Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.  

Diabetes can bring several struggles to your already-busy life, especially during the holidays. It can be a stressful time for anyone, but don’t forget that it can also be a very magical time of year that is meant to be enjoyed rather than survived. Don’t let diabetes put a damper on your holiday spirit. With a few simple reminders throughout the season, you can thrive on that magic that only the holidays can bring—and not worry so much about your next meal or blood sugar reading.

Food has become very much a part of most holiday traditions. In one way or another, at almost every get-together, there will be food served—and not just a little snack or appetizer. And many people go overboard with holiday delicacies in an effort to impress their guests. Remember that it is unnecessary to try everything that is served. In fact, it is probably smarter to eat before you go to a holiday party so you can control your carb intake more efficiently. I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself; just take into account what you are snacking on and set limits so you don’t overdo it.

If you are the one hosting a holiday party, or you are looking for fun ways to celebrate with family and friends, try to center the attention on something other than food. For example, you could start a new gift-giving tradition and share it with your family, or get together with friends and do some holiday service for someone else to make their season a little brighter.

No matter what you do, you will need to be extra-vigilant with your diabetes management plan because there are lots of things that may upset your daily routine during this extra-busy time. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible and plan activities around your normal meal times so that you can have the best blood sugar control possible. Also take into account the naturally elevated stress levels that come with the holidays. Stress can affect your blood sugars, so try to keep your stress to a minimum.

Even though you will need to be vigilant and stay on top of your diabetes, it doesn’t have to determine your overall experience this holiday. You can thrive on the magic of the season if you focus on what really matters.

To learn more about this topic:

Dealing with the Holidays with Diabetes
Holiday Eating Strategies, Part 1