Diabetes while working from home
Working from home comes with its own unique challenges, which can negatively impact your diabetes health. Set yourself up for success with these tips as you manage diabetes while working from home.
Taking advantage of remote diabetes care
Remote care for diabetes is here to stay, even once we move past COVID-19. Endocrinology is one of the top specialties that has taken advantage of telemedicine and phone visits during the pandemic — and people with diabetes have flocked to it.
The number of Americans with chronic illnesses like diabetes who have participated in telehealth visits has gone up by 77% since the pandemic began. Fifty-three percent of them say that virtual care offers the same or better quality of care than in-person visits.1
In short: virtual diabetes care is available, it’s helping more people with diabetes than ever, and it offers a great level of care. If you haven’t already, talk to your doctor to see if your visits can be done virtually. While some services might need to be done in person, there’s a good chance that routine check-ups can be done remotely.
One of the best things you can do as a remote care patient is to stay on top of your diabetes data. There are a handful of great apps that automatically log your blood glucose and show graphs of your estimated A1c over time. mySugr is a free app that allows you to visualize your blood glucose and send it directly to your healthcare provider. All that data at your fingertips means you and your provider can make the most out of your remote visits.
Diabetes and stress management
A study from the American Diabetes Association made one thing clear: there’s a link between your stress levels and your blood sugar levels.2 And if you’re like most people with diabetes, there’s a lot of stress on your plate right now.
Managing diabetes is taxing enough, but the pandemic has added additional stressors to the mix. Worries about getting sick, losing your job, or even just caring for your loved ones can make stress levels high — and your A1c follows suit.
What can you do to combat the rising stress of everyday life during the pandemic? One tip is to set boundaries between your work life and home life. If you have a spare room to dedicate to an office, make that your dedicated work space. Any time you aren’t in that room, consider yourself off the clock so you can take a mental break from your workload.
Our friends at Beyond Type 2 have put together resources for people experiencing diabetes burnout. One or more of these tips might help you overcome the stress of daily management so you can find some zen in your day.
How to get moving while working from home
Even if you have a desk job, working from an office probably got you on your feet more frequently than you might think. Moving between conference rooms for meetings, walking to and from a nearby restaurant for lunch, or even just taking a quick stroll with a co-worker — all those little moments add up to a decent amount of movement throughout the day.
Working from home has proven to be a different story altogether. Moving between meetings can be done with a click, meals are only a few steps away in the kitchen, and it can be hard stepping away from your computer when there’s work to be done.
The best way to make movement your priority during the work day is to take it one step at a time. Every little bit counts, so try these simple tips:
- Start standing. Desk jobs can lead to a sedentary lifestyle that’s no good for your diabetes health. Stand up and move around a few times every hour to help with your circulation. Bonus points if you can find a way to work while you’re standing, like investing in a standing desk.
- Brief exercise is key. You don’t need to hit the gym to get in a healthy amount of exercise. Anything that gets your heart rate up is great, whether it’s taking a jog or running up and down the stairs if you can do so safely.
- Take a brief stroll. Chances are there’s a window of time somewhere in the day where you could step out for a walk around the neighborhood. Your dog will appreciate tagging along, too!
- Make technology your accountability buddy. If you have a smartwatch or a fitness tracker, you’ve got a helping hand right on your wrist. They can remind you to get moving throughout the day, to hit your step goal or simple to stand up after a period of inactivity.
- Give yourself a reason to move around. Instead of doing all of your work in one place, try dividing your time between different rooms of the house. For example, you could stand in front of a sunny window while taking a phone call or read through a document at the kitchen table instead of at your desk. Any excuse to get up and get moving!
If you need more tips for getting active during the day, read our diabetes and exercise and workout article.
Give yourself some easy nutrition wins
During the pandemic we’re all leaning on takeout a bit more than usual. There’s no denying that it makes meals a snap, but restaurants don’t always have the healthiest options on the menu.
With a little planning you can make healthy, home-prepared meals just as simple as ordering carryout.
Vegetables should take up half your plate for every meal. That can be tricky during a time when we’re all trying to limit our trips to the grocery store, since vegetables can quickly wilt or go bad. This tip should come as no surprise, but the solution is to put your freezer to work.
Try to buy vegetables in bulk and freeze what you aren’t going to use within a few days. For example, if you’ve got taco night on the calendar this week go ahead and buy twice the amount of peppers you plan on using. Slice them all up, then bag and freeze half of them so they’re ready to grab when taco night rolls around again.
As for lunch, eating healthy can be as easy as finding a simple salad that you enjoy eating several times a week. It only takes four ingredients, and there’s a lot of room for creativity.
1. Greens. Not all leafy greens are created equal! Iceberg lettuce and arugula might be the most popular, but they aren’t exactly packed with vitamins. Try kale or spinach for a more nutritious punch.
2. Veggies. Add some crunch to your salad with healthy vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers.
3. Toppings. Pre-packaged salads tend to include a lot of fatty and sugary toppings like bacon bits or candied nuts. Consider lean proteins, boiled eggs or a small amount of cheese instead. Avocado is another power player here, to add some healthy fat to your lunch.
4. Dressing. A lot of salad dressings on the market are either high in fat or high in sugar. Consider adding a small drizzle of olive, avocado or vegetable oil to your salad instead of a traditional dressing, or use a vinaigrette to keep it simple.
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1 Doximity. (2020, September.) “2020 State of Telemedicine Report.” https://c8y.doxcdn.com/image/upload/Press%20Blog/Research%20Reports/2020-state-telemedi cine-report.pdf
2 American Diabetes Association. (2005, April) “Stress and Diabetes: A Review of the Links.” https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/18/2/121