Managing holiday stress and diabetes 18 December 2017 The stress of Christmas can have an impact on people living with diabetes. When you’re trying to squeeze parties, cooking and last minute shopping into an already full calendar the stress can mess with your diabetes management! During the silly season it’s especially important to be mindful of your stress levels as they can impact your blood glucose levels. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress and diabetes during the busiest time of year. 1. Start planning Christmas early It’s true that the early bird gets the worm! Start out December with a plan of how you’re going to achieve what you need by the 25th. Whether you prefer to-do lists or deadlines, it will keep you organised and your Christmas stress levels down. Another way to get on top of the growing pile of jobs is to grab a calendar and start allocating time for getting gifts, food shopping and upcoming events. Planning what you need to get done now will take the pressure off and help you avoid last-minute scrambles when you should be enjoying the end of year festivities. 2. Shop with purpose Around Christmas crowded shopping centres can be stressful and they’re certainly no one’s idea of a good time. When you do go to the shops, try to go early to beat the crowds (and to get that coveted parking space in the shade). Take a list of what you need and work through it logically – it’ll save you a second, or even a third, trip back. 3. Make time to unwind Spending your time relaxing in the lead up to Christmas sounds counter-intuitive, but running around constantly is only going to increase your stress levels which could impact your diabetes. It doesn’t have to be a long spa session – taking half an hour to read a book or go for a walk every day can be enough. 4. Focus on what’s important We can get caught up in finding the perfect present or having a four course meal to present to the family, but remember that Christmas is about being with the people you love. The holidays are a time of celebration and it’s alright if things don’t go according to plan. Even if your back-up plan is less than ideal, you can still crack open a Christmas cracker and enjoy the day. 5. Test you BGLs regularly Stress can impact your BGLs, along with warm weather, food, sugary drinks and alcohol – all of which are in abundance around Christmas. No one wants their results to be outside their target range and the results can cause stress, but remember that regular testing is just a way of getting the information you need to adjust your management accordingly. It’s challenging managing holiday stress and diabetes over Christmas. Speak to your diabetes healthcare team and come up with a strategy together. No one expects you to be perfect!