7 Self-Care Strategies for Managing Diabetes This Winter
1. Problem Solving
Create a sick-day kit and fill it with soup, sugar-free cough drops, tea—things that will make you feel better and are ready to grab when symptoms first surface. Add in necessary diabetes supplies (including a meter and ketone testing strips) to remind you to monitor and manage your diabetes while you’re on the mend.
2. Being Active
If you exercise outdoors in cold temps, dress in layers. Choose a sweat-wicking fabric for your base, fleece for your middle layer, and a lightweight waterproof material for the outer layer to shield you from wind and rain or snow.
3. Healthy Eating
Ditch the refined grains—foods such as white bread and white rice, which have been stripped of fiber and many nutrients. Try whole grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal, which are higher in fiber and can help manage blood glucose.
Make sure your hands are warm before checking your blood glucose. Otherwise, you may struggle to get a large enough blood drop. Consider investing in a pair of fingerless gloves with a mitten flap cover to simplify glucose checks on the go.
5. Taking Medication
When your doctor prescribes a new medication, ask about side effects, warnings, how long you can expect to be taking it, and any other need-to-know facts about the drug.
6. Reducing Risks
The single most important thing you can do to stay healthy this winter? Wash your hands, and often. Scrub with soap and warm water for 20 seconds (hum “Happy Birthday” twice), then rinse.
7. Healthy Coping
Short winter days can affect your mood and emotions. Schedule regular get-togethers around activities you enjoy—a book club or game night, for instance—to keep your spirits up.
Sources: Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, author of The Clean and Simple Diabetes Cookbook: Flavorful, Fuss-Free Recipes for Everyday Meal Planning; Kellie Rodriguez, RN, MSN, CDE, director of the Global Diabetes Program at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas; Donna Stevens, DNP, CRNP, CDE, BC-ADM, nurse practitioner at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital