Dealing With Holiday Stress
During the holidays, everything is turned upside down: you eat at random times, you sleep too little or too much. Then there are the last-minute gifts you need to buy, the long trips you need to make… And on top of it all, you still need to manage your diabetes!
First and foremost: don’t panic.
Stress affects appetite as well as blood sugar levels, so you’ll want to keep it under control.
Target stressors and avoid them if at all possible. For example, do your gift shopping earlier during the year, or order online instead of facing shopping centre crowds.
For everything else, take a deep breath. Accept that this is a stressful time—especially with diabetes!—and then build your game plan:
- EXERCISE. Can’t get to the gym? Go outside and enjoy some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating with your family. Try out unusual activities: tubing, building a fort, or even a friendly snowball fight!
- MEALS. Is dinner running late? At your usual meal time, eat a snack containing 15 to 30 g of carbohydrate and some protein. Then, enjoy dinner and leave yourself some slack: allow for the inevitable treats, such as Aunt Susan’s cake.
Be gentle with yourself. Don’t burn out from constant concern over your blood sugar, insulin injections and so on. So you ate too much last night? The deed is done; don’t beat yourself up over it. The last thing you need is negative emotions!
Spare some time for yourself. Family, friends, colleagues… Seeing so many people can invigorate you, or, conversely, deplete your energy. Allow some time for a rejuvenating activity: reading, meditating, a day at the spa or anything you want!
Seek out support. If you feel overwhelmed or depressed, talk to a relative or a professional. Speaking up will take a load off your shoulders and set you on the path to a solution.
Your preparation is fool-proof. But if Uncle Stan gets on your nerves, don’t let it get to you. After all, Christmas comes but once a year!
American Diabetes Association, “5 Ways to Avoid Diabetes Burnout”: http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2014/08-aug/5-ways-to-avoid-diabetes.html?loc=morefrom&__utma=227028104.483721962.1421357932.1421357932.1421357932.1&__utmb=227028184.108.40.2061357932&__utmc=227028104&__utmx=-&__utmz=227028104.1421357932.1.1.utmcsr=(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=223731608. Accessed January 15, 2015.
American Diabetes Association, “Stress”: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/stress.html. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Diabetes Québec, “Delayed or Early Meals”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/understand-diabetes/practice/special-situations/delayed-or-early-meals. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Health Central, “Holiday Eating that Respects Diabetes”: https://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/c/17/157699/respects-diabetes/. Accessed January 15, 2015.