A Day in the Life of a Dietitian: My Favorite Ways to Unwind

A Day in the Life of a Dietitian: My Favorite Ways to Unwind

May 24, 2022Danielle Matthies, RD, CD, LD

Do you feel like you’re always on the go? Like most minutes are accounted for before the day even starts? Between work life, mama life, and just life in general, I know I do! I’m your typical type-A dietitian, so I thrive on being busy, but I also know that all go and little stop can wear on my physical and mental health. So taking time for myself is not just a nice thing to do; it’s a necessity. And while I’m nowhere near perfect at practicing self-care, here are 5 things I do throughout the day and recommend to help unwind:

  1. Sunshine

So good for the body, mind and soul – especially if you can simultaneously be in nature while soaking in those rays! One of the first things I do in the morning is open all the blinds and let that bright light naturally wake me up. Or for cloudy days and winter, I pull out my Verilux HappyLight. I also take a Vitamin D Supplement daily to help make sure I’m getting the full health benefits of what the “sunshine vitamin” has to offer.

  1. Lavender

If I’m feeling on edge or anxious, a deep inhale of lavender scent puts me in a more calm space. I keep one of the Aura Cacia Lavender Roll On Essential Oils by my bedside and in my purse at all times. I love that they’re super portable and offer a sense of relaxation wherever I go. If I’m giving a big presentation or on a flight, there’s a good chance I smell like lavender!

  1. Movement

Throughout the day, movement helps clear my mind and work out body stiffness. When I’ve been sitting at my desk too long or am stuck on a project, a quick walk helps me reset. And when I’m at home, I love moving with my kids. Our favorite activities are dancing, going for walks, and yoga, and this Gaiam Yoga Mat Wash helps keep the equipment we’re using clean too!

  1. Caffeine-Free Tea

I usually just stick with plain water, but there’s something very soothing about a warm drink at the end of the day. My go-to choice is Yogi Caffeine Free Lemon Ginger Tea, but I also enjoy many of Yogi’s other caffeine-free varieties.

  1. Cooking

Maybe it’s because I’m a dietitian, but there’s something very therapeutic about cooking! Chopping vegetables, especially, has a rhythmic motion to it that really helps me relax. Plus, did you know certain nutrients in food can actually help reduce stress and boost your mood – like antioxidants from fruit and tryptophan from leafy greens and chicken? Give them a try with this recipe!

Wheat Berries Strawberry-Chicken Salad
Serves 4

All you need:

1/3 cup uncooked sorghum
2¼ cups water
1/3 cup uncooked wheat berries
½ tsp salt, divided
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cup mixed salad greens
1½ cup sliced strawberries
½ cup (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese
Balsamic dressing, optional

All you do:

  1. Rinse sorghum; place in a large saucepan. Add water, wheat berries and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until grains are tender. Drain any remaining liquid; set aside.
  2. Season chicken with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper and garlic powder. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add chicken to skillet. Cook chicken for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cool slightly. Cut chicken into strips.
  3. Line four dinner plates with salad greens. Top with chicken, prepared grains, strawberries and blue cheese. Drizzle with balsamic dressing, if desired.


Looking to know more about how food relates to mood and other aspects of your health? Your Hy-Vee dietitians are your food and nutrition experts. Connect with us and our services at: https://www.hy-vee.com/health/hy-vee-dietitians/default.aspx.

*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

About the Registered Dietitian

Dani Matthies, RD, CD, LD has been a registered, certified and licensed dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for nearly 10 years. With degrees in Community-Medical Dietetics and Spanish from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, as well as additional training in Health Communication from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she is able to take science-based nutrition information and translate it into easy-to-understand and practical advice.

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