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To be clear, self-care is not just the latest buzz phrase in the wellness community. Research has shown that if you do not increase your level of self-care, you risk not being able to manage your physical, mental, or spiritual health. Self-care simply means taking better care of yourself, putting your needs first more often, and doing things that make you happy.
Today, I want to share six simple ways that you can manage your self-care. These tips will work if you are prediabetic, type 2 diabetic, or have a history of diabetes in your family. Having a family history of diabetes makes you more susceptible to contracting the disease, but it is not a done deal. You can learn how to protect yourself against the disease, but you must start now.
- Get active: getting does not have to be overwhelming. Walking 30 minutes daily will help you lose weight and manage your diabetes. It is also a powerful strategy for managing your mental health. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can take its toll. Walking alone or with a friend will help boost your endorphins and lift your mood.
- Eat Healthier: with so much going on in the world today, our stress levels are through the roof; if you are like me, nothing makes everything better than a bar of chocolate. That is fine in moderation, but I have been known to devour a bag of M&M’s. Which is not good if you are trying to manage your blood sugar. Emotional eating is natural, but you can manage it by planning and preparing your meals each day. Write out your menu for the week and prepare the foods you love; you are less likely to grab a bag of chips if you have already prepared your food for the day.
- Take your Medication: I cannot tell you how many people I speak with telling me they are not taking their medication as prescribed. The side effects are too much to handle, or you are starting to feel better and think you do not need it. Before you stop taking your medication, please speak with your doctor. Discuss the side effects, how long you are expected to take the drug, or if the dosage can be adjusted. Do not doctor yourself.
- Wash your hands: Our moms were sticklers when it came to hand washing, and one thing the pandemic has taught us is this simple little tool can help protect us from receiving or spreading germs. Use soap and warm water and sing the Happy Birthday song twice for best results.
- Connect with a community: Isolating yourself is the worst thing you can do when managing a chronic illness. You may feel that no one understands what you are going through, and you are right. However, finding like-minded individuals to swap stories, plan workout dates, and talk through the tough times is important. If there is no group in your area, then create one. The group does not have to focus on diabetes; you can schedule activities around things you love like bike riding, movies, or books. Having a regular group of folks to commune with is important for your emotional and physical self-care.
- Create an emergency kit: I first did this when I was pregnant. Then, I was sure my baby and I would starve if we got stuck in traffic. Your emergency kit will be beneficial if you are stuck in traffic, feeling sick, or in between meals and want to get something healthy. Fill your kit with soup, my go-to when the hunger pains hit, tea, sugar-free candy, and bottles of water, and if you are diabetic, be sure to have your supplies on hand, including a meter and testing strips.
Self-care can no longer be something you put on the back burner; your health cannot wait for you to make it a priority. Work deadlines, community events, and family obligations will go unattended if you are laid up because you did not effectively manage your health. You have spent your whole life putting others first. Isn’t it time to remember that you are important, that you matter? My answer would be yes.
Do not forget you are stronger than you give yourself credit and more blessed than you know.
With Peace and Love,