Holiday Tips Inspired By You: 5 Ways To Manage Diabetes This Season
‘Tis the season to reconnect with loved ones and special holiday traditions. While routines often change this time of year, managing diabetes doesn’t. To help you plan ahead, we’ve gathered a list of ways you can stay festive and inspired all season long while keeping your diabetes in check.
1. Stock Up On Supplies
It’s a busy season and being prepared with the right supplies and accessories ahead of time is important. Be sure to have enough supplies to cover the holidays, especially if you’re travelling. Loading up on test strips is also a great idea since you’ll want to check your blood glucose levels more often, especially if you’re having variations in your diet and schedule.
When you’re planning attire for special occasions, like office parties and family dinners, make sure you have the right pump accessory (hyperlink), like a belt clip or pump case, to help you with your festive wear.
2. Brush Up On Travel Resources
The most important aspect of a trip happens before you travel. Take note of our travel resources for a travel checklist, travel loaner programme, and airport security information. Write down your pump settings, review airport security guidelines, and remember to pack snacks to cover the duration of your trip.
3. Get Creative To Keep Moving
Exercising can often get forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate exercise into your day, you might need to get creative (especially when the weather begins to change). Grab your loved ones, bundle up, and grab your skis, snowboard, or ice skates. If you don’t live in a snowy climate, visit your favourite summer hiking or biking trail and find the beauty in just looking at it in a different season. Those of us with less coordination can always enjoy a walk around the neighbourhood or in a local park. To get you started, you may like to check out our videos Exercising with Maria and Be Active, Stay Active.
Remember, staying active can help improve your mood, reduce stress,1 and allows you to take time just for you during the season of giving. Did you know that exercise has both immediate and long-term effects on insulin sensitivity? Physical activity can increase the uptake of glucose from your bloodstream by up to 50 times, which may mean you need less insulin after a big meal2.
4. Look Up Carbohydrate Counts
The holidays are filled with feasts of signature recipes, traditional sweets, and delicious desserts. Since carbohydrate (carb) content in most of these recipes can sometimes be difficult to determine, whip out your carb calculator, and use your best judgment. If you have an insulin pump with a bolus wizard feature, you may want to use that for all it’s worth – it’ll make your life much easier! Try your best to eat smaller but more frequent portions of food instead of skipping meals to save calories for one big meal. Be strategic when selecting your plate — fill it up with vegetables and proteins first and stick to smaller portions of your favourite carb-heavy sides, like pastas and mashed potatoes.
5. Don’t Forget Self-Care
If your to-do lists start to get very long with people to see, shopping and grocery lists, and meals to prep, then stress will likely come on the side. Stress is an important thing to manage when you’re living with diabetes as it can directly impact your blood glucose levels.3 To keep stress at a minimum, remember to check in regularly with yourself and manage your expectations. Prioritise the things that matter most, like spending time with family, reconnecting with friends, staying active and eating well.
Although living with type 1 diabetes may mean you need to consider a few extra things, the holiday season is one to be enjoyed. If you’re unsure of how to go about making the most of the season while managing your diabetes, speak to your diabetes healthcare team for some further useful tips. From us to you, Happy Holidays!
*Editor’s note: This article has been adapted and reproduced from a post published on Medtronic Diabetes US.
- Basso J, Suzuki W. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review.2017;2(2):127 – 152.
- Sylow L, Kleinert M, Richter E, Jensen T. Exercise-stimulated glucose uptake – regulation and implications for glycaemic control. Nature Rev Endocrinol.2016;13(3).
- Diabetes.co.uk. Stress and Blood Glucose Levels. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/. 2019. Available at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/stress-and-blood-glucose-levels.html. (Accessed December 2021).