“Les commencements ont des charmes inexprimables.”
“Beginnings have inexpressible charm.”
Take a moment and transport yourself to your most coveted holiday escape. Whether your dream getaway takes the shape of a seaside sanctuary on the Côte D’Azur or a cozy bed and breakfast tucked away beneath a cascade of richly hued foliage, you awaken to a sensation of pure calm and unhurried pleasure. Now, imagine if you could savor that sweetness of a quiet morning on holiday, capture it, and bring it home with you on your return to the flurry of everyday activity. How would the rest of your day be altered if you allowed yourself time each morning to be open to experiencing the infinite charm and possibility the day before you offers?
It seems that shifting into auto-pilot as soon as we wake up is par for the course when it comes to our daily routines.
In fact, you might even think this adrenaline rush is necessary to successfully take on challenges. But, as it turns out, an extra surge of adrenaline isn’t what your body or your mind needs to function at its best. To begin with, you’re technically already more “stressed” from the moment you wake up – at least on a physiological level. That’s because once your alarm starts buzzing, your brain puts the brakes on secreting melatonin – the so-called “sleep hormone” – and instead releases a boost of cortisol, AKA the “stress hormone”, to get you up and at ‘em. Throw a hurried morning routine into the mix, and you’re setting yourself up for a veritable stress tsunami.
Furthermore, the fact that your stress hormones are kicking it into high gear behind the scenes has a very front-and-center, negative effect on your work performance. A University of Pennsylvania study found that employees who started off the day stressed experienced decreased productivity and even noted that their mood continued to worsen over time, compared to their colleagues who started off the day feeling calm.
So, it’s fair to say that blocking off time each morning to ground yourself and establish a sense of inner calm to carry you throughout the day is a task look forward to, not cast aside. With that in mind, we’ve culled a list of calming essentials and morning rituals designed to engage your senses and soothe your mind, allowing you to kick-start the day with serene thoughts and a blissful spirit.
Easing into Sleep
Give yourself a leg up on a peaceful morning by ensuring a deep, rejuvenating sleep. Be sure to turn in at a time that lets you can snag your requisite 8 hours – 10 pm is often touted as the ideal bedtime. And to enhance the zen vibes of your bedroom, light a candle with a calming scent, like the Miel de Lavande Candle – lavender has been known to ease anxiety and promote a sense of well-being.
Meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels, and in turn, actually helps boost energy levels. Translation: You’ve found your new wake up call. You can incorporate meditation easily into your morning routine by using an app like Yoga Wake Up as your alarm or committing to spending your first few waking moments on mindful meditation – a guided meditation app like Stop, Breathe & Think is great for newbies. For meditating experts, try The Mindfulness App.
Refresh & Relax
Instead of rushing through your morning shower, allow yourself enough time to savor the experience and clear your head.
Treat yourself to an indulgent shower experience, like Néroli Lumière Body Wash – the unique, silky formula features a lush base of Provence olive oil and coconut oil, and is free of unnecessarily harsh detergents and SLS. As a result, it delivers a truly gentle, deeply moisturizing cleansing experience, along with a revitalizing blend of refreshing notes including pink grapefruit, orange blossom and warm amber. Afterwards, envelop yourself from head to toe in the sweetly soothing honey lavender scent of Miel de Lavande Hand & Body Lotion.
Treat Yourself to a Balancing & Energizing Breakfast
If your go-to breakfast consists of coffee and… more coffee, you’re doing your body and peace of mind a major disservice. Not only does coffee heighten cortisol levels, it also leaves you more likely to tense up when faced with challenges over the course of the day. So swap out your coffee and sip on some hot water with lemon instead. It’s an easy way to promote healthy digestion and detox your system. And good news for carb-lovers – a complex-carb friendly breakfast option like oatmeal helps stimulate the release of mood-stabilizing serotonin and also helps temper the spike in blood sugar stress can cause. Tip: Top off your bowl of oatmeal with some blueberries for a double-dose of stress-busting power.Finally, resist the temptation to scroll through your Instagram feed, check Facebook updates or swipe the latest Snapchat stories – flooding your brain with information from these various outlets can be overwhelming and counterproductive to the sense of calm you’ve worked hard to establish all morning long. Read a chapter of your favorite book, listen to some music, or better yet, simply sit still and allow yourself to be open to the promise of this new day.