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Morning routines to manage type 2 diabetes

A solid morning routine can have a positive impact on the outcome of anyone’s day. And this is even more true for those with type 2 diabetes. When life gets chaotic, a good morning routine can be the straight line that confidently guides you through a busy day. Finding what works best for you and your type 2 diabetes care may take some time, so make sure to play around a bit.
Jacqui Hathaway
9/13/2022
8
min read
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Quick summary

  • A good morning routine can help you stay in control of your day, which is especially important if you’re living with a medical condition like type 2 diabetes.
  • By staying organised, you can eliminate additional stress, which is also important for type 2 diabetes care.
  • Build your own routine to find a morning structure that works for you—prep your meals in advance, do a short meditation, get some exercise, or make a checklist, its about what works for you.

Morning routines can set the tone for your entire day—and more importantly, they keep your type 2 diabetes management in check. 

A quality routine can provide organisation and structure for anyone, but this is extremely beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes. According to The Spruce, good organisational habits help you feel in control of your day.[1] Knowing where medication and supplies are located at all times, and knowing (for sure) you’ve packed all essentials before a jam-packed day is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it can be a challenge to monitor the many parts to your type 2 diabetes care like diet, exercise, and glucose levels. 

Eliminate additional stress with a morning routine by ironing out the parts of your day that are actually within your control. Find what works best for you and your type 2 diabetes management. It may take some time, so make sure to play around a bit—here are a few ideas to help you begin. 

Prepare meals ahead of time

Food plays a major role in balancing blood sugar levels, so instead of searching for a last-minute breakfast solution, try planning meals beforehand.The Mayo Clinic recognises that it’s not only the types of foods you eat with type 2 diabetes that matter, it’s also the combinations of foods.[2] So try prepping healthy food options like omelette cups or overnight oats the evening before to help mornings go smoothly. Invest in quality glass storage boxes or mason jars, so you’ll have all the proper gear to motivate you in advance. 

Organise medicines and supplies

Eliminate morning panic by storing crucial medications and materials in a visible and reliable place. Sometimes a clear “days of the week” container will help keep dosages in line. This way, there’s no question or mental fog about how much you’ve taken or if you’ve taken your medication at all. When you have diabetes, it’s not only important to know where your medications and supplies are located, but understanding the full report and inventory of materials is key.[3] For example, if all items are neatly set on the dresser or in a medicine cabinet with labels facing out, you’re more likely to stay clearheaded about medication facts. 

Make a morning checklist

It’s frustrating to forget something related to your type 2 diabetes management, but you can alleviate this stress by writing out a physical to-do list that ensures all needs are met. Tape your list to the bathroom mirror or leave it by your keys before heading out the door. Place it somewhere you’ll notice easily. This list will remain in the same spot day to day. So what goes on your list? Healthline’s diabetes expert, Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE suggests the following for your morning to-do list: 

  • Check blood sugar
  • Check continuous glucose monitor
  • Take insulin and other medication 
  • Finish morning hygiene routine
  • Grab breakfast
  • Pack all diabetes supplies. 

Also, an additional to-do list for the day ahead—one that travels with you—could be super helpful too. The morning one can be something that stays in the same place, but there’s no harm in taking an “on-the-go” list as well.[4]

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Try meditation

Slowing down when you’ve got a busy day ahead can seem counterproductive. But studies show that meditation can reduce stress which helps keep biochemical parameters like blood glucose and insulin in check—that’s a big deal for anyone with type 2 diabetes![5] So if a 10-minute meditation seems overwhelming, start small. Upon awakening, take a seat on a cushion or pillow for just 3 minutes. Follow the breath inhale and fill the belly; exhale and notice how the belly deflates. Repeat this over and over. Meditation can be an important part of anyone’s morning routine.

Get moving

Plan time in your morning routine for exercise. Working out improves brain function and releases endorphins—plus an active lifestyle is a main component to type 2 diabetes care as exercise helps lower blood sugar levels. If possible, get moving early. Make life easy for yourself by laying out your exercise clothes the night before and leaving your trainers by the door. If working out first thing in the morning doesn’t work for your lifestyle, pack clothes or trainers as a reminder to work out later in the day. Either way, making the mental note for physical exercise means you’re more likely to get the job done at some point in your day. But it starts with planning for it in your morning routine.[6]

Repeat positive affirmations

Guilt and shame are normal emotions that come with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Social stigma and ‘blame the victim’ attitudes can weigh heavily on a person’s mental health.[7] On a good day, most people are able to shake off negative feelings, but on other days, those difficult emotions can be overwhelming. A great way to combat negative emotions is by repeating powerful affirmations to yourself first thing in the morning. Incorporate these phrases into your morning routine—even on your good days—to establish the habit and remind yourself that you’re worthy at the very start of the day. Here are some sample affirmations catered to those with type 2 diabetes:

  • I deserve to feel healthy. 
  • I trust my body. 
  • I’m doing my best. 
  • I enjoy exercising. 
  • I believe I can succeed. 
  • I’m the expert on my body. 
  • Taking care of myself is easy.[8]

Mornings can be simple and strategic when you plan ahead. Let go of the chaos, and build a routine that works for you and your lifestyle. A solid morning routine can make a huge difference in day-to-day life—it’s pretty much an essential part of your personal care and wellness. Routines help alleviate stress and keep the many components of managing type 2 diabetes in check. Planning ahead and making time for yourself sends a signal to your mind and body that says, “I matter and my health is important.”

Don’t let chaos and disorganisation throw you off balance. Start each day on the fresh hopeful page that you deserve. Of course, these are just suggestions to get you started. Experiment with your own ideas until a routine surfaces that's unique to you.

References

[1] 10 Things to Do Daily to be More Organized. The Spruce. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

[2] Diabetes Management: How Lifestyle and Routine Affect Blood Sugar. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

[3] 5 Morning Life Hacks for Getting Ready with Diabetes. Healthline. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

[4] Excellent Morning Routine Ideas for People With Diabetes. Diabetes Daily. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

[5] Shashank, S.S., Jain, A.K., Sanjay, T., et al. (2018). Effect of 6 Months of Meditation on Blood Sugar, Glycosylated Hemoglobin, and Insulin Levels in Patients of Coronary Artery Disease. Int J Yoga 11(2):122-128. Accessible here

[6] Need a New Morning Routine? 10 Tips to Rise and Really Shine. Healthline. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

[7] Browne, J.L., Ventura, A., Moseley, K., Speight, J. (2013). ‘I call it the blame and shame disease’: a qualitative study about perceptions of social stigma surrounding type 2 diabetes. BMJ Open 2(11): e003384. Accessible here

[8] Letting Go of Guilt When You Have Type 2 Diabetes. Healthline. Retrieved 9 August 2022. Accessible here

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