30 Responses

  1. David
    David December 16, 2008 at 6:31 am |

    I have discovered that one way to reduce stress is to get some type of MP3 player (like an ipod) and put on things that you like. I put on my ipod, podcasts, my favorite music, and when wear this when I am working outside and am physically active. It is very easy to change music. During the holidays I arrange my own favorites and play them when ever I need a break.

  2. Windy
    Windy December 16, 2008 at 7:13 am |

    I was chosen as a winner already (thanks!) but just wanted to throw in my two cents for fun,

    I am a huge believer in the power of prayer!! (Like when someone takes the parking spot I’ve been waiting for patiently with my blinker on for 5 minutes at the mall… that would be an opportune time to start praying that I would have the patience to not run into their car…HAHA)
    Yoga. It does wonders for my sanity as a mom of two little ones whom I adore, but often drive me crazy. =)

  3. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth December 16, 2008 at 7:16 am |

    My cure for stress any time of year is taking long walks. The activation barrier is much harder this time of year, leaving a warm home to brave the elements, but just getting out and seeing the sun every day really can elevate your mood.

    I’ve also–and I know this sounds strange–let my neice decorate my OmniPod PDM case with holiday stickers. She suggested it, so how could I refuse? Now it makes me happy every time I take it out to test or bolus…

  4. Scott Strange
    Scott Strange December 16, 2008 at 7:56 am |

    The biggest thing for me to remember is that other people get stressed this time of year also. The trick is telling between those that are just a little edgy and those who are determined to get a reaction out of you. I just vow to myself that I’m not going to stress just because someone else is

    I’d go to my safe place more, but last time I went there, sharks had taken it over

  5. type1emt
    type1emt December 16, 2008 at 8:02 am |

    I try and get lots of exercise…and take multiple soaks in the tub(aka wannabe spa) both of them relieve my built-up muscle tension.

  6. Chris D
    Chris D December 16, 2008 at 8:24 am |

    Remember the reason for the season! It’s not all about spending money and buying present. It’s about the birth of a baby who was sent to save us! I’m not saying not to visit Santa or any of that fun stuff, just try to take a step back from the commercialism. Take a minute to reflect upon all the wonderful friends and family that God has blessed you with and all the things that you can do. Focusing on the positive- helps to down play the negative. Merry CHRISTmas!

  7. Sara Myers
    Sara Myers December 16, 2008 at 8:27 am |

    All year round, but especially during the holidays I make sure and see my accupuncturist, who is of great assistance in helping me to balance my whole body and my mind. It calms me down and forces me to slow down for at least an hour during the madcap everything else. Also, I pay more attention to doing very regular Tai Chi – meditation in movement and finally, making sure to get more cardio advanced exercise. OH! and of course, it goes without saying, tracking the blood sugars since everything is challenged, from big meals at 2 in the afternoon to too many parties. Blessings to everyone!

  8. Suzanne
    Suzanne December 16, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    Yoga and relaxation techniques are key to keeping holiday stress in check. Keeping up with these practices – even for just 5-10 minutes a day – helps me react more calmly to holiday (and winter) stress. On a snainy (snow mixed with rain) drive into the city to see an opera this past weekend, I consciously relaxed my grip on the wheel, released the strain in my shoulder muscles, and accepted the fact that we might be listening to the first act in the lobby due to weather-related traffic. There was nothing we could do, so I just had to drive safely and relax. It takes being aware of your reactions to stress to be able to deal with them. And it takes practicing relaxation (yoga is it for me) when you’re not stressed to be able to deal with it when it comes your way.

    There was actually a great article about dealing with stress in the December ADA magazine, Diabetes Forecast.
    (We did make it to the opera on time, too!)

  9. floreksa
    floreksa December 16, 2008 at 11:03 am |

    Forcing a regular bedtime is my #1 way to combat stress.

  10. tmana
    tmana December 16, 2008 at 11:31 am |

    It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but if you enjoy crafting, consider a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Christmas. Make gifts, rather than buy them (often a bit easier on the January credit-card bills!) — and if you can recycle in the process, so much the better! Some recycling ideas include sock-puppet ornaments from worn-out socks and sweaters, crazy-quilted pillows/stockings/book covers, home-made healthy foods, and even giving time (children’s coupon-book idea for taking out trash, walking dog, etc. payable to parents on-demand).

    If your neighborhood does a lot of street decorations, take some time to stroll through the neighborhood and enjoy your neighbors’ work. If it’s too cold to walk, take a slow drive and do the same thing. If you have the money to do so, take in a holiday concert, Nutcracker performance, or Messiah sing-in at a local church, high school, or other performance space. If not, maybe your town, or a town nearby, has a public concert in the town-square equivalent. In short, enjoy the season.

    Also, some folk find it relaxing and fulfilling to give of their time to the less fortunate — helping out at shelters, and soup kitchens, filling requests from the local “Christmas Angel tree” or “adopting a family for Christmas”, holding bake sales to benefit the charity of one’s choice, or baking cookies for the shut-ins at the local veterans’ home.

