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Written by Elizabeth W., Diabetes Educator

Elizabeth is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at NMC Health.

The holiday season is a special time for many. There are family gatherings, social outings, and a time for spiritual renewal. For those managing diabetes, the holidays may also have its own unique challenges. That can include difficult to manage blood glucose levels, weight gain, and stress related to trying to make the picture-perfect celebration.

If you’d like some healthy holiday meal tips and tricks for better blood sugar management, please see last month’s post. 

Here are some other areas to consider for a healthy lifestyle this holiday season.

Healthy Activity

Red star tree topper with holiday decorations all around

We know that regular physical activity is an important part of diabetes management.  Staying active during the holiday season can help you relieve stress, improve your mood, lower your blood glucose levels, and help with weight management. If you find it difficult this time of year to fit in daily scheduled activity, try remaining active in other ways. The goal is to move more and sit less.

  • Cleaning your house (scrub, vacuum, mop, changing sheets, dusting).
  • Shopping (park farther away from the entrance, try using the stairs instead of the escalator, arrive early and get in some extra mall walking before the stores open).
  • House decorating (get other family members or friends involved to make it more fun).
  • Walking around the neighborhood to see decorations.
  • Mall walking to enjoy the holiday decorations and music.

Healthy Sleep

woman-sleeping-935777

Prioritizing sleep during the holidays is important as you may find yourself up later than normal this time of year. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults isn’t getting enough sleep. Over time, this can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. If you have diabetes, too little sleep can negatively affect the food choices you make, how well you respond to insulin, and your mental health. Here are some tips for improving your sleep from the CDC:

  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, relaxing, and cool.
  • Remove electronic devices such as TVs, computers, and smartphones from the bedroom.
  • Get some physical activity during the day.
  • Mentally unwind and relax before bedtime.
  • Have a routine that gets you ready for bed, like taking a shower, reading, or writing in a journal.
  • Get in bed only when you’re tired.

Healthy Stress Management

Four Active seniors women walking for exercise outdoors talking together on a misty morning

Stress can cause blood sugars to rise, so healthy stress management is an important area to focus on around the holidays.  Have a plan for what you will do when dealing with a stressful situation.  This will make it easier to respond productively in the moment or may even prevent the stress from occurring in the first place.   Think of things that you enjoy.  Here’s an example of my healthy coping toolkit:

  • Walk my dog
  • Sit on my porch in the sunshine for 10 minutes
  • Deep breathing
  • Praying
  • Ask for help (from family or co-workers)
  • Read a book
  • Write in my journal
  • Get out a puzzle

For more ideas, be sure to attend our upcoming virtual diabetes support group meeting on Thursday, December 9, 2021at 11am. 

References:

Diabetes and Stress, American Diabetes Association

Sleep for a Good Cause, CDC

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