It’s that time of the year again. The season when you can wear warm clothes and indulge in warm comfort meals. And unless you live in a city like Delhi with its smog and extreme temperatures, the winter months ought to be a welcome change. But this year, with the continuing pandemic, and the threat of other seasonal diseases on the horizon, we know you might be more worried than excited, for winter.
Especially as a diabetes patient, the winter season could hinder your usual routines and make you want to stay in. But understanding the problems you may face, and taking precautionary measures can go a long way in handling the challenges of the winter months better.
Whether you are worried that you won’t be as active, or that you may have a little too much hot chocolate, we’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to know the potential problems that most diabetes patients face and the precautions that we suggest you should take:
1. Continue Being Active
We understand how hard it must feel to get out of your comfortable bed on a cold morning. But continuing to stay active, is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you’re a runner or go for morning walks, the winter months are sure to provide an easier time for you.
Without the sweltering heat, you might even find the more cool weather to be invigorating. Even if you don’t step out of the house, doing a little exercise routine at home can wake your body up and get you going for a productive day.
If you do start skipping on your workouts, you’d be sure to pack on the winter weight quicker than you can say ‘hello’. So we suggest finding a time of the day when you feel energetic, and doing your favourite activity of choice.
2. Find Healthier Winter Comfort Food
We all love a good cup of warm chai during the cold weather. Or maybe you’d prefer having some hot chocolate or even pakodas. While your body settles in for the winter, it is natural to crave more comforting food. But we suggest skipping the heavy food and sugary drinks.
You can get the same kind of experience having a cup of lime tea, or even some warm vegetable soup. The most important thing that you can do for your health, is to find alternatives to your comfort meals that don’t feel forced. Find healthy alternatives for your winter favourites, and indulge in those, over the unhealthy version.
3. Watch Out For Winter Diseases
The seasonal flu is no easy matter when you’ve got pre-existing conditions. Even coming down with the common cold can make you feel less energetic and even worse, your glucose levels may fluctuate as a response to colds, flu and viruses. Make sure to keep yourself warm while stepping out, eat as healthy as you can and continue to track your sugar levels if you do get infected.
4. Keep An Eye On Your Feet
Cracked and dry skin during the winter season, goes much beyond vanity. We’re sure you know how vulnerable your feet are, as a diabetic patient. Excessive loss of moisture can cause your skin to crack, peel and even become infected during the winter months.
Do all that you can to protect them – wear appropriate footwear, keep it dry from sweat if you are working out, apply creams to keep them healthy, and be sure to check for any cuts, sores, or even dry spots. If you experience any painful lesions on your feet, reach out immediately to your doctor to know your next steps.
5. Don’t Just Guess, Track Your Vitals
A touch of flu, a little holiday fun, or even skipping on your daily workout can all impact your blood glucose levels immensely. It will do well for you to consistently track your glucose levels, no matter how your lifestyle is faring. Keeping an eye on your glucose level over a period of time can help you understand its trends and your doctor can guide you better.
Even when you are keeping up with your regular routine, the lower temperature can affect your readings. So keep your glucometer handy, and be prepared to make some wintertime changes that your doctor recommends.
6. Prioritise Your Mind As Well
The winter blues are a real deal. For many people, the colder weather can affect their mental health. The gloomier weather, not getting to step out enough, or even the general lack of Vitamin D from sunlight can contribute to a drop in your mood. But following the above-mentioned steps like moving more, eating healthy, and generally taking care of your physical health can help your mental health as well. If despite all this, you find it hard, you could connect with a loved one, or even seek out therapy options.
7. Ensure You Get Enough Water
While the weather and your diet and activities can impact your diabetes, there is another factor that weighs in significantly – your hydration. Most people tend to forget the importance of maintaining an ideal fluid level in the body. Filling up on water, or variants of it like tea or infused waters can help balance the electrolytes in your body. Diabetes patients are prone to dehydration and this can lead to dangerous problems like diabetic ketoacidosis if left unchecked.
8. Continue To Be Alert About COVID-19
While you might be elated at the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, you’re still far from being safe. It’s important that you continue to practice all the recommended precautionary measures that will keep you safe from COVID-19. Continue to stay at home as much as possible, take remote consultation for routine appointments, and get doorstep delivery of your medicines and ensure that your condition is as well managed as possible.
While some of these guidelines are common, it’s essential to revisit them through the winter months. Get your whole family involved in taking these healthy steps and help everyone to sail through the season with a better approach to their physical and mental wellbeing.
What do you do during winter to stay safe and manage your diabetes better?
Tell us in the comments below!
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