We all have our favourite memories and ideas about what makes the perfect holidays. Maybe yours is skiing on a powder white slope; lazing on a golden sunny beach under a palm tree; hiking in bushland; an eco holiday; rail journey or cruise – whatever the word “holiday” conjures up for you, there will be many dreams, memories, emotions and plans centering around the idea of a “break”.
A holiday of any type means you are taking a break, a “holiday” from something. For most of us this involves getting away from it all; spending time with family and friends; hitting the road and exploring the many twists and turns of a new place. When you live with diabetes you also need a break from the daily grind. Here is why you need to take a break from diabetes sometimes.
Why are holidays so special?
So why are holidays so prized, dreamt about and planned? Think about someone on a game show, what is one of the main things they want to win? Either a holiday or money to go on one. This holiday thing is the big time when it comes to something we are all working to achieve.
- full of down time
- often spent with those you love the most
- often taken without the usual hustle and bustle of every day life
- a time out from responsibilities and to do lists
- take you away from technological dependence (although nowadays this is not so true)
- allow you to go with what you feel you want to do with your time, rather than what you think you have to do
- full of happy and exciting memories; and
- are often taken in exotic or distant places.
However there are also those holidays which are taken close to home, perhaps at the family shack or caravan park, or over a few short days and don’t cost the earth. In fact those types of holidays are often some of the best.
The important thing is the time spent savouring life. The time spent slowing down, stopping to smell the roses, enjoying family and friends and the world around you. Even if you have the old family arguments, stress and the predictable travel problems such as travel sickness, mess ups with arrangements, missed or delayed flights, language barriers and an array of other problems especially when overseas, the ultimate memory of a holiday is usually positive.
Part of the pleasure of a holiday is the planning. Working out when and where you will travel to, where you will stay and what you want to do with the time, even if this is nothing at all! The rest of the joy is in the doing, and then, the remembering……
I have so many memories of holidays – as a toddler camping in a 2 man tent with my parents in the bush; as a child traipsing around Europe with my bohemian backpacking parents dragging a 2 year old and 7 year old all over the world; as a teenager (grumpy but secretly thoroughly enjoying) holidays to places like New Zealand and Fiji, as well as travelling around Australia; as an adult being so lucky to go to Italy and South Africa for work with my Mum in tow (these memories are absolute gold despite fraught airport moments and robberies!); and taking my own family on so many holidays – to the beach shack a few hours away, the caravan park in my home city, interstate to forests and beaches and theme parks and road trips – which are my favourite.
Holidays from diabetes
In life with diabetes you also need a “holiday” from it. Just like planning a holiday, you need to make sure you factor in time each day that has nothing do with diabetes, so that it sits right in the background. If managing diabetes is like a job, then surely holidays and short breaks are just as vital to your continued diabetes management as holidays are to your life?
How do you do this?
Think about how you are travelling with your diabetes – are you ok with it, are there areas you could manage better, are there areas you are focussing on too much? Do you have problems that you need to sort out? Does the balance of where diabetes sits in your life feel about right, or not? And how long since you have had a break?
Just like when planning your regular holidays or short breaks, even if all you do is take the occasional long weekend off work – you need to think about some regular breaks from diabetes. This does not mean stop looking after your diabetes.
It just means allowing yourself permission to:
- perhaps have a treat
- not check blood glucose as often for a day or so
- focus on other areas of your life for a bit
- do something you really love, like a weekend away or a day trip to the beach and be very mindful of the immediate surroundings and experiences rather than your diabetes tasks. Do what you need to, check your BGL’s, take your medication or insulin, but just do it and then move on to focus on the wonderful times you are creating in your life, with diabetes in the background
- do some relaxation and self talk which helps you to put diabetes into a balanced state in your life – that there are many other parts of your life that are important.
Sometimes your health can become the focus of your life. This can in turn make you “sick”. It is important to acknowledge that you are here, living every day – and that this is a gift. Taking a real holiday can be one way of helping you to take a break from diabetes and the stress it can bring.
Do you have a favourite holiday memory to share? And do you give yourself a break from diabetes?