This is not advice… but if you’re interested in my opinion, here are the three things I feel I need to be able to navigate the holidays with diabetes as part of my life:
Get plenty of rest. I’m not someone who needs a lot of sleep. Usually, about five or six hours and I’m good to go for the next day. Only the holidays, with their mix of special events, crazy hours (New Year’s Eve, weeknight parties), and lots of delicious food and drink that isn’t consumed at any other time of year, make getting enough rest a priority for me. If I’m properly rested, especially if I get seven or eight hours of sleep, I’m ready to go when The Great Spousal Unit calls me at work and says “Let’s drive around and look at Christmas lights tonight”. I don’t want to miss out on the holiday fun because I didn’t get enough shuteye the night before.
Get as much exercise as possible. With all of the things mentioned above, it’s no wonder our exercise routines get thrown out of whack for the month of December. I get that. I’m the same way. What I have noticed, however, especially in the past few years, is that the more exercise I can get in, the better I feel, no matter what I’m up to. Like diabetes, the holidays are a marathon, not a sprint. Speaking from experience, let me tell you… when you stress your body every day due to lack of sleep and eating and drinking too much, by the time you reach mid-December, you’re soooo ready for the holidays to be over. Any exercise you can squeeze in this month can help mitigate that feeling, partly because you’ll burn off some of those calories you’re consuming, and partly due to the endorphins that are released during exercise.
Enjoy the holidays as much as you can with the ones you love and care about. Even if you can’t get as much rest as you’d like or you aren’t able to exercise, let’s remember: We only have so many special people in our lives, and we only have so many holiday seasons in our lives. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous and do things you don’t normally do. Remember to spend time with the people who want to be with you, and tell them how glad you are that they are a part of your life. Find the joy and happiness that this season is supposed to be about. It’s okay to be a walking Hallmark card. Finding your happiness is even supposed to be good for your diabetes. So… if you celebrate with loved ones this December, you’re kinda doing something that will pay dividends down the road.
Okay, maybe I’m reaching a bit on that last point. But as someone who’s missed out on a lot because I was too bummed out or jaded or whatever to participate, I can tell you that happiness is everything it’s cracked up to be. And you deserve to be happy.
I’ll be moderating Wednesday night’s DSMA Twitter chat beginning at 9:00 eastern time here in the USA. With the beginning of Hanukkah Tuesday night, and Christmas just a week away, and New Year’s a week after that, I suspect we’ll be talking a bit about the holidays and diabetes. Follow @DiabetesSocMed and the #DSMA hashtag to join the conversation.
And while I’m at it, Thank You for reading and being such an important part of my life this year. Happy Holidays!