One of the hardest parts of living with diabetes is the ongoing relentless nature of it all. When you get sick with something, you usually recover after a period of rest and treatment. In chronic dieases or conditions like diabetes, it is there forever. With some conditions there are not a lot of things the person has to do to manage, but diabetes is different. When you have diabetes you need to make daily management and lifestyle choices to stay healthy and avoid all of the nasty complications. There are some ways to reboot with diabetes. In speaking with our community recently about your biggest struggles at the moment people were telling me things like this:
“Trying to stay on track for my health’s sake. Working on getting my sugar & cholesterol readings lower”.
“Readings all over the place; and weight gain”
“Chronic pain, difficult to sit or sleep, interfering with my mobility”
“Chronic pain, weight gain and unstable sugars (I know that’s 3 but they all go hand in hand for me) probably somewhat self inflicted as I’m struggling to stop emotional eating. I agree with others here that I need a reboot!! On a lighter note congrats to us all for soldiering on”
“Hypos all the time this winter, and that’s making it hard to work on my weight”.
“The frustration of bsl’s never seeming to follow a logical pattern, no 2 days are ever the same!!
Weight control – easy to find more, not to get rid of it”.
“Stress. Fear of hypos (especially overnight as I live alone)”.
“Struggling with medical problems not related to diabetes…at least not wholly. Could do with a complete digestive system reboot!”.
“A cold I just can’t shake and the blood sugar spam that goes with it. Kids, trying to be a good parent but not loose my head”.
All of these people are working so hard to manage their health and their diabetes but things are getting in the way and/or making it harder. After a while it can start to feel like you are on a runaway train – ever been there?
It is not possible to totally avoid the hard parts of diabetes. Take my experiences at a workshop weekend in a city that is not my hometown. First morning flying out of town, my blood glucose decides to be low after breakfast when it is usually high. Arrival at the apartment and by evening it is high. Overnight it spikes again and by morning I am exhausted. Go to the event and all goes ok but by end of the day it is high and I change my insulin pump site and have a pretty stable night, and wake up happy. After breakfast before heading to day 2 it spikes again and by the time I get there (and am supposed to be a moderator) it has hit 18 mmol….I get permission to step out of the moderating and go into a dark room to change my pump site again and spend the morning session watching my levels. However, I go on and have a fantastic day contributing, thinking and learning – despite diabetes being a prick!
This is just one example of how people with diabetes can be like ducks – on the surface you may look like you are getting on with your day like all the other ducks but there is a heck of a lot of paddling going on underneath the water just to stay afloat. All the other ducks have no idea as they tuck into their donuts and cakes and toasties – about how much you are working just to be your pancreas.
No wonder you can feel like you need a reboot!
Here are 6 tips to reboot with diabetes
1. Let it go and try to stay present
It is important not to let overwhelm take over your life. If you have a bad day or two, try really hard to be mindful and deal with the practical side of what needs to be done, but don’t buy into thinking that makes you feel it is the end of the world. Try some mindfulness exercises on a regular basis, to help you stay present and let it go.
2. Do something else that you enjoy
Sometimes when things are hard you can become consumed by the problems. It is so easy in diabetes to get drowned by it all. The best thing here is to get out and do something you enjoy that is unrelated to diabetes. Maybe it is a day trip somewhere you love, or a visit to a special place such as the zoo or a park to take a hike. Maybe it is painting a picture, or going to a footy match. Whatever you love to do schedule it in and go do it, no matter what your diabetes is doing at the time.
3. Talk to someone who gets it
It is amazing to me how many times over the 16 years I have worked in diabetes, that people have said talking to someone about their diabetes just shifted their perspective. Join a group like ours on facebook and come and vent! Share what is happening and get input from people who get what you are going through and may have some great tips.
4) Seek help from your health care team
If things are tricky at the moment with diabetes or other areas of your health it is very important to go and see your health care team. You may need a change of management for your diabetes, a referral to a specialist or counsellor, or a visit to a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for example. There are people who can help and you do not need to do it alone.
5) Move outdoors
It has been shown that time in nature is actually beneficial for your health – physical and mental. Take a day or just an hour and head to a local park, a national park, a beach or anywhere you can connect with nature. Breathe deep, stay present and appreciated the natural world. You may find that your blood glucose levels even settle down and your emotions become more balanced – especially if you do this regularly. I take a walk in nature nearly every day and it really adds to my wellbeing.
6) Give yourself a break
Do you beat yourself up? Buy into guilt? Or worry all the time about diabetes complications? It is totally reasonable to worry about these things. However it is not helpful and will not support you in your quest to live long and happy with diabetes if worry takes over your life. Give yourself a break. A number is a number, a day is a day. Tomorrow is a new day. Get some rest and start again tomorrow.
If you want to go further in improving your wellbeing and thrive with diabetes, head here to join our FREE 7 programme to Thrive with Diabetes.
What is your biggest struggle at the moment with diabetes? Please share below – I respond to all comments x