Navigating the Holidays with T1D during COVID

December 21 2020

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about shopping lists, holiday plans with friends and family members, and how to keep our children active during their time off from school, while adhering to the safety measures influenced by the global pandemic.

What should not be missed is being mindful that the virtual manner in which we communicate, combined with the colder weather brought on by the coming of winter can make isolation and inactivity a reality for many families during the 2020 holidays. It’s also a time that can be challenging for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). During this time of year, it’s important to remember that having T1D doesn’t mean missing out on the celebrations.

On Tuesday, December 8th we held our final Let’s Talk T1D of 2020 with special guest Michael Watts, who led a discussion on Staying Connected during the Holidays.

Michael is a medical social worker, and a university sessional instructor. He is trained as a therapist and counsels on and psychosocial issues related to adolescents and families impacted by T1D, chronic respiratory challenges and weight and health issues.

Michael’s presentation explored diverse ways in which to protect against isolation while enhancing activity levels during the holiday season. References to the mind, body, spirit and emotional quadrants were explored, as well as practical strategies which aim to create appropriate levels of structure and routine during the holiday season.

This year, as gatherings should be kept small and limited to your household due to COVID-19 – there is more time for idleness and snacking. Pre-planning to try and keep your blood glucose as steady as possible can be very helpful. Work together with your family to plan exercise activities that you can do together; bake or prepare healthier snacks and make sure to carb count.

Navigating holiday time while living with T1D using these tips may help to decrease your stress, relax and recharge:

This year more than ever, the holiday season is about more than cookies and gifts. However you can reach out and connect to your loved ones and friends, whether it be over video chat, text or phone call - stay safe, stay well and look forward to a better year ahead.

  • Stay active. You’ll feel better and have more energy, it will help you regulate your blood sugar and it’s something you can do as a family.

  • Don’t skip meals in preparation for a larger one. Make sure to eat regular and balanced meals that include carbohydrates, protein and some fat. Not only will this help control your blood glucose, but it will make it easier not to overeat at a single meal.

  • Plan ahead. Learn the carb counts of holiday treats that you might love, like Christmas cookies or a glass of eggnog. Plan to accommodate them, so you don’t end up feeling deprived or resentful.

  • Be considerate of what you eat. Do you really want something placed in front of you, or are you just considering eating it because it is there? Eating mindfully can help keep your glucose levels steady and help you better enjoy the food you really want.

  • Test your blood sugar levels frequently so you can stay on top of it and hopefully avoid any crashes or spikes.

  • Be kind to yourself. This will be a different kind of holiday season. Everyone will be feeling the strain, give yourself time and space. If you find that your blood sugar levels drop or spike, correct, move on and don’t beat yourself up over it.

 

This year more than ever, the holiday season is about more than cookies and gifts. However you can reach out and connect to your loved ones and friends, whether it be over video chat, text or phone call - stay safe, stay well and look forward to a better year ahead

 

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