Simple tips for managing diabetes at work


By pH health care professionals

If you have diabetes, you know it can seem like you have two jobs — your regular one, and all your duties managing medications and blood sugars, not to mention doctor’s appointments. But your paid work might be causing you to take two steps forward and one step back in your diabetes care. Think about it. How often have these scenarios applied to you?

  •          Feeling compelled to eat sugary snacks at an office birthday party
  •          Temptation to drink at an after-work happy hour
  •          Not getting exercise due to long hours
  •          Not moving around due to a sedentary environment
  •          Missing your blood sugar check or having low blood sugar because you didn’t have time to eat
  •          Having to reschedule doctor’s appointments
  •          Stress causing your blood sugar to rise

Luckily, the savvy diabetes patient can do a lot to manage, and your employer probably wants you healthy, considering that the American Diabetes Association estimates $69 billion was lost in worker productivity in 2012 as a direct result of diabetes.

So what can you do?

  •          Don’t keep your condition a secret. Secrets are stressful, and the constant “sneaking out” to check your blood sugar or take medication can be read as something more concerning, like drug use or trying to find another job. Sympathetic co-workers will take your calls or represent you at a meeting until you are done with the necessary task. 
  •          Try to keep active. Standing desks keep your metabolism and energy going during the day. When possible, take breaks to stand, walk or stretch. It’s possible to sneak in some exercise, even in the form of just walking to the post office.
  •          Manage stress. Deep breathing and regular meditation can alleviate those stress sugar spikes, as can avoiding multitasking.
  •          Stash healthy snacks. Pre-eating or having a stash of healthy snacks at the office can keep you happy while the rest of the office eats donuts covered in artificial flavors and colors. Many healthy snack delivery companies now exist; your co-workers might even be inspired by your healthy snack choices.
  •          Enjoy a healthy life. Just because you have to make some adjustments doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself. You may have to make some compromises, like swapping an alcoholic drink for a signature nonalcoholic drink at happy hour for example, but you’ll be in a better position to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, happy life.

Also, note that if you are blocked by an employer from taking care of some aspect of your diabetes, it is against the law. Click here for an explanation of your rights, given that diabetes is classified as a protected disability. Finally, is a useful site that you and your employer can use to beat diabetes in the workplace. You are your own best advocate, but you should have allies, as well.

Be proactive, so you can enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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