Diabetes Management

21 Small Habits That Can Help You Control Diabetes Better and Lead a Healthy Life

Debjani M Arora ,
April 2022

We will start with a tip right away, as you landed on this page in search of one after reading the headline. Have a stress ball handy or at your desk and squeeze it as often as possible. Studies suggest that squeezing a stress ball can lower blood pressure, improve functions of the nervous system and increase oxygen levels in the body. So how does it help to improve your blood sugar levels Impending stress can lead to various hormonal changes that can cause the heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise, and sugar levels to shoot up. 

However, you should know managing stress will not be an instant solution. Usually, our bad habits lead to escalation of stress. Imagine how a simple ritual like waking up early in the morning and taking care of your chores can help you concentrate on your work for the entire day with reduced stress. Remember chronic stress or long standing stress makes it difficult to control diabetes. So, having a stress management plan in place always helps. Stress management is about building habits to keep your mind and body calm and serene to have a happy and healthy life. The bonus: Your blood sugars can be well controlled too. 

Here are some habits that you can develop to be on the happy-healthier side of life and control blood sugars better:

 

  1. Maintain a gratitude journal:

    If you are not a pen and paper person, download apps for the same. Counting your blessings will help you segregate positive and negative feelings. What blessing do you have to count? The fact that you had three square meals today is a blessing. Gratitude is not about owning the biggest car in your housing society. 

  2. Follow a routine:

    Remember Subodh from the movie Dil Chata Hai? It is a 2001 film so you can Google it to know more about him. He has been at the receiving end of jokes, memes and mockery for being a living-moving-timetable. But if you look at him from a health perspective, he is the most sorted guy. What will happen if you become a la Subodh – you will have your meals on time, dedicate time for workout, finish your work on time without too many coffee breaks, sleep on time, take your SMBG readings on time, and all this will help you stay healthy and keep blood sugars in check too. You don’t have to be a la Subodh. But having a routine always helps.  

  3. Practice good sleep hygiene:

    This goes beyond switching off social media and smartphones before sleep. Try calming your mind with meditation techniques or reading something light that helps you sleep. Don’t rush to bed right after dinner. Fragmented sleep or disturbed sleep can make your blood sugars go haywire and have an effect on your HbA1c levels too. Try to go to bed on time and keep your mind off world problems. 

  4. Ditch the car for grocery shopping:

    Most people have a problem finishing their 10,000 steps for the day – fatigue, lack of time, those vast numbers – many things stop one from achieving the daily walking target. You can break this target into more minor potions to achieve the numbers. For instance, if you ditch the car while grocery shopping, pick up your kids from the school bus stop, and run errands, you will be amazed at how many more steps you can take. On average, if you walk for 1.5 km at a slow pace, you can cover 2000 steps. Rest, you can do your math. Benefits of walking 10000 steps? Maybe we will tell you that in our upcoming newsletter. 

  5. Cook your meals:

    Even if it means cutting the veggies and dressing up a salad. This will help you limit your calorie intake, eat healthily, and stop having high-fat foods delivered through food delivery apps.  

  6. Batch cook your meals:

    Most Indian households don’t like eating basi or stale food, even if well refrigerated and reheated. If you don’t have any such qualms, cook food in batches that can be consumed for a few days without ordering oily and high cal foods. Probably you can cook two curry vegetables at a go and have them on alternate days to break the monotony. 

  7. Maintain a morning ritual:

    Just like your sleep hygiene, it is essential to have a morning ritual. Something as simple as watering a plant, drinking warm water glass, or making your bed. These small rituals set the tone of your day positively and help keep stress at bay and blood sugars in control.  

  8. Drink more water:

    Well, just a reminder that your 8 glasses of water are crucial. Have a bottle of water at your desk while you work from home and set water break reminders on your smartphone to have your fill. Dehydration is a big reason for an increase in blood sugar levels. 

  9. Practice deep breathing:

    The right way to do it is to breathe in to a count of five, hold for two seconds and release to a count of 5. Try doing this 25 times a day, and all your stressors will melt away like butter on a hot pan. No time to do it 25 times. Do it at your desk; it still counts.     

