Monday, November 19, 2012

Here Come the Holidays!: Practical Tips to Be Merry and Bright

As a diabetic, the holidays can become quite stressful for me.  Beyond the typical rushing around, purchasing and wrapping gifts, keeping up with the everyday household duties and childcare, attending multiple parties, etc., there's the looming fact that "the holidays" begin with Halloween and continue through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, my birthday, Valentine's Day, and Easter.    With each holiday comes a slew of events which almost always center around a huge meal.   Balancing my blood sugars is difficult when my daily routine is altered or disrupted (what I eat, exercise, when I eat, sleeping in my own bed, etc.).

To keep your holidays merry and bright, take some time BEFORE the holidays continue to reflect on what does and doesn't work for your family, and follow these tips:

1:  Pick a time where just your immediate family celebrates.    Yes, just you, your partner, and your kids.     Make this time special but relaxing.    For our family, Christmas Eve is reserved for just us.   We go out to dinner (somewhere laid-back like St. Louis Bread Company), go to a Christmas Eve service at church, and come home, get in our pjs, and open gifts from one another.

2:  Carry healthy snacks with you everywhere you go.    When your blood sugar is balanced (this means consuming a balanced snack or meal of protein, healthy carbs (including lots of fiber), and healthy fats), you and your family will be able to sustain traveling, partying, and hosting.      Don't forget to stay hydrated!    Water and herbal teas are favorites in our household.     When you attend holiday events, take along food that is healthy to share with others:  raw veggies, fruit, a whole wheat loaf of bread, a homemade pumpkin pie, hummus and crackers.  

3:  Exercise.  I know, you don't want to be the nerd who is on the treadmill at 7 a.m. Christmas morning, but exercise gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, decreases stress, and helps you maintain your weight during the holidays.     If you don't want to exercise alone, take a child along with you, or your spouse, or that favorite aunt you want to catch up with.   Don't overdo it, nor do you have to do anything formal.   Put your shoes and jacket on and go out for a quick walk.  :)   Or do a short yoga routine.  

4:   Be present.   This is SO difficult to do as a mother.   My mind is always going twenty-miles-a-minute.    I get it.  But instead of always being behind the camera or frantically cleaning up wrapping paper, leave the mess or, better yet, have fun with it.  Crank up some Christmas tunes and have a wrapping paper fight with the fam.

What are your favorite stay-not-just-sane-but-happy holiday tips?

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