Well-Aware | January 2021

By stepping outside our comfort zone to do something peculiar, you can confirm that you can do more than you’ve done”

-Isrealmore Ayivor

Festive Activities

  • Hectic schedules and holiday preparations can make it challenging to fit in daily physical activity. Winter days are shorter, darker, and in most states colder. While it can be tempting to
  • hole up indoors, there are many festive activities to enjoy while getting exercise and reaping the benefits of fresh crisp air.
  • Being outdoors in the wintertime offers both physical and psychological benefits. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs mainly in the winter months.
  • Layering up and going outside to get some sunny Vitamin D and aerobic exercise at least once a day may help beat the winter blues.
  • It doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes of exposure to reap benefits.
  • Here are a few ideas to feel festive and stay fit: Take a walk. Soak in the scenery of the landscape, admire lawn decorations or bask in the silence for creative thinking or to clear your mind.
  • Ice skating. Glide around a frozen pond or head to the nearest ice skating rink.
  • Take pictures. Bring a camera or smartphone and take pictures of winter scenery or snap memories to share with friends or loved ones. Play in the cold. If your climate includes snow, make animal snow sculptures, go sledding, build
  • a fort or freeze colored water into ice cubes and hide them for a wintertime scavenger hunt.
  • Get crafty. String popcorn, cereal, and berries onto a fishing line to decorate the trees and feed the birds.
  • Seek ideas from friends and family for creative, memorable, and exciting outdoor activities.


  • While there are no specific foods that can maintain your health or protect you from a virus, a nutritious diet can help to boost your immune system and make a difference in the way you think, look and feel. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be over complicated or look like a list of good and bad foods. Some specific foods do have specific healthy nutrients, but it’s your overall pattern of eating that is the main ingredient for eating healthy. The crux is to eat food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. You don’t have to be perfect but aim for making a few small changes and as your small changes become habit, continue to add more healthy choices. Select the healthiest options from a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body. Choose sources of high-quality protein. Fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, beans/peas, nuts/seeds, and soy products.
  • Good fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for your heart, cholesterol, and overall health. Avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, salmon, safflower oil, and soymilk.
  • Fiber is the part of plant-based foods that the body can’t break down. Grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans contain fiber that can boost your immune system, overall health and improve the way you look and feel.
  • Calcium is used by almost every cell in the body in some way. Good sources include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal, and other grains, cabbage, summer squash, green beans and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal and orange juice.
  • Carbohydrates should come from complex, unrefined carbs. That means vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. Refined carbs such as pasta, French fries, pizza, white bread, and sugary desserts, which have been stripped of bran, fiber, and nutrients are referred to as the bad carbs. Eliminating the bad carbs can lead to feeling healthier, more energetic, and shedding extra body fat.

“Food is a part of our contract with life.” – Bryant McGill


How much do you eat? Do you measure your food in portions? Stop when the food is gone? What does eating in moderation really mean and can you measure food intake with this subjective term? Moderation is personal. It means eating in relation to how much food your body needs. The average American should consume about 2,000 calories per day and that’s around 500-600 calories per meal with 150 calories for a snack. To help put this in perspective, compare a typical holiday meal that can average 3,000 calories.

Eating in moderation is a mindset to master. Here are a few tips to help you master eating until satisfied, but not stuffed:

Eat the foods you love. There are no foods that are off-limits. Start by reducing the quantity of unhealthy foods and eating them less often.

Smaller portions. One meal should not contain close to or more calories than the amount recommended in one day. At restaurants, share a dish or take half to go. At home, use smaller plates and bowls and look at serving sizes on packaged goods.

Variety. No one food contains the nutrients you need in the portions you need, so eat a variety of foods from many food groups to ensure you’re eating the nutrients your body requires.

Pay attention to how hungry you are and if you tend to overeat. Try keeping a food diary to mindfully track how much and what types of food you eat.


When a disagreement isn’t resolved in a timely fashion, it becomes a conflict. These conflicts can cause harm, whether it’s in a personal or business relationship. Knowing how to balance feelings with appropriate actions is the key to resolution.


