Summer vacations and backyard barbecues could have you neglecting your diabetes self-management plan. Now that the cooler days of fall are here, it is time to reassess your habits for optimum health. Learn how to get back on the diabetes track after a carefree summer lifestyle.
- People with diabetes frequently experience burnout, especially those who have had the disease for years. It can become tiring, confusing and frustrating to keep up with your diabetes self-management plan. Summer adds more challenges with longer days, impromptu outdoor parties and seemingly endless food and beverages. You may start to develop poor habits. The cool days of fall can help remind you to reassess your approach.
- Create a list of the medications you take and the dosages. Schedule a routine appointment with your doctor to evaluate your current medications and diabetes self-management plan. Find out if any updates need to be made. Keep a journal of your blood sugar levels during testing and share it with your doctor. Now that summer vacations are over, schedule appointments with other doctors including an ophthalmologist, podiatrist, dentist and other health care providers based on the recommendations of your regular physician. Make sure your shots are up-to-date. Include the flu shot and pneumonia shot to ward off the chances of getting sick in the colder weather.
- Check all of your diabetes supplies to make sure everything is operational. Verify medications are up-to-date and properly dispose of expired medications. Verify important equipment such as your blood glucose meter and blood pressure monitor work well. Have extra batteries and supplies on-hand to make testing and administering medication easy. Discuss your testing and medication schedules with your physician to make updates as needed.
- During the warm weather, people may tend to get lazy. The heat outdoors could deter you from taking walks or playing sports. The cooler days of fall are an ideal time to re-establish an exercise regime. Wear a pedometer and go for a brisk walk. Try biking or enroll in a fitness class. Invest in equipment to use at home during inclement weather. It can be as simple as a couple of fitness DVDs to help you get moving. Try to fit in 30 minutes of exercise each day. Regular exercise helps control your blood sugar levels and makes it possible to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help ward off heart disease and relieve stress.
- Evaluate your eating habits now that summer barbecues and cocktail parties are over. Consider portion sizes and include all the food groups in each meal. Incorporate plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meat and fish into your daily meal plans. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Steer clear of sugary beverages. If you are having trouble, discuss food options with your doctor or a registered dietitian.
- During summer vacations, people tend to be on-the-go. Now that you are back to business in the fall, consider how much sleep you get. Make sure to include several hours of sleep in your schedule each day. Evaluate the area where you sleep. Make necessary changes if it is too dark, too light or too noisy. Create an environment that is conducive to getting a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep at night can help you remain more active and focused during the day.
- Take small steps for success. Keep your sneakers by the door to encourage you to take a walk. Switch to oatmeal or whole-grain cereal for breakfast rather than white bread or sweet cereals. If you feel depressed and have trouble getting back on the diabetes track, talk to your doctor about these feelings. Depression is more common in people with diabetes. Your doctor might recommend talking to a counselor or other professional to help you feel better.
The living is easy in the summer and it can also be easy to get off the diabetes management track. Review healthy habits with your health care team and re-evaluate your current diabetes self-management plan. Determine where you can make improvements for a healthier, happier fall season.