EST. 4 MIN READ
There has been a lot of attention given to the serious—and at times fatal—effect of COVID-19 on people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, how to manage your diabetes and chronic illness during COVID hasn’t gotten quite as much air time. Fortunately, managing chronic illness in limited situations (like quarantine, lockdown, isolation and curfew) comes down to planning ahead and conscious choices. After all, if you can figure it out on vacation, you can figure it out at home.
So, with flu season on the horizon and shorter days, less Vitamin D, less fresh air, less mobility, and less access to things, people, and services ahead, what can you do to set yourself up for success?
- Get Enough Sleep: When you go without adequate sleep, everything is off, including your body’s ability to properly manage blood sugar. Get a routine going where you go to bed at about the same time, factoring in time to fall asleep, so you consistently get a full eight hours. If you can, try to stop using your devices about an hour before you go to bed so you can start to wind-down, calm your central nervous system, and enjoy a self-care routine that tells your body it’s time to rest.
- Stock up on Medications: If possible, be sure you have extra syringes, insulin, injection needles, and whatever else you need to properly manage your blood glucose so you never miss a dose.
- Move Your Body: Chances are your workout of choice has been impacted by COVID and you might not be able to keep your routine up. However, finding movement and exercise is crucial to managing your blood sugar. If you used to go to the gym or group classes, try walking, gardening, dancing, YouTube classes, or at-home yoga. Schedule it earlier in the day—when you have more energy—so afternoon fatigue or that to-do list doesn’t get in the way, making it easy to put it off until tomorrow. If you’re working from home, chances are you don’t leave the house unless you plan it. Set an alarm to get up and move every hour or, if possible, try taking calls on a walk. Those steps add up!
- Check Your Stress: Stress can be a trigger for overeating, hormonal shifts, inflammation, poor sleep, drinking, and more. In other words: anxiety and stress are of course on the rise with so many things shifting every day. So what to do? Practice breathing exercises, guided meditations, therapy, and finding ways to spend quality time with friends in your “health pod.” If possible, establish a group of friends whose social activity you trust and are comfortable with and spend (socially distant) time with them. If you’re looking for a mediation app, try: Headspace, Calm, Breathe, Zen Calm, Panic Relief, and Aura.
- Bored Eating? Plan Your Snacks, Groceries & Meals: As much as possible, do your best to not mindlessly snack between meals. We know it’s tough when you’re at home and snacks are staring at you 14 hours a day. Chances are you had your routine dialed in before lockdown and, if you can, try to maintain that eating pattern now. This might mean you need to get creative when it comes to sourcing groceries and the like, but it’s important to eat as many healthy, fresh foods as possible. Processed snacks are easy to keep around, though, so if you are reaching for them more than normal, try fruits, nuts and low GI snacks first.
We know quarantine can be tough, but having a plan for managing your chronic illness is everything. Set it up, stick to it, and you’ll be happy you did when we make it out the other side. Living with diabetes is a series of challenges that require inner strength and fortitude to maintain your health and keep your quality of life. We know you’ve got this and we know you’re going to thrive, no matter how unusual the times.