Everyone loves the crisp air, joyous music, and family times for the holidays. What no one loves is the stress!
We all know it’s coming. Aunt Bethany is flying in from Denver, you have no idea what you’re making for dinner, and you’ve checked every store and still can’t find a single Hatchimals toy…
Stress can increase insulin resistance and lead to higher blood sugar. Your heart rate quickens, therefore, raising blood pressure. Stress also causes tense muscles and can even interfere with your breathing.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to combat the stress and enjoy the holidays. Read on for our stress-busting tips!
Deviating from our daily routines can be a huge stressor. For example, you may find your stress level is more manageable if you keep as close as possible to your regular sleeping and waking times.
For diabetics, sticking to a daily routine is even more important. Testing your blood sugar, as well as, taking your medications on schedule are musts.
Be sure to check your blood sugar regularly. Blood sugar that is too high (or too low), or blood sugar that is constantly spiking and falling will have a definite impact on how you feel.
It may be tempting to reach for an extra cup of coffee (or two), or possibly an energy drink to help get you through the day. Drink with caution, though. Caffeine can raise blood sugar, and most energy drinks contain more sugar than a regular soda.
When it comes to large family meals, eat in moderation. Do not deny yourself your holiday favorites, simply eat more of the available healthy foods, and keep indulgent portions limited. This can help keep blood sugar steady, as well, as prevent gastric upset.
Keep your schedule realistic. During the holidays we tend to push ourselves to the limit, trying to fit all of our to-do’s into the same 24 hour day. Make a plan, then stick to it. Also, try not to worry over every little detail; you’ll drive yourself ‘round the bend!
Don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Ladies, go get that manicure before the big holiday party. If pedicures aren’t your style fellas, hit the golf course or go for a drive and turn up the radio.
Speaking of music, turning up the tunes can help you relax. If you get tired of “Jingle All The Way” all day, choose whichever genre is most soothing.
Put down the phone (and tablet, and laptop.) Try to be present and focused during this time by eliminating constant stimulation from electronics.
When it’s time to end the day, everyone knows nothing feels as good as a great night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults between the ages of 25-65.
Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water keeps your body running and can help keep you feeling refreshed. Every single body system depends on water. The Mayo Clinic recommends 13 cups (3 liters) of fluids daily for men, and 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluids daily for women.
While rockin’ around the Christmas tree at your neighbor’s holiday party, reach for a glass of red wine. Have you ever heard someone say “Red wine is good for your heart?” When consumed in moderation, red wine raises levels of good cholesterol and lowers risk of heart diseases and stroke. Just don’t overdo it, or you run the risk of raising your blood sugar (not to mention the embarrassing photos.)
Exercise also combats stress. It may be more difficult to stick to your normal exercise regimen during the holidays. So, supplement with other activities. For example, after the big holiday meal, take a walk with your family. Or, while the holiday ham is in the oven, play a game of catch in the yard.
Take a few moments every day to simply rest and breathe. By practicing stress-reduction techniques, we can lower the toll on our minds and bodies. Meditation and prayer are two more ways to calm your spirit and relax. Or give yoga a try to combine exercise and meditation in one.
By utilizing these tips, you can forget the stress and make the most of the holidays. We wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!