than other plant tonics. Fifteen drops with water during the day help provide stamina, and 30 drops in the evening assist with winding down and going to sleep.
Surya Spa, Santa Monica
Authentic Ayurvedic body work helps you de-stress and find calm. And Surya Spa is ground zero for L.A.’s most holistically minded health aficionados. The “Nourish & Restore” treatment starts off with the traditional Ayurvedic technique of Abhyanga massage by two masseuses who conduct a four-handed, full-body massage using warm, herbalized oils that are specific and unique to each client’s needs, and performing long, mirrored movements across each side of the body. The Abhyanga feature opens up all the subtle energy channels, moves the lymphatic system, and relaxes the nervous system. The treatment is then followed by a 30-minute Shirodhara, which consists of pouring warm oil over the third eye, forehead, and into the scalp. This is also incredibly nourishing for the nervous system, melting away stress by putting you into a blissful, transcendent state.
Surya Spa, Santa Monica
If you have the time and the will to commit, this is the ultimate Ayurvedic rejuvenating experience. The Panchakarma detox treatment is not only the most traditional of routes—but it’s also the most requested Ayurvedic staple treatment, providing rejuvenation and detoxification. Surya’s Ayurvedic doctor and Panchakarma expert Martha Soffer curated the treatment, which consists of a series of 4-hour treatments per day for 28 days. A 7-day minimum is recommended to work on the seven specific tissues in the body, and each day of treatment focuses on a new tissue. Panchakarma begins with the signature Abhyanga massage for about two hours, followed by a series of other treatments which can include Shirodhara, Nasya, Swedhana, Udvartana scrub, chakra lights and steam, followed by a light Basti enema.
Ease Into Sleep
Bearaby Weighted Blanket
Better than Ambien and like a heavy, reassuring hug, weighted blankets are scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, calm the nerves, and induce a deeper, better quality of sleep. Research shows that when an evenly dispersed weight is placed on our bodies, certain calming neurotransmitters and natural hormones take effect to calm the body down. Bearaby is a line of responsibly sourced, sustainable, organic cotton blankets free of synthetic dyes, finishes or allergens that are hand-knitted to provide a soft and luxurious but ethically responsible solution to ease stress.