If there’s one thing that’s usually consistent, it’s the changing of the seasons. Maybe not consistent in the fact that it always starts happening on the exact same date every year, but one could bet good money that autumn will follow summer and winter will follow autumn. So on and so forth. Although most people I know aren’t exactly huge fans of the cold, the seasons bring about the same process where most people complain about the heat in the summer and complain about the cold in the winter.
Personally, I’m a fan of autumn. Not only is the weather cooler so that I’m not sweating bullets when I’m outside, I’m not forced to shovel the copious amounts of snow that drift into my vehicle due to Saskatchewan winds. The autumn also brings a lot of beauty with the changing of the leaves and it almost feels like there’s a change in the atmosphere. Because there is. Even though we’re not in the swing of winter yet and there’s no snow on the ground (at least here in Saskatchewan), the weather has already started to drop and this has some measurable effects on the body and one’s mood.
First thing’s first: let’s dispel the old rumour that the cold weather causes a person’s blood to thicken. Not only is that total bullshit, your blood actually has a better chance of thickening in the hot weather, due to the dehydrating of fluids in the blood. But the colder weather does seem to bring a yearning for curling up and binge-watching a show with various pumpkin spice-flavoured snacks, compulsive napping and most importantly, lack of motivation.
That last one is rather important, especially if you have Type-1 Diabetes. Motivation is a key element in maintaining one’s eating habits, sleeping habits and fitness habits; all of which are affected by colder weather. One of the main conditions that help to make things worse is the fact that the days get shorter and darkness hangs around for longer. This causes change in our moods, appetite and sleep cycles, which brings us to the next problem: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Yes, cold weather can bring on an actual disorder and it can play hell on your system. According to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, can cause lower levels in energy, lack of motivation or mood, difficulties concentrating and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. There are a lot more symptoms, and I’d invite you to click the Mayo Clinic’s link to see them all.
The problem with SAD, especially during the colder seasons (the article does show that there’s a summer version as well) is that it can lead to nasty things like overeating, weight gain, lack of energy and flat out, good old fashioned laziness. As previously mentioned, all of these things are absolutely horrible for people in general, but even more so if you have Diabetes.
Although most health professionals will tell you that you can eat whatever you want so long as you take the appropriate level of insulin for it, that doesn’t protect you form the weight gain you may experience from doing so. If your sleep is affected, your blood sugar levels will be affected. If you have a lack of energy and motivation, the lack of exercise will also adversely affect your blood sugar levels and your overall health.
It can get tough to focus on routine and the status quo, when cold weather kicks in and all a person wants to do is curl up under a warm blanket and binge-watch Star Trek reruns for hours on end. No? Just me? Alrighty, then… But it’s important to maintain proper diet, sleep and exercise, Diabetic or not, in order to maintain one’s health and well-being. Especially since the winter season has the highest percentage of depression of the rest of the year. With the colder weather approaching, self-care and keeping a routine is most important. ☯