No matter if you’re an early bird or not, getting up, dressed, and ready for the day can be difficult. Add in diabetes management, and the morning hours may be even more challenging. But don’t fear: These five tips and tricks will help you feel better about the day ahead and stay on top of your diabetes routine too.
1. Make your breakfast the night before
The last thing you want to think about when the morning alarm sounds is what you’re going to make for breakfast. Chances are you’ll be more likely to choose an unhealthy option on the go — think a prepackaged, sugar-loaded granola bar or a greasy egg-and-cheese sandwich — if you don’t plan or prep ahead.
So when you’re in the midst of chopping veggies for dinner or waiting for your meal to finish baking in the oven, make a portable breakfast for the next day. Try mini omelets for a quick, low-carb option or make green vegetable egg tortilla on the weekend and cut individual portions for each weekday morning. Another alternative is overnight oats: Just mix 1/2 cup of raw oats with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of skim milk in a reusable container, and top with a handful of healthy nuts and berries.
And don’t think about skipping breakfast either! Research shows that people with type 2 diabetes who skip breakfast have a higher glycemic response after eating lunch and dinner than those who make the time for a morning meal.
2. Lay out your exercise clothes — and pack them in a fun workout bag
If you tend to feel rushed in the morning, you may forget your workout gear. One way to stay on top of your exercise regimen for diabetes management is to pack your workout clothes the night before. Dedicate one drawer in your dresser or one spot in your closet just for these clothes. Grab everything you’ll need — including socks, hats, and sweatbands — and pack them in a workout bag.
Still feeling unmotivated? Treat yourself to a fun workout bag. Long gone are the days of storing gear in drawstring bags! Today’s gym bags are stylish and come with lots of features — you won’t you feel embarrassed about lugging one to and from the office.
And remember, some things you can always keep in your bag: a hairbrush, deodorant, and headphones, for example. You may also want to stash in your bag travel-size moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners that you can refill from time to time.
3. Organize, and then reorganize, your medicines and supplies
Even for those without diabetes, medicines and supplies can quickly become lost among the expired and unused toiletry items around your home. But if you have diabetes, keeping your medications and supplies clearly organized can make all the difference in how quickly you get out the door and how you feel the rest of the day: One survey found that 50 percent of people who lost or misplaced something became frustrated. That’s no way to start your day!
The first step in organizing your supplies is taking inventory. Get rid of old, forgotten items you no longer need. Then sort things by how often you use them.
Buy clear plastic containers or bins and a permanent marker to label exactly what’s inside them. Use one bin for extra supplies, like test strips or pen needles, and another bin for everyday necessities, like insulin. Be sure to keep the original packaging for medications, or note the prescription number and expiration date of each on the storage container.
Place your diabetes medication and supply containers on a dresser, nightstand, or kitchen counter so that you see them each day. Buy a weekly pill organizer so you can set up your daily medications for each day.
To remember to test your blood sugar in the morning, place your meter on your nightstand. Then move the meter to where you keep your toothbrush so you can remember to use it before you go to bed. Talk to your doctor about getting a second meter — if you can score two, you can leave one at home and carry the other one with you!
4. Pump up your favorite jams
Feeling a little groggy? Your go-to playlist may help you feel more energized. A small study found that listening to music that you like can help you focus on your thoughts — something that tends to drift in the early morning hours. Additionally, listening to music has been shown to boost or elevate your mood by stimulating arousal and generating self-awareness.
But besides getting your head in the right space for the day, playing music may also be beneficial to your overall diabetes management: Research found that those with diabetes or prediabetes who added music therapy to their self-management had lower blood pressure levels.
5. Leave a morning checklist on your front door or bathroom mirror
Forgetting something that’s crucial to your diabetes management can really turn you on your head. A to-do list can help ensure that you’ve done everything you need to set yourself up for success. Here are some things that diabetes expert Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, suggests for your list:
- Check your blood sugar.
- Check your continuous glucose monitor.
- Take your insulin and other medication.
- Finish your morning hygiene routine: shower, brush teeth, apply makeup.
- Grab or eat your breakfast.
- Pack all diabetes supplies.
Feel free to add anything else on your list that you tend to overlook, like taking Fido out for a quick walk or removing something from the freezer for dinner that night.