Mother, founder, and New Yorker Cyndi Ramirez gets real about simplifying self-care and finding your chill in the modern world.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Cyndi Ramirez created Chillhouse — a downtown NYC destination for body treatments, superfood snacks, and at-home ritual tools — in the spring of 2017. Her goal? To re-envision self-care through a lens of guilt-free, everyday worthiness rather than #grindculture and the endless pursuit of perfection.
A few years, fancy features, and fashion partnerships later, and it’s safe to say she hit the mark — and then some. Thanks to her eye for merch, tongue-in-cheek taglines, and her own need to chill from time to time, she’s built a community and movement of everyday self-care advocates who span identities, life stages, and zip codes.
We recently sat down with the self-dubbed “Queen of Chill” to talk more about conquering to-do lists, embracing negative experiences, and being the authority on modern self-care.
How do you define self-care?
It’s the act of getting better at taking care of yourself. It’s all those little moments that hopefully add up to getting to your place of happiness.
What has running a business taught you about your own soulcare needs?
Oh my God. So many of the things that we do now [at Chillhouse] are “needs” to me. I’m so grateful that I have Chillhouse [to] remind me to take those moments for myself on a daily basis. So now, I’m like, what’s the next phase?
Travel is also a big part of my self-care — just getting away, [and] going on a mini trip here and there with my husband. Both COVID-19 and [parenthood] imposed a lot of compromises around that sense of freedom and ability to take off and do whatever. My hope is that we’re all going to just be gentler on ourselves and find a sense of escapism in unexpected and everyday places, too.
Were you a homebody before?
I like to say I’m not really a homebody; I became one a bit because of the pandemic. It taught me a new level of appreciation for [my] home, how to take care of myself at home, and how to be okay with sitting still. I used to be one of those people that if I was still, that wasn’t great. But, you have to separate yourself sometimes. That’s my work: Finding those barriers to self-care, breaking through them, and encouraging others to do so, too.
Have you had an example of that lately?
My current “ultimate” is being the type of person that when 9 p.m. rolls around, you can’t reach me… you know what I mean? I’m putting my phone away. I’m sleeping. I’m doing anything I want at that moment.
I think that a lot of people who’ve cracked the code for their mental health and stability do that. And, I may not be there from night to night, but I remind myself that I can take a vacation whenever I want. Then, I hold myself to that and make plans.
We’re wishing that for you, too. What are small ways you’re tapping into self-care at home?
I think that so much of it is finding time for spontaneity and having a youthful spirit about it. For me, skincare is a big part of that — just taking advantage of five to ten minutes by myself in the morning. I take long baths and just enjoy letting water fall on my body, even if I’m not actively washing or bathing myself. It’s such a meditative space, even though I don’t technically meditate.
Apart from Chillhouse and prior to COVID-19, I loved going to other places around my neighborhood and [expanding] my self-care “range” so to speak — from infrared saunas to acupuncture studios. I’m trying to get back into that rhythm.
You’re in the business of self-care. What does it do for us?
I’ve heard that self-care is like paying your taxes. Even if you want to fight the process of doing it and making space for it, you avoid the things that happen when you don’t. It’s important to de-glamorize self-care for that reason, too. Taking care of yourself should not be a luxury. It’s just important. Clearing space for yourself to have happiness and [be free of] negativity and toxic habits — or even relationships — is not a selfish act. It’s preservation.
You’ve tried a few of our offerings, too. What are you enjoying?
I love everything, but the Reviving Aura Mist and candle are definite favorites. Smell is such a big part of my self-care experience. There’s something so luxurious and goddess-like about that rose-scented mist. It just takes me to such a romantic place — [and] I use it everyday. And, the Sage + Oat Milk Candle is burning in my living room right now. The scent just uplifts and transports you.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Right after a massage. I know it’s very specific, and I know that not every massage is amazing. But, it’s my ultimate feel-good thing. It’s the thing I’d do everyday in my retirement. They’re something I associate with tropical and sunny places, and they’re so good with a little natural sand exfoliation added on top. That’s my answer: When my hair’s a mess, I have no makeup on, [bu] I’m just completely at peace.
When do you find your chill from moment to moment? Share your fave rituals and tools in the comments!