Living with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is not easy. And proper self-care suffers when we deal with busyness of work, family and life. Here are the common reasons we’ve heard stopping self-care and what you can do about it.
“There’s a lot going on in my life right now”
Stressful jobs, busy households, and a dozen other thing can distract us from our health. But if you’re reading this, you likely know that putting off T2DM self-care can have serious consequences.
If left uncontrolled, high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) can lead to severe complications affecting your eyes, kidneys, nerves and others. And adding other stressors can lead you to produce more blood sugar and can make your T2D worse.
What you can do: Block off time in your day for self-care. Start small (30 minutes) and just do one task. Things like logging your glucose level, planning tomorrow’s meal, or a quick exercise. Rocket jumps (which we wrote about here) are a great exercise option since it burns tons of calories in only a few minutes.
After a week or so, increase the time or add other tasks. For example, give yourself 30 days to reach at least 1 hour a day of self-care (can split throughout the day).
The key is to set realistic goals. If you make it at the first shot, great! If not, just adjust your time or activity and try again. Taking small steps will makes it easier for self-care to be part of your daily routine.
“Too many things to keep track of”
Between figuring out what to eat, taking medication and checking blood sugar – there can be a lot to keep track of.
The tasks can become inconvenient, fatigue sets in and people eventually stop. But remember, these are important and often recommended by your health care provider.
What you can do: Prioritize your tasks and keep it simple. When you commit to self-care (see above) use that time for high priority tasks first – such as taking medication or checking blood glucose levels (which is important in case an insulin dose adjustment is needed) – then add tasks when you’re able to.
But keep things simple! If you need to exercise, focus on 1 or 2 exercises. That’s it. Then add another routine or more time when able to. For meals, stock up on 3-5 proteins and vegetables and base your cooking around those. You’ll save time when buying groceries and by learning how to cook those meals faster. Use a slow-cooker or crockpot and you can save even more time! (We have post on meal planning hacks you can read here.)
Also, look into technology to make things easier or efficient. There are smartphone apps to track glucose levels and medications, and can set reminders. There’s also “smart” insulin pens and glucometers that sync up to your smartphone. We use our smartphones for pretty much everything so use it to help you get prioritized.
“Self-care is too hard or unenjoyable”
Living with diabetes is not easy and we understand that. Restricted diets, exercising and regular medication is not fun. But remember, you’re not alone!
What you can do: Get family and close friends involved. Have your spouse keep you accountable with dieting. Ask them to keep restricted foods away or even help make meals. If you have kids in the house, have them join you for a brisk walk or a bike ride. There’s also a lot of websites with tasty recipes with the diabetic in mind. And plenty of YouTube videos on exercise you can do at home (stay tuned for a DiaBettr post on this topic).
Just start with simple recipes and exercises so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Plus having family and friends join in can make things more enjoyable!
We know living with Type 2 diabetes is not easy. But try to commit some time, set realistic goals and get other things involved – and you can take a big step to controlling Type 2 diabetes.
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