How to rock your holiday season this year

12/12/2018 by mySugr
Holiday celebration with sparklers

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with loved ones and celebrate traditions, new and old.

All too often, however, holiday stress is an unwanted guest. We at mySugr understand that even the BEST laid holiday plans can lead to holiday stress that complicates diabetes management. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to help you navigate the holidays while keeping your health, and diabetes, in top shape:
  1. Watch Those Pennies! Year-end medical bills and rolling insurance deductibles can clash with your plans for holiday generosity. And nothing can add holiday stress faster than overspending. Release yourself from the pull of perfectionism and aim for personalization. Plan a gift list and budget BEFORE you shop to keep you on track. Too busy for the big box stores? Embrace the joys of the Amazon Gift Guide. You can avoid the crowds AND those sparkly impulse buys. Got more people on your list than your bank account can sustain? Go artisanal! Bake cookies for neighbors, flavor olive oils for coworkers, and mix up bath salts with essential oils for that distant cousin, twice removed, that you only see once every 365 days. Pinterest is your friend here folks! Side perk: your new year’s budget goals will be that much easier with a dash of holiday spending restraint.
  2. Embrace Your Inner Foodie! Tis the season to enjoy the treats that parade before you but BE SELECTIVE. Holiday snacking can wreak havoc on your blood sugars if you don’t keep tabs on your diet. So, plan smart! Keep your day-to-day eating as clean and on schedule as possible to fuel your body with good nutrition between the parties. Save your splurges for the REALLY tasty goodies and try to resist your favorite barista’s latest peppermint sprinkled invention. If you are invited to bring a dish, bust out your chef hat and dish up something deliciously high in protein and healthy fats. Protein can help your body offset the barrage of holiday-based post-meal blood sugar spikes and you’ll be bringing something YOU can use as a solid party-base before you prowl your way down the cookie exchange table.
  • Heed Those Holiday ‘Spirits’! Tis the season to make merry but watch out for those free-flowing cocktails. Even a moderate amount of alcohol can LOWER your blood sugar thanks to the way your Liver likes to party #sorrynotsorry style. Add to that the excitement of the party and the speed in which time flies when having fun, and you have the perfect mixer for a quick BG drop. Scott Johnson said it beautifully in his blog post on ‘Diabetes and Alcohol’ when he stated, “if you don’t pay some attention to alcohol and learn how it interacts with your diabetes, it will stop your party in one way or another.” So, to be safe, order your drinks on the rocks and let the added ice dilute the booze and slow the consumption down. Beyond that, consider a temporary basal reduction for a buffer and keep your meter and fast-acting glucose close (and designated buddy) close at hand. For a fascinating take on how your body processes alcohol in, we highly suggest Scott’s post HERE.
  • HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! So, we covered the booze and cookies, but did we mention hydrate? Colder temps mean air-drying heaters running more and that can dry YOU out too. Dehydration can lead not only to unnecessary snacking, but it can also contribute to wonky CGM (continuous glucose monitor) readings or even produce trace ketones which bring a host of other nasty side-effects. It’s natural to reach for the comfort of a warm cuppa when it’s chilly outside, but don’t ignore the H2O as well. And while you’re at it, toss in a Vitamin D or Omega-3 supplement to give your immune system some extra support. The extra nutrients could give you a leg up against stress headaches and seasonal depression during these shorter days.
  • Self-Care 101! Managing diabetes well often means living life on a solid schedule to help maintain stable blood sugar readings. But holiday stressors are rife with opportunity to neglect your own health. This year, give yourself permission to pencil in a little “me time”. Be it a single night to stay in and indulge those holiday classic movies, or a splurge on a hot-stone-massage, the downtime in your schedule will do your mind AND body a world of good. Make time for brisk walks during your lunch break to let the sun do a little UV Therapy and just FEEL those serotonin levels increase! Add in some of your favorite tunes or an audiobook you’ve been dying to catch up on and you’ve got yourself the perfect, low-cost, stress reduction technique.
  • There you go! This year ratchet down the pressure to make the perfect holiday. Aim for QUALITY over quantity and you’ll have plenty of energy for the fun that really matters most! Diabetes never stops for the holidays, but hopefully, these steps will help YOU make the most of the season! Subscribe to the mySugr blog and stay tuned. Heather D. Nelson (our newest contributor) will be tackling another big holiday quandary next…. TAKING DIABETES ON THE ROAD! Until then, have a SAFE and HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.

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