How to Create a Less Stressful Insulin Injection Routine
Diabetes is stressful. There’s no denying that! It requires 24/7 attention, 365 days a year, and even the best self-managers yearn for breaks and sometimes feel frustrated. It’s inevitable to feel stressed about diabetes the longer you live with it, especially when administering insulin.
Diabetes isn’t easy, but there are some ways to lighten the mental load. Try these tips and tricks when you’re stressed about your insulin injection routine.
Smart insulin pens cut down on diabetes guesswork
Smart insulin pens can make a world of difference if you’re on multiple daily injections (MDI), especially if you are used to reusable insulin pens, disposable insulin pens, or syringes.
There are some unique benefits of smart insulin pens:
- Bluetooth-enabled: Insulin doses can be automatically logged in an app simply by enabling Bluetooth on your smartphone.
- Apps: Many smart insulin pens have apps that you can use to calculate carbs, log insulin doses, record activity or blood sugar levels, etc.
- Insulin records: If you forget how much insulin you take or when this is another benefit of smart insulin pens and their corresponding apps. In the apps, you can record how much insulin you are using and when the last time you took it was. This handy feature can eliminate a lot of guesswork!
- Prevent insulin stacking (over-bolusing/over-correcting): This is another benefit of keeping insulin records. Insulin stacking means someone with diabetes administers insulin at close intervals to try and get a high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) level to go down. But this frequency often results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because the insulin is stacked. Smart insulin pens can help encourage patience with insulin dosing! When you can prevent insulin stacking, you can also prevent hypoglycemia.
- Long-lasting: Some smart insulin pens can last up to one year with a single battery!
Unfortunately, not all health insurance covers smart insulin pens, and many continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) currently don’t integrate with them. Still, the benefits of smart insulin pens tend to outweigh the cons for many people living with diabetes.
If you are interested in exploring the value of smart insulin pens to create a less stressful injection routine, talk to your doctor. They might even have samples for you or know of coupon or benefit programs you can utilize.
Use apps to create accountability + improve your insulin injection routine
If you love doing everything on your smartphone, several insulin logging apps are available for Android and iPhone devices that can help you.
Here are some apps you’ll want to look into:
- mySugar: Track insulin doses, blood sugar levels, food intake, exercise, etc. The best part? The mySugar Bolus Calculator does all the math for you for mealtime correction doses!
- Dexcom or Freestyle Libre CGM Apps: If you use either of these continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), it makes sense to download these apps already, but did you know that you can use them to track your insulin doses and log your food intake and activity? Keeping all of your diabetes data in one place is beneficial to you and your healthcare team.
- Glooko: Sync your data from your blood glucose meter (BGM), insulin pen or pump, CGM, activity tracker (FitBit, Strava, etc.), or food tracker to manage your health with Glooko. You can log insulin doses, food intake, blood sugar levels, etc. Glooko is easy to share with your healthcare team remotely, which could speed up any adjustments you want to make to your insulin injection routine under their direction.
- One Drop: This app can be paired with the company’s corresponding BGM. You can use it to track your blood sugar levels, insulin doses, meds, meals, activity, etc. You can also use the app to set important reminders, like when to take your insulin injections.
- One Touch Reveal: This app can also be paired with its corresponding BGM. It automatically notifies you about repeated high or low blood sugar patterns so that you can improve your insulin management.
Consistency is key
Creating a routine around when you take insulin can help you identify trends in your blood sugar levels, how your body responds to insulin injections, and how exercise and food impact your blood sugar levels. Being intentional about the times you take your insulin can help create better blood sugar predictability. For some people, consistently eating the same foods can also help.
Your routine should include rotating injection sites to avoid bruising and skin buildup. If helpful, set calendar reminders to keep track of the last time you used your stomach instead of your leg, for example.
Creating a routine that you can stick to can also help you gain mental separation from the constant attention diabetes requires. But strict practices don’t work for everyone, and they might actually create anxiety for some people, so don’t worry too much if the idea of more alarms and reminders creates more stress than ease.
Do what works for you!
It’s okay to separate mentally from diabetes + relax
The constant burden of diabetes sucks. There’s no denying that! When technical tips alone aren’t helping, remember it’s okay to separate mentally from diabetes for a couple of hours per day.
You owe it to yourself to be intentional with how you relax and rejuvenate when insulin injections and diabetes are overwhelming. Making time to relax is just as vital as the technical components of managing diabetes.
Intentionally separating mentally from your diabetes can help bring down your stress levels and improve your holistic outlook on life with diabetes, from injecting insulin to treating highs and lows to achieving your short and long-term health goals and beyond!
While focusing on other things for a couple of hours may seem scary, it can actually do wonders for your mental health.
Insulin injection stress happens to everyone with diabetes
Whether you’re diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes as a child or adult, there is no easy way to dive into it. Remembering to take your insulin injections can be especially challenging.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about your diabetes, here are some additional resources that may help:
- Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
- Newly Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes
- Mental Health Resources for People with Type 2 Diabetes
- Mental Health Resources for People with Type 1 Diabetes
A community of people going through the same things wants to see you thrive with your insulin injection routine and diabetes care! Use these resources, and talk to your doctor if the day-to-day burdens are too much. This feeling can signify you need to change things up—and that’s okay!
Educational content related to insulin use is made possible with support from Lilly, an active partner of Beyond Type 2 at the time of publication. Editorial control rests solely on Beyond Type 2.