Diabetes Blogs

Getting Started in 2014

Over the last few weeks, I've written about surviving the holidays, looking back on 2013 and looking forward to 2014, staying calm amidst the holiday storm, and other topics related to the stressors of the holiday season. 

So, how did you do? How were your holidays? Did you stay calm, enjoy yourself, and resist the temptation of going overboard in terms of drinking, eating or otherwise partying more than you know you should? Was it a success on various levels? Did you learn any valuable lessons? 

Being in the Present

In terms of staying attentive to the present moment, I wrote the following in a previous post: 

"No matter how stressful the holidays are, it's also important to enjoy the fun aspects of this festive time of year, reminding ourselves of what it's really all about.  

"Look for the positive, connect authentically with others, do your best to be present, and allow yourself to have a good time. The stress won't get you anywhere, but the togetherness of family and the cheer of the holidays can be a great balm for the spirit.

"Let yourself have fun, delegate some work and responsibilities to others, and remember that, in the end, it's really all about love, joy and togetherness."

Were you able to connect authentically with others, have fun, and be mindful of what the season is really all about? 
Regarding stress, I wrote the following in another recent post: 

"When living with diabetes, we recognize that controlling stress is an important aspect of our overall self-care regimen, and with the tempting potential for overeating and overindulgence during the holiday season, it’s all the more reason to get our stress under control and keep ourselves in equilibrium to whatever extent we can manage.

"Avoidance of stress is a lovely notion that can seem unrealistic, there are indeed some stressors that we can plan for, going so far as to avoid them if we can (or at least mitigate their power over us).

"One way that many of us run into trouble around the holidays in terms of stress truly comes down to poor planning and preparation. Granted, our lives are busy (and only get busier towards the end of the year when travel and holiday celebrations enter the fray), but we can also thoughtfully prepare for what’s coming by acting preemptively."

How did you do in terms of stress? Did you notice your stress levels rising and did you take action to reverse the process? This is a great challenge, and I hope you were able to keep your stress under control. 
Moving Forward From Here
Oftentimes, we learn lessons during challenging periods of our lives, and the holidays are one time of year when we can indeed learn a great deal about ourselves and then make new plans for the future. 
While I'm not a fan of New Year resolutions, I am indeed a fan of learning from the past and making adjustments for the future, so I urge you to consider both your successes and your challenges from this recent holiday season. 
  • Did your exercise regimen fall apart over the holidays?
  • Did you indulge in too much alcohol or sugar?
  • Did you lose yourself in the busyness of the holidays and fail to really connect with friends and family because you were too distracted? 
If these or other issues and challenges are areas where you feel you could do better, now's the time to acknowledge them, examine them, and begin the process of figuring out how to do it differently.
From my perspective, how we handle the holidays is often emblematic of how we handle the rest of the year, and it's just that the concentrated stress and expectations of the holiday season can really take us to the edge of our ability to cope. 
So, take some time to examine what you did well, what could have been better, what you may want to do differently next time, and how some of these lessons could be applied throughout the year. 
Stress can impact diabetes in many ways---including your blood sugars and blood pressure---so learning and growing and altering your lifestyle in the interest of your health is important. 
Good luck beginning 2014 on a good foot, and feel free to let me know how you're doing! 
Happy New Year!





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