It’s important to start the day strong and positive because those moments can make or break how the rest of the day goes…but why are those first four days before Friday the hardest?! And then there are mornings… You don’t want to meet me before my first coffee!

In all seriousness, rather than submit to a hectic and anxiety-inducing morning rush, I show my mornings who’s boss. I turn my mornings into my personal power hour. I swear by this routine because it literally and figuratively fuels my whole family with healthy, lifelong habits to start each day feeling strong and empowered.

Here are the five things I do to bring structure and strength to my mornings.

Start slowly.

First, I like to ease into the day. I usually wake up—with all cylinders firing—already worried about what I have to do and what I forgot to do. It’s ironic, but I need time and space to relax before starting my day. So, I get up an hour before the rest of the house. First, I take care of my body by taking a probiotic—then I grab my fat coffee and take care of my brain! I’ll head back to bed for 20 minutes of reading.

I really believe in giving my family as slow a morning as I can. That means waking everyone up earlier than they want. If my girls had their way, they would wake up 15 minutes before rushing out the door. But I want everyone to be able to have some breathing room in the morning.

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Gather together. 

The next big part of our morning routine is breakfast! I make Bill a homemade granola with all organic ingredients. It makes me sound much more virtuous than I am—but it does make me feel good to see him eating a huge bowl every morning. The girls like to sprinkle it on top of their yogurt.

And even if it’s only five minutes, we sit down together to enjoy this deliciousness—and breathe. Bill instituted this family meal ritual where we all hold hands and take a collective inhale and exhale. so we actually “land” at the table together. Then we argue and fight—or the girls get bored—so, again, it’s really normal.

Be good to your gut.

With the pressure, stress and excitement of school, I make sure my girls take their daily probiotic, too—even if I’m chasing them out the door with it! I’ve been taking a daily probiotic now for 10 years and insisting my family takes one for the last three because its impact is huge. Gut health affects energy, mood, sleep and memory—there’s a reason the gut is often called the “second brain.”

Even though I feel like I stumble at parenting daily, this is something I can do that I know makes them healthier and stronger.

Say it like you mean it—and mean it, too!

After everyone is up, ready, nourished and headed for the door, I always say: “God bless you and keep you.” It’s something one of my sisters always said to me, and now it’s a mantra in our family, too.

I also always say, “Come home safe and sound”—and they have to look me in the eye and say back, “Yes, I will come home safe and sound.” It has to be deliberate. They have to mean it. The intention has to be set!

Then I can (finally) exhale as everyone goes out into the big world.

Give yourself the space to re-center after the rush.

I book-end my mornings with taking care of myself. I start my mornings by having my quiet time before everyone gets up. And after everyone is off, I do a morning meditation—if I have time. I am not very good at it…but at least I’m trying.

I like to shake things up, so I’d love to hear how you tackle your mornings!