During all the busy-ness of the holidays, it is important to pay attention to our health. This time of year is often especially difficult for people managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or depression.
While it can be tempting to "take a break" from the drudgery of managing your disease, remember that chronic conditions never take a holiday. Letting your diabetes or blood pressure get out of control, even for a little while, usually leads to greater problems down the road. How to cope?
Here are a few simple "Do's" to stay healthy while still enjoying all the festivities.
- Do continue to take your medications and insulin injections and test your blood sugars on time, as part of your normal routine. This is so important.
- Do go to parties and visit friends and relatives. The personal interaction is important this time of year to keep up our spirits. Just avoid overdoing it at the buffet table, while still joining in the games, singing, visiting and watching football.
- Do get your daily exercise. Walking can be even more fun while looking at holiday lights and decorations. If you live in a colder climate, be sure to bundle up and get some fresh air.
- Do eat the right foods, in moderation. Focus on protein-rich items and avoid the carbohydrates and desserts when possible. Put small portions on your plate and take very small bites. Try drinking a glass of water before your meal to help prevent overeating. If someone insists that you try their favorite dessert, again just eat a very small amount to satisfy them and still stay on track.
- Do avoid alcohol as much as possible. If you must drink, put your glass down after a few sips and follow it up with a bottle of water. You'll be able to enjoy the party and still not overindulge.
- Do take part in gift giving, but again in moderation. (Or perhaps consider giving your time and talent, rather than expensive gifts.) Overspending can quickly lead to debt, a burden which can cause stress and even depression.
- Do volunteer. Whether it's serving meals to the homeless, visiting shut-ins, or working with animals, it will benefit both your mental and physical health. Staying in regular contact with others helps protect you against stress and depression and the physical activity involved can be good for your health.
The information provided within this site is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider.