If you live with diabetes, you are probably aware of the right dietary choices to make, such as counting carbohydrates and calories and controlling your sugar intake. However, there are other things you can do to help manage your condition and avoid complications. Here are three non-dietary measures every person with diabetes should take.
1. Think Zen Thoughts and Eliminate Stress in Your Life
Diabetics are especially vulnerable to the negative aspects of stress. When you get bogged down or overwhelmed by emotional stress, your body is more likely to produce higher levels of blood sugar. When blood sugar rises to an unacceptable level, diabetics can experience serious complications.
Therefore, as a diabetic it's imperative to keep your stress in check. Relaxation is key to keeping your diabetes under control. You can eliminate stress by practicing various techniques that may help you stay calm and relaxed. Try the following methods.
Meditate on a Regular Basis
According to studies, mediation can help keep stress under control. All it takes is a short period of time each day to sit down and focus. Choose a quiet spot with no distractions. Just slow your breathing and concentrate on a peaceful and calming scene.
To further enhance the experience, say a mantra out loud, which may be a word or phrase you repeat several times. This form of meditation is referred to as transcendental meditation. To learn more about how it may help you, join a group or organization that teaches this art.
Find a Creative Outlet
Whether you choose writing, drawing, or playing a musical instrument, participating in a creative activity can lower your stress significantly. Find something you are good at, and seek ways to develop your creativity. You may find that your stress decreases dramatically.
Buy a Stress-Reducing Noise Machine
Listening to the soothing sounds of a babbling brook or white noise helps you tune out distracting noises in your environment, which can be an effective stress-reliever. You can buy an inexpensive machine that plays these sounds, sometimes referred to as a sound spa machine. These portable devices emulate soothing sounds that may also promote a better quality of sleep.
2. Exercise Regularly
Routine exercise can help you manage your weight, an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes. With your doctor's approval, begin an exercise regimen. If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, start off slowly. Take a brisk 20-minute walk a few times per week.
Once you become accustomed to routine physical activity, try swimming or cycling. Aerobic classes may be of benefit to you as well, as it may improve your insulin sensitivity. Another benefit of physical exercise is that it helps keep blood pressure under control. This is very important for individuals with diabetes.
3. Take Care of Your Feet
Proper foot care is essential for people with diabetes. Diabetics are prone to circulatory issues, and this may lead to a foot infection if you do not take care of your feet. As a diabetic, you should examine your feet regularly and look for signs of a potential problems, such as sores, blisters, and bruises. Have your doctor examine your feet during a visit as well.
You should also keep your feet clean and dry at all times, and do not go barefooted. Avoid bathing or soaking your feet in excessively hot water; opt for lukewarm water instead. Also avoid harsh soaps, and dry your feet after a bath or shower by patting them gently.
If your feet tend to become dry, moisturize the tops of your feet and the soles with a lotion. However, do not apply lotions between your toes. Another self-care tip is to soften your toenails before trimming them. A good time to trim them is after a bath or shower.
While the measures mentioned above can help in your diabetes self-care program, you should remember one important thing. See your doctor regularly for a physical checkup and to track your numbers. He or she can also recommend lifestyle changes and ways to better manage your condition