It’s that time of year again, when everyone and everything seems focused on holiday fun. We’re all supposed to be enjoying ourselves, but what if you’re not? Diabetes and the holiday blues can be a challenging time for many. It’s easy to feel stressed at the thought of the work, expense and expectations of the holidays. Add the challenges of managing diabetes during the festivities, and it’s no surprise so many people start feeling anxious and a little depressed. We’ve gathered 10 top tips to help you beat the holiday blues – and they’re right here!
1. Start non-food-focused traditions.
Many faiths include a focus on indulgent food treats as part of the holiday festivities. This can be tough for people with diabetes, who are trying to be careful with food intake. Arrange new traditions that aren’t focused totally around food. Arrange to meet friends or family for an ice-skating party, a day on the slopes, or a long walk in the park.
2. Book time for yourself.
It’s easy to run yourself ragged with shopping and other holiday preparations, or even just social obligations. Schedule some ‘me’ time to do something you really enjoy, whether it’s a special massage or just a quiet afternoon with a favourite book.
3. Allow yourself small servings of holiday treats.
Most people with diabetes are able to enjoy occasional small portions of sugary foods. Just be sure to make allowances for these foods in your daily meal plan, substituting that small slice of cake for a bread roll or similar carb.
4. Be self-compassionate.
Don’t beat yourself up if you give in to temptation and end up with a blood sugar spike. Accept that it has happened and remind yourself of the healthy things you did the day before or the healthy things you can do tomorrow. See our expert blogger’s helpful article on this site Be compassionate to yourself as you manage your diabetes.
5. Don’t let the ‘diabetes police’ get you down.
Holidays can bring out the worst in family members, who may start nagging about the things they think you should be doing or not doing with diabetes. Find out how to manage them in this great article How to deal with the diabetes police.
6. Manage loneliness.
Hearing about others planning big holiday events with family members or friends can be tough for those who are already feeling a little lonely. Make the holidays your opportunity to get out and about and meet and help others. Volunteer with a food bank in your community or offer to help out with holiday meals at a homeless shelter.
7. Get active.
Stepping up your physical activity can help to cut down stress. It will also help you maintain healthy blood glucose levels and improve your overall sense of wellbeing. See our article Eight great reasons for physical activity.
8. Take the emphasis off spending.
Avoid post-holiday credit card shock by looking for low-cost activities and in-kind gifts. Enjoy a trip around the neighbourhood to see the holiday lights. Give gifts of promised time to family and friends, with cards that offer babysitting, ironing or chores attended to around the house or yard.
9. Play your favourite music.
Music can often help to lift the mood. Dancing to the music is even better to improve your physical activity.
10. Look after yourself.
Avoid over-indulging in alcohol or too many late nights. It’s hard to feel happy when you’re hung-over or exhausted. Schedule an early night with a long bath and a hot night-time beverage to help ease you into dreamland. You’re likely to wake up refreshed and feeling a lot better.
QUICK TIP – Start looking ahead to a great new year. See our expert blogger’s article Diabetes resolutions for the New Year.