Mia Gholar Shares Her Morning Routine

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There was a moment of grounding just before sunrise when the sky was still pitch black but the faint song of birds began to fill the air. This is the sweet spot before dawn—around 5:45 a.m.—when Mia Gholar wakes up. “I like to wake up when it’s still dark. Being able to rise with the sun feels like I’m in tune with nature and the earth’s cycles,” he said by phone.

Two days after the spring equinox as we spoke and Gholar was already busy planting seeds in his garden and enjoying the sounds of Woodpecker and Robin. “I can’t even believe I woke up that early, but I’m used to it by this point. It’s also just a quiet time, before cars buzz through the streets or kids walk to school. That’s before a lot of people wake up and I think that’s what I like about it. ”

Gholar is an interdisciplinary artist living in Chicago in a quieter suburb. She also works in arts administration at Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center, is a yoga instructor, and is in the process of completing her final semester of undergraduate studies, where she is studying fine and studio arts and perfecting her senior thesis. “Art is my bread and butter,” he said. And with a schedule as demanding as creative as hers, it’s no surprise that Gholar’s morning routine forms a calm, clear canvas on which to build throughout the day.

All mornings for Gholar start in bed after a good night’s rest. “I love the taste,” he said referring to his Avocado Green Mattress. “It’s luxury without an overly soft steering wheel.” And beyond the tactile quality of her sleep, knowing that where she rests each night is made from organic ingredients makes the experience even more rejuvenating. “Honestly, I didn’t realize mattresses could be organic, so it was an amazing process to learn about those design elements.”

As soon as he gets out of bed, the workday for Gholar always starts with tea. “Some people are coffee connoisseurs, I’m a huge herbal tea fan,” he said. “I have many different herbal teas that I like, but the one I go to frequently is a blend of chamomile, holy basil and red clover. It is very calming and relaxes the nervous system, which helps me throughout the day.”

Next is a prayer and the spread of protective oil on his head. “I said my morning prayer and asked God or a higher power or my ancestors to protect me all day long,” he explained. “It’s one of my biggest routines—prayer is big for me.”

She followed it up with her skincare ritual. “I was the former nine-step routine type of person,” he laughs. “It’s much simpler now, which makes things easier for me but also makes more sense for my skin.” She cleanses, applies facial oils, and sometimes uses a facial roller or Gua Sha. “It wakes up my face. Plus, during the week, I don’t really wear makeup so I try to do as much as I can to make my skin look good.” She completes her skincare routine with Reed + Gwen’s Grounding Dry Body Oil. “My boyfriend is always making fun of me because of the clothes I’m wearing, but I really wanted to make sure I was completely drenched,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful part of a routine that can make the product melt into your skin and have a moment to slow down and really touch every part of your body.”

After that, he made a few moves. “Being realistic, if I can at least do something like 15 to 20 minutes on a weekday, then that’s perfect,” he said. “I tried to give myself some grace on this busier morning. And as a yoga instructor, I used to be hard on myself like ‘You didn’t do an hour of yoga this morning’ but that’s really just what works for your schedule. It’s all I can do and it’s still something to get my energy flowing and being more connected to my body.”

As soon as he finished the fast flow, he walked out the door. And all of these morning rituals are combined into a broader theme of sensory detail that adds a distinct element of presence to the morning. “I pick teas by hand and blend them by hand, so it’s a very direct sensory experience in terms of touch and smell,” she shares. “Also, sound is a huge sensory part of my morning.” Now that spring has finally stretched, his mornings are spent with the windows wide open to allow the chorus of nature to flood into his home. “My neighbor who lives down the road has a small mini farm so I hear chickens in the morning. I really like hearing nature sounds in the morning, even in my meditation or breathing exercises, the music I choose is usually a combination of nature sounds and Native American flute music.”

On weekends, Gholar’s routine is a bit relaxed. For starters, no 5:45am wake-up call. “I’m naturally a morning bird but I try to give myself more time to sleep so I’ll wake up maybe around 7:30 or 8,” she says. “Then, to be honest, I like lying in bed, it’s like a little oasis.” She describes her room as a cozy space she can stay in on the weekends lying on her organic Avocado Green Mattress doodling on her iPad or just chilling and relaxing. “I love fashion but I also put comfort first,” she says referring to the matching Hass t-shirt and shorts, the casual casual wear she loves right now. “I value eco-fashion and sustainable fabrics, but also embrace moderation,” she says. “I’d rather have key pieces that I can reuse than make a huge wardrobe.” With a repertoire of quality, eco-conscious staples he can rely on every day, this leaves room for Gholar to allocate energy to early-morning tasks.

“I’ve always been a morning person when it comes to getting up early, but cultivating a meaningful routine is definitely something I have to hone in on,” Gholar shares. “I give myself grace because I am not perfect. The modern morning routine often becomes a culture ‘oh look at me I have this most perfect AM ritual’ but the thing is, we’re all just trying to find what works for us and it’s okay if that changes. The most important thing is that you do the things that make you strong in the morning—that’s what I’m trying to lean towards these days.”

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