5 Off The Beaten Path Ways to Manage Diabetes
It’s been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to sit down and write about managing my diabetes. Part of that is a desire to not ‘repeat’ myself to others, as well as the current insanity that is my life. And in that insanity, I have found that there really is a lot more to managing diabetes than the usual advice we get from our medical team, or from our educational diabetes classes. It’s an on-going learning curve which makes sure we stay on our toes, and mindful of our circumstances.
Whether we are experiencing the death of a loved one, a divorce, a loss of employment, or other character challenging circumstances, we will need to focus more intently on the quality of our living in order to better care for our diabetes.
And just what exactly do I mean by that? I mean areas of self discipline which – if not cared for – add to the stresses of needing to manage a chronic health condition. Things like:
- Food Budgeting: Yes, we are all familiar with the costs of diabetes medications. Medical expenses tend to take a huge cut from our regular budgets. But often, we may not think that budgeting appropriately for our food pantries is also an important consideration. If you spend the beginning of your month eating like a king, and the tail end of your month eating ramen – it’s time to revisit your food budget.
- Decluttering: A well-kept home environment is so important. It really is very influential in our daily moods, and our disposition for facing the world. A home steeped in extra messes, and waste, is a home in which you’ll likely get sick more often, feel moodier, less energized, and won’t be able to easily find your diabetes tools and medicines. It is also, often, a home in which you won’t feel very inspired to sit down and eat a well-cooked, healthy meal. If your dishes are constantly dirty, or you can’t find them – you won’t want to go through the extra effort of this, plus cooking and then default to eating quick-fix, junk food.
- Getting Enough Sleep: Not getting enough sleep has a direct and negative influence on our blood sugar levels. The body remains tired, and stressed, and ready for a fight or flight. This triggers hormones which attempt to soothe the situation by giving us extra ‘glucose’ to fight off the stress or threat. Resolve to get enough sleep, and you will have better glucose levels, a better disposition during your day, and increased creativity and focus. You will also be more likely to cook yourself a healthy meal, rather than reaching for junk.
- Drinking Enough Water: Most of us simply do not get enough water. But drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to manage diabetes. When we have more fluids in our blood stream, or blood becomes less dense, and thus glucose levels are less concentrated. But water also improves our mood, reduces incidence of headaches, helps us fight off stress, combat overeating, and it makes us more resilient, overall. Especially in summertime. Try drinking more water, little by little. It might take a few days of getting used to, but once you’re over that hump, you’ll even crave it, and feel instantly healthier for it. Don’t put up a wall about it, just do it.
- Healthy Relationships: This might seem like an unusual one. But… having a good safety net in our lives is just so important. Yes, family may play a role in helping us manage our day to day routines, and sometimes for the negative. While we may not always be able to leave a certain home environment, there are plenty of relationships in our lives which we owe to ourselves to put in check. Are the demands of this person reigning in over mine? Do I find myself embracing toxic habits because this person is? Or, does this person sabotage my attempts at good health whenever they see I’m trying to regain a foothold? It goes without saying that toxic, manipulative relationships destroy a person’s self confidence, drive, motivation, and focus to manage their very lives, much less their health. If you think you might be in a toxic friendship, or relationship – whether romantic or familial – please consider visiting with a family therapist, or a behavioral therapist. Every relationship has some level of conflict and stress, but we all deserve to live our best lives, and to be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity.
People WANT to manage their diabetes. And people KNOW how to manage their diabetes. We often hear the “I know what I need to do, but I just don’t do it,” complaint. The problem is that diabetes is a lot MORE than the basics of knowing just what to do. If we don’t have a lot of other things in balance, we might never get to the basics.
If you are not doing what you know you need to do… the list above might be just why.