Spring is here! It can be the perfect time to unclutter and get organized, take steps to get out of a rut and renew your commitment to your health goals.
(Read more: How to recognize the signs you may be stuck in a rut.)
Here are a few tips from diabetes educator Susan Weiner and organizing guru Leslie Josel, co-authors of The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life. (Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team before making any changes to your diabetes management routine, or if you have questions about your diabetes goals.)
What you would you like to change in your home, life or daily routine? Once you have a goal in mind, it may help to break it down into smaller, easier steps. Write down the steps and set due dates for each. Monitor your progress and reward yourself when you reach the goal.
Need some ideas for goals? Read on …
- Organizing your supplies
If you live with diabetes, you may have your supplies, strips, lancets, medications, needles and more stored in different locations. Assemble these items into a single area, ideally in a see-through box. Toss those that are out of date, and put the ones that are close to expiration at the front, to use first. Be sure to check the temperature at which your medications need to be stored, and place them according to the instructions.
- Organizing your foods
Do family members eat your diabetes-friendly snacks? Do you have a hard time finding them as you head out the door? Put a container of diabetes snacks in your refrigerator or on a special shelf, so you can get to them quickly. When you separate these foods, you let others know that they belong to you.
- Organizing your physical activities
The weather is starting to improve, which may be a good opportunity to find a workout partner and start a new routine. (Be sure to check with your care team before making any changes to your exercise routine.) Do you have a friend who is willing to walk, attend an exercise class or exercise at home with you? There are plenty of televised and online physical activity programs you could do together. If your buddy can’t meet with you, set up a regular time to check in with each other via phone, text or email to confirm that you both were physically active that day.
- Organizing your information
Are your medical receipts in a messy pile or scattered about? Organize your documents into binders. If you prefer a digital solution, upload your medical information, doctors’ contact info, medication list and other related details online and onto a USB drive labeled “Medical Info” that you can keep on your keyring. In case of an emergency, you can hand your keys over to a health provider for easy access to your information.
- Organizing your workplace
If you have coworkers who know you live with diabetes, consider setting aside a specific drawer, shelf or box for diabetes-related items and let your coworkers know about it. This way, if you start to feel your blood glucose drop, a colleague would know where to find a juice box, glucose tablets or other snack to bring to you to treat your low blood glucose. (Read more about the signs of hypoglycemia.) If possible, try to give your diabetes priority over other activities and schedule commitments around your diabetes-care activities, such as setting aside time for a short walk on a morning break, or a longer brisk walk outside on your lunch break.
- Organizing your medical visits
To get the most from each of your healthcare appointments, bring a list of questions and concerns you have about your diet, fitness routine, medical care and treatment plan, insurance billing, lab and test results and/or any personal issue that troubles you. Don’t be shy. This is your time to get the help you need.
Enjoy the change of the seasons and a more organized life with diabetes!
Janis Roszler, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE*, FAND, is the American Association of Diabetes Educators 2008-09 Diabetes Educator of the Year. She is a registered dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and marriage and family therapist. Her books include Sex and Diabetes, The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes and, co-authored with Wendy Satin Rapaport, PhD, Approaches to Behavior: Changing the Dynamic Between Patients and Professionals in Diabetes Education. Roszler is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience