When you have diabetes, you learn to plan ahead to be sure you maintain blood sugar levels within your target range goals – not too high, not too low. That means figuring out when and what you will eat for meals and snacks, when you will monitor blood sugar and how to fit in exercise.
But life often throws curve balls, and no matter how well you plan, unexpected things happen that can drive your blood sugar in the wrong direction. When it happens – because it will – you need to know how to problem-solve and think through how to prevent it from happening again. Also, your diabetes needs may change over time, requiring you to make adjustments because previous solutions no longer work.
Diabetes care and education specialists can help you figure out how to problem solve – in general and for specific issues you may be facing.
Some of the tips they recommend may include:
1. Don’t beat yourself up – Managing your diabetes doesn’t mean being ”perfect.”
2. Analyze your day – think about what was different:
- Were you more stressed than usual?
- Were you traveling?
- Were you sick?
- Did something change in your routine (new job, getting up earlier or staying up later)?
- Were you more or less active than usual?
- Did you eat more carbohydrates than usual?
- Did you take more or less diabetes medication than usual?
3. Learn from it – figure out how to correct the problem in a way that works best for you, and apply that to similar situations moving forward:
- Carry an extra snack
- Consider how you can add more activity into your day
- Think of ways you can ease stress, such as by meditating, doing yoga, or sitting quietly for a few minutes with a cup of tea or a book
4. Discuss possible solutions with
- your diabetes educator
- your doctor
- your diabetes support group (face to face or on the Internet)
5. Try the new solutions and then evaluate whether they are working for you
You can also download a flyer on problem solving – including tips as well as questions that prompt you to think about problems you’ve had and how to find solutions – here: