Managing work-life balance with diabetes require well-thought-out planning and more importantly, patience. You have to be much like a professional juggler and have to keep many balls up in the air, to keep the show going. When you unintentionally let a ball drop because you had a large king-size lunch at your favorite pizza joint and return back home with a high blood glucose, you know the rest of your day would just be ruined.
So, how do we prepare ourselves to manage all the odds and challenges thrown at us by diabetes? Read-on to know how you can efficiently manage work-life balance, when you are a diabetic.
Believe us, if done right, you can lead a great life and chase everything you have ever dreamt about.
Table of Contents
- How to Manage Work-Life Balance With Diabetes
- What Employers Can Do?
- Why is Work-Life Balance Important?
- Realistic Issues you Might Face and Tips to Combat Them
How to Manage Work-Life Balance With Diabetes
Managing our work and life together has always been and will always be, an arduous task. Throw diabetes amid these and you will have even more decisions to make every single day.
If you don’t efficiently plan things out, you can feel the world slipping right out of your hands. At times, this could be really frustrating and challenging but it is really in your control as to how well you manage everything.
Let’s begin with some simple yet very effective tips to manage work-life balance, if you are a diabetic.
Tip no.1. Start Listening to Your Body:
First things first, pay attention to all your body signals. Don’t try to work even when you feel unwell. Our bodies always try to tell us what is going on inside. Check your blood glucose levels whenever you feel extremely tired, irritable and hungry. Your glucose levels would help you in deciding your next move.
Tip no.2. Be Prepared for the Worst:
You might unexpectedly find your blood glucose levels hay-wire when you check it upon feeling a bit unwell. Keep an emergency kit along with you that have all the required supplies and glucose tabs. At worst, you might need to call up or visit your doctor immediately, if your glucose levels are unreasonably high.
Tip no 3. Bring Lunch from Your Home:
Carry your lunch to your office and whenever you are traveling. This way, you will be able to eat healthy and can easily keep a check on carbohydrates. Make sure to have balanced diet that has all the essential nutrients. Healthy fats, fiber and protein must be focus of all your meals.
Tip no 4. Wear A Medical Alert Bracelet:
It is best to keep wearing a medical alert bracelet. They are fun, easy to afford and come in multiple designs. There is simply no reason so as to why you must not wear them. You can buy one from a mall nearby or get it delivered to your doorstep. This might be able to help others, when you are in no condition to help yourself, if at all this happens.
Tip no 5. Watch Your Stress Levels:
Prolonged stress can lead to increase in your blood sugar levels. With so much of stress, you might also find it difficult to adhere to your usual diabetes management. Once you identify your stress triggers, you can actually take control. Set your limits and prioritize tasks. You can learn and practice various relaxation techniques. Also, exercise can really make you feel better and normalize your blood sugar levels. Indulge in yoga and meditation for a healthier and calmer you. Watch out for signs of depression. If you feel you are depressed, consult a psychological immediately.
Tip no 6. Get Active Physically:
Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you in chalking out a perfect workout plan such that it is in sync with your medications and meals. It would be best if you can check your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise, especially if you are on insulin. Also, don’t exercise if your blood glucose levels are too high or too low. You must consume enough water throughout the workout session to prevent dehydration or dizziness.
Tip no 7. Avoid Unnecessary Pressure:
Remember, you are doing your best and there is nothing wrong with you, as you might think is. You should realize that you are doing a lot (even with diabetes) and in the same time as anyone else is. Don’t take any unnecessary pressure as long as your blood glucose levels are okay and you are doing fine in all other aspects of life.
Tip no 8. Define Your Own “Balance”:
Think of whatever you associate with balance. Is it being quiet, alone, active, socializing or talking. If you know what balance means in your life, you are one step close to actually achieving balance in your life. You need not compare yourself with anybody to prove anything whatsoever. Let life flow with its own course.
Tip no 9. Be Specific:
Now, exactly when you have figured out how to balance things out, it is indeed crucial to be specific about what you would want to do. Spend weekend reading a book? Writing a poem? Visiting your sister? Or anything of this sort. If you stay in the generalities, chances are you will always keep feeling out of balance.
Tip no 10. Keep It Realistic:
Keep you goals realistic. Be it family goals, work goals or your life goals. You must know we can only plan things, but what happens is life. So, you might be not able to make it to your parents’ home due to some unavoidable tasks at hand. Reschedule your visit. Well, we are not always in control of things that happen, so just accept whatever happens. Though, keep both your plans and goals realistic.
Tip no 11. Make A healthy Start of Your Day:
In order to balance out everything, you need to start your day with a fresh and healthy start. Getting a good night’s sleep is important. Have a healthy breakfast such as oatmeal or vegetable omelet with your family to get some family time before you make it to your office. A healthy and wholesome breakfast will provide enough energy for the body to work efficiently. Also, consume breakfast that can efficiently level out your blood glucose levels until you have your lunch. You can get some easy to prepare recipes here.
Tip no 12. Turn That Phone off While You Have Your Dinner:
Although, smart phones have completely transformed our lives but they come with certain drawbacks. Access to social media, emails and Internet has indeed revolutionized our world. However, you might feel stressed because of prolonged use of technology including laptops and phones. So, tonight when you have your dinner with your family, switch off your phone for an hour at-least and it is the time to bond with your loved ones. Your blood glucose levels will also calm down, meanwhile.
Tip no 13. Know What Really Matters to You:
It is rather important to realize what really matters to you. As a diabetic, your primary priority must be your health because if you are unwell or aren’t alive, there is no point of any other priority. Knowing what all matters to you can help you in planning how to go about with diabetes and its related issues.
Tip no 14. Test Your Blood Glucose Levels Regularly:
This is one of the topmost concern of employers and colleagues so as to how will you efficiently use and dispose of blood glucose testing supplies. But if you start managing this really well, you can check your blood glucose whenever you feel like or you have to. Use a hard-plastic container to dispose off sharp objects like lancets while you can use regular bins for disposing other stuff. However, checking your blood glucose regularly can help you in managing your diabetes easily and efficiently.
Tip no 15. Schedule Breaks:
Ensure that you make time for your lunch, snacks and little exercise breaks throughout the day. You can set timers on your cellphone to remind you to take a break, get up, stretch, drink water and walk around a bit. You can also set up reminders for your blood glucose tests and medications.
Tip no 16. Coordinate Your Medications and Meals:
If you have consumed much less food with respect to your insulin dose or medication, you might have to experience dangerously low blood sugar levels. Too much food might cause high blood glucose. This makes it important to coordinate your meals and medications. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you with this. More importantly, make you every meal a balanced meal. Try to incorporate sufficient amount of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Keep a check on carbohydrates you are consuming. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a complete no-no. Drink alcohol in moderation, only if your doctor allows.
Tip no 17. Work from Home, If Possible:
If your organization allows so, you can also work from home, on certain days. This will help you to be close to your family while simultaneously managing your office tasks at home. Considering you have diabetes, your office management might make this option open for you.
Tip no 18. Consider Telling Your Colleagues:
Practically speaking, you should only tell human resources people and your boss to both accommodate and make arrangements. Apart that, you don’t necessarily need to disclose your disease to anyone. But educating your colleagues and coworkers about diabetes might be useful. You might need their help when your blood sugar levels hit a low. If you work in a rather large organization and are often surrounded by people who don’t know you really well, consider wearing a medic alert tag and keep a snack along.
Tip no 19. Delegate Away The Work:
Delegate the work you can to your subordinates or co-workers. At home, assign small responsibilities to your spouse and kids to reduce your day-to-day activities. This would strip off a big chunk of your day-to-day stress.
Tip no 20. Prioritize Your Tasks:
Prioritization is rather important both at your workplace and at your home. Plan out the week ahead with few priorities set for each day including most crucial tasks and other errands that need to be done.
Tip no 21. Learn To Say No:
Most of us accept tasks and invitations that we don’t really have time and efforts to do or to indulge in. This is because we don’t want to offend the one who invited us or delegated the task. Now, because you have to take utmost care of your health, you should learn to say no to certain people, tasks and activities that you really don’t want to be a part of.
Tip no 22. Sleep Peacefully:
After a tiring day at work, you really need to shake off all your worries and slip in your cosy bed after a healthy dinner. A sound sleep of at-least 7 hours is important for rejuvenating your body and preparing your body for the next day. Don’t check your phone or watch any other screen just before you sleep.
Tip no 23. Give Yourself Some Breathing Space:
Rather than just paying attention to your work and family, also give equal importance to your overall wellbeing. You really need some breathing space, so just step back and take out time for yourself. Utilize this time in introspection, analyzing and planning your next move.
Tip no 24. Learn to Accept Your Diabetes:
This might be difficult initially, but you must learn to accept your diabetes. Once, you accept the fact that you are living with diabetes, it will be easier to live well with it too.
Tip no 25. Build A Support System:
All of us need people to lean on. Tell your friends, family and co-workers about your condition. They can then easily help you when you need their help or emotional support.
Tip no 26. Ask For Help:
If you are struggling with something especially your health, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Achieving a perfect balance between your work and life is quite a challenge for everyone. Being a diabetic makes this even more challenging. At your work, you need to draw your limits to stay sane and energized. While this intricate balance will change every single day and in ways that you could have never really anticipated. You should do what you think is right and in consultation with your close ones. After all, they are the ones who lose out most if your balance becomes unbalanced!
What Employers Can Do? Supporting Employees To Manage Work-Life Balance With Diabetes
When your organization has one or more diabetic patients, you need to understand the disease and help them accordingly. To help diabetic employees in the workplace, you can do the following:
- Ensure that a few healthy options are always available whenever food is served in the workplace.
- Help diabetic employees in both avoiding and managing stress effectively as it might cause high blood sugar and hypertension.
- Encourage physical activity of your diabetic employees through on-site facilities, gym memberships or walking clubs during lunch hours.
- Give them regular breaks and discourage diabetic employees from skipping their meal breaks.
- Foster a work culture in your organization that promotes healthy work-life balance.
- Encourage your diabetic employees to get regular health checkups and be regular with their medications.
- Emphasize the importance of work-life balance among all your employees especially diabetics. They must know its importance and must strive to achieve it.
With little help and support, diabetics can perform as well as any other employee in your organization. It is good to be empathetic and support our co-workers to perform their best and stay healthy at the same time.
Why is Work-Life Balance Important?
Building a healthy balance between your work and your life can help improve your overall health, contentment and relationships with people around you. Here are 5 important reasons why work-life balance is important.
1. It helps in maintaining your mental health.
2. It ensures your overall wellbeing and physical health.
3. It helps in increasing your productivity.
4. It helps you in becoming more holistic.
5. You have got just one life, make the best out of it. Isn’t this a reason enough?
While, you must have already known why work-life balance with diabetes is important, it is never too much to stress upon it again and again. We hope you would be encouraged to balance out your life even more.
Realistic Issues you Might Face and Tips to Combat Them
Having discussed every aspect of balancing out your life and work, we can talk about the realistic issues you might face. Keep reading to find tips on how to combat them.
Issues in Eating Healthy, Most of The Times:
You might it difficult to eat healthy most of the times, especially when you are traveling. It is advised to carry your food, whenever you know it would be difficult to manage healthy yet satisfying food.
Issues in Prioritizing Things:
With myriad of responsibilities and priorities surrounding a person, it can be quite troublesome to prioritize things. With little analyzing and efficient planning, you will be able to easily prioritize things. It would be best to let go of things and activities that are redundant or simple waste of time.
Issues at Workplace:
Certain organizations that require back-breaking work from their employees might not be able to accommodate diabetic employees. You should be clear about this right from the beginning and avoid joining any such organization.
Issues with Family and Relationships:
Your illness and deadlines at work might leave with little or no time for your close ones. We advise you to make it up to them to strengthen your relationships and foster trust. This would really be worth it.
Issues in Managing Time:
Everybody on this planet has got just the same time. It is upon us, how well we utilize this time. Planning and introspection can help you a lot here. Cut off tasks that are not at all important and don’t give you any kind of benefit. This might give you sufficient time for physical activity and relaxation as well.
Issues in Giving Enough Attention To Your Body:
With so much at hand, it becomes increasingly difficult to pay enough attention to your body. But, once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have to really consider health as your top-most concern.
Living in Constant Stress or Fear:
Constant stress or fear is as bad for you as any other chronic condition. You have got just one life, don’t waste it with fear or unknown and stressing out too much. Staying calm, composed and relaxed would also help in avoiding other psychological issues.
Trying to Be A Perfectionist:
Feeling worse due to missing certain things, you were supposed to do? Well, that is normal but you can learn accepting whatever happens. Don’t overtax yourself with plethora of tasks and activities. Perfection is indeed an over-rated concept!
We believe with determination, planning and patience you will be able to combat ever oddity thrown at you by your life and work. Diabetes can however behave itself, if you can take control of your health.
Your busy life, hectic schedules, deadlines and diabetes might make it hard to not feel stressed. It’s a fact that most of our days are filled with deadlines, seemingly endless tasks and countless emails. With diabetes, it becomes even more important to make health a priority, as much as your work is. Remember, nothing ranks much higher than balance amongst your health, work and life.
We believe that our recommendations and tips would have made you feel more balanced and positive. Let us know what work-life balance means for you. What helps you in achieving a better work-life balance with diabetes? Share your tips and feedback by commenting below. Go, find your own path. Make balanced life a priority of your life. And, then commit making it true. Just because you are worth it!
Our article only provides general information and is not a medical advice or opinion. Consult your diabetes educator or doctor before you make any drastic changes to your lifestyle, exercise regimen or diet.
“Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger”- Dr. Mehmet Oz