Return to Normal After the Holiday

Getting You and Your Family Back into a Routine

The holidays are coming to an end and it might seem like your whole life is turned around; the kids have been out of school, there have been parties and food galore and no one (including yourself) has had a sleep schedule. Get back on track after weeks of indulgence with these simple tips.
 
Establish sleep and eating schedules for the whole family.
After weeks of being able to stay up late and sleep in, your kids might have a hard time waking up early for school. A few days before returning to school, be strict about bedtime and wake times, not only for your children, but for yourself as well. While you’re at it, start eating nutritious meals on a schedule. Making your family’s favorite healthy foods will make this much easier. Finally, try to remove most of the fattening holiday treats from your home to eliminate the temptation.
 
Schedule your post-holiday workouts.
The holidays can be fun and hectic, which means workouts can fall to the wayside. Get your fitness regimen back on track by scheduling your favorite workouts and writing them in your calendar. You can motivate yourself even more by having a fitness buddy to make sure you get to the gym, or even just get in a walk. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, having a friend to check in with can be encouraging. Finally, this is the time to drink plenty of water. After eating and drinking for weeks your body needs the hydration. Drinking water will also give you energy to workout and will help to eliminate toxins. 
 
Be prepared.
The night before returning to school and work, have everything prepared for the next day; lunches made, outfits ready to go, backpacks at the door. Try to do the same for the first week so the mornings are easier for everyone in the family. Even having your outfit and makeup organized for the next morning can make it easier to return to normal.

After Your Party Hangover

A big plan to keep the small fun going all year

Okay, so you’ve just had a big, exciting new year celebration. Now what? Feeling a little blah? Maybe kind of like you have a party hangover? Fear not. There’s an incredibly simple solution for you. In fact, follow this plan and you can keep the good times rolling all year long.
 
Here’s what you need to do: think small. Yep, tiny. Ordinary. Familiar. Look for pleasures that are as mundane as they can possibly get. There’s a very big idea behind small pleasures. According to researchers, exciting, rare and extravagant pleasures are extremely vulnerable to emotional trouble. In fact, that’s exactly the reason why so many people end up not getting a lasting boost out of, say, a super expensive handbag, an extravagant wedding or even a meal out at an exclusive restaurant. It’s almost cliché how many people have gotten in arguments or had some other kind of deflating problem right when they were supposed to be having the time of their life. Small (dare we even suggest quiet?) pleasures, on the other hand, are easily accessible, emotionally bullet-proof and offer an outrageous bang for the buck.
 
Commit to doing something tiny every day: sit in the garden and enjoy the sound of a fountain, pause and study the clouds in the sky, feel the plush texture of a fabric in a store, talk to your wacky aunt on the phone or take a walk in a new, unfamiliar neighborhood just for the heck of it. Research suggests that people who fill their lives with cheap and easy daily thrills tend to be happier than those who pursue the big, rare and exotic. In fact, a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came not when someone took an expensive vacation, but during the planning stage of the trip! So go ahead, you can even hit Expedia, VRBO.com and other travel sites. Indulge in the small pleasure of fantasizing about that trip to Paris, even if you don’t actually book it.
 
Need more convincing? Check out this video from School of Life on why small pleasures are a big deal.

Make Your Dreams Come True in 2017

Act on Them and Have a Plan

Have you neglected your dreams lately? We often wait for the perfect time to pursue our dreams. We might set them aside until we believe we have enough money or time, the kids have grown up or our careers are more stable. And then some of us aren’t quite sure that we really deserve to reach our dreams, so we get caught up in other things in order to protect ourselves from fear.
 
Why not make 2017 the year you move your dream along to get it closer to fruition, or actually work to make a dream come true? Dust off the dream you are most passionate about and see if it still holds up.  Does your idea evoke the kind of passion that creates the ambition, focus, courage and resilience it takes to get there—or do you need to tweak it a bit.  Psychotherapist Martin Novell, a Marriage and Family Therapist who practices in West Los Angeles says, without the passion to do the work required to sail around the world, learn to play the piano well enough to join a band, or start a small baking business on the side to pay off your college loans… all you have is a daydream. “Passion gives you the potential for seeing a dream through to reality, and keeping that dream fresh helps fuel your ambition.”
 
Visualize Your Dream
Use mental imagery as a successful tool to keep your dream alive and inspired. Visualizing your dreams keeps you knowledgeable about how you want your dream to play out. “Use imagery to create short and long term goals and work out the inevitable obstacles and hurdles as you go about actualizing your ideas,” says Novell.
 
Talk to Yourself
Because fear of failure or success can easily kill a dream, use “self-talk” to support your belief in yourself and your dream.
 
Start by referring to yourself by name rather than using “I” and speaking to yourself as you would talk to a friend. According to scientists studying the process, this distance allows your brain to step back from the dream and all of its possibilities so it can think more clearly and deeply. For instance, you might calm yourself about a block you are experiencing writing the lyrics to a new song by saying, “When you write (put your name here) you’ve experienced some brain freeze now and then. But, you always get over it quickly. Instead of stressing, take the day off from writing.” With positive self-talk, you’ll find that the situation gets worked out effectively, and success will come more easily.

The Best Holiday Movies

And how to stream them

Tis the season! You know the one we’re talking about. When an endless stream of parties, shopping runs and the miscellaneous tasks involved in tying up the year’s loose ends leave us all with little in the way of free time to spare. Except, that is, for movies. After all, what’s better than cozying up in front of the fire – solo or with someone special – to enjoy a Holiday classic? The answer is, pretty much nothing.
 
With that in mind, here’s our list of the five best Holiday Movies and where you can watch them!
 
Home Alone, 1990
If you’re feeling nostalgic for childhood holidays (or simpler times when parents could leave for vacation without their youngest offspring and not wind up in jail), there’s no better film for you. This classic comedy made a household name out of young Macaulay Culkin and launched a franchise. P.S., the second installment (when young Kevin winds up alone in Manhattan) is pretty great, too!
Currently running on HBO Family/HBO/HBO Go and available for purchase/rental on Amazon Video
 
A Christmas Story, 1983
If the hilarious story of a loving, dysfunctional family sounds up your alley, look no further than this beloved Christmas comedy set in the Midwest of the 1930s. Young Ralphie Parker wants a Red Ryder air rifle from Santa Claus more than anything in the world, despite universal warnings that he’ll shoot his eye out if he gets one. Spoiler alert – he won’t actually lose any body parts – but you’ll laugh your heart out watching the Parker family’s winter exploits.
Currently available for rent/purchase on Itunes, Youtube, Amazon Video and Google Video
 
Love Actually, 2003
Yes, it’s sappy. And parts of it may even be cringe-worthy thirteen years later (wait – how did that happen?!), but this modern day classic from Richard Curtis (also known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill for starters), is sure to give you the feels. It’s also a super romantic dose of English holiday spirit – and rest assured, no one does Christmas like London. (See also: Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001 and The Holiday, 2006).
Currently streaming on Netflix along with The Holiday. Bridget Jones’s Diary is available on Fullscreen, Hulu and Amazon Video
 
Scrooged, 1988
This late-80s comedic take on the Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol doesn’t quite hit the sweet note of the original (it’s far more cynical). However, it stars Bill Murray and it still gets the point across. Kindness counts and no one wants to work over the holidays – even in Manhattan!
Available to stream on ITunes, YouTube and Amazon Video
 
Elf, 2003
Who can resist Will Ferrell playing a human raised by Santa whose come down from the North Pole to meet his real father? Not us! Great for kids and the kid in us all, this charming little comedy will make you laugh and warm your heart.
Available to stream on ITunes, YouTube and Vudu
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