Every morning I wake up, I pinch myself and realise we’re not just having a bad dream. The situation we’re in is reality! The covid-19 virus has changed our lives massively. We wash our hands as if our lives depend on it (literally), we practice social distancing and a lot of us prefer to stay at home and self-isolate following our government’s instructions. I live in the middle of nowhere so luckily, I can go out for walks without bumping into anyone on the streets. Other than that, I’m at home. I stay inside. I’ve been at home for over a month now. Not living the ‘normal’ life we’re used to, can be quite challenging. Social distancing has a big impact on my mental health. I miss my family, friends, colleagues and even the strangers in the shops I say ‘Hello!’ to when I go shopping.
I often go for a walk when my blood sugar is high.
My mental health has a huge impact on my blood sugar control. Stress makes my blood glucose spike while anxiety can also make it drop. That’s why I take extra care of myself. To make myself feel better and to keep my blood sugar in range. Thanks to many useful tips I received from professionals, diabuddies and other friends, I take care of myself and my mental health in a way that makes me calm and comfortable. Although it’s been a challenging month so far, I’m glad to say I’m ok.
Here are 4 tips that have helped me a lot the past few weeks.
1. No pressure
Don’t feel pressured to use this time to be productive, to work out more often or to focus on having perfect blood sugar control. It’s a challenging time and you don’t need pressure from others to live your life a certain way while practicing social distancing/self-isolation. It’s ok to let go of ‘normal’, to be upset about cancelled plans and to not feel creative.
My first week in self-isolation, I cleaned the house as if I was Marie Kondo myself, I tried many different kind of workouts and got upset with myself when I started stress-eating. The pressure made me so stressed out. Now, I only do what feels right for me. Yes, there are days when I don’t move my body much. Yes, I eat out of boredom. And that’s ok. Be kind to yourself! Also, less stress means better blood sugar control for me. Win-win!
And if you do feel pressure to cope with the situation in a certain way, try and figure out if disconnecting from content online helps you. I was offline for a week and it helped a lot with my anxiety which helped me prevent some high and low blood sugars.
2. Energy givers
Make a list of activities that give you energy and practice 3 of your energy givers every day. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and it definitely improved my mental health! My therapist gave me this tip when I told her my energy levels dropped massively.
I think of the energy givers as the medication my mental health needs. Examples of my energy givers are: take a hot bath, cuddle my cats, cook one of my favourite meals (and eat it) and to enjoy the sunshine in our garden. I made a list of 20 energy givers which I choose from every day. Sometimes I add energy givers to the list and sometimes I remove activities. Whatever feels right to me!
3. Dance workouts
Although chilling like a couch potato is completely fine, moving your body around can make you feel better too. It can help to bring your blood glucose down when it spikes, it increases your insulin sensitivity and it can make you feel good about yourself. So, if you do want to move around but you don’t have a lot of inspiration, here’s my tip. Try dance workouts! There are so many of them to be found on YouTube. I did a 10-minute dance workout at 11pm last week simply because I felt like it. Do you want to give it a try? Go to YouTube, search for ‘dance workout’, choose a video and press play! It’s fun and it’s a challenging workout. Win-win!
4. You do you
Do what makes you feel good, calm or safe to get through this challenging time in a way that works for you. It’s ok to do nothing, to do something, to be unproductive, to watch a lot of TV, to eat more than you usually do, to be distracted, to procrastinate, to work out, to relax. You do you.
Hopefully these tips will help you cope with the situation we’re in. What do you do to cope with the current situation?
Take care of yourself and each other.
Published on 11th of May 2020.
I was 5 years old when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My diabetes is celebrating its 18th birthday this year. 18 years of finger pricking, injecting, site changes and pod changes and counting carbohydrates. But it’s also been 18 years of doing my best, of trying to explain to people what the impact of diabetes really is ...
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