Meet Wellness Warriors Coco Chan and Valerie Ho
Introducing Coco Chan and Valerie Ho, wellness warriors and founders of OMSA, a modern mystical e-store and a lifestyle portal enabling a deeper spiritual awakening. After a work-hard-play-hard mentality led both Valerie and Coco to suffer from signs of burnout, these two spiritually-focused creatives discovered the benefits of living a more balanced and calm life, and placed wellness and mindfulness central in their lives.
Find out more about how the duo maintain a balanced life in a hectic city like Hong Kong, their favourite clean-beauty products and how they help others explore self-care, self-love and spiritual wellbeing in the run up to Christmas.
Valerie Ho in our matching Sofia Shirt and Jacona Skirt.
What drew you both towards leading a more spiritually-focused life?
C: I had a rude awakening before I shifted onto my spiritually path. I was unaware of my energy leaks in my life. I was over indulging in my personal life and overworking myself to the brink of mental and physical exhaustion. It wasn’t until I was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with chronic anxiety that I was aware of how poorly I’ve been treating myself on all levels - emotionally, physically and spiritually.
I took my life back and started to take my well-being seriously. I began nurturing my relationship with myself through searching holistic modalities and healing. I was introduced to aromatherapy and fell in love with it. It healed me in ways I did not think possible. I studied it deeply and became a certified aromatherapist in hopes to further heal myself and others. From there, my thirst for holistic healing only grew stronger. I stepped fully into the world of spirituality and learned even more modalities: crystal healing, oracle card reading, intuition training, energy healing and coaching. Leading a conscious life has healed many past traumas, allowed for a deeper understanding of life and opened unlimited doors of divinely aligned opportunities. I love my life.
V: In my early twenties, I fully endorsed a work-hard play-hard mentality, which is so prevalent in Hong Kong. Because I was so focused on my career, I had little time to develop interests outside of my desk job. After over a decade of the same routine, I started to feel that there was something missing: I was living to work rather than working to live. I came across energy healing through a trial class here in Hong Kong with Corie Chu Healing, and a whole new world of ‘woo’ opened up to me. After that, I’ve never looked back! Making modern spirituality the centerpiece of my everyday life has made all the difference in my mindset – I am more present, balanced and focused on the big picture.
Why did you decide to launch your company OMSA together?
V: OMSA was born of our joint vision to share our passion with the community here in Hong Kong and in Asia Pacific. Coco and I have very complementary skills where she handles most of the media and PR and collaborations, while I’m more focused on the operations and finance.
I especially love how everyday at OSMA is different! The learning curve is very steep in your own startup.
C: We had a shared vision of creating a platform dedicated to deepening the relationship with self through self-care, self-love and spiritual wellbeing. I’m a huge people person, so what I love most about my role at OMSA is meeting the OMSA community in person at our pop-up events. Sharing a real offline connection with them which can be later brought back online to further deepen through our content sharing gives me so much inspiration on how to better serve our target audience.
Coco Chan in our upcycled Regina Top.
How have you both made mindfulness a central part of your lives?
C: As a modern day woman, I wear many hats: daughter, wife, mother, entrepreneur, partner and friend. I find it important to incorporate mindful moments throughout the day to keep your life balanced. Being ‘aware’ of how you spend your time, whom you spend it with and allowing time for self is paramount.
As a new mom, I’m still trying to get used to managing my schedule with an infant but mindful reminders and practices help me to stay calm and grateful. I have an app that sends me reminders throughout the day in case I forget!
V: I start and end each day with a quick ritual which can be easily done. Before leaving my bed, I spend a couple of minutes repeating positive affirmations (or feel-good statements) that will help me focus on uplifting messages and reminding me to be kind to myself.
At the end of every day, I ask my partner to share what are the best three parts of the day, and also reflect on that question for myself. Doing this exercise helps rewire your memory to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Overtime, these are fundamental mindset shifts to make one feel more grateful and more present, despite the external environment.
What are your top tips for achieving balance, clarity and calm?
C: Kick off your day with a morning ritual and ending your day with an evening routine. My mornings consist of a warm glass of water, slow belly breaths, a meditation with essential oils (short or longer depending on the schedule ahead), morning affirmations to set the tone for the day and I pick a card from my oracle deck to daily guidance. Once I’ve done all of this, my mind is clear and I can calmly look at my day and plan what I need to do.
