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5 healthy habits that help moms start each morning happy and energized
During the winter months it can be difficult to feel awake and energized first thing in the morning. Here are five ways to combat feeling sluggish when it's cold and dark outside that will leave you feeling motivated all day long. - photo by Meredith Cook
During the winter months it can be difficult to feel awake and energized first thing in the morning. Between the darkness and the inevitable chill in the house, the struggle is real. In an ideal world I would wake up to a roaring fire and hot cup of tea waiting for me beside a cozy chair with a super soft blanket draped over it, inviting me to wake up at my own pace. In reality, I have kids to feed, responsibilities to attend to and well, I don't even own a fireplace. Here are a few simple routines I have been incorporating into my morning lineup to warm me up, wake me up and keep me going the rest of the day

1. Do yoga: Do it for 10 minutes, as soon as you wake up. I keep a yoga mat and my iPad beside my bed. I keep a Pinterest board with yoga videos that are just 10 minutes long, and if I'm really on top of things I'll cue it up before I go to bed so all I have to do is press play. It really is remarkable what 10 minutes of yoga can do. I feel awake, energized, positive and it leaves me with a sense of determination and focus for the rest of the day. Plus, it warms me right up, which is a big plus during the winter months.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Another thing I struggle with in the winter is drinking enough water. In the summer I drink water nonstop, but I always forget to hydrate when its cold outside. If there is anytime that water benefits me the most, it is first thing in the morning. I always drink a glass of water either before or after doing yoga. Many mornings when it is especially chilly, I'll make myself a cup of herbal tea to benefit from both its hydrating and calming effects.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast: If I wake up and eat anything too sugary, fatty, refined or even worse, a combination of all three, I feel terrible until the next meal. I usually do best with something light, healthy and balanced. Lately I have been drinking a protein rich smoothie to start my day and I have noticed a difference in my energy and hunger levels.

4. Make the bed: I don't know why, but for me, making my bed is always the first step to a productive day. Maybe because it's a way of telling myself that I won't get back under the covers, or maybe it's that a room with a bed that is made instantly looks tidier. Whatever the reason, making my bed gets me on the right track for the day, and it really doesn't take long at all.

5. Get ready: If I compared my productivity with how much I got ready that day, there would be an obvious pattern. I keep it pretty casual while at home since my kids usually smear food and paint on me, so I usually focus on areas like applying a touch of makeup. Even if I'm not leaving the house that day, I look and feel refreshed when I pay a little attention to my appearance.

These simple morning rituals take me from groggy and unfocused to energized and determined. This is what works for me. If you want to start your day on the right foot, identify the things that steer you in the right direction and try to eliminate bad habits and routines that tend to drag you down.