Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Holiday Survival 2010

Dec 09, 2010

Here we are in the holiday season. The pretty lights, the buzz of shopping, and lots of snow falling in Syracuse! There are many holidays that we, and people we work with that have diabetes, may celebrate including the Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican), St. Lucia Day (Swedish), Hanukkah (Jewish), Christmas Day(Christian), Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish), Kwanzaa (African American), and Omisoka (Japanese). This should be such a joyous season. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly stressful for many of us. How do we survive?

One thing I do is stay in my exercise routine - my stress reliever. It is easy to turn the car into the mall or grocery store rather than the gym. How do you manage this? How about getting to the mall and walking a loop before shopping? I love looking at holiday lights. This can make a walk/stroll or run more enjoyable. Something to think about and suggest to others.

The other thing I do is not try to do it all. This is going to sound like Scrooge, but I don’t put up a big tree. Where this is a stress-reliever for some (Yeah, if that is you!), it is stressful for me. So, my little metal tree with my favorite ornaments goes on the dining table and I am done.

I don’t bake cookies. That’s an easy one. I don’t bake anything either! Others love spending hours in the kitchen creating their holiday favorites. Is that you? Do you create a holiday atmosphere while you cook or bake? How?

And, I have gotten over the idea that I have to get the absolutely most perfect present for everyone. I do put a lot of thought into what I buy/make. But, at some point, it is better to get a nice present rather than killing myself to try to find the best.

For people with diabetes and those who struggle with their weight, these holidays present additional challenges. Most of them involve food! I saw a show that suggested controlling extra calories by making choices. The options were (a) 4 cookies, (b) 2 glasses of wine, or (c) 1 dessert. On 7 days [Christmas Eve, Christmas Day (adjust for non-Christian holidays), New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and any 3 other days], a person could have their choice of one of these. On other days, we stick to the meal plan. This allows involvement in holiday gatherings and satisfaction of having treats without going overboard every day. What do you suggest? Do you have any secrets? Or had any successes?

What are your celebrations or traditions? We would especially love to hear if you have a particular religious, cultural or ethnic tradition. No matter how simple it may seem, let us know what you do to make the holiday season the happy, joyous time it is meant to be.

And, may you all have a wonderful, peaceful and healthy season!

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