In the evenings, I spend quality time with my husband and baby girl. I love taking hot showers and incorporating an easy shower meditation to wash away all negative energies/thought forms or stresses from the day. I try to switch off my phone an hour before bedtime to allow my mind to rest. I lather on a sequence of relaxing essential oils to get my body ready for a restful sleep. Having enough sleep allows me to fully recharge and have enough energy for the next day ahead.
V: My go-to pick me up after a long day is a cup of turmeric tea with milk or coconut oil, a slice of lemon and honey. My daily rituals also include a hot bath with Epsom sea salt and a few drops of Anatome Sleep & Recovery blend. Before bed, I do this fifteen-minute meditation which allows me to totally relax and ease into restful, deep sleep. I’ve been increasingly putting my phone outside my bedroom and that’s helped as well!
Valerie Ho in our upcycled Regina Top.
Do you have any advice for achieving a balanced life in a hectic city like Hong Kong?
C: Remember to breathe! Slow, deep and long belly breaths. Turn off your phone notifications and only check in at certain times of the day. It’s just a simple gesture but it can create a lot more space to relax and be less stressful. Count your blessings – be grateful. When you’re in the habit of gratitude you find yourself more happy because you’re not ‘stressing’ for external happiness/pleasures. You’re already content with yourself and your life. Reassess your schedule and insert me time. If you know you have a huge week ahead of you, spend the weekend to do things that you love. When you learn to love yourself more, you learn to live more fully. There are heaps of studies about the benefits of meditation. Meditation does not have to be you sitting on a bolster on a hill top for hours. Meditation comes in many forms: taking a nature walk without your phone and being present taking in the scenery, going for a run, swimming laps in your pool, taking a walk on the beach, a yoga practice, breathwork. These can all be different types of meditation for you.
V: I always try to make time for meditation, so I can tear myself away from being glued to my phone. I always feel calmer and more centered after a group meditation class, which I easily book through my classpass app at studios around town. I am also a big believer of self-care – we work to live, and not the other way around! Work/life balance is often talked about but executed poorly – to really ensure I get to recharge, I put extra effort to spend time with friends, family and those I care about – and most importantly myself!
Christmas, in particular, can be quite an emotionally intense period, do you have any advice you can share for handling the festive season?
V: Being well and having fun are not exclusive! The more balanced and centered you are, the less likely you will be tempted to indulge extravagantly and feel regretful afterwards. Chakra balancing is a way to enhance wellbeing and balance to your physical body and mental state.
C: Set strong and healthy boundaries for the holidays. Inform your family that certain days will be allocated for celebrations with friends and family so there are no ‘surprises’. Privately sharing with ‘that certain relative’ that when they talk about ‘xyz’ it makes you feel emotional and you would appreciate if they didn’t mention or bring it up. Ask yourself: How many days of the week do I want to be ‘out’? How many invitations can I say yes to? Am I over promising my attendance? Are there people who are attending that make me feel uncomfortable? Do I need to speak up about a certain issue that I haven’t in the past to avoid misunderstanding?
By ‘preparing’ yourself and setting strong boundaries you’ll be able to have an enjoyable festive season without emotional outbursts or surprises.
Valerie Ho in our matching Sofia Shirt and Jacona Skirt.
What are your some of your favourite beauty or lifestyle brands?
V: These days, I spend a lot of my discretionary income on self-care! I love Aether Beauty, for their clean chemical-free vegan makeup palettes, and anything from Soak Society – using the highest quality ingredients always makes me feel great. I’m very much into organic, chemical free, sustainable brands and definitely try to choose these consciously in my daily life, even if it means paying up because it’s worth it!
C: I love beauty brands that promise natural ingredients! So naturally, I love Courtney + Babes essential oils, Kora Organics, Josh Rosebrook, Sage Natural, Zero Yet 100, and Goli Gummy’s. I rarely buy new clothes as I recycle a lot, but when I do I like to support brands that have an upcycle or charity element to it. I’ve recently fallen in love with Tribe of Sunday. They give back to an organisation called 4Ocean, which commits to removing trash from our oceans and coastlines.
Discover more about OMSA on omsa.world