By: Jillian Rippolone
Managing type 1 diabetes during the holiday season can sometimes feel overwhelming. In addition to the long to-do list like travel plans, buying gifts, scheduling holiday parties, living with type 1 diabetes adds a whole set of considerations to those everyday tasks. Travel plans? I need to make sure I have enough insulin and diabetes supplies packed. Buying gifts? I’ll be out shopping all day and should bring snacks with me to keep my blood sugar levels at bay. Holiday parties? I need to be especially mindful of how many cookies I indulge in — they’re addictive! In order to keep your priorities focused on quality time with family, friends and loved ones this Holiday season, below are my top 4 tips to keep in mind when managing your diabetes.
- First, be kind to yourself. I firmly believe this is one of the most important reminders during the holiday season living with T1D. Between family, work, and prepping for various holiday festivities, there are a variety of stressful situations that can elevate our blood sugars. It’s important to give yourself a chance to decompress to enjoy the season without placing too much pressure on yourself. Plan out an activity once or twice a week that can help you relax. Some of my favorite activities are journaling, yoga, or watching a holiday movie (I prefer Hallmark)!
- Next, pay attention to your balance and moderation when eating this holiday season. If you’re anything like me, you likely have a sweet tooth. This is especially difficult during the holidays, with so many scrumptious treats! To manage your T1D, the key is to enjoy all food and goodies in moderation to help maintain steady blood sugars. Completely cutting out a food or overindulging can lead to a rollercoaster of glucose levels — finding a healthy balance and enjoying these foods in moderation can help prevent these spikes. My priority is to always try to keep my glucose levels right in my target range, keeping me confident about what I’m eating this holiday season.
- Amidst the many holiday gatherings, another tip to stay on top of your T1D is to make a plan. Traveling and eating times may vary and while it’s great to be flexible, setbacks with diabetes can happen when you least expect it. Prepare before you leave your home by carrying extra diabetes supplies and snacks with you to these events. I always pack a small backpack and leave it in my car with any backup supplies I may need. Sometimes there can be mishaps with your diabetes devices or a sudden low blood sugar warning may strike, but staying well prepared can help you have peace of mind and prioritize your holiday festivities.
- My final tip can sometimes be the hardest to execute: try not to skip meals or snacks and limit alcohol consumption. When you skip a meal or consume too much alcohol, you can risk low glucose levels, which can really put a damper on your holiday plans and spirit. Schedule your meals or snacks accordingly and always remember to drink responsibly. When you’re drinking any alcoholic cocktails, be sure to ask what added juices and syrups might be in your beverage, so you can plan your diabetes management appropriately. My go-to cocktail is a classic vodka and club soda with fresh cut limes, which doesn’t affect my blood sugars drastically. Eat, drink responsibly, and enjoy!
The holidays are always a festive time of year and I hope that my diabetes tips can help you better prepare for this holiday season. It’s important to prioritize your health and make the best choices for your diabetes management style. I will be continuing to share my diabetes holiday tips all season long! If you would like to connect with me online, you can find me across my social media platforms @T1Dchick! Happy holidays, diabuddies!
About the Author: Jillian Rippolone is a Lifestyle and Health & Wellness content creator on her social media platforms, @T1Dchick. She lives with type 1 diabetes and has become a patient advocate in her diabetes community. She resides in Michigan enjoying the lake life with her husband Michael.