Morning is my new favorite time of day — but it wasn’t always this way. I used to think I was more productive at night. I’m still getting to know mornings and my rituals, and I’m appreciating the little things, like the shadows and how different and pretty the light is as it streams through the windows. It really is special to witness.
My relationship to mornings still feels new and exciting, but it takes me a little while to actually feel awake. I try to slow things down as much as possible, avoiding technology for as long as I can while I get back into my body and find my center.
These are five rituals that help me feel calm, balanced, and ready to start the day:
1. Set your own alarm.
When I’m ready for sleep, I close my eyes and focus on what time I want to wake up in the morning. I set an alarm as backup, but I usually tend to rise at the time I instructed my body to awaken. This practice helps me get more in touch with the power of my mind and my intuition.
2. Make breakfast easy and complete.
I love a cup of Traditional Medicinals Roasted Dandelion Root tea in my favorite mug (my mom made the mug for me; she’s a ceramic artist) in the morning. Dandelion is one of my favorite plants, and as an herbalist I love how it gently supports digestion. If I want an added immunity boost, I’ll brew a pot of the dandelion tea and add a bit of chaga mushroom that my friend Olivia harvests in Upstate New York.
For breakfast I make sure to have high-quality fat, carbohydrates, and protein. I love a medicinal smoothie — more for healing than taste. I use different combinations of food depending on what my body needs — kale, coconut oil, spinach, berries, soaked chia seeds, kefir, oats, almond milk, banana, flaxseed, tincture of echinacea — whatever I have around.
My other favorite breakfast is a bowl of kitchari topped with an egg, cilantro pesto, and a little good-quality grass-fed cheese. I make the kitchari for the entire week, keeping a big bowl in the fridge so I can easily heat it up every morning.
3. Meditate, and make it easy.
The daily practice of meditation is powerful and transformative. It helps my creativity and allows my brain to rest and refocus. I like to start out my day with meditation, even if it’s just for five minutes.
I light some incense, sit back in my made bed (it’s been said that making the bed is great for productivity), and meditate. There are great apps that make meditating easier; I’m a huge fan of the one by calm.com. It reminds me to meditate every day — and I love all the timer sound options: chimes, singing bowls, and a harp!
My other favorite meditation app is the Silva Method. I grew up studying the method (which uses guided imagery techniques for self-empowerment), and it has a great morning exercise routine that I love to use to start my day.
4. Bring nature into the morning in any way possible.
When the weather’s nice, I like to sit outside with my bare feet in the grass while sipping some hot water with lemon, apple cider vinegar, elderberry, ginger, and either a tincture of rose or echinacea. (This little ritual is even better when I’m in L.A. and can pick a fresh lemon off the tree.)
If the weather isn’t ideal, I experience nature in more creative ways — with herbal tea, the steam from dried eucalyptus hanging in my shower, or through my rose-infused moisturizing face oil. The conscious addition of nature to my morning ritual helps me slow down and feel inspired.
5. Listen to reggae music.
To me, reggae is like sunshine for my body and mind. I believe it has healing properties, and it makes me feel calm and happy as I start my day. Dancing to reggae feels medicinal, promoting happiness and relaxation.
Photos by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative