‘Tis the season indeed. Family, food, festivities and more (food). The holiday season can be especially challenging for persons with diabetes. Fortunately, a little pre-planning will help you control the temptations and enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Here’s a few tips to maximize your health and wellbeing during the upcoming season.
Control your surroundings as much as possible. First off, the holiday meal is simply that- a single meal, and not a free pass to unlimited eating and drinking. Stick to your normal, healthy, day to day food choices and you lower the risk of erratic blood sugar levels. Although you may not control the menu when invited out to eat, expect some variation and prepare ahead of time. Offer to bring an appetizer (fruit or veggie tray) or main dish to a family gathering, and you gain some control over your surroundings. (Did you slip up despite your best efforts? Forgive yourself and move on. Just don’t let an isolated slip-up ruin your entire day, by giving way to continued poor food choices.
Stay active during the holidays. Holiday stress is real. Although we enjoy the quality time spent with family and friends, there is significant stress around balancing work, social activities, and family time. Mark your calendars with dedicated “me time”. Yoga, meditation, dance, bicycling and walks are all easy ways to reduce stress. Do not let bad weather negatively impact your workouts. When the weather is challenging, head to the local gym or indoor mall. Furthermore, limit alcohol intake, get a good night’s sleep, and stay hydrated. Lower stress levels also reduce the risk of poor food choices, and stress related food binges. Good health practices ensure you will be feeling your best during the holiday season.
Keep your expectations realistic. Although easier said than done, we need to learn to keep things simple, when possible. Preplanning menu items, holiday decorations, gift giving and more are all ways to keep you focused, energized and able to enjoy the moment. Take time now to seek out easy food recipes, stock the pantry early, and have diabetic friendly food items within easy reach.
Focus. When all is said, and done, the holidays are not about the food, gifts, and gatherings. They are about celebrating what is truly important: family and friends; good health and happiness. Take a moment and truly appreciate all the blessings in your life. Close out 2016 celebrating the year gone by, with all its wonderment, and welcome 2017 with open arms. Happy holidays!
Diabetes and holiday stress: How to stay in control