Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work
Controlling symptoms is critical to controlling your diabetes. Here's how experts say you can do the job while on the job.
Diabetes on the Job: To tell or Not to Tell continued...
If you're having problems judging when your sugar levels are dropping, talk to your doctor about continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) watches. CGM watches sound an alarm when glucose drops below a certain level.
But even if a trusted colleague knows your condition, should you still tell the boss? What if you think that it might have an impact on whether you move ahead in your job? According to Rosalind Joffee, president of cicoach.com, an online resource for professionals with chronic illness, telling should always begin on a "need to know" basis. But if you do decide to tell, don't assume that simply saying, "I have diabetes" is all you need to do.
Joffee says you need to always be prepared to explain how your condition might affect your work life -- and have answers about how you're going to handle that.
"The key points to keep in mind when deciding to talk to your boss," Joffee says, "are, first, what outcomes are you looking for in the conversation? What do you need from your workplace to help you get your job done so that diabetes does not stop you? Finally, what ideas do you have for how this can happen?"
The point, she says, is to go into the conversation with a positive can-do attitude. It's also important to have solutions ready for any problems you are encountering and need to discuss. For example, how can you get a midmorning snack or take a quick break to test your blood sugar or administer an insulin injection?
Here, knowledge of your disease is important. Golden says the better you know your disease, "The easier it will be to know what you need to succeed at work. Also, the easier it will be to convey your needs to others. "
Diabetes on the Job: 7 More at-Work Tips
Here are seven more suggestions from the experts about how you can make it easier to control your diabetes at work.
1. "Do not be embarrassed if you need to eat something at a meeting -- just do it," says Strumph. Moreover, he says, always carry some glucose-rich food in your clothing or within arms reach and eat it when you need it. Hard candies are a meeting-friendly glucose booster.
2. If it's just too embarrassing to pull out a snack at a board meeting or client presentation, simply excuse yourself for a bathroom break, Golden says, and start munching the minute you're out the door.
3. Always explain any limitations realistically to your manager. Strumph says if the organization can't work with you, it's better to find out sooner than later.
4. Get enough sleep, says Synder. "Aside from poor food choices," he says, "stress has the next greatest negative impact on your blood sugar. Lack of sleep is the greatest stress. So make sure you get enough."