  10. Set your priorities right:

    Learn when to say no – to toxic work culture, relationships, friendships – make yourself your priority for better mental health and peace of mind.  

  11. Connect with people you love:

    While you distance yourself from toxic relations, make sure you grow the bond with your loved ones. A healthy body is often a reflection of healthy relationships and the mind. 

  12. Please don’t set up mammoth tasks and goals:

    By this, we mean don’t invite disappointments. Don’t have goals like losing 10 kilos in 10 days or setting up a very high financial expectation of yourself. These things are nothing but stress mines in your life, and they can blow up your stress levels exponentially and your blood sugar can go for a toss.   

  13. Take up a hobby:

    Hobbies help in many ways to destress. You should always invest some time in inculcating some hobby no matter your age. It doesn’t always have to be enrolling in a Zumba or Nature’s club. A hobby could also be like painting old artifacts, pebbles, gardening or even learning to bake. 

  14. Reinvent yourself:

    Always. As humans, we should never forget that the only way to break the monotony and live a fulfilling life is to keep reinventing – personally and professionally. Enroll on that course you always wanted, upgrade your skills, teach your subject to others voluntarily. All this induces peace and calm that no pill can do.  

  15. Visit farms or go to the farmer’s market often:

    We promised we wouldn’t tell you to eat broccoli, so we won’t. Instead, we are telling you to take a stroll in farmlands (read weekend getaways) or visit a farmer’s market to see, touch and feel the texture of the veggies. In this way, you might develop a relationship with veggies that could make mindful eating easier for you. 

  16. Read the contents of any packaged food:

    Even those with millets, atta or rice as their main base. You need to know everything about the food you consume – the preservatives, the condiments, the sugar and salt content. Remember that every ingredient would directly or indirectly impact your waistline and sugar levels, so beware.

  17. Have a nighttime ritual:

    Just like the morning ritual, have a nighttime ritual too, to help your brain understand that it is time for bed. Start with keeping your phone in a drawer, making the bed, feeding the stray (if any or if you like), drawing the curtains, setting the coffee pot for the next morning. These rituals look simple but prepare your brain to go to sleep with ease.

  18. Clear your desk and drawers:

    Decluttering is therapeutic in so many ways. A clear desk and drawers keep your mind at ease. This can benefit your mental health by making you feel calmer, happier, and more in control.   

  19. Visit a community centre:

    Not a compulsion. But in a lot of ways giving back to a community instills positivism and helps you connect deeply with your soul. It sounds profane, but if you put this in practice, you get to put many things in perspective. You start taking care of yourself to be able to give back more to society.   

  20. Don’t obsess about your blood sugar readings:

    One thing that you need to understand about blood sugar control is that you shouldn’t obsess about your readings. There is a fine line between taking your SMBG readings on time and obsessing about it. Obsession can lead to more stress. Need we say more.  

  21. Please speak to a psychologist:

    We know all these things are easier said than done. Take the help of an expert if you need to develop some good habits to reign control over your health and blood sugar readings. At Fitterfly, our diabetes care programDiabefly, focuses on mental well-being along with nutrition and physiotherapy support. Our team of psychologists help members to develop habits that help them live a healthier life with better control over diabetes. “Our programs are designed in a way where we aim to achieve certain outcomes within 90 days or 3 months. Now, understand that bringing down your blood sugar levels with lifestyle changes is not as easy as it sounds. Lifestyle change or modification needs tremendous efforts. We help patients learn some healthy ways of leading a life and give them support and time to turn it into a lifestyle,” says Neha Verma, Head – Department of Psychology and Wellbeing (Clinical Psychologist), Fittterfly Healthtech Pvt Ltd .     

To know more about how Diabefly and how it can help you smartly take control of your prediabetes, visit our website https://www.fitterfly.com/diabefly or speak to one of our counsellors on 022 48971077 (Ext 1) 

 

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