With the fast-paced and complex nature of the world today, it can be common to feel pulled in many different directions. Busy days full of commitments often make it difficult to prioritize your own wellness, namely managing health conditions such as diabetes. Fortunately, taking the time to have the right resources in place can make it easier to tackle some day-to-day challenges and empower you to take control of your self-management. Below are some key written resources to have on hand to help you manage your diabetes:
1. Medication list- Having a list of your medications is helpful to keep track of your regimen, and to bring to your doctor’s appointments and any emergency visits. This way, you do not have to worry about trying to remember your list in the moment, namely if there are pressing medical concerns going on. Make sure to keep the list up to date when any changes are made and include all over the counter medications and dietary supplements you are taking as well. Take it with you when you are traveling and share the list with any family or friends that are involved in your care, in case they will need to relay the information if a situation arises that you are unable to do so.
2. Sick Day Plan- It is crucial to develop a sick day plan with your healthcare provider to have a basic understanding of what measures to take with your self-care in the event that you become ill. Your doctor may suggest taking actions such as more frequent blood sugar monitoring, checking for ketones, medication changes, and making dietary modifications in various scenarios. Having a general plan in place will reduce any panic or anxiety of what to do when you are ill, and of course it is always recommended to get in touch with your healthcare provider if you have any pressing questions or concerns that arise which are not covered by the plan.
3. Emergency Number List and Disaster Plan- In addition to your medication list and sick day plan, it is also important to have a list of key contacts and a disaster plan written out that are easily accessible in case of emergency or a natural disaster. Make a list of all your doctors, local hospitals, diabetes supply companies, fire and police in your area to have on hand. In addition, creating a disaster preparedness list and kit is also useful to have in advance in case you need to evacuate or deal with an unforeseen circumstance. This kit should include a list of key documents to take with you like your driver’s license/photo ID, birth certificates, passports, health insurance information to make sure nothing important is left behind.
4. Medical Records- Keeping copies of your medical records can be very useful to have on hand. They can help you stay on track with your health conditions and diagnoses, diabetes screenings and treatments and make it easier to transition between doctors to provide them with any needed information.
5. Estate Plan- As an adult, namely if you have dependents and assets, it is very important to develop an estate plan in place to make sure your medical wishes are carried through, your family is cared for and your assets are transferred to the appropriate parties in the event that you are no longer able to care for yourself. This type of planning can be beneficial for people of all backgrounds, not just the wealthy. Even though it can be overwhelming, taking the time to meet with an estate planner, financial advisor or attorney can help you draft these essential documents to be prepared for more piece of mind.
6. Diabetes Magazine- A subscription to a diabetes magazine can be a wonderful gift to yourself when attempting to manage your diabetes. They include a lot of interesting information and articles on a variety of lifestyle topics, such as diet, exercise, stress management, medication and more and come in nice bite size pieces, to keep you up to date in the subject of diabetes management. Having your magazine arrive on a regular basis will be a good reminder to inform yourself on latest information to keep you engaged in self-care.
7. Inspirational Stories/Self Help- Living with diabetes can be full of ups and downs, and there can be times where you are feeling overwhelmingly challenged, burnt out or less motivated, which is understandable! Sometimes tapping into a good self-help book or inspirational story can be just the jumpstart you need to give you some inspiration to persevere. Hearing other people’s stories helps to not feel so alone and learn different ways to approaching things.
8. Good Diabetes Cookbook/Recipe Collection/Shopping list- One of the best resources to have on your bookshelf is a good diabetes cookbook, or at least a collection of your favorite recipes. Having a bunch of go-to favorite recipes help keep healthy eating sustainable and are important for developing healthy habits. It is also fun to try new recipes to add variety and keep things interesting. If you like to do things digitally, you can favorite a list of healthy recipe websites to have handy when you are ready to get cooking. Make a shopping list from your recipes so you are prepared when you head to the store to get all the right ingredients. You can also create a basic shopping list to use weekly to help you stock nutritious foods on a regular basis
9. A planner/journal- A planner can be very helpful to keep track of things. There are all sorts of calendars and planners available that you can explore to find one that works best for you. Add your health appointments and other key engagements to your planner/calendar so you can stay on course. If you prefer paper, then having a daily and monthly planner can be used and you can also keep a large wall calendar up for the whole family to see what is happening each week/month. You can also enter commitments electronically in your phone or computer as well and set reminders to let you know these dates are upcoming, especially your doctor appointments and when to reorder diabetes supplies. If you have trouble keeping track of when to monitor blood sugars, administer medications etc. Journaling can be a powerful tool for motivation and self-awareness. Keeping track of your successes and setbacks and the circumstances/feelings surrounding them can be very eye opening and informative, not to mention very useful for improving your health in the future. Documenting things can also prove beneficial to be able to look back on when you are going to doctor’s appointments of having health difficulties and need to remember key facts. The potential for journaling is endless- you can include your food intake, medications, activity levels, feelings, stress level, accomplishments, and mistakes. Journaling on a regular basis can also help keep you accountable and in turn motivated!
10. Just a good book- Diabetes and health topics aside, having a good book available can be a great way to unwind and decompress from the busyness of life. Escaping everyday stress for a bit by getting immersed in a good story is a very healthy habit to develop to free your mind to take a break and re-charge.