Holidays and attitude to diabetes
Holidays come round once a year for most of us. We work all year to pay for it and it is always a much needed break from everyday life. It is great to just kick back and chill out for a couple of weeks, leaving the stresses of life behind for a bit. However, when you are a type 1 diabetic there is one thing you can’t take a break from.
Diabetes is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year thing. We get no holiday from this, it’s always there niggling in our minds.
This year though, I decided I was going to make my diabetes take a backseat. I was determined to enjoy my holidays, food and cocktails included!!
A break improves our mental health
I think that relaxing your control for a couple of weeks per year is important. I know that bad control can lead to complications, however if you don’t ease off sometimes it will take an even bigger toll on your mental health. Constantly assessing all you eat and drink effects you mentally, and will eventually lead to diabetes burnout.
Tight control, don’t worry for a couple weeks
My control is usually very tight, my SD (standard deviation) is normally between 1.2 and 1.9 which is considered by many to be very tightly controlled. However it is amazing how a couple of weeks with your eye off the ball takes a huge toll on these numbers. A few cocktails during the course of the evening and your blood sugars are hitting the 20’s before you know it. Combine that with the heat during the day causing a couple of hypos and before you know it the SD number is all of a sudden more like 3.7 –
swings in blood sugars like this really do make me feel quite ill and I certainly wouldn’t want this to be the norm.
Tips and tricks
A few tips and tricks I use to limit the grief caused by diabetes on holiday
- Check your blood sugars more often for first couple of days until you know how the heat effects you
- If on an all inclusive try and still maintain control over portion sizes
- Go for the low carb option foods, really helps keep numbers sensible
- Check your drinks with BS meter to see if the diet mixer is really diet
- Try and get some exercise in, a walk before breakfast works for me or join in the water polo etc
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
- Try to drink plenty of water
- Keep insulin cool using a Frio pouch, ruined insulin will certainly ruin your control – ➡ Frio UK Website
- Remember as your holiday goes on your weight will increase and so will your insulin needs
I went to Cape Verde on my holidays this year, and had a great time. I enjoyed far too many cocktails, copious amounts of Gin and lots of food. The upshot of all this is my control went to pot but I enjoyed it. Mentally I feel refreshed and ready for the year ahead. By mid October my tight control will be back and the holiday will be a distant memory. Long term any damage caused will be very minimal but the mental health benefits are much longer lasting.
Take care and ease off whilst there
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