Keeping Your Head Above Water During Midterms with Diabetes
It’s no secret that this time of the semester is one filled with dread and anxiety–in fact finals and midterms are normally the cause of the infamous “freshman 15.” As a diabetic, the average student stress naps and overeating can be increasingly detrimental to your health. To cope with the stress there are a few things you can do for yourself, and maintaining a schedule will not only help with stress but it will prevent you from falling into unhealthy patterns. You need to maintain not just your health but your academic career as well! Here is some advice for surviving midterms:
- Keep a positive attitude
Sure, this can be difficult if you are not getting enough sleep or are living in constant fear of the impending doom of that general chemistry exam on Thursday. Try to surround yourself with positive people and take breaks when things get too intense. Take the time to consider that this will all be over in just a few days, and you can go back to procrastinating with abandon.
- Talk to someone
Talk to your friends about your concerns or find someone who will just let you vent. Chances are, you aren’t the only stressed out student.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels
Stress, both physical and mental can have serious effects on blood sugar levels depending on whether you suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you suffer from type 2, mental stress will generally cause your glucose levels to rise. If you are type 1, the opposite could be true. For type 1 diabetics, stress can cause levels to either increase or decrease dramatically. Of course, some of this is a result of the pressure the stress puts on your routine and your eating and exercise habits. It is important to take precautions when it comes to monitoring blood sugar levels regardless of your routine during times of stress. Use your diabetes logbook to track your levels and see the effect of stress on your blood sugar levels. Especially if you have type 2 diabetes, because your body will produce high levels of stress hormones that drive blood sugar levels up.
Find some advice on healthy, stress relieving exercises here.
- Take time to unwind
A lot can be said for taking an hour out of your day to watch your favorite TV show and enjoy a cup of tea. This will all be over soon! Keep a level head and don’t run yourself dry. Overstimulating yourself for a long period of time can kill your momentum or reduce the effectiveness of all your studying. Reward yourself for your diligence every once in a while and allow yourself to unwind. Of course, relaxation can be a slippery slope. Be sure to a lot time for unwinding with moderation. A good way to keep yourself in check is to keep a schedule.
- Maintain a schedule
This is arguably one of the greatest stress relievers for most people. Keeping a comprehensive schedule is especially useful when keeping up with a healthy diabetic regimen of exercise and monitoring. That being said, this advice is universal and may be helpful in everyday life, not just particularly crowded times like midterms and finals. In your schedule keep track of when you last monitored your blood glucose levels, keep a list of specific and attainable goals you want to have accomplished that day. If you are taking any classes with an essay component, plan out your essay in multiple sittings to maximize effectiveness. For example, if you have a paper due on Friday you might plan:
- Monday (complete thesis statement and outline)
- Tuesday (complete introductory paragraph and gather references)
- Wednesday (Finish works cited page and write 3 paragraphs)
- Thursday (Final paragraphs and conclusion)
Just remember, next week will be full of relaxation and Neflix! Hang in there!