Coping with the Stresses of the Season
Diabetes and Coping with the Stresses of the SeasonDon't think you can make it through another year of parties and holiday pressures? Here are seven tips for making it through the season with your sanity and blood sugar intact.
1. Shop strategically. Start planning your gift-giving list and shopping before the Thanksgiving holiday to lessen your burden once the malls fill up with shoppers. Shopping online or by mail order is also a great way to avoid the crowds and reduce the stress that can wreck havoc on your blood sugar levels.
2. Dash through the snow or deck the malls. The inclement weather and hectic schedule of the season can sabotage a regular exercise plan, so do your best to get in exercise where you can. Winter sports such as cross-country skiing and ice skating are wonderful fitness opportunities if you enjoy them, but even around-the-house activities such as shoveling the sidewalks and joining in a spirited snowball fight have their cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits. And of course, walking the malls is a great way to fit both exercise and your holiday shopping in. Take all the usual precautions with blood sugar monitoring and remember to consult your physician before starting any new physical fitness program.
3. Snack smart. When you're out on long shopping excursions, bring some healthy snacks along and avoid the food court. Small, frequent meals are best for keeping your energy and blood sugar in a comfortable zone.
4. Don't overdo the spirits of the season. Remember, too much alcohol is bad for you at any time of year. If you're going to indulge in a drink, make sure you have food with it, keep the alcohol and sugar content low, and stick to one serving. And make sure your host or companion knows you have diabetes and ideally, can recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar. Anyone who isn't educated about diabetes can easily mistake the disorientation, shakiness, and irritability of a hypoglycemic attack for intoxication.
5. Give the gift of healthy food. Treat your host or hostess to a tasty low-fat or sugar-free dish at the next holiday party you attend. Chances are more than one health-conscious guest will appreciate your contributions.
6. Have a road map for diabetic emergencies. If you're planning any travel this holiday season, arm yourself with a plan to stay healthy. Airlines, trains, and cruise ships typically offer special meal options for those with health conditions such as diabetes, so phone ahead to make sure your dietary needs are taken care of on the way. Bring snacks and plenty of medication in case of unforeseen delays on the road, rails, or in the air. Intercontinental trips that will take you across more than six time zones will require special adjustments to your insulin regime. Talk to your diabetes healthcare provider before you leave to ensure you have the proper dosage information.
7. Wrap up a cure. Shop online for cards, calendars, and gifts from diabetes advocacy groups, and help contribute to advances in diabetes treatment and prevention.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...