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 your appetite as well as your blood sugar levels, so you’ll want to manage it.
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 center crowds.
For everything else, take a deep breath. Accept that this is a stressful time—especially when you are living 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 30g of carbohydrate as well as protein. Then, enjoy dinner and leave yourself some slack: allow for the inevitable treats, such as Aunt’s cake.
Be gentle with yourself. Don’t burn out from constant concern over your blood sugar, your 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 healthcare 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 gets on your nerves, don’t let it get to you. After all, the Holidays comes once a year!
American Diabetes Association (2014). Healthy Living. Retrieved from: 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 June 24 2021.
American Diabetes Association (n.d). Understanding diabetes and mental health. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/stress.html. Accessed June 24 2021.
Diabetes Québec (2018). Delayed or Early Meals. Retrieved from: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/understand-diabetes/practice/special-situations/delayed-or-early-meals/. Accessed June 24 2021.
Health Central (2020). Let’s talk about diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.healthcentral.com/condition/diabetes. Accessed June 24 2021.
Health Central (n.d). 8 diabetes-friendly holiday recipes. Retrieved from: https://www.healthcentral.com/gallery/recipe/diabetes-friendly-holiday-recipes. Accessed June 24 2021.
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