Fort Berthold Diabetes Program

Healthy Holidays

By Celeste Hart RD, CDE

This week is Thanksgiving, it is a time we usually get together with family and friends to enjoy a big meal.  This year we will have to come up with new traditions and find ways to connect virtually with family and friends.  

Many things are happening virtually such as meetings, Church, Bingo, doctors’ appointments, and 5k walks and runs.  With Covid-19 increasing, especially in North Dakota, we need to keep our people safe so they can be here next Thanksgiving.  Who is at most risk? The CDC says adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart conditions and chronic kidney disease.  

Virtual only activities, events and gatherings are the lowest risk.  You could plan a recipe exchange, with family and friends living near you.  Last Easter we didn’t celebrate with the whole family, we each made our own Easter dinner.  Now we know it is safe to prepare a food and leave it on the doorstep.  So each person has their assigned dishes and can prepare for the other families and leave it at their doorstep.  So it is less work than preparing an entire meal and you still get to share the same meal as would with your family and friends safely in your own home. 

Gatherings with more risk are indoor and in-person with individuals from different households.  It is considered to be less risky to gather outdoors 6 feet apart and wear masks.  This would be good if we didn’t live in North Dakota because it is usually too cold to gather outside. 

Because we live in a cold climate we have to find new ways to virtually gather during the holidays.  Most people have smart phones or ipads and can FaceTime or zoom.  Maybe you can play games on zoom, they have at least 16 games like outburst, Guess Who?, taboo and online bingo.  

Check in with loved ones who are alone.  We have been dealing with Covid-19 for nine months.  Many people are experiencing quarantine burnout.  Sometimes if you feel down the best way to bring you out of it is to help others.  You can make food and deliver it to others.  Going for a walk in the fresh air will make you feel refreshed and can improve your mental health.  You can even walk with a friend or relative as long as you maintain a safe distance outside. Now that we have time at home you can do the craft or read the book you’ve been too busy to read.

Dr. William Orme, a psychologist and behavioral health expert at Houston Methodist says, the COVID-19 pandemic may make you feel like you’re just waiting, life on hold, feeling frustrated that there’s no end in sight. This prolonged stress can lead to something that looks and feels a lot like burnout, resulting in:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Uncharacteristic mood states
  • Disconnecting from others
  • Not enjoying things you know you love

More ways to prevent quarantine burn out

Focus on what you can do right now, not what you can’t.  It is almost Thanksgiving, we can find things we are fortunate enough to have, a warm home, food, jobs, family, health, friends.  “If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back” says Regina Brett.

Go back to the basics, like personal hygiene, shower daily and put real clothes on instead of pajamas or sweats.  

Eat healthy foods, you can come out of the quarantine with twenty extra pounds or twenty fewer pounds!  You can eat for the body you want, not the body you have.  Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats will give you more energy and provides the nutrients to keep you healthy. If you have tried to lose weight before and it didn’t work, I like this quote “if you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”  And one more quote, “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”  

Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.  The CDC recommends sleep hygiene habits to help you get a good night’s sleep.  Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning, including weekends.  Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.  Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, iPad, and smart phones from the bedroom.  Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.  Get some exercise.  Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

Please stay healthy, wear your mask, wash your hands and keep social distance.  If you would like a telehealth visit with a registered dietitian please call (701)627-4791.