Five ways to better manage your diabetes by focusing on yourself
While the new year is a great time to reflect, reset and set new goals, making resolutions can also be stressful, especially for people with diabetes. So, this year, try a new approach. Consider what will help you feel good about yourself and enjoy life more, then put it into practice. The health benefits will follow.
“A new year can be stressful or it can be empowering, it’s all in how you approach it,” said Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE, diabetes care and education specialist and spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). “It provides a window of opportunity to figure out what will help you recharge and enjoy a better quality of life. Deciding what will motivate you and doing it will make you feel good about yourself, and that will help you better manage your diabetes.”
As the new year approaches, AADE suggests the following ways to start the year healthy and stick with it:
- Sign up for a new activity: What’s something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t? Maybe it’s taking a dance class or joining a walking club. Trying something new can be fun, and change up the dynamic. You’ll feel good about challenging yourself and the health benefits won’t hurt either.
- Focus on meditation and mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness are having a moment and for good reason – they have been shown to help diffuse stress. When you meditate, you focus on a sound, object, your breathing or movement. This increases your awareness of the present moment, which reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Being mindful during meditation is to be aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. There are plenty of resources for learning how to meditate or be more mindful, from books and classes to apps that guide you through the process and help you quiet your active mind.
- Make a new habit: Consider what positive change you could make in your life that you’d feel good about. Maybe it’s getting to bed a half hour earlier. Or watching less TV. What about eating fruit instead of candy for a snack? Then put a reminder on your calendar and try to stick to it.
- Go ahead and try a new eating pattern: Instead of berating yourself for what you’ve been doing wrong, consider a new eating pattern such as a more plant-based diet. As you consider changing up your eating pattern, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Most diets are fine, as long as they are modified to address your personal needs. Before you start any new diet, discuss it with your diabetes care and education specialist, who can help you try different things in a way that’s safe and beneficial for you.
- It’s only going to work as long as you can keep it up, so be sure whatever you try is something you are confident you can stick to.
- Some fads can be unhealthy, especially for people with diabetes, such as cleanses and detoxes, so steer clear of those.
- Re-evaluate your medication: Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss all the medications and supplements you’re taking. Maybe some of the doses need readjustment. Perhaps you no longer need some of them, or there is a new medication you that might work better for you.
A new year is an opportunity to revitalize your life. A diabetes educator can help. To find one near you, visit www.DiabetesEducator.org/find About AADE
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through innovative education, management and support. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners working with people who have, are affected by, or are at risk for diabetes. Learn more at www.diabeteseducator.org
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