For some, the phrase “self-care” calls to mind images of bath bombs and wine nights. For others, it focuses more on taking time to make sure the foundations of your health and wellness are taken care of. For people with type 1 diabetes, this is the kind of care that can help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Here are our self-care tips for type 1 diabetes.
Check Your Numbers
Taking the time to check your blood sugar numbers can be a hassle, especially if you have to stick yourself. But regularly monitoring your blood sugar is the foundation that good self-care for type 1 diabetes is built on. Without it, you won’t have a gauge of what helps or hinders your blood sugar levels. Experts recommend checking your levels four to ten times a day. Otherwise, you can invest in a constant glucose monitoring system.
When it comes to a diabetes-friendly diet, most people’s thoughts turn to counting carbs and avoiding sugar. While monitoring carbs is important for taking insulin, there are other factors to consider such as nutrients, proteins, and healthy fats. While a nutritionist might recommend different diets depending on the individual, some things you may consider adding to your diet include:
- Whole grains
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
Eating consistently and not skipping meals is almost more important than any specific food item. Consistent consumption of calories will help keep your numbers stable.
Regular exercise offers health benefits to everyone, but this is especially true for those with type 1 diabetes. Along with strengthening muscles and improving heart health, exercise impacts our body’s insulin sensitivity. In other words, when we exercise, our body is better able to absorb insulin, so we don’t have to take as much insulin to process our carbs.
Watch Your Feet
A lot of people don’t realize that the feet are often a problem area for those with diabetes. Because of diabetic neuropathy, it’s common for feet to lose feeling. This makes you more prone to injuries or infections in the feet. So, taking care of your feet should be part of your self-care regimen. Here are a few options you might want to try:
Watch Your Shoe Choice
Shoes are meant to protect our feet, but they can also be the cause of many of our foot-related woes. Shoes that are too tight or pinch at the toes can cause blisters you may not even notice. Opt for comfortably-fitting, closed-toe shoes when possible, and avoid walking around barefoot.
One way to help improve diabetic neuropathy is to improve the blood flow to the feet. Fortunately, improving blood flow is one of the many benefits of food massage. It also helps to subtly strengthen the muscles in your feet.