"Being proud and acknowledging those inner feelings helps a lot, and it's never too small."

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Poet Morgan Harper Nichols on the Mantras You Should Say to Yourself During Your Skincare Routine
Credit: Courtesy

Since March 2020, the world has been in a tailspin, to put things lightly.

No matter where you are in the world, it's easy to agree that life has taken a drastic turn for the vast majority of us, and at times, it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But despite the chaos of the last year and a half, poet Morgan Harper Nichols wants you to take a second to stop, breathe — and if it's your morning drink of choice — smell the coffee.

That's why the artist teamed up with Starbucks Coffee for Nespresso to launch 10 unique Morning Mantras, in partnership with Instagram, to help coffee lovers and social media users alike start their days off on a positive note.

"I try to use Instagram as a way to find encouragement, that's something that I seek out when I get on the internet. So I try to share that with other people too," Harper Nichols tells InStyle. "I am always trying to find new ways to share something positive and encouraging and put new poetry out there."

Morning caffeine aside, taking some time out for your beauty routine, whether it be as long as a wash day, or as short as a 10-minute shower, is also an excellent opportunity to enjoy some alone time and become more in tune with your own emotions.

Using herself as an example, the author admits that it's been a while since she's seen her hairstylist, and she hasn't always been happy with the way her curls turn out when she works with her hair on her own. But saying something as simple as, "I like my hair, I like the way my hair looks," has done wonders for her spirit during these trying times.

"If you can find that one small thing that you love about yourself, the energy of that grows and grows and grows," she shares. "It's a small seed that will [flourish] as time goes on."

Even beyond physical features, making the space to appreciate yourself for the little things you do through the day can make a huge impact on your soul. For Harper Nichols, she goes back to the time when she had just given birth to her son. She shares that while she didn't physically feel like herself, being able to complete a book — text and artwork — gave her the satisfaction she didn't know she needed in that moment.

"It's not always about something you see, maybe it's about something you feel. For example, saying 'I like that I feel proud of myself this second. I like that I tried this recipe and it's edible' — I don't cook a lot, so that's an accomplishment," she laughs. "I think being proud and acknowledging those inner feelings helps a lot, and it's never too small. It's significant."

Poet Morgan Harper Nichols on the Mantras You Should Say to Yourself During Your Skincare Routine
Credit: Courtesy

But getting to a place of appreciation for the small things wasn't exactly easy for the poet. Growing up, Harper Nichols experienced a tremendous amount of loss and had to learn how to navigate the deaths of close loved ones. However, these experiences taught her to appreciate the present.

"It just became very clear to me at a young age that you really don't know how much time you have," she shares. "I have loved ones who are no longer here, but I remember those moments when we were together, and those memories are most important thing in the world. I hold on to them forever and ever. I bring that into everything I do."

That's why today, the artist has extreme gratitude for something has simple as being able to see the sunrise from her Arizona home or getting to enjoy a morning cup of Starbucks coffee. "What a gift that is," she says. "The more I spent writing poetry or making art, the more it forces me to focus on those little things. 'Cause it's like, you're going to run out of ideas eventually [laughs], so you have to think, how can I look at my mornings in a different way, how can I look at this place in a different way? What does it look like to find peace? What does it look like to find joy?"

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And for those who are really struggling right now, there's one mantra Harper Nichols wants to you repeat to yourself daily: You will bloom how you were meant to.

"I have spent a lot of time researching flowers, and guess what? Flowers bloom in all kinds of conditions," she asserts. "All around the world, flowers are blooming at any given moment. I get chills when I think about that, because I think it's also true for humans. When you think about the flowers of our life, maybe they don't all bloom at once, maybe some won't bloom until next spring. But there are going to be some flowers that bloom in this season, and that is worth celebrating."