It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but my diabetes doesn’t necessarily agree with that sentiment.
In fact, this December 24th (yep, Christmas Eve) marks my 25th year of living with diabetes – crazy thought, right? I’ll have a dia-versary reflection post ready later in the month, but for now, I find myself thoroughly immersed in the overall spirit of the holiday season.
And with that immersion comes a certain level of strategizing. After all, several of the days leading up to and including Christmas are fraught with a variety of celebrations – some more diabetes-friendly than others. For example, a blood-sugar friendly Christmas activity for me is shopping for gifts in stores, as I can spend a handful of hours walking around and keeping my level nice and steady. Conversely, seasonal staples that are decidedly not conducive to my diabetes/blood sugars are the annual cookie swaps (yes, I have more than one that I go to) hosted by family and friends, as well as just about any type of holiday gathering (whether it’s an office party or gift exchange with my two childhood besties).
So in light of the upcoming festivities, I’ve found myself thinking about what’s worked (and what hasn’t) in terms of making the most of the holidays without letting my diabetes interfere – or suffer. Here’s my general game plan for accomplishing that, loosely inspired by Christmas carols…because I couldn’t resist the chance to put a seasonal spin on this how-to post:
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Pre-Bolus (or pre-bolusing to help ensure more balanced blood sugar levels) – If there’s one tried-and-true technique to keeping my blood sugar levels more stable throughout the many decadent dinners and desserts I consume this time of year, then it’s pre-bolusing. Taking insulin 15-20 minutes before I actually start eating food can be tough to remember, but it pays off big time, particularly when I’m eating foods that I don’t typically have otherwise. So pre-bolusing is perfect for avoiding crazy blood sugar spikes and, in turn, keeps me very merry indeed.
- Dexcom the Halls (or don’t be afraid to talk to others about diabetes loudly and proudly) – It’s interesting how the holidays bring you closer to both those you know well and those who are total strangers, by way of various gatherings. I know that I’ll be spending at least a couple of holiday parties in the company of people I’ve never met before, and I know I won’t hesitate to talk about my diabetes if it comes up organically or if people are curious about the devices adorning my body. In fact, from experience it can be a pretty good talking point when meeting people for the first time, so I won’t try to hide my diabetes from anyone this holiday season and embrace every opportunity to answer questions about it.
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Pharmacy (or stay prepared with back-up supplies) – Honestly, nobody wants to have to worry about running out of essential medical supplies any time of the year, but least of all during the holidays. So I like to keep back-ups of my back-ups on hand so I don’t have to stress about ordering more supplies or waiting for them to show up in the mail along with all the Christmas presents I’ve ordered.
- I Saw Molly Eating All the Carbs (or enjoying every treat with minimal diabetes guilt) – This is arguably my most important holiday how-to, and it’s all about remembering to enjoy every little part of this special time of year. It’s such a short window of time that’s filled with so many celebrations (and treats) that it can be easy to get caught up in guilt over indulging in everything or putting diabetes on the backburner for a couple of weeks. But I’ve found that it’s easier to cope with both of those as long as I keep everything in perspective by reminding myself that the holidays fly by so I might as well just enjoy them for what they are rather than putting any sort of negative spin on them. It’s a lot more fun that way!
One thought on “How I Handle my Diabetes During the Holiday Season”
Most important? Have fun dammit. It is one to ten days. It is not very important what you do at this or any other Christmas. What is important is to get bakc on track.
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