The holiday season can be stressful, even for people who don’t have diabetes. Planning ahead and getting enough rest can help reduce diabetes stress during the holidays. Here are some tips to help reduce diabetes stress during the holidays!
Plan for holiday eating. By now you know what special holiday foods exist, plan your day knowing that these foods are going to be offered and think ahead about how to incorporate them into what you are going to be eating. Either have small amounts of what you want or choose only one item to have a larger portion of that stays within your carbohydrate goals (0 – 45 g/meal or snack).
Avoid going to holiday parties overly hungry – this will decrease the stress of having to eat foods that are not the healthiest option.
- If you do eat more than you plan for, don’t stress over it or let it sabotage you for the rest of the holiday season – plan to do better next time you eat and move on.
- If you have made the move to lower carb eating because you discovered that your blood sugars are more predictable, less fluctuations occur and your A1C’s have improved, avoid the temptation to prove anything to anyone about how you eat. Even if people make negative comments about your new habits – recognize that their comments may not be coming from a positive place.
Shop smart! If you are going to have a marathon day of shopping, decrease the stress of trying to find foods that fit into your meal plan by preparing food and bringing it with you or looking at menus of restaurants in the area and choose places with options beforehand
Bring snacks with you so you don’t get over hungry and if you are on insulin or another hypoglycemic agent make sure that you have glucose tabs, juice or other sources of 15 g of carbohydrate
Build stress relievers into your day – take a 5-20 minute break where you can take a walk, relax or meditate.
- Drink warm, caffeine free, no sugar added beverages including herbal teas, hot water and lemon and decaffeinated coffee or tea
- Brush your teeth gently with a minty toothpaste
- Wash your hands and massage the sinuses of your face with gentle circular motions
- Tap gently on these 8 points, after you repeat a calming phrase
- Side of eye
- Under eye
- Under nose
- Under arm
- Top of head
Bring a dish! Speak to your family or friends who you are spending the holidays with and offer to bring a dish that fits in with healthy eating for people with diabetes – you’d be surprised how appreciated that will be – most people actually do want to improve their eating habits
Keep Exercising. Not participating in your regular exercise routine because of the holidays can cause stress. Planning helps so if you can’t get physical activity when you normally do, you have a plan for how you can fit it in and the expectations are already set. Remember that you can do GlucoseZone even when you are not home if you have the app.
- If you don’t get the activity that you normally do get, your blood sugars may be higher. Knowing that and expecting it before you see it reflected in your blood sugar levels will decrease your stress.
Practice self care.
- If family members or friends stress you out, you DO have the option to either not spend time with them or only spend limited time with them
- Destress with a bath, shower, massage, reading a book, taking a walk, a nap, sharing your feelings with a friend or journaling, going ice skating, or taking a hike as a holiday activity
Travel can be stressful and sitting for long periods of time can raise your blood sugars. Try to get physical activity on the day of your travel before you leave and if you are traveling by plane or train, walk the aisles during the trip or at the terminal or airport (many airports have signs with walks mapped out with the mileage)
If you are traveling during the holidays, take GlucoseZone with you and share it with your friends and family – make sure that you give us a shout out and let us know who you are working out with!
For more information on how to reduce holiday diabetes stress, check out this video:
About the Author:
LaurieAnn Scher MS, RD, CDE is the diabetes educator for GlucoseZone. With over 30 years in practice, she embraces new technologies and ideas that are grounded in human physiology to help people with diabetes achieve the best outcome. With an undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition from Cornell University and a Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University, Teachers College, she is comfortable applying innovations in nutrition, exercise and diabetes to the current practice of diabetes management. LaurieAnn is comfortable with challenging the status quo to personalize diabetes care recognizing that while diabetes may be similar as a disease state, not everything works for all people all of the time. Join LaurieAnn to help discover how to manage your diabetes in the GlucoseZone