The holiday season is meant to be a precious, joyful time spent with those we love most. For most people, isolation, sadness, and confusion are not typically the adjectives they’d use to describe the holiday season. However, for someone living with type 1 diabetes, these less than appealing adjectives may find themselves sneaking into even the most joyous occasions.
Living with type 1 diabetes presents a whole new set of challenges around feeling comfortable and excited during the holiday season. Something as simple as going to a party can require medication adjustments and a plan of action. Thankfully, once you’ve made it through your first holiday season with diabetes, the subsequent holiday seasons become much more predictable, and thus easier. You’ll feel more and more prepared each year.
One thing I’ve noticed is that diabetes requires routine and maintenance. Even though the winter holidays are an annual occurrence, they are still part of a routine on a larger scale. Social pressures, food, or simply learning how to enjoy the holidays without feeling like you’re compromising your physical or mental health, are just a few of the considerations those of us living with type 1 diabetes have to think about.
Luckily with a little self-compassion, learning, and patience, the holiday season can remain the magical time it’s meant to be. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years on how to survive the holiday season with type 1 diabetes…
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Stand up to Social Pressure
Possibly the most challenging aspect of the holidays to overcome is feeling pressured to eat and drink more than usual. This can be amplified by others at a gathering or party and for people with diabetes, this can really get in the way of having a good time. The most important thing to remember when you find yourself in one of these situations is that you are the one living with the disease!
Don’t succumb to pressure by others and try to maintain a level of confidence about what’s best for you, so that you feel comfortable politely passing on their holiday treats and sweets.