A person pushes their chair back into their desk to prepare for a midday walk during the work day.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes At Work

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age of twenty-nine meant there would be quite a few years of a working life while managing the condition.

Tips for managing type 2 diabetes at work

Over the years, I have figured out what works best for me in the workplace. The tips I will share here surround the topics of food, exercise, and stress. This can also be a time to educate others and debunk myths about type 2 diabetes.

Stay away from carbs and sweet treats

At home, I control what food is available by limiting high carbohydrate foods such as pasta, rice, bread, and sweets. At work, that control is non-existent, with candy jars and vending machines. While I rarely crave the candy anymore, I will still avoid any area where the jars exist, even if they are placed right along one of the main routes to a superior’s office or to the kitchen. If there has been a craving for sweet treats recently, I do not keep change in my purse in order to avoid the temptations available in the vending machine.

While sugar consumption was not the reason why I developed type 2 diabetes, I can explain that I generally stay away from simple carbohydrates since diagnosis, indicating that this includes pasta, rice, and bread in addition to sweets. In every single job since diagnosis, my co-workers have known that the one sweet treat I allow myself on a regular basis is dark chocolate with its potential health benefits of containing antioxidants and reducing heart disease risk.

Exercising at work

Walking breaks are essential during the workday. While I often eat lunch at my desk, I schedule a half-hour walking break many days. This allows exercise during busy times when there might not be time to go to the office gym and when I feel too tired to go to the apartment gym after getting home from work. It also breaks up the day and allows time to reflect on situations that may be causing some frustration or stress. Taking time out for exercise during a busy day shows co-workers how much I care about my current and future health and perhaps inspiring others to do the same.

Take vacation time

Utilizing medical time off and taking vacation days are essential when available. For some medical appointments, particularly when I am struggling to manage blood glucose levels, I prefer to take a half medical day to prepare beforehand and then debrief afterward without having to rush to or from work. Vacation provides a break from both the routine and the stress of work. It does not always mean leaving town, though it is nice for a change of scenery. It can mean a day of staycation – which for me means either working on projects around the home, spending time in nature, or visiting museums.

Dealing with type 2 diabetes can sometimes feel like a part-time job, and that can add to the pressure of an actual full-time job. By changing just a few habits, work-life with type 2 diabetes does not have to be a total challenge.

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