Usually we wait for January to make or renew our commitments to improve ourselves in some way, but why wait another four months? Kids are readying themselves now for the upcoming school year, why not join them in the excitement of this new year?
We all have childhood memories of getting ready for the new school year: new shoes, clothes, pens, notebooks, lunch boxes, and more. We also remember the excitement and anxiety that comes with a new teacher, a new schedule, and catching up with classmates. Parents and kids start back up with a new routine doing things like going to bed earlier, making time for homework, and making lunches. There are some similarities between the preparation and excitement of our childhood back-to-school activities with the ways we can refresh our grown up routine. If your summer meant a bit of chaos for meal times, bedtimes, and self-care in general, then you too can benefit from getting back to a routine in a fun, child-like way which will benefit blood glucose outcomes.
Consider a few of these ideas:
- Create a plan that involves a “new schedule.” This can help give you healthy outcomes (good blood glucose readings vs good grades). This can include a consistent meal time; a bed time that allows for enough sleep; scheduled exercise routines; and free time to allow for stress relief. Don’t forget your annual eye and foot exams, and dental appointments. Buy a new planner or notebook and write out your new schedule to keep yourself on track.
- Consider picking up a new logbook to help get a fresh attitude about blood glucose monitoring. You may have gotten away from testing your blood glucose over the summer. What can you start to learn? Blood glucose checks before and after exercise, a particular meal, or when you are stressed or ill reminds people of cause and effect consequences.
- Buy a new lunch box and plan some meals for work or home. New menu ideas can include: avacado slices, nuts and olives for healthy fats and increased satiety (feeling of fullness); fresh peaches and apples grown locally; salads made of beans, a whole grain, and raw veggies tossed with a lemon juice-olive oil dressing can be used in place of meat and a starch. Pack a homemade soup or chili in a thermos; or bring salmon or tuna and crackers to replace a sandwich for a change from the usual.
- Buy yourself new sneakers. The kids are getting theirs for gym class and afterschool sports, you too can plan your gym time and keep your feet safe and comfy too. Did you realize exercise is free medication? The positive impact from physical activity on blood sugar, heart health, and enhancement of mood can keep one less pill out of your pill box. Give yourself an A+ at the end of your first quarter if you have planned and followed through on your exercise routine.
- How about a new outfit or a new haircut just like the kids? A new look boosts self esteem and a new confidence in yourself and what you can achieve.
- You too can meet a teacher. Contact a diabetes educator or look for a local health education program or cooking class.
- Kids meet friends old and new, so you can too. Consider joining a diabetes support group. Don’t have one locally? Don’t be afraid to get one started. Peer support for self managing diabetes–one of the most common chronic diseases in the country–can seem less burdensome knowing others are facing similar challenges.
Steps to self-manage diabetes takes intention. Parents, teachers, and students start the fall with a plan and good intentions for a successful new year. Set your sites on your next A1c result being as good as or better than your last. Put in play a plan that provides enough sleep, exercise, balanced diet, and a schedule that reinforces a good mental attitude. Start the school year just like the kids, with anticipation of the new and looking forward to success.