Diabetes in COVID-19 Isolation

Apr 15, 2020

Is anyone else just OVER the whole social isolation captivity?

To be clear, physical isolation is absolutely necessary and the alternative is far worse. Along with most of the rest of the world, I'm staying home. On the rare occasions that I venture out to the grocery store or pharmacy, or to pick up take out, my stylish mask is securely covering my face. (Thanks, Mom, for making masks for the family!)

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while and we need to get creative at figuring out how to not just survive but actually THRIVE!

This even more complicated for people with Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes. One of the things that many people are doing to pass the time is making bread and other baked goods. Not a great idea for those of us who are extremely carb sensitive. Another issue for us is the need for consistent exercise to improve insulin sensitivity. I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to get in much activity. I didn’t realize how much incidental walking I do in my normal, non-isolated life. To add insult to injury, stress is particularly bad for people with Diabetes and we're all living in an unprecedented time of stress.

So what to do to stay sane and healthy? 

What are you eating?

With all the time at home, most of us are cooking more ever. In times of stress we tend to want high-carb comfort food, which is the worst option for managing blood sugar. In the initial few weeks of COVID-19 isolation, I ate way too many carbs. As would be expected, my blood sugar swung wildly out of control and my body felt significantly less-than-optimal. Now I'm revisiting some of my favorite low-carb recipes and experimenting with new ones. I've been making a new favorite: Low Carb Corndog Bites (Get the recipe here). 

Pinterest is a wealth of low-carb/keto recipes. My Pinterest boards have lots of recipes to start with. Another source I like for low carb recipes is DJFoodie.com.  He’s also got a couple of cookbooks that are fun to read. They contain lots of tips for low-carb/keto cooking, beautiful photos, and easy-to-follow recipes for some pretty amazing food. 

What are your favorite sources for low-carb recipes? Drop me an email. I’d love to try your favorite recipes! 

Move Your Body!

Activity is one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity, as activated muscles speed uptake of sugar out of your blood. I'm not generally a fan of exercise under normal circumstances and it's harder now that we're home all the time. I mostly want to sit and eat popcorn while binging Midsomer Murders. Not a good plan. So what to do to get my butt off the couch and moving?

Go on a long walk with a friend

“What about social distancing?” you’re probably asking right about now. Twice a week, I go on a walking date with my dear friend, who happens to live a thousand miles away. We both put on our walking shoes, leash up our dogs and head out. As I’m leaving the house, I pop in my earbuds and dial her number. We usually talk for about an hour and I barely notice that I’m walking about 3 miles while we’re talking. It’s good for my body and my soul at the same time. 

Take a class at the virtual gym

If you prefer to work out with a class at the gym, lots of gyms are offering online classes. I found some free options in this article. I haven’t tried any of the virtual classes yet but have it on my list for this weekend. I’ll be logging in to my Pilates studio, which is offering live Zoom classes with my regular instructors.   

Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of good blood sugar. This is because stress hormones increase insulin resistance, which in turn increases fat storage and raises blood sugar. This was a great idea for our ancestors, who could use a little extra padding during times of severe winter and famine. Not so great for us living through a pandemic in the 21st century.

 A few things I do to reduce my stress:

I get dressed every day. When I get back from my morning walk with the dogs, I take a shower and put on real clothes that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in public. My daily uniform hasn’t even changed much: since I’ve been working for myself the last five years, I’m pretty much a jeans-and-a-nice-top girl.

I wear shoes all day, every day and I post pictures of my “Quarantine Shoes” on social media. My Quarantine Shoe posts have become quite popular with some internet friends who I only know through social media. Silly though they may be, my posts have led to connection among people all over the US and Canada who share my love of fantastic shoes.

I started a book club. We’re in the process of choosing our second book right now. Here’s a little secret: It’s not really about reading. It’s about a weekly connection. When we first went into isolation, I posted on Facebook inviting people to join me for a book club. About 10 people responded and we’ve been meeting weekly via Zoom. We talk a little about books and a lot about this strange new world we’re living in.

I observe a standard work day. I’ve created a rough daily schedule and try to adhere to it. I stop for a lunch break and I finish my day between 3 and 5, depending on the day. When the work day is done, work is done for the day. No more checking email or “one last thing” to finish up a project. Creating boundaries around working from home is hard under the best circumstances. We are not living under the best of circumstances and setting boundaries to boost your self care is more important now than ever!

I get out of the house without breaking isolation. I go for long walks with my dogs and go for drives. I stop and take photos of things that are beautiful. I notice so much beauty of spring that I don’t usually take the time to slow down enough to pay attention. I’m slowing down now and, the more I look for beauty, the more I see it and then the more I look for it, and so on. Seeing the beauty in everyday life brings me peace in this uncertain world. 

There are other self-care rituals that I continue to participate in: connecting with my faith community weekly via virtual church on Facebook, going to bed and getting up at regular hours, playing board games with my family, weekly video chats with my extended family.

What are YOU doing for self care right now?  Head over to the Facebook page and share your favorite “Life in Captivity” tip.

We're going to get through this. Really.






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