Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Finals Week and Blood Glucose Monitoring

We all know that stress exacerbates hormones levels, which in turn, increases blood glucose.  Usually this is a temporary issue and often, as soon as the person is removed from the stressful situation, the blood sugar drops back in a typical range for that individual. 

But what do you do if you are faced with days of acute stress? 

If you live with T1D and are a student managing final exams, you find creative ways to cope. 

Because we are currently in the middle of this situation, my stress is ramped up enough that all I can muster is a top ten list of what is working (or working as well as can be said) for both of our girls. 

And yes, it is mid-June.  Why are we still in school?????  

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10.  Take breaks. Write this in BOLD LETTERS on your family message board.  It will serve well for the entire week.

9.  Hit something.  In our house, we head to the driving range for a bucket of balls.  If you have a baseball player, use the batting cage.  Karate kids, head to the dojo.  Soccer enthusiasts, go kick.

8.  Eat meals.  While it may be tempting to no longer make dinner, this helps no one.  Continue with meals that are a good combination of carbs, protein and fat to help reduce blood sugar spikes. Plus, meals force a much needed break.

7.  Be honest.  Acknowledge that this is a hard time for students.  Empathy reduces stress. 

6.  Share.  It may have been a pretty easy year for diabetes and some teachers may have forgotten that your child is managing not only exams but a chronic illness.  If blood sugars are out of range and testing is not possible, let your child's teacher know ahead of time.  Sometimes, a simple solution can be found with testing at a different time of day.  

5.  Run.  Along the lines of #9, running is the fastest way to tire out our muscle groups.  When anxiety and stress are peaking, taking a quick run will often reduce symptoms and return BG back to a typical range faster than any other method. 

4.  Write it out.  When your child feels overwhelmed with the demands, have them write out a schedule of what needs to be studied and when tests will occur.  Seeing it on paper, often reduces the feeling of being out of control. 

3. Study together.  Whether your child studies with friends, siblings or parents, having a human connection along with the material, helps through understanding that they are not alone in the sea of exams.  

2. De-emphasize grades.  One sure fire way to reduce stress is through communicating that the goal is NOT a grade but instead, mastery of concept.  If a student knows the material, they will naturally do better and as a result, the grade will become a fringe benefit. 

1. Exams end.  This time will not last forever.  Exams start and finish.  And with final exams, comes along the knowledge that summer vacation is right around the corner.  

Enjoy your summer!!!!  

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