A few years ago I met a gorgeous woman named Esther who was waitressing at the sadly defunct Cafe Henrie on the Lower East Side, and was immediately taken with her flowing Rapunzel-like mane, When I mentioned that I was losing some of my hair since having a baby, she told me her sister, a research physician, helped formulate Nutrafol and it that actually worked. But in a major catch 22, I couldn’t use it at the time due to breastfeeding, and thankfully my hair finally restored itself. Cut to now, when stress is making me shed more than normal in the shower, so I decided to take the quiz on the site and I started taking my Nutrafol formulation daily. I will keep you all posted! So I am happy to bring you Esther’s sister, Co-founder and Chief Medical Advisor of Nutrafol, Dr. Sophia Kogan on how she’s been living life lately.
When social distancing started, I could tell New York was going to get bad – but I also didn’t want to escape. This is my home and there was something very powerful about being here and experiencing it all, and with everyone else.
Like so many people, I have been adapting to working from home and spending most time alone. But the first few weeks I was really withering the shock from a lack of a normal routine. My parents were also both sick with Covid early and thankfully ok now, but it was tough.
Scientifically, and as a doctor, I understood what was going to happen and that we would have to let go of life as we knew it. So I went deep into the processing of all of those emotions, grieving, and figuring out ways to not go crazy. I am just now coming out on the other side. You have to try on different things to figure out how to cope and I feel like I am just now finding what works for me.
One thing that I’ve been doing since the beginning is dancing. I try to dance every single day – sometimes more than once. It’s my release and really helped pull me out of that dark place. I love 5 Rhythms by Gabrielle Roth, Tasha Blank does the Get Down, and Kate Shela and Amber Ryan of 360 Emergence are simply magicians. I found this to also be a way to connect to others in the community. Seeing others on the screen fills me with joy and knowing that I am indeed not alone – we are all going through it together. I bought a tripod off Amazon so I could set up my phone for my live dancing classes and video-journal my emotions as I dance. Also a good speaker. I got this one by Marshall and it’s made a world of difference in how I experience dance.
As a single person in New York, holed up in my apartment alone – I knew I would have to find ways to quickly adapt to this new 2D world in order to still feel connections with other people and find peace.
The one silver lining has been all the time I have to do the things I never did before because I was too busy. I’m also just so grateful to have a roof over my head and be safe.
I’m cooking three meals a day, which I never had time for when I traveled so much. I start every day by making organic saffron tea. It helps rebalance hormones and is a nice calming routine. I bought a mortar and pestle that I put a few strands of saffron in and crush it up so it’s fresh every day.
When it comes to food, I’ve been shopping very locally and ordering produce from Misfits Market. I bought a bunch of cabbage and fermented it according to my grandmother’s recipe. It’s super easy to make and goes with everything – plus it’s a great probiotic. I also buy a lot of kombucha (Pilot is my favorite and the packaging is so pretty) and have been experimenting with making it myself so I can have unlimited supply. It’s actually much easier than you might think to grow your own. I have a kombucha recipe that was passed down to me by my mom and I think I’m going to start experimenting with flavors – like rose.
Right before the lockdown started, I bought a bunch of plants and now I make an effort to get fresh flowers every week for my apartment. I even convinced my landlord to let me start a garden in my building’s backyard. I never planted before and it feels really good to start something new! I wanted to be connected to nature, that’s one thing that’s really hard for people to cope with – when they aren’t able to be outside anymore.
I’m probably more into self-care than I ever have been before and am finding lots of ways to relax. I’ve been doing a lot of Qi Gong, yoga and meditation. I take yoga and meditation classes with my NY teacher Hari Kaur a few times a week. I think it’s really important to support your local teachers during these times. We’re lucky to be able to access so many classes and workshops online. Apps like Headspace and Waking Up by Sam Harris are also great.
For products, I try to be very clean about what I use and look for things that don’t have too many additives. My skin is also super sensitive so I need things that are mild and won’t cause a reaction. On my face I use Sweetwater Labs Rose Face Oil and their Miracle Healing Salve is great for dry hands that endure so much washing. EO coconut cleansing milk is another favorite and the True Botanicals Vitamin C booster.
I buy Yarok shampoo from Detox Market and love Rahua Classic Conditioner with palo santo. Because I have curly hair and it needs more conditioning, I use Josh Rosebrook’s Nourish conditioner as my leave-in – which isn’t actually how you’re supposed to use it but it’s super hydrating and it helps me style my hair, leaving my curls defined and healthy. Of course I also take my Nutrafol every day! Stress can actually contribute to hair thinning and shedding, so I’ve been very diligent about it recently. I do really miss my hairstylist. My hair grows fast which means I have crazy roots right now. She sent me a bunch of color products and we’re going to Facetime so she can show me how to use them.
I have this great foot bath that makes you feel like you’re getting an at-home pedicure. I put epsom salts in and just sit there with a nice glass of red and read at night. I normally like to get regular massages, but since I don’t have access to that now I got a self massager from truMedic. I also use a foam roller and those massage balls for fascial release.
I have a lot of candles and I try to light them every night as I unwind. Honestly, I bought a bunch of simple candles and tealights from Amazon because I was stocking up, but I also love Brooklyn Candle Studio for a fancier scent and I burn a lot of incense, sage and sometimes palo santo (sustainably sourced!). Essential oils and sent in general can significantly alter the mood. I journal too in my Moleskine, which I’ve found is a lot less about having a story to tell and more about just letting your feelings out.
I know people say it helps to put on real clothes and all of that for productivity at home, but I’m not a big fan of dressing up and also want to be comfortable. I like dresses or jumpsuits because they’re easy to move in but look more polished than sweats. Normally I love vintage shopping but that’s hard to do now. Anthropologie is usually my go-to. I also have a unicorn onesie that someone gave me as a gift. Sometimes I’ll put it on and show up to Zoom meetings in it to make people laugh. It’s so important to find reasons to laugh and connect with others right now!