Chill out in the shower
Though it's tempting to relax under a stream of hot water, try alternating the temperature between three minutes of warm and one minute of cool. It'll make your blood vessels contract, increasing blood flow throughout your body, which energizes your muscles and helps you feel more awake. Lather up with a citrus-scented soap and you'll get an aromatherapeutic benefit as well: The smell is said to produce brain waves of alertness and relaxation.
Turn up the tunes
Resist the urge to watch the news while you get dressed, and put a CD into your stereo instead. Studies show that music helps lift your spirits by easing mental tension and stimulating positive thinking. In fact, one study from McGill University, in Montreal, found that when people listen to music, it has a similar effect on the brain as food and sex do.
Top your toast with protein
Instead of popping a couple of your kids' frozen waffles in the toaster, go for peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat toast, nonfat yogurt mixed with a cup of strawberries or blueberries, or a half cup of oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg. "A mix of protein and carbs will keep energy higher for a longer period of time because it takes longer to digest than an all-carb breakfast," says David Edelberg, M.D., author of The Triple Whammy Cure.
Color your day
What you wear can do wonders for your energy level, and studies show that red has a particularly positive effect on our mood and alertness. "Scientists have found that looking at something red increases our circulation and energy levels," says Kristen Burris, founder and medical director of the American Acupuncture Center, in Poway, California. So if you're feeling especially sluggish, put on a red shirt or some red lipstick. It's worth a try!
Have a peppermint pick-me-up
To keep your head up during the inevitable mid-morning slump, pop a peppermint: Its scent decreases fatigue by 25 percent, according to a recent study by researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University, in West Virginia.
Lambeth Hochwald is a mom of a 2-year-old and an adjunct journalism professor at New York University.