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January 5, 2016

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.

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These are five rituals that help me feel calm, balanced, and ready to start the day:

1. Set your own alarm.

Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative

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.

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2. Make breakfast easy and complete.

Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative

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.

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3. Meditate, and make it easy.

Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative

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.

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4. Bring nature into the morning in any way possible.

Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative

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.

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5. Listen to reggae music.

Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative

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

Jessa Blades
Jessa Blades
Natural Beauty Expert & Herbalist

Jessa Blades is a celebrity makeup artist, natural beauty authority, wellness expert, and herbalist based in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. She is deeply passionate about sharing simple and gentle ways to heal and nurture the body and skin while still looking fabulous.
Inspired by the idea of true healing and wellness, Jessa made the switch to natural, nontoxic beauty products in 2008 and founded her company, Blades Natural Beauty, the same year. Her goal then and now is to provide sustainable beauty routines, pure products, and expert advice for anyone looking to detox their medicine cabinet and heal—instead of hide—their imbalances.

When she’s not on set, Jessa uses her 15 years of experience to lead private lessons and group workshops on beautifying from the inside out. She teaches women how to apply makeup, choose natural and healing products, and incorporate herbs and food-based medicine into their lives to heal their skin. As a teacher and a makeup artist, Jessa's mission is to bring the message of self-care and empowerment into the conversation around beauty and healing.

Many of Jessa’s favorite natural beauty and wellness products, including her signature line of skin care and her hand-blended herbal teas, are available in her online Self-Care Supply Store and Apothecary.

Jessa has studied with a group of wise and powerful teachers, including Rosemary Gladstar, Peeka Trenkle, Phyllis Light, Hilary Garivaltis, and Nancy Phillips. She has steeped at renowned institutions from The Open Center and Kripalu to Sage Mountain.

Jessa has been featured as one of Glamour magazine’s "70 Amazing Eco-Heroes" and chosen as TreeHugger's Best Green Makeup Artist. She has contributed to Vogue, the New York Times, mindbodygreen, Into the Gloss, Style.com, Well Good, Natural Health, Organic Spa, and appeared on the Today show.