Diabetes Forecast

11 Ways to Lighten Your Load and Take It Easy

Simple ways to ease daily burdens

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1. Meditate.

Now’s the time to get into the habit; apps such as Headspace, Ten Percent Happier, Calm, Insight Timer, and Aura make it easy. You don’t have to meditate for hours to reap the benefits. Young adults who do 25-minute meditations for three days report being more chill in times of stress, according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. Aim for at least five minutes a couple of times a day, or whenever you’re feeling anxious or stressed.

2. Set recurring deliveries.

If you use specific diabetes supplies on a routine basis, sign up for auto-delivery so you won’t forget to replenish when quantities get low.

3. Stay organized.

  • Put your medical information—including lab tests, office visit summaries, and blood glucose reports—in a binder so that you’ll have essential info ready to grab and go when you see
    your physician.
  • Keep your supplies in one place. “It helps you see how much youhave of different items, so you know when to order more,” says Shannon Knapp, BSN, RN, CDCES, manager of diabetes care and education at the Cleveland Clinic. “When they are scattered all over the house, it’s harder to keep track.”

4. Skip the grocery store.

You’ll save time, sure, but that’s not the only benefit. Using a food delivery service “helps limit impulse purchases,” says Knapp. Check out online options via Peapod, Walmart Grocery, or Instacart, among others. Keep in mind: Delivery services are often booked up days in advance, so you may not get that first delivery for a week or two.

5. Set virtual appointments.

Telemedicine can take a lot of the hassle out of routine appointments. “Many patients with diabetes don’t realize how much their doctor or educator can do in a virtual visit,” says Ania Jastreboff, MD, PhD, a diabetes specialist at the Yale School of Medicine. Learn more about telemedicine.

6. Simplify mealtime.

“Delicious” and “easy” can travel as a pair, if you plan ahead. Jackie Newgent, RDN, author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, recommends keeping these kitchen staples on hand: old-fashioned oats, eggs, ground turkey, olive oil, vegetable broth, Greek yogurt, canned tomatoes, and canned kidney beans. Using just these ingredients—and a few seasonings from your spice cabinet—you can make the following:

  • Turkey meatballs: Combine lean ground turkey with oats, egg, pesto, and marinara, then bake in a 450° F oven. Get the full recipe
  • Savory oatmeal: Cook a half cup of oats in a cup of vegetable broth. Stir in herbs and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and top with a fried egg cooked in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Here's another version of this dish.
  • Vegetarian chili: Combine two 15.5-ounce cans of kidney beans (drained) and one 14.5-ounce can of roasted crushed tomatoes (with liquid) with a cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until it reaches your desired consistency, about 10 to 12 minutes. Flavor with chili powder and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt. 
  • Turkey burgers: Combine 8 ounces of ground turkey with a quarter cup of oats, and one egg. Create two patties, brush them with olive oil, and grill or pan grill for about six minutes per side, or until cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Another tasty burger.

7. Create a recipe exchange.

Enlist other foodie friends with diabetes for a virtual recipe swap. Here’s how it works: Everybody takes a turn submitting a diabetes-friendly recipe that is then prepared by the rest of the group and enjoyed during a virtual dinner party on a videoconferencing app such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. Switch things up by focusing on a particular ingredient or specific cuisine. It’s a way to socialize, stay connected with the diabetes community, and expand your collection of go-to recipes.

8. Plan ahead.

Most insurance companies now cover a 90-day supply of medication, which automatically translates to fewer trips to the pharmacy, says Chauntae Reynolds, PharmD, BCACP, CDCES, a pharmacist in Indianapolis. Another tip: Ask your pharmacy to coordinate your meds so you can refill them all at once.

9. Use vacuum sealers.

“I’ve been able to cut my grocery trips in half by using a vacuum sealer,” says David Norec, 43, of McAllen, Texas. He’s lived with type 2 diabetes for 25 years. “It makes my fruits and veggies last twice as long.”

10. Walk in the a.m.

“I like to get my exercise in the morning, not only because that’s when I’m most likely to do it, but also because there are very few people around, so it’s easier to practice social distancing,” says Kelly Kunik, a blogger with type 1 diabetes who lives outside Philadelphia. There are other advantages, too: A study published in 2019 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that older adults who started their days with a morning walk improved memory and cognition, compared with those who didn’t walk.

11. Take a warm bath before bed.

A review of 13 studies published in 2019 in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that a warm 10-minute shower or bath taken an hour or two before bed helped people nod off faster.



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