    For me and my Other Half, this is the one time a year we get to see his family, and that in itself is relaxing and de-stressing. Plus, the long car ride gives us a chance to see loads and loads of holiday-decorations, listen to hours of holiday music (I have about 50 Christmas albums and about a dozen Chanukah albums), and get into the holiday spirit.

  11. joan
    joan December 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm |

    I have stopped feeling obligated to attend everything I am invited to, I chose carefully what events I will attend. Also, I take every opportunity to destress with exercise. I aread for 20 minutes before bed to relax my overactive mind. This allows me to sleep much better. I do much better with stress when I am well rested.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  12. AngelaC
    AngelaC December 16, 2008 at 2:15 pm |

    In addition to walking, yoga, and relaxing music, I try to do nice things for someone else during the holiday season especially. I’ve paid for other people’s bus fare, helped kids pay for their presents, and donated presents to nursing homes. It helps remind me that, in spite of the difficulties I might have managing my diabetes, others have problems, too.

    I also try to keep in mind that the holidays do not need to go “as planned” in order to be good. If the holiday turkey isn’t browned to perfection, if that “perfect gift” is no longer available in the store, and if the decorations are not hung “just so”, it is not the end of the world. There are almost always options.

    Remember to laugh at yourself and your own foibles. My brother gave me a set of scratch-off lottery tickets for my stocking stuffer one year, and in the dim light I misread the ticket and thought I won big. We spent the rest of Christmas Day laughing at my mistake and had a great Christmas Day. Ah heck, just remember to laugh.

    When worse comes to worse, there’s always the advice that I think all moms used to give their kids: Take a very deep breath and count to 10. SLOWLY. Remember to give yourself that time before you say something you might regret later!

  13. insulin junkie
    insulin junkie December 16, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    I go to my happy place and visualize Frank Costanza screaming “Serenity now!”. This meditation technique, coupled this w/ several stiff drinks, seems to help me get through the season each year ;-)

  14. Cleo
    Cleo December 17, 2008 at 9:44 am |

    I try to remember to take small breaks throughout the day to just sit still, clear my mind, and relax my body. Just a few minutes at a time really makes a difference to keep tensions from building. I also take Pharmagaba when I’m really stressed. It’s an amino acid that many people get deficient in when they’re stressed. It calms the brain in a very natural way. A nice hot or Kombucha tea break also helps.

  15. Sara
    Sara December 17, 2008 at 9:51 am |

    I quickly glanced over the previous comments and I know one of my ideas is listed several times, but I didn’t see the other one.

    I love looking at Christmas displays. Near my mom’s house, there are entire neighborhoods that get in the spirit. So, we will drive over to one of those, park nearby, and walk through. If we can take my niece or nephews with us it is even better! There is nothing like seeing the holidays through a child’s eyes.

    My other suggestion is to volunteer – at a homeless shelter, an assisted living facility, a soup kitchen, etc. No matter what I am stressed about, helping out the less fortunate certainly puts my problems in better perspective. Plus, you are helping someone who is having a rough time enjoy the holidays a little bit more too!

  16. ready
    ready December 18, 2008 at 1:13 am |

    Here’s a few:

    1. Wear your ipod/walkmate/personal music assistant when you go shopping – especially to the mall. Xmas music can bring good cheer, but it can also drive you crazy. Listening to your own choice of music can help keep you calm. It also drowns out bickering shoppers, irritated staff, and kids (& adults!) in melt-down mode.

    2. Put aside some time for YOU. Whether this means spending an hour alone cooking in the kitchen while listening to NPR, taking a hot bath with some lit candles and lavender bath oils, or just curling up with a good book or magazine, make sure you SCHEDULE time to do it. The scheduling part is key – especially if you are part of a busy or hectic home life – announce that you are taking an hour of YOU time this week. It will pay off.

    3. Walk, walk, walk.

    4. Extra tip – if you can, allow yourself to increase the temp of your hot water heater for an extra hot/steamy bath – (Sorry – I live in New England! – we keep it low to save energy, but sometimes the bath is just not very hot!) (Note: take precautions if you’re dealing with neuropathy, though.)

    5. Allow yourself to send an electronic greeting card one year – a very sweet one that says how much you love your friends and family, and that can be “personalized” with Dear ____(Name)____ on each one. Let go of having to send personalized notes to each person by postal mail.

    6. Take a deep belly-full breath. In the car. At the computer. While you’re reading this. Before a meal. At the workstation/desk/office. In a meeting. If you notice a clenched jaw, a pounding head, or an upset stressed out mood, remember: BREATHE.

    Happy Merry Festive Joyous Chriskawaannukah-eid everyone!

  17. kdroberts
    kdroberts December 18, 2008 at 8:59 am |

    When you step back and think about it, there is no reason to get stressed out.

    It’s the time of year when you get together with your family and friends to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you forget to buy somebody a gift. It doesn’t matter if you give a gift that somebody doesn’t like. It doesn’t matter if something for the dinner goes wrong. Pretty much everything that gets you stressed doesn’t matter. If you are religious then none of the religious things that go along with this time of year should stress you out, they should calm you. Mostly though. kick back, relax, get into the spirit and have fun. There is no better way to beat stress than enjoying yourself and having fun.

  18. Krestita
    Krestita December 18, 2008 at 6:51 pm |

    Simple: Enjoy the simple pleasures of life. My family!

  19. karend1
    karend1 December 18, 2008 at 7:46 pm |

    A glass of wine :)

  20. LBLICE
    LBLICE December 18, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    my husband and I are both diabetic. His parents are also. Taking care of them is our biggest stress. We do it for 11 months every year. Our stress reliever is when we put his parents on a plane to the family up north for 5 or 6 weeks. The stress starts diminishing the minute they clear the security gate. We then take the time to reaquaint ourselves with each other and just relax and concentrate on ourselves.
    We also like to play wrestling on the PS3, beating the tar out of an imaginary person is a great stress reliever and has also helped to lower our blood pressure. I have documentation to back that claim up!!! BTW any adrenaline type game will work as well.

  21. Lee Ann Thill
    Lee Ann Thill December 19, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    I’m all about staying creative. Personally, I gravitate toward art and crafty endeavors – making cards (be creative and take care of a holiday task), drawing, painting, computer graphics, knitting. Beyond that, there’s cooking, gardening (which can be an indoor project this time of year), dancing (have fun and get exercise). Even if you think you’re “not good at it”, whatever “it” might be, set your inner critic aside, and do something for the sake of doing it, focusing more on the process than the product. If you can lose yourself in an activity like that, you could emerge feeling mentally renewed. Maybe you’ll get happily surprising results, but if not, it might be an opportunity to stretch your self-forgiveness muscle, something we diabetics don’t seem to be so adept at all the time. Better yet, get a buddy to join you or collaborate with your kid. Help each other, have some good conversation (working alongside your child is marvelously conducive to quality discussion time), and possibly get a few laughs, and you’ll find yourself in a much improved state-of-mind when you’re done.

  22. joan
    joan December 19, 2008 at 9:58 am |

    One more addition – I do my holiday shopping early Sunday morning when the malls open. Parking is so much easier and stores are virtually empty. I can get in and out very quickly.

  23. Hannah
    Hannah December 19, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    I think one of the best things you can do to offset your diabetes stress at the holidays is to just take just take a step back and realize that you’ve handled this before, so you’ll make it through once again. Diabetes is stressful ALL year long, and while the holidays–with their many carb-laden treats, evenings spent indoors, and tasty spiced rum beverages–seem extra challenging, just remember that each day is a new day to start all over.

    Make sure to take insulin for ALL the cookies you ate, not just the one you ate without too much guilt. Go play with your kids in the snow tomorrow since you spent all evening in front of the TV avoiding it. Alternate your alcoholic party drinks with water, coffee, tea or diet soda.

    If you treat your holiday diabetes stress as a series of small, manageable incidents, it becomes so much simpler than fretting over what the entire holiday season means for your A1C. You can make it through one bit at a time. Still not happy enough? Well, 2009 is right around the corner, so start making your resolutions.

  24. Pubsgal
    Pubsgal December 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm |

    This is my first holiday season with diabetes, although not the first one in “acting as if” (early pregnancy #2 and was hoping to dodge the gestational diabetes bullet…didn’t work, by the way). What helped me stay sane this year:
    - Exercise.
    - Getting the cards done before Thanksgiving. It helps that we have that process 95% automated, too (printed address labels, photo card with text pre-printed). For some reason, that’s the most stressful thing for me every year.
    - Not doing *every* Christmas event presented to us.
    - Getting help with the task list. I used to feel like *I* had to be the one to bake cookies, wrap gifts, etc. I’d get pretty stressed. This year, my husband took on the brunt of those tasks, and he did a fantastic job.
    - Staying mostly on track with food. Eating the best “good for me” foods at the right times during the time in between the more challenging moments, such as parties.
    - Reading the great tips here in preparing for party situations and holiday travel! Thanks, everyone!

  25. meg
    meg December 19, 2008 at 5:57 pm |

    One thing I find helpful during the stressful holiday season is planning ahead. Plan and shop for some easy to prepare, diabetes friendly meals. Sit down and map out the holiday events you will be attending. I put everything on a calendar, including the last minute gift shopping and a few trips to the gym. My diabetes control goes out the window when I have to eat whatever is handy, and I stress about having too much to do. Advance planning allows for a better diet , more exercise, and much less stress.

  26. BrendaK
    BrendaK December 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm |

    Seriously, you do not HAVE to bake cookies for every single child’s Christmas program. When every single other parent brings cookies, no one will miss yours. The less you bake, the less you shop, the less you buy, the less you decorate, the less stress will be in your life! Doing all of those things are great if you WANT to do them, but if you are stressing out about not having time to frost and sprinkle the Christmas cookies, it’s really not worth it!

  27. Randee
    Randee December 21, 2008 at 7:05 pm |

    I tackle the holiday stress by being organized. Being prepared comes with being T1, but with holiday parties & travelling & unexpected surprises at this time of year, nothing helps to prevent stress before it starts then knowing that if I all else fails, I have all my supplies ready & waiting.
    And, if all else fails, I head outside to play in the snow …. nothing takes the stress off like taking the time to have some fun in the snow!!

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