WAIT to respond. Give yourself twenty-four hours if possible. An immediate response may not be necessary and may give the situation a chance to defuse on its own.

SPEAK with compassion and understanding. Don’t make the situation worse by using a harsh tone of voice or hurtful language. A good point or a well-thought-out argument will fall on deaf ears if not presented appropriately.

LISTEN to what the other person has to say. Try to put yourself in their shoes. If you don’t know why someone feels the way they do you will not be able to effectively resolve disagreements.

COMPROMISE. Be willing to make some concessions. If both parties show a willingness to be flexible and make small sacrifices there will be very few issues that can’t be handled.

Practicing these skills at home can help foster better relationships with family and friends, and can lead to more productivity and a stronger team atmosphere at work. Although conflicts are an unavoidable part of life, if handled with respect and understanding, they can be used as an opportunity for growth.

The Measure of HAPPY

Real-life includes experiences ranging from extreme pain to absolute joy, and most of the time it hovers between the middle of those limits. There is a dividing line somewhere between each end of the spectrum. If our experiences can be on the comfort side of this dividing line most of the time, we are doing rather well.

We also need to accept the fact that we get below this dividing line sometimes because that is the way life is for everyone. Joy and pain do co-exist in a healthy person. When we are aware of this full spectrum of experiences we can be satisfied when we don’t experience joy all the time and realize that things are still going well. Keep expectations realistic during the holidays and every day.


  • Limit exposure to stressful activities, events, or people.
  • Keep a routine of daily self-care including exercise, eating well, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night.
  • Prioritize your responsibilities without overscheduling yourself.

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” – Eleanor Roosevelt



Holiday shopping is going to be different this year. Retail shopping has a new layer of social distancing guidelines to follow and online merchants make it convenient to purchase without leaving home. Whether you decide if you will safely navigate the in-store shopping experience or let your fingers do the shopping online, here are a few tips to shop safe and avoid going overboard on holiday spending.


  • Follow state guidelines for wearing a facemask and store policies regarding social distancing such as staying 6-feet apart from other shoppers and using hand sanitizer or washing your hands after checking out.
  • Prepare by doing research as to what products you will purchase ahead of time to decrease how long you are shopping.
  • Utilize curbside pick-up. Many stores offer “contactless buying,” where you may shop online and purchases are loaded into your trunk by store employees.
  • Shop during less volume-heavy times or consolidate to make fewer trips to the store.


  • Don’t spend more than you intend. Pause and review before placing an order. Review what’s in your cart when online shopping. Wait a day, or even a few hours to give yourself some time to think about if you really need to spend money on everything you clicked into the cart.
  • Avoid the temptations of the sidebar recommendations. Related products or accessories that pop up or flashy ads that try to tempt you to return are all strategically placed to encourage more spending.
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale.
  • No matter how you shop, this holiday season will be a unique one.


Stay in Therapy – Despite the season making one busy, it is important to continue to see your mental health professional as the holidays can bring up many difficult emotions.

Mindfulness – Staying mindful can be helpful if traveling or running on an unusual schedule. The University of Southern California created a Mindfulness Toolkit that features free mindfulness resources if you are new to the practice. https://msw.usc.edu/mindful-living-resources/

Don’t Rely on Drugs and Alcohol – The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends avoiding drugs and alcohol for comfort. While these substances may allow us to feel we can escape, they can ultimately worsen issues we may be dealing with. If a relaxation aid is needed, turn to mindfulness or being active as a healthy alternative.

Soak Up the Sun – Exposure to bright lights, even fluorescent lighting can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even those without these symptoms can benefit from walking outside in the sun as it can serve as a centering and calming tool.
•   Set Realistic Expectations – Adjust your expectations and set realistic goals. Productivity does not dictate self-worth. Start slow and build on progress.

Sources: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2017/Managing-Your-Mental-Health-During-the-Holidays https://msw.usc.edu/mindful-living-resources/