As anyone who lives with diabetes knows, it’s a condition that dislikes disruptions to a daily routine.
This was one of my main concerns when it came to starting my new job last week. The position is hybrid, meaning that I can work from home and in an office as it suits my needs. The prospect of returning to an office again after more than three years of working remotely positively excited me, but I’d be lying if I said that it also terrified me. I was anxious about my first day back in an office environment (in addition to all the jitters associated with starting a new job), and more than anything, I was worried about how my diabetes would be affected by this change.
This is because I’d settled into a fairly standard routine after all this time working from home. I have a workout regimen, eating schedule, and built-in breaks throughout my day that have greatly benefited my day-to-day blood sugar levels, and I knew that returning to an office setting would prevent me from maintaining these habits.
So that’s why I entered what I’m calling “diabetes hyper-prepare mode” the night before my first day in the office so I could try and think about all the ways my day would differ working in this setting versus my own home. And thus, I came up with these three tips that resulted in a very successful diabetes (and work) day:
Tip #1: Get ready as much as possible the night before. The week that I started my new job, I did my best to recall the routines that had worked well for me when I was regularly working in an office. The first thing that came to mind was the amount of preparation I typically did each weeknight so that I could get out the door as soon as possible in the morning. This included laying out my outfit, making breakfast ahead of time, putting together a lunch, and packing my bag. This extra work the night before really paid off the following morning and meant that I hit the road at exactly the time I had planned to; plus, the food prep worked wonders as I didn’t have to waste brain power in the morning trying to think about what I might eat throughout the day. The food was all set and ready to go, and I knew its carbohydrate contents, which resulted in phenomenal blood sugar levels all morning leading up to lunchtime.
Tip #2: Maintain movement. As it turns out, a 40-minute commute combined with lots of sitting in meetings means that my movement patterns in the office are minimal. I did my best to combat this by getting up a few times throughout the day to explore my new building in 10- or 15-minute intervals. Not only did this give my eyes a break from my dual monitors, but it allowed me to stretch and get familiar with the environment. It also helped to curb my post-lunch upward sloping blood sugar, so it was definitely beneficial to my body and mind to make sure I maintained semi-regular movement during the workday.
Tip #3: Have back-up supplies on hand. When I was packing my bag the night before, I made sure to slip a meter, test strips, and fingerstick device, as well as some fruit snacks, into one of the compartments as I didn’t want to run the risk of something going awry with my CGM or needing a low snack and not having it. Of course, I didn’t experience either scenario in the office that first day, but knowing that I had these items close by went a long way in reassuring me that I was prepared to handle any diabetes scenario that might crop up during the workday. And it turned out to be fodder for reminding me that I should also have an extra pod and insulin in my bag at all times, too – next time, I’ll make sure to bring those items with me so I can have even more diabetes bases covered.
These tips might seem pretty obvious, but I was kind of awestruck by just how weird it felt to be back in an office space after a long hiatus away from one. So I think that following these tips truly did help to ground me so I could stay focused on learning my new job and meeting my colleagues, rather than letting my diabetes take center stage for the day.