Make The Holidays Happier and Stress Less

      Increase your holiday happiness and decrease your stress simultaneously. Didi Zahariades, MA, psychotherapist and life coach, joined us to share her "4 Step Plan to a Successful Holiday Season":

      1. Expect the Best & watch your words Start now and set your expectations highon what you want this holiday. Make a decision to thrive; to be happy; to have fun; to enjoy the next two months. You deserve a beautiful holiday. Let go of the idea of 'Survival' this year. Don't be the person 'making it through the day', going through the 'should' list or what you 'have to do' or 'have to see' this year. Let go of vocabulary words which make your day barely manageable. Decide to "Expect the Best" of each day.

      2. Simplify. Make a decision and stick with it. Don't make life more complicated. Holidays are typically very stressful. We set high expectations of what 'must' happen and then begin to over-think everything. There are a lot of options during the holidays; don't second guess yourself. Consider what to wear; who to invite; what to do; and once you make the decision that is it! Decrease your need to over-think, re-think, analyze and wish you had done something else; this year simplify by making each decision once.

      3. Manage Your Self-Talk Check in on your personal recording and change it! Holidays often involve family and those that haven't always made you feel your best; this year set the tone by saying what you need to hear daily. When you feel good about you, you will be more capable of dealing with the stress of others. This year decide to be kind, cheerful and joyful towards you! This isn't the time of year to question all of your decisions for the last 11 months, or to compare you to that cousin who always looks amazing, or to wish you were better at Start today and give yourself 48 days of love and kindness.

      4. Start each day with Gratitude; focus on the Positive. Often how you start your day will set the tone for the day. Wake up each day and take a short moment to appreciate. You can appreciate anything, but you aren't allowed to wake up in dread! Whether it is a last minute trip to the mall or trying to figure out how to get through your to-do list; decide to focus on what is working this year and not what isn't. What you focus on grows so focus on the positive and take a moment to appreciate when something in your day goes well!

      For more great ideas, visit Didi's website.