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The Holidays In December Will Look A Little Different This Year... And That's OK!

“In the middle of difficulty, there is opportunity”

Albert Einstein

End Of Year Thoughts

I don’t think I need to stress that the holiday’s this year will not be met with the regular parties and group celebrations that we usually associate with the season. The world and our traditions will look very different this year. Coming to terms with such a drastic new way of life can leave you with great feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. It’s one thing when you decide to make a change on your own terms but it is another thing altogether to be forced into immediate seclusion...that has been very hard to digest.

One thing I have been working on through this difficult time is self care. This is a term that encompasses great power and will mean different things to different people. Perhaps it manifests as being more active and making time to move your body more each day. Maybe it translates to others as being more mindful and present in each moment. You may have even started a guided meditation routine to learn how to recognize your personal triggers and to try and better understand your relationship with stress. If this resonates with you, then you are certainly not alone. If you read this and think, none of this has even occurred to me because I have so much on my plate between, kids, school, work and trying to keep up with everything... you are also in good company. There is no right or wrong answer here but it’s worth quoting the middle of difficulty, there is opportunity.

The Gift of Time & Reflection

Now that many people are not racing off to the office every morning, and other social events (although we may miss them) we have some more time for ourselves, and time is always a gift in my book.

Is starting that house project or creative endeavor you’ve been wanting to begin for over a year suddenly finding its way into your schedule? Or, do not feel any inclination to be over productive and just enjoy the free time for you to do whatever you feel like within that moment?

Having a clear social calendar can allow you the opportunity to reflect on former routines and behaviors and reassess what worked for you before Covid-19 and what aspects of your former life will no longer serve you once we are past this crisis.

The overall takeaway is the chance to re-evaluate your choices and how you spend your time. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t much time for reflection in your day to day life before this global pandemic. I never really stopped to think about how I was feeling or if I made the best choices with my time because I’m sure, like you, I was too busy thinking about where I was off to next and if I had everything I needed for the day in front of me. A simple check-in of "How am I feeling right now?" didn't register for me.

Now that there is now some extra time on our hands (whether that’s from not commuting anymore or because your job has been eliminated due to Covid-19) you can afford to check in with yourself and re-examine some prior attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and habits. Do they still hold true for you? Is there anything you realized that was contributing to your stress that you can let go of now? Can a simple change to your morning routine change the whole outlook for your day? Perhaps a small change like starting your day with a nice cup of green tea instead of coffee and swapping a high sugar breakfast for a simple protein bar leaves you feeling calmer and fuller and so you are more focused and your mood more stable throughout your day.

Whatever you decide works best for you, exchanging one small behavior in a routine that doesn't serve you anymore can make a huge difference to your frame of mind, productivity level and positively impact your relationships. Now I’m not saying drinking a cup of green tea in the morning will solve all your problems but usually one constructive change leads to another...and so on. Go easy on yourself with one thing at a time and see how you feel. You can do this!

Suggestions For Stress, Anxiety and Depression

I understand that not everyone will have the luxury of more free time and many people are pressured to work more hours and take on more projects due to budget cuts and layoffs. This just creates a vacuum of tension which can lead to chronic inflammation if you are in a constant state of panic about losing your job, rent, mortgage, food, all the while trying to provide for your family and stay healthy at the same time.

This is too much to think about every day, for anyone, but that doesn’t mean this scenario isn’t true for millions of people. In this case, maybe taking a long walk or practicing yoga everyday doesn’t fit the time table. But….there is something you can do!

Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing is a quick and easy practice that you can do sitting at your desk, on your the bathroom….really anywhere you can find a 60 quiet seconds.

Deep Breathing uses slow inhalation/exhalation breaths which signal our parasympathetic nervous system to calm and relax the body. This allows more oxygen to get to your brain allowing the anxious part of the brain to remember it is safe and doesn’t need to engage the “fight or flight” response.

This is also an ancient yoga practice that allows you to fixate on one thing and fully concentrate on the breath helping you to “see things clearly”.

Breath Exercise Example:

Part One: Inhale through the nose, allowing your belly to expand softly as the breath moves into your lungs. Then exhale through your nose, tightening your abdominal muscles and drawing your belly button to the spine, allowing as much air as possible to escape from your lungs.

Part Two: Much the same, with an added step. Inhale through the nose, allowing your belly to expand, and then allow the breath to expand your rib cage as well. When you exhale through the nose, squeeze the air out of your rib cage and belly until they’re empty.

Part Three: Take it a step farther. Inhale through the nose, allowing your belly to expand as the breath moves into your lungs and rib cage, and then invite the breath into your upper chest, to your pectoral muscles and clavicle. Then exhale fully.

( (n.d.).

Laws of Attraction

This is a theory that “like always attracts like”. Meaning, what you put out into the universe, you get back. There is lots of research and principles to this line of thinking and if it sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to further pursue it but I am going to leave you with a simple method that has helped me.

Focus your energy on what you do want to happen in life, instead of what you are worried about and perhaps even afraid of. It helps to channel your energy into thinking positive thoughts.

Focus on: “I’m a great choice for that job and they'd be lucky to have me”.

Instead of: “There are so many applicants, I’m never going to get this job.”

This way of positive thinking doesn’t mean the fearful and stressful thoughts will go away, they will always be there (and that is normal) but you are just not giving them more time and attention then they deserve. You just acknowledge them and continue being ”present” in the moment allowing your thoughts to come and go without getting overly involved in them. Having those conversations in your head about past events or things that haven’t even happened might not be serving you anymore, so why not focus your thinking on things that are helpful to you and your family.


I will just briefly mention that it is easy to use food as a sense of comfort. Let’s be honest, we all do at some time or another but there is a difference between making your favorite casserole on a cold night and overeating 3 bowls of it because you’ve had a long, stressful day and want to dive into a warm bowl of comfort food.

Like the breath work mentioned above, really be present when you’re mindful. Make sure you are enjoying all the flavors, colors, and textures of your meal and don’t rush to finish is not a race. If the meal is more energy dense, try to pair it with a side salad to incorporate some fresh leafy greens with some oil and vinegar. You can also add vegetables to just about any dish, it may not be the classic recipe you are used to but it’s that small change I talked about earlier and little steps can sometimes make the biggest difference to a healthier path forward.

Never underestimate the power of your own resilience. Nothing is forever and we will all get through this..... and remember….Health starts from the inside out!

To discuss more detailed information regarding the topics within this blog, or to inquire about customized nutrition plans, please reach out to Cathleen Winter at

A Little About Me:

My name is Mary DeBlasio, and I live in Silver Spring, MD. I am currently a student studying Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the District of Columbia. I am set to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in May of 2021. I am very interested in mindful eating, and foods that correlate with the seasons. My goal after graduation is to pursue a dietetic internship with a focus on clinical dietetics. I am interested in transplant, renal and gastrointestinal issues. All the information presented within this blog is backed by the credible sources cited below.


Farber, N. (2016, September 18). The Truth About the Law of Attraction. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from (n.d.).

Take a Deep Breath. (2017, January 04). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from

Russo, M., Santarelli, D., & O'Rourke, D. (2017, December). The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from

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