It’s cold, there are fewer hours of sunlight and you are tired of dealing with your diabetes. For many people with diabetes, as temperature drops, blood sugars rise. Snow, ice and cold weather may keep you inside. You may exercise less. You may eat more. All these things contribute to “winter blues.”
Here are a few tips to better control your blood sugars during the winter months and keep those winter blues away.
There are lots of ways to get active without ever leaving your home (besides shoveling snow!). Try yoga, climbing the stairs a few times, dancing, using a Wii or Xbox Kinect — even cleaning your room. Get your muscles moving to warm up, clear your head and lower your blood sugar.
When you are sick, your diabetes is more difficult to control. If you do get a cold, virus or flu and you develop ketones, make sure you follow your sick day rules. Contact your nurse practitioner if ketones persist. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, washing your hands frequently and getting your flu shot can prevent illness and keep you healthy all winter long.
Some people order out more often so they don’t have to make a shopping trip out in the cold. Food that is ordered out like pizza or pasta and premade frozen dinners can be loaded with extra calories, salt and fat.
When you cook in your own kitchen, you know exactly what goes into the meal. You can also make sure that you have veggies and fruit for each meal. You’ll also save some money and stay warm by the stove.
Having a friend over can keep you feel connected with others. Simply talking can lift your mood and make you feel less isolated. It may take a little effort to stay in touch with others but if it wards off the winter blues, it’s worth it.
Despite your best efforts, winter blues can take over and you may feel depressed. We all have bad days but if you feel “blue” for a while, you may want to seek help. Contact the DCC social worker if you are concerned.
Guarding against the winter blues can help with your blood sugar control. Following the above tips (keeping active, counting the carbs that you eat and staying connected with others) will help keep your body and mind healthy. Enjoy